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Jeff Moehlis: British Invasion to Hit the Lobero Theatre with Jeremy Clyde and Peter Asher

Jeremy Clyde Click to view larger
Jeremy Clyde will join Peter Asher for an evening of songs and stories at the Lobero Theatre on Sunday. (LilMarauder Productions photo)

Jeremy Clyde was one half of Chad & Jeremy, a musical duo on the softer end of the British Invasion spectrum. Their hits included 1963's "Yesterday's Gone" and 1964's "A Summer Song," featuring pleasant harmonies and lush orchestration.

As the 1960s unfolded, they became more experimental with the albums Of Cabbages and Kings (1967) and The Ark (1968), which are now considered cult classics among baroque-psych fans, many of whom are at least one generation removed from the creators.

Clyde also has had a longtime collaboration with lyricist David Pierce, which thus far has produced four albums worth of songs in the series The Bottom Drawer Sessions. Clyde also has had a notable career as an actor.

On Sunday, Clyde will be performing with Peter Asher at the Lobero Theatre. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Asher himself is a former member of another British Invasion duo, Peter and Gordon, which had hits including "A World Without Love" and "I Don't Want to See You Again." Asher also was instrumental in the careers of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, and was even the inspiration for the look of Austin Powers.

Clyde talked to Noozhawk about the upcoming show and the early days of Chad & Jeremy.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: Can you tell us a bit about what we can look forward to at the upcoming show?

Jeremy Clyde: I can tell you in one swift, happy sentence: Twice the hits, twice the stories [both laugh]. Chad [Stuart] retired, that's the short story. He'd been threatening to for years and years. He hated going out on the road. "You're dragging me out again," he would say. So he finally went and did it.

Peter and I have been old, old friends for a long, long time — we reckon since 1963. It was an obvious thing to do, because Gordon [Waller] had passed away some years ago now, and there were the two of us. We're combining hits and our stories, and the way our stories interlock, because there were in the same pond, we knew a lot of the same people, and we were also always [laughs] very much confused with each other. We have a lot of fun with that.

And the other thing we have, which makes it extra fun, is we have lots of clips and stills and some wonderful stuff. We've got our Batman appearance — we show a bit of that, and a bit of Dick Van Dyke, a bit of Patty Duke. This is stuff that Chad and I did. And a couple of wonderfully embarrassing things that Peter has managed to dig up [laughs] from his past life, plus his wonderful career as a producer and manager. So there's endless stories that people haven't necessarily heard, and background on the '60s to now, really.

I'm looking forward to Santa Barbara because it's the last date of this current run, and it's a beautiful town.

JM: It wasn't a No. 1 hit, but you had a nice hit with the song "Yesterday's Gone." How did that song come together?

JC: First of all, it was one that Chad had written. The thing about Chadwick, I look back at his life and I say, "Well, every 10 years he wrote the best song that you've ever heard in your life." Just one [laughs]. Chad had written this song and we were signed by the late, great John Barry of film music fame, and he said, "That's a great song. We'll do that." And we did it, and we had a sort-of hit in England with it. I mean, it wasn't huge, but we got into the charts. And then we couldn't follow it up, at all. We were sort of dead in the water, and I thought it was over.

And then, we got a call from our publisher saying, "You're not going to believe this, guys. You're going up the charts in America." "What?" "Oh, yeah, there's slight problem, though." "What's that?" "You're going up the country charts." [laughs] And then, of course, the British Invasion happened at the same time, and that's when the country boys said, "Right, you've got hair and you're English — you're outta here." That's when we crossed over, as they say in the trade, and became fully paid up members of what is now known as the British Invasion. So that's the coincidence, and that's how it started.

JM: Can you tell us some memories of when Chad & Jeremy first came to America?

JC: Extraordinary! We were, I believe technically, the first of the British Invasion, as it is now known, to be on the West Coast. When we arrived in L.A., we didn't know but the radio stations had been primed. The Los Angeles airport was awash with screaming ladies, young women.

It was like A Hard Day's Night. I mean, it was just like that. We had the most hair-raising drive down the freeway. We were accompanied by cars full of young women sort of screaming and trying to get in front of us. We nearly had several crashes. And then we pulled up at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, and the guys from the label said, "Run for it! Run for it!" Because it was very hairy. Just coming out of the entrance of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel [laughs] were a wedding party, with full gowns, and we just went straight through them. We just totaled them, followed by hysterical young ladies. Then we got up to the floor, and there was a laundry basket, and suddenly they popped out of there. I mean, it was A Hard Day's Night. Extraordinary!

We'd experienced some of this because of "Yesterday's Gone" being a hit in England, but one of the things that people don't talk about is how dangerous it was, and how scary, and how painful, because they would pull at you. They'd grab hunks of your hair, they'd tear your clothes. One young woman actually jumped on Chad from quite a height as we were making an entrance out of a tunnel. They were waiting on the top of the tunnel and jumped on Chad. Chad was furious, not for him but for the guitar.

Then there was, of course, the screaming, which was bonkers. It didn't make any sense. And like everybody else, we got fed up with it because I couldn't hear Chad, Chad couldn't hear me. God knows, we might as well have just stood there and shaken our heads in Beatles fashion, and they would've all gone mad.

Click here for the full interview with Jeremy Clyde.

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his website, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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