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 AUTHOR
 country4ever1958
Joined: 9/25/2005
Msg: 1
Jim CrocePage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
Does anyone out there remember Jim and his lead guitarist Maury? I'd like to hear your views of their music and guitar playing.
 MUSICMAYKER
Joined: 4/4/2006
Msg: 4
Jim Croce
Posted: 5/6/2006 6:48:42 PM
MY FAVORITE CROCE IS "LOVERS CROSS"!!!! ~DOC~
 olivette12000
Joined: 3/29/2007
Msg: 6
Jim Croce
Posted: 9/10/2007 7:40:28 PM
I'm a big fan of Jim,I have loved and listen to him music since the 70's,I still have all his albums and music books, here is an interview I found with tommy west one of his friends
hope you enjoy.

Q & A with Tommy West
(Text Version)
A "Special Thanks" to Margaret Gletherow (nee Cafarelli)
for transcribing the interview to text!
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PART IV


Scott Lamaestra: Tommy, were there any plans for another album after "I Got A Name"? And would we have heard more guitar parts like in "Top Hat Bar and Grill" and "Five Short Minutes of Love"?
Tommy West: A lot of it would have depended on "what was he writing?" As far as I know he was tapped out - he was kind of drying up. So my idea was to take some time off and let the 3 albums stay out for awhile, and talk about a direction. He had been to Nashville and had had lunch with Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed. That would've been fun - I would've liked to take him to Nashville and be with the guys that I knew down there. But it's really almost impossible to answer what would have happened. I would've loved to do the piano thing. But my instincts tell me that it would probably have been another year before there was another Croce album, and rightfully so.


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Tom Orecchio: What in your opinion made Jim use Ovations over Martins later in his career?

Tommy West: Cuz you couldn't break them. He had the Dove on the road for awhile and didn't want to use that - and he had a Martin and as everybody knows who's into guitars, Ovations are virtually indestructible because they have fiberglass, Vietnam helicopter back that they have - and it proved to be true because in the plane, everybody else was creamed - the ovations came thru. So it's a matter of expedience why he played them.


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Scott Lamaestra: Did Jim play any other instruments besides the guitar?

Tommy West: Well actually he started out on the accordion, and he was barely competent on the accordion. I would see him once in awhile sit at the piano. But I never knew him to really try to do anything. He tried to play a little bit of banjo. But his main thing - he developed a very steady Travis-picky, finger-picky kind of style. Was not a good strummer. On "I Got A Name" he didn't play guitar - I played 3 guitars and Maury played lead and I played the piano and helped with percussion and got in the way - mixed it. But he wasn't a good strummer - he could really finger-pick steadily and thank God he had Maury because Maury played the lead, you know, so… I would have loved to do - looking back on it - we didn't think in these terms in those days where you might do just guitar/voice versions of those tunes - with just 2 guitars and him - that would've been fun. Maybe some day I'll go in and get permission to get the multi-tracks out and do that - just him and Maury.


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Tom Orecchio: What's one fact that people don't know about Jim, Maury and yourself?

