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Bobby Berge Q&A


Hi everyone,

A little while back we asked you to submit your questions to Tommy Bolin's old drummer Bobby Berge.

Bobby has kindly answered your questions, the results of which are as follows:

Last edited by PurpleAdmin1, 7/11/2015, 18:03


---
I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
What flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
Where music played ever so loudly

21/10/2006, 20:22 Link to this post Send Email to Rahul   Send PM to Rahul
 
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Re: Bobby Berge answers your questions!


From Rahul -

Hi Bobby,

Many thanks for doing this!

One of my favourite releases ever is the Live At Art's Bar & Grill 1973 gig, from the Zephyr reunion!

What do you remember about this gig? It sounds great on record, but
what was it like to play? Was it a happy reunion with your old band
mates? Did you play any more gigs together after this one?

And whose idea was it to cover The Creator Has A Master Plan? I love
this version, but it's such an ambitious piece to play!

Cheers,
Rahul

_______________________________

Bobby replies:

Hi Rahul, {My apologies to all for the long delay, in responding to
questions.} ques.#1---The Zephyr reunion at Arts Bar and Grill was a very
special night for me. Tommy and I had grown quite a bit musically in the
previous two years with Energy, doing our trademark heavy metal,jazz
fusion,blues style of music.

Along with this, we had done a lot of partying
on and off stage. Well, this night I decided to stay completely straight and
to me, it showed in my playing. I was real happy with how I drummed that
night. By the way,these days, the only way I can relate to the Tommy Bolin
Archives and things that happened 35-40 yrs. ago is by staying clean and
sober.

Those days of excessive substance abuse are haunting and I am very
lucky to have survived. Anyway, it was great playing with the other Zephyr
members again and everyone did a great job this particular night. We never
did another reunion w/ Tommy. I did rejoin Zephyr briefly in 1978 for a few
gigs.

As far as "Creator has a Master Plan", thats something we used to jam
on a lot. I believe Pharoah Sanders did it on one of his albums and we
really dug it and It probably was a general concensus of the band to do it.

I love what Tommy plays on it and especially his solo. Its one of several ot
Tommys solos that bring tears to my eyes. He played so melodic and
beautiful.




---
I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
What flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
Where music played ever so loudly

21/10/2006, 20:26 Link to this post Send Email to Rahul   Send PM to Rahul
 
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Re: Bobby Berge answers your questions!


From Hartmut -

Hi Bobby,

how come that you were not credited as playing drums on "The Grind"?

What does the new version of the "Teaser" CD, that seems in the works have to offer? Are you involved in the production on this one?

Where can I buy the Bolin archives releases (here in
Germany/Europe)? Except via the TB Archives of course, as they are very
unreliable, to say at least... Don´t they have a distribution deal for
their output?

Best regards

Hartmut Kreckel

____________________________

Bobby replies:

Hi to Hartmut Kreckel, As far as the mix up on "The Grind", it was
just a simple mistake and oversight on Tommy and/or record co's part. In all
the excitement and many musicians coming and going at the sessions, its not
that surprising.

Sorry, I havent heard the new Teaser CD and I wasnt
involved in the production of it. But now "Whips and Roses" I and II have
been released and vol. I has some fine out-takes from the Teaser sessions.

My drum tracks were done at the Record Plant in LA. I drummed on the Grind,
Lotus, and the out-take "Crazed Fandango". I did the first two in one small
drum room, and Fandango was a different booth. I had forgotten about doing
Crazed but then lately remember doing a third song.

Besides remembering that
I did a third song, I recognize the sound of my drums. Nobody tunes their
drums like mine, my snare has a unique sound, sort of compressed and tight
and my toms sound kinda muffled on recordings. See, I had already done
Crazed on the first demo of it done in 74 at Rocky Mountain Studios in the
foothills of Boulder. We also did Journey at that session.

