HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY 5/14/2023!
As promised, I'll try and find something interesting to write about every couple weeks, including many of those long-awaited 'Fan Questions'. Let's get the party started with this one I received from Jenn Bosley . . .
“What made you decide to record all the backing vocals on ‘Do You Believe In Love?’ yourself, as opposed to having all of The News sing backgrounds with you? And to go along with that, were there any other HLN songs where you alone did the backing vocals?”
JC - Truth be told, had I not recently gone through some vintage JC/HLN archives, you would have gotten the wrong answer! We received a demo from Mutt Lange that was pretty darned good (except, thanks to Huey, the title ‘We Both Believe In Love’ turned into something else!) Huey changed the hook to something he could sing and believe in (pun intended) and I took our rough demo home and sang all the parts I thought should be on our version. Huey liked it so much, he suggested to the guys I sing all eight parts, ‘Because it sounds like a hit!’ With a little grumbling and grousing we got it done, and yes, the rest is history.
Regarding any other HLN songs I ‘layered’ by myself, thirty-eight years later I did the same thing with ‘While We’re Young’ on our ‘Weather’ release!
For close to four decades now Johnny Colla has been a fixture on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene and beyond. Probably best known as saxman/guitarist/vocalist/songwriter with Huey Lewis and The News, Johnny's professional career goes back to the early seventies when Van Morrison picked his band up for a couple tours. No more than a year later Johnny landed a seat playing with Sly and The Family Stone, and as he likes to recall, "Sly taught me everything not to do in the music business!" Proof that if you look long and hard enough, there's a life lesson in every experience.
There were other attempts at a career and success along the way, but throughout it all Johnny and Huey were conspiring to start something new back in Marin County. By the end of the seventies and several name changes later ("The Fools," "The Meteors," and "American Express" amongst others) the band settled on "The News." Over the next year or so the lads were feverishly writing, recording and performing whenever they could, for whoever would have them. By 1979 "Huey Lewis and The News" landed a record deal and they were off and running; the rest is a rich, intoxicating history, and a few chapters have yet to be written.
Besides the aforementioned job description, Johnny wears a few other hats with HLN (producing, arranging, directing, engineering, etc.) Between all that and other artist's outside projects, he never wore the solo artist hat as much as he'd wished. 2002 brought us "Lucky Devil" - Johnny's well-received first offering - but HLN business and family obligations kept him from a follow-up . . . until now. Something clicked with Johnny several years ago and the focus shifted; he reshuffled the deck and once again "The Lucky Devil" took a few chances. Life was no longer about what was or is, but "what could be." Come on in and take a peek at a remarkable talent, engaging tales and trails, and some pretty cool music!
(Photo by Christie-Claire Colla)
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