ROCKWiRED NOTES: MARLON MONTGOMERY
n 1975 the late rock n roll troubadour MIKE MONTGOMERY found himself at a fork in the road of a winding career that had taken him from the teen dances and honky tonks of his home state of Oklahoma to the hustle and bustle of New York City. The members of MOTT THE HOOPLE had made an offer to the singer, songwriter and keyboardist MONTGOMERY to have him replace their legendary front man IAN HUNTER. Who knows what would've been possible had MONTGOMERY filled HUNTER's shoes by becoming the front man of one rock's most celebrated bands. However, MONTGOMERY was also contacted by ex-FREE guitarist PAUL KOSSOFF who requested that he move to London so the two of them could form a band together. MONTGOMERY turned down the offer to front MOTT THE HOOPLE and got on a plane to London to work with KOSSOFF in forming the band that would become BACK STREET CRAWLER, a band designed to showcase KOSSOFF as a band leader but ended up being obscured due to KOSSOFF's well publicized issues with drug use. In 1975 the band released the album THE BAND PLAYS ON – a glorious collection of blues powered rock n roll made signature by MIKE MONTGOMERY's songs such as the yearning SURVIVOR, the bluesy slow burn of IT'S A LONG WAY DOWN TO THE TOP, the stomping ALL THE GIRLS ARE CRAZY and the driving rocker ROCK N ROLL JUNKIE. In listening to THE BAND PLAYS ON forty-five years after its release, the chops and songwriting of one MIKE MONTGOMERY should've propelled BACK STREET CRAWLER to astounding heights, but continuing health problems with KOSSOFF prevented the band from touring and eventually lead to his death in April of 1976. MONTGOMERY would leave the band in pursuit of a solo career while the remaining members of BACK STREET CRAWLER would go on to record one more album.
MONTGOMERY's 1976 solo album featured quest appearance from the likes of THIN LIZZY, BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS and MEATLOAF, yet despite the such a roster, the album disappeared. In the early eighties MONTGOMERY returned to New York City and got involved in film scoring with the film VICE SQUAD and continued session work with such artists as JOHNNY WINTERS, ROY BUCHANAN and RICK DERRINGER. He later formed the R&B/blues rock band ROUGH HOUSE before succumbing to lung cancer in 1991.
a time where there a more music files then there are molecules in the
universe, it is not easy to resurrect interest in a music career that
deserved more recognition than it got, but that is exactly what
MARLON MONTGOMERY – the son of MIKE MONTGOMERY – has set out to
do. CRAWLING SPIDER: A TRIBUTE TO MIKE MONTGOMERY VOL.I – THE L.A.
SESSIONS is an out and out celebration of one of rock n roll's most
overlooked songwriters. This electrifying compilation brings the
songcraft of MONTGOMERY to life with with some spirited performances
by such artists as JIMMY KUNES, MARK CAMPBELL, TERRY SLESSER and TERESA
JAMES. MARLON MONTGOMERY has described the making of this album as a
labor of love and shared the producer's chair with TERRY WILSON
and TONY BRAUNAGEL - both former members of the BACK STREET CRAWLERS.
While the reinterpretations of MONTGOMERY's songs send this album into
high orbit, it is the ghostly demos of MONTGOMERY himself that help
paint a haunting portrait of the late singer-songwriter and what the
world of music missed out on.
ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with MARLON MONTGOMERY regarding the tribute compilation to his father, the late-MIKE MONTGOMERY. Here is how the interview went.
SPIDER – A TRIBUTE TO MIKE MONTGOMERY VOL. I THE LA SESSIONS is
indeed a moving tribute to the music of your father. Now that the
collection is finally out there for people to hear how do you feel
about the finished work?
CHECK OUT THE LYRIC VIDEO FOR SURViVOR!!!
the initial creative spark that made you want to celebrate these
songs and get this rather impressive roster of artists and musicians
to bring your dad's music to life?
Originally the plan was to do some newly recorded tracks of my dad's songs and offer a few tracks that were recorded by my dad as bonus material. TERRY WILSON and I got together and started making a list of all of the songs we wanted for this album and then we came up with a a list people that we wanted to perform these songs which included artists like JIMMY KUNES, MARK CAMPBELL, MIKE MONTGOMERY and TERESA JAMES. It was thrill to actually get all of these people into the studio and just have them tear into these songs. Before we knew it we had six songs recorded and felt like we needed more so we recorded a few more but the real surprise came and TERRY and I had come across some old reels of solo material that my dad had never released and when we went through those recordings, we knew that we had to include them on this album somehow.
from the re-recordings of your dad's songs, the demo recordings truly
stand out. You had said earlier that you and TERRY had stumbled upon
the reels accidentally. In finding these recordings from the past,
what songs specifically stood out for you?
the studio cuts, what performances have you the most excited?
musician, how much influence did your father have over you musically?
you want the takeaway to be for people when they listen to this
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