Tommy West: One fact? (laughs) Well, there was the day in my apartment in 1972. They had come back from San Francisco - they were sick. And Jim had a weird sense of humor. Jim had gone thru his throwing up phase of the sickness and was on his way to recovery. Maury was going thru the crisis and had to throw up in my apartment, and on his way to the bathroom to throw up he started to shut the door as all civilized people would do. But Jim said "Leave it open, I want to listen." That's something nobody knows. And also that got me sick. I ended up with a little bit of hepatitis and mono because of them. But - the 3 of us - we didn't have enough time to develop a lot of stuff. Jim and I used to double date a lot. And I had a big mouth in those days, like all college seniors - and he would fix me up with - I don't know where he found these people - but 2 girls. And he said "Now make sure you don't say anything about the Irish tonight - these girls are both Irish - don't get on your Italian thing". And so naturally I would say something. I would sit in the back and I would say to these women "Is it true that all you know how to cook are potatoes?" And it would start. So we would take them home - drop them off and then go to his house and he'd make sausage. Which was really my aim in the first place - to go home and eat and get rid of these people. But we had a thing where we had a code - we'd just look at each other because we spent so much time in college - and what we did in college became his on-stage raps. And one time we were in California, he couldn't swim and it was hot - we were playing the Troubadour. And I said "Why don't you go in the pool?" - he said "I can't swim" - I said "I'll tell you what, let's go get a rope" and we got this big rope "you tie it around your waist and I'll take the rope - I'll go to the deep end and I'll pull you". And it was kind of this weird humor - it would just start and we would imitate people that we saw on television. We would sit at the Villanova Student Union building and kinda take in the world. Or we would go to a festival. We liked to go to the Amish Country because they were so clean. And everybody's name was "Zuck" up there, it seemed. And we'd talk to them - or we'd go to Longview Gardens in the Dupont estate. We just hung out. It was just one of those kinda things where it was easy. Whatever we did was easy. And that's why the music was so good because he trusted me. He would do his part and go take a walk and he'd come back and he'd say "How'd you do that?" I said "I'm a genius Jim" - and he'd laugh.


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Scott Lamaestra: Tommy, we all know that the Nashville Tribute Album was pretty weak. If you had a chance to pick the artists, who would you like to see record some of Jim's songs?

Tommy West: Well, if you're talking about - This is an idea that I have - in my mind's eye I could see an album coming out called "I'll Have to Say I Love You In A Song". But one Nashville artist that I've always wanted to have sing Jim's songs is Merle Haggard. I think he could do "Operator". I don't think in terms of other Nashville artists doing his stuff, because when you take Jim's stuff and make it too Southern, it just sounds like another Southern rock song to me. But if you take really unique artists, like Lyle Lovett or K.D. Lang, or The Pointer Sisters doing "Leroy Brown" , or Ray Charles doing "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" or The Manhattan Transfer doing an acapella version of "Time In A Bottle" - now you're talking about something. But Haggard could do "Operator". Garth Brooks liked Jim a lot - he could probably do something - over sing it, but it would sound pretty good. The Everly Brothers - I would love to have the Everly Brothers do "Dreamin' Again" or something like that. And maybe some day I'll do it.


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Tom Orecchio: We understand that Jim was being considered for a summer replacement for "The Tonight Show". Did he ever appear on that show, and do any clips exist?

Tommy West: There are 2 Tonight Show performances which maybe don't exist but I have them on audio someplace. The first time he did it, Carson was the host and he just did "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" and a little bit of "Operator". The second time, was when John Davidson was the substitute host. And we were on - I remember that because I made this huge piano mistake in "Dreamin' Again", and that almost knocked him off his stool. But he did the show twice and so maybe that's archivally stored someplace, I don't know. And the other stuff is Midnight Special and Kirschner Rock Concert footage - and there's some college concert footage here and there - not a lot.


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This is the end of PART IV of the interview
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Home Q&A with Tommy West (RealAudio Version)


PART I text PART II text PART III text


Tommy's Closing Statement text
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This interview may not be used in ANYWAY without the written permission of the
Webmasters at Jim Croce: The Tribute Page!
Copyright 1998 All Rights Reserved

Tommy's Closing Statements
(Text Version)
A "Special Thanks" to Margaret Gletherow (nee Cafarelli)
for transcribing the interview to text!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom Orecchio: At the end of the interview, Tom asked to say a few words.