But when I was
attempting Crazed in LA and was getting a bit tired, I remember Lee
Kiefer{the engineer] came back to my drum booth and fixed me up with a nice
big Blast! Ha! Man, I was all over those tubs then, hands and feet justa
flyin!--------As far as Tommy releases in Germany and Europe, you might
contact John Herdt[the webmaster for the TBA] at [sign in to see URL]

---
I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
What flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
Where music played ever so loudly

21/10/2006, 20:30 Link to this post Send Email to Rahul   Send PM to Rahul
 
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Re: Bobby Berge answers your questions!


From Jim Sheridan -

Bobby,

I have read that your old Zephyr bandmate David Givens has a ton of
Zephyr and Fabulous 4-Nikators tapes; any chance that any of that
material will ever see the light of day?

I think that the "Art's Bar"
recording is probably the best live Bolin I have ever heard in terms of
having both great playing AND decent sound / recording quality, with
the 1974 TB & Friends at Ebbets Field as a close second place; I
sure would love to hear more of the same.

Here is a question that you may not be able to answer but I will
throw it to you because you are more likely to know the answer than,
say, my wife would! Did Tommy ever play live with Cobham? I think
Cobham has said "No," but then, Cobham seemed to have forgotten about
some of the Cobham / Bolin tracks until they surfaced later, like the
Steig/ Cobham/ Bolin / Hammer stuff that the Bolin Archives released or
the outtake from the Spectrum recording sessions that appeared on the
Cobham compilation "Rudiments."

Lastly, your drumming with Tommy ROCKS. What recordings that Tommy
did with other drummers really knock you out, as far as what that
drummer was doing and how it worked with what Tommy was up to?

Thank you for taking the time to give the fans some info!

Jim Sheridan

____________________________

Bobby replies:

Hi to Jim Sheridan, I really dont know what Zephyr material David Givens
has so sorry I cant help you there. The only obscure Zephyr I have is one
tune that we recorded at North Star Studios in Boulder around 78.

Of course
and unfortunately, Tommys not on it. Also I have a pretty decent live
recording of Zephyr at Adams State College. It was when I rejoined in 78 and
is at the fieldhouse on campus in Alamosa, Colorado. David is on
guitar,Merry Stewart on Keys, Candy, and Rocky on bass. We did lots of funky
R+B stuff along with some Rock.

To the best of my knowledge, I also
dont believe Tommy did any live gigs with Cobham. When Spectrum first came
out, I was blown away by the whole album and all the musicians involved. I
was already into Cobham digging his power,speed and musical finess'. It was
great to hear Tommy utilize his jazz,fusion,rock licks and play off Cobham
and Jan Hammer, In other words, answering them musically.

Michael Walden also complimented Tommy well with his fusion, jazz-rock style. I think Tommy complimennted Michael also with a beautiful solo on Waldens "Delightful".
Same with Alphonse Mouzon, another powerhouse and very high energy drummer.

Again, awesome interaction between Tommy, Alphonse, and the others.
Especially on Golden Rainbows and Nitroglycerin where Tommy Shines! All the
drummers Tommy worked with made grest controbutions to his music.
Pocaro,Prairie Prince,Craney,Paice, and Johnnie Bolin all had much to offer.

And lastly, Jan Hammer playing drums on People People! What can you say?
He's absolutely amazing!



---
I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
What flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
Where music played ever so loudly

21/10/2006, 20:33 Link to this post Send Email to Rahul   Send PM to Rahul
 
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Re: Bobby Berge answers your questions!


From Atle -

Hi Bobby, I'd also like to ask
you a
question about Tommy Bolin - in my eyes one of the most amazing rock
guitarists of all time, not at least for being totally autodidact. But
he was, sadly, also a herion++ addict. A most uniqe individual, indeed,
but then how do you think his drug routines affected his playing?

And, probably a bit easier; what was Tommy like as a person, backstage
and off stage?

Thanks!

______________________

Bobby replies:

Atle, As far as drug use, that was a period of exteme overindulgence even
on my part. It was probably because I was broke a lot that I survived cuz I
couldnt afford a whole lot, but that was a very exciting, adventerous, but
dangerous time.

Some things still haunt me and can only share about this
period by staying clean and sober in current times. At first we all had
fun gettin high and playing music and partying. For a while it worked and
it was nice cuz in getting high we all could transcend thought and the
analyzing mind and go to the place[the Zone, if you will], where the music
just flows and the playing comes effortlessly.

