Funny how things circle around and back again. I bought and liked Emitt Rhodes‘ debut album when it first came out, but somehow I didn’t catch the insatiable bug for his music that so many other power pop lovers seem to have caught. Besides, I’m in New York City and I’m being bombarded with all kinds of sounds as the music of the 60s come crashing to a halt and FM radio finally cuts the umbilical cord to AM radio. Rock stars were dying, The Beatles were defunct, psych and garage and prog and glam and metal and a hundred other things were coming at me at warp speed. Can’t blame me for not following every single tangent. And by the time this one hit the wall, I didn’t even notice.
Several years later, I’m working in a Syracuse record store (which used to be a prestigious job. Hell, I had to audition!) and Ray Paul‘s 45 comes across the desk. Looks interesting, so I play it. Sounds great, so I buy it. Ray is from Rochester, just an hour or so up the road, but that’s a million miles at the time. And those other singles are telling me things like “God Save The Queen” and “So It Goes” , so a momentary pleasure is enjoyed and the single gets added to the collection.
Maybe two decades later, I finally meet Ray Paul in California at Poptopia. It’s ironic; he now lives in Los Angeles while I’m in his former hometown of Rochester. I tell him the story about the single; he tells me about his friendship with Emitt Rhodes. (I don’t remember if we met Emitt that night – Ray and I tipped more than a few pints that evening along with a couple of magazine editors). Within another year or two, he and Emitt release a new single on Ray’s Permanent Press label. I catch the bug.
And today, a decade after that meeting, Ray – now a friend as well as a musician I enjoy – emailed me with great news. The Emitt Rhodes film documentary, “The One Man Beatles“, will premiere at the Rome International Film Festival on October 21st & 22nd. Ray was interviewed extensively for the film, along with Keith Olsen, Michael Penn, The Bangles, Joel Larson, Allison Anders, Janice Fortier, Dan Mayer and Jim Rolfe. “The film, which is in the running for best documentary in the festival, includes several songs which will be on the forthcoming CD performed live in the studio by the new Emitt Rhodes Band. English narration is currently being put together for the release in the USA.”
The film announcement is exciting enough, but a new Emitt Rhodes album?? Wow!! Now that Ray lives in Rochester again, I guess it’s time to celebrate with a few pints on this coast.
Don’t know Emitt Rhodes? Here’s a link that will fill you in while you await the new film and album (and – hopefully – some live performances?)
Emitt wiki page
Ray Paul‘s MySpace page.