In the latter days tho, what
used to turn us on, turned on us and it all caught up with Tommy,myself and
others.

Tommy was a very friendly, down to earth,funny and lovable
guy on and off stage. Never pushy or bossy. he had a cool and nice way of
telling you what he wanted musically. He kidded around a lot and playing
with him was a breeze cuz he made you feel real comfortable. Being raised
in a very loving family probably had a lot to do with Tommy being so
charming. If you had ever met Barb,Rich,Pudge, and Johnnie, you would no
excactly what I mean.
          

---
I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
What flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
Where music played ever so loudly

21/10/2006, 20:36 Link to this post Send Email to Rahul   Send PM to Rahul
 
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Re: Bobby Berge answers your questions!


From JohnnyTheMechanic -

Hi Bobby how are you doin ?
, when Tommy joined Deep Purple what were your reactions ? did you
think he was the right man for the job since his style was much
diferent from Richie Blackmore ! (I myself think Tommy rocked !!)

thanks for taking time for this !!

João

__________________________

Bobby replies:

Hi to Johnny the Mechanic, It was such an exciting time
period and so much was happening, but I was thrilled that Tommy joined Deep
Purple. To watch and be a part of Tommys career and growth was unbelievable.
  First Zephyr, Energy, James Gang, Billy Cobham, Alphonse Mouzon, and then
Deep Purple! I went to a D.P. rehearsal once at the Beechwood Soundstage, Stan Sheldon and Peter Frampton were there and DP's sound was awesome. Just
one huge wall of sound!

Then when Come Taste The Band came out, I was
floored! I loved every bit of it and also became a huge Glen Hughes
fan.[Loved his bass sound ,singing and songwriting. This Time Around is
such a beautiful tune.

I never bothered to compare Tommy with
Blackmore. Blackmore is great in his own way but Tommy was IT! He was "The
MAN!" ---By the way, I did dig Blackmores "Rainbow", and felt quite honored
to audition for the group. I was a bit out of shape at the time and it didnt
work out but it was a fantastic opportunity just the same!
          
 

---
I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
What flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
Where music played ever so loudly

21/10/2006, 20:38 Link to this post Send Email to Rahul   Send PM to Rahul
 
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Re: Bobby Berge answers your questions!


From Mr. Snip -

Hi Bobby, thanks for taking the
time to answer our questions.

I remember, listening to an obituary on Danish radio, shortly after
the sad passing of Tommy. It was said, that his stint with Purple
probably was the reason for his sad death.

Do you believe that that could be the truth, not being accepted by
the fans of DP, and the subsequent split, ultimately drove him to kill
himself?

Do you thing the time with DP change his personality?

I have both Teaser and Private Eyes and like them both. If you were
to recommend one other available recording featuring Tommy, which would
it be?

Sorry, that I haven't got a clue, but what have you been up to since
your work with Tommy?

________________________-

Bobby replies:

Hi to Mr. Snip, No, this
sounds like the farthest thing from the truth!! Deep Purple had many great
concerts with Tommy and so the Blackmore fans didnt like Tommy. Big Deal!

I loved Tommys playing with D.P. and that still is my favorite version of
the band. The sad truth is tho, the overindulgence did start to affect
Tommys playing in the latter days of Deep Purple.

I didnt see as much
of Tommy when he was touring with D.P. The year of 1976 did seem to bring
on a different vibe from Tommy and others, including myself. I think it was
a bit of burnout in all of us[the downside of all the excitement and high
energy of 1975], and that heavy partying was taking its toll.

Tommy, till the end tho, was still basically good natured,humorous, and lovable Tommy.
He was a kid at heart,brought up in a home life filled with much love. He
projected that till the end.

If I had to pick one, and thats
tuff, but it would probably be "Spectrum" that I would
recommend.

Since, 76, I've done a million things, a lot of which would probably bore you to death. lots of day jobs to survive! I''ve
never given up on music and drumming tho and always find some musical
project to get involved with, involving a lot of very creative
Denver/Boulder, LA, Sioux Falls, and Sioux City musicians. During slow
times I jam and practice at home to tapes and CD's.

Since 1996 I've been
invloved with the Tommy Bolin Archives and the annual Tommy Tribute
Concerts. Since 2002, when I first got a computer. I've communicated with
Tommy fans all over the world. It's been a hell of a lot of fun and I feel
honored and grateful for the compliments from Tommy fans for my
contributions to Tommys music.

It certainly was a privelege and a great
experience, playing with one of the greatest guitatists on this planet!

---
I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
What flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
Where music played ever so loudly

21/10/2006, 20:42 Link to this post Send Email to Rahul   Send PM to Rahul
 
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Re: Bobby Berge answers your questions!


From wcanaris -

Hi Bobby,

I've just listened to "Bolin, Beck and Berge" jam and found it
amusing. However, there only exists part of it, that with Tommy on
guitar. And do you remember how different was the part with Jeff on
guitar and Tommy on bass ? Was it that good ?

Have you thought of rehearsing in 1976 some tunes from "Come Taste The
Band" album while touring with Tommy Bolin Band?

________________________

Bobby replies:

Hi to W Canaris, It was very
unfortunate that Phillip Polemini recorded over the first jam with Jeff Beck
on guitar and Tommy on bass. But !@#$ happens!

Just as unfortunate, is the
fact that I dont remember too much about the first jam. I can only imagine
that it was Awesome as Jeff is an unbeliebably great guitarist! One of my
all time favorites, besides Tommy that is!

All we can do is be happy with
what was saved from that spring night of 75. It was a very special nite for
me to be able to jam with these two greats! I think Tommy and I played
about every damned lick we knew, going in and out of dozens of time changes
and feels.

But this was a common thing for Tommy and me to do, going back
to the Energy days where we improvized endlessly. I cant give a very
technical critique of Jeffs bass playing but it seemed very different and
unusual.

The idea of rearsing tunes from CTTB with the Tommy Bolin
Band never came up.
         

---
I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
What flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
Where music played ever so loudly

21/10/2006, 20:44 Link to this post Send Email to Rahul   Send PM to Rahul
 
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Re: Bobby Berge answers your questions!


From CrazedFandango -

Hey Bobby.

Are there any other decent Energy bootlegs that could find a
release through the Tommy Bolin Archives? And what about studio demos
that haven't made it out yet?

Also, what was it like working with Buddy Miles?

Thanks for your time.

Joe

_________________________

Bobby replies:

Hi Crazed Fandango,
  All Energy material that I know of has already been released. ---I was
surprised tho to hear an Energy studio demo version of "Hoka Hey" on the
first "Whips and Roses'" CD that just came out. But it was somehow named
Just Fallin Down.

Could be an out-take at the studio"Western Cine" where we
did the other version of Hoka Hey, which was already released by the TBA.
But I dont know for sure where this W+R's version was
recorded.

It was a blast and a great opportunity to work with
Buddy Miles! We actually were old school mates in the 9th grade in Sioux
Falls, South Dakota[my home town and where I live now]. Back then we hung
out a lot together, going to movies and going bowling when we werent
drumming and jamming.

We later hooked up in LA in 1975 when I had moved out
there to play with Tommy. I ran into Buddy at a club and right away we hit
it off and he asked me if I wanted to record on his album.

I ended up
playing on two albums, the first and more popular was' More Miles per
Gallon" and also did some LA club gigs plus a few big concerts, a couple
being at the "Forum" and the "Shrine" with the Ohio Players.

Buddy was a
very soulful guy and could sing great. Besides drums, he played guitar,
keys, bass, and was a fabulous songwriter. We did rehearse a lot and Buddy
would sometimes work us into the wee hours, but it was a lot of fun and well
worth it.

I sincerely believe that Tommy Bolin and Buddy Miles were my
two main and direct Musical Influences in my career. They taught me to keep
it Simple, Solid, Drivin, and "In The Pocket"!

---
I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
What flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
Where music played ever so loudly

21/10/2006, 20:47 Link to this post Send Email to Rahul   Send PM to Rahul
 


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