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Tommy West: This is the first time I've ever had anything to do with the internet. My dear friend, Tom Orecchio, has arranged for me to do this, which I hope I'll do again. It's kinda fun, even though I'm sitting in my home, my studio, and we're talking about this thing - and it always amazes me how many people are into this music and how many people hand it down to their kids and their grandkids now. And I feel blessed that I was able to do it. It's kinda like - we've all been in this business and everybody wants to be in it and I've always kinda thought that Croce fans were a little different than some other kind of fans. It's a different kind of career. Almost invariably Jim Croce fans are nice people. They're sensitive to other people's feelings - they're helpful. Which is amazing to me because that was what he was. He was the kind of guy that when he went to Paris he brought me back a turtle neck sweater - or a bottle of cologne which I still have and still use one drop at a time at Christmas. And there've been a lot of people that have passed thru show business and music that were great acts - Jim was a great non-act. What you saw was pretty close to what you got. He learned that blue workshirts worked. When we told him that he looked good in a workshirt he bought a couple of dozen - very pragmatic. He once tried to grow a beard and we all practically beat him up - so he didn't do that. But the way he got to people - I mean when you look at his body of work which is basically some 30 odd songs and some demos, it's an amazing, amazing accomplishment and I guess it makes me feel proud of myself that I saw in him, even in college, that he was a great communicator. He was a horseshit songwriter, but he was a great communicator. My mother said "that guy makes you feel like you're in his living room" - that was junior year of college - in 1962. And then later on he would get into things and I would teach him songs and he would teach me songs. We were like mirrors for each other musically. And we could play 2 hours of Coasters music, and an hour of Drifters music and then go into The Beach Boys and Herman's Hermits if we wanted to. But there was this thing that he had - that when he started telling the truth the songs came out. And I would imagine that if I were to meet all the people who sent me these questions, that I would like most of the people, and you would probably like me, and we would probably pick up like I was talking to him. After Jim died, I would get letters - there was no e mail then - I would get letters saying really sweet things like "if you're ever in Hershey Pennsylvania, and you're appearing or you're doing something and you're doing radio stations and you want a home cooked meal, we would like you to come". And it was done in such a way that you could not help but respond. There have been people like Margaret Cafarelli who I've only spent like a couple hours with in 25 years, but who's almost like family to me. And Tom Orecchio has become a dear friend without even hanging out with me. Because you have like a commonality, a common ground that starts with the guy that wrote these songs. And in a way, when Cashman and I produced the records what it really sounds like to me is 3 guys having a good time, pretty much at the top of their game. Not thinking about how much money we would make, which was considerable - Jim's family is very well off. But, would his mother and father like it. That was really what I wanted to show them - that he could do this - because they didn't want him in show business. But what it comes down to is that we're all around for a few years - Jim was around for a lot fewer. But if there's a hereafter - we'll find each other - all of us will find each other. And you'll all get to hear him when you pass and see him, because I know he's there. I mean, I can't tell you all the weird stories that have happened to me about his presence and all that stuff. And I don't usually believe that stuff, but I got to be a believer in - when you go before your time, your presence hangs over everything for awhile. And he'll be reincarnated before me, because it takes about 200 years to come back they say, so he'll be older than me, and he'll be watching out for me. And I know he's there so - see you later Jim. Thanks for all these questions.


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Scott Lamaestra: This concludes our interview with Tommy West. We would like to thank Tommy for being so gracious in granting our request for interview. We would also like to thank Arch Angel communications for providing RealAudio which enabled you to hear Tommy answer your questions as we did. And lastly, thanks to all of you who submitted your questions.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Home Q&A with Tommy West (RealAudio Version)
PART I PART II text PART III text PART IV text




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This interview may not be used in ANYWAY without the written permission of the
Webmasters at Jim Croce: The Tribute Page!
Copyright 1998 All Rights Reserved

Q&A with Tommy West
(Text Version)
A "Special Thanks" to Margaret Gletherow (nee Cafarelli)
for transcribing the interview to text!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART I
Hi and welcome to Q&A with Tommy West. This interview is being brought to you by Tom Orecchio and Scott Lamaestra, webmasters at "Jim Croce: The Tribute Page". RealAudio services are provided by Arch Angel Communications. The following interview was conducted on January 28th, 1998 at Tommy West's studio "Somewhere In New Jersey". The questions asked were submitted by visitors to our page in the beginning of January. And now, Tommy West:

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Tom Orecchio: Hi Tommy, thanks for having us here today and agreeing to do this interview.
On that night in September back in 1973, where were you and how did you hear about Jim's death?
Tommy West: On the evening of Sept. 19th, 1973 I was in New York City where I lived and I was doing a recording session at Electric Lady down in Greenwich Village. I was doing a back up session for a friend of mine named John Hill and it was a very nice night out in New York, so I walked from Greenwich Village all the way up to 51st and 2nd in Mid town Manhattan on the East Side where I lived, and I went to bed - I think I watched a ballgame, if there was a ballgame to watch. And I went to sleep and about 5 o'clock in the morning the phone rang which is always odd, and so my first conscious thought was "who died?" I ran to get the phone before the 5th ring because at the 5th ring my answering service would have picked up and I got the phone. And on the phone was Elliott Abbott who was one of Jim's managers, actually most responsible for his day to day activity on the road and just a terrific guy. And Elliott said "This is Elliot, are you awake?" and I said "Well I am now" and he said "Well, Jim and Maury were killed in a plane crash." And I said "You're not joking are you?" and he said "no". And that was about it. I hung up the phone, I went back to bed. And I didn't believe it because Jim had always kidded around about that stuff. And put the radio on, and that's when I found out that he had indeed died, and I just was frozen. And then about 10 minutes later I got up and decided to go to my office because I knew I'd be doing press conferences for the next few days. And that's where I was and what I was doing. I don't know who the back-up session was for, I forgot that. But that's how I learned about Jim's death.


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Scott Lamaestra: So Tommy, what have you been up to these days? Are there any new projects you're currently working on?

Tommy West: Well, what I've been doing since 1989 is I'm sort of in the middle of what I call the third creative arc of my career. The first one was from roughly '66 when I got into the business professionally through 1976 which encapsulates all the Jim stuff. From about 77 thru 1989 I did almost everything in Nashville. That was my country phase, that 2nd creative arc, that's an arc with a lot of southern humidity. And then we came back to New Jersey, my family and I, we had always had a place here in New Jersey, Pottersville, which is about 50 miles west of Manhattan. And we came back home and I started what I think is the last creative arc in my career, and that entails having my own recording studio which is called "Somewhere In New Jersey". And I kind of dropped out of the "big time" business, even though my last major recording was by Anne Murray in 1993 an album called "Croonin'" which won a Juno which is like our Grammy award for best engineered recording. I may do another one with her next year. I have my own label called "Brave New Records" and I have another label called "High Harmony". On the "High Harmony" label there are about 8 or 9 harmonica records that I've done with Robert Bonfiglio who is the best harmonica player in the world - he's classically trained. And right now I'm in the middle of doing 2 great singer/songwriters. One is a female duo called "Blonde on Blonde" from Nashville, they're not country. And the other act is called Bob Hillman who is one of the better new rising folk singers in the New York area. But I'm always busy just doing stuff. I've learned how to engineer because I'm out here in the woods and Elliot Shiner is not going to come out here and Clear Mountain doesn't know where this is and I'm no threat to them either. That's sort of my office and it's in my home. We have a 5000 square foot barn which houses the studio which is a few feet from my house which is an old house and my family lives here and I have 2 stepsons, one of whom has his own sound company in Atlanta, and the other is married and living in Cleveland. And my daughter is a freshman at Columbia University and I've also done a CD with her and 2 other girls called "Earth Angel - Hold Tight" which is a vocal group record. So that's sort of what I'm doing.


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Tom Orecchio: For some time now people have been wondering just who actually owned the rights to Jim's songs. Is there any chance of the old material being re-released.

Tommy West: The Jim Croce 3 albums that were done - the "You Don't Mess Around With Jim", "Life and Times" and "I Got A Name" - those 3 albums were the only 3 that Jim did as a soloist. He did some demos that are out on a Readers Digest compilation that we had recorded with just Jim and his wife Ingrid and bass player John Stockfish back in 70 and 71 before we did what I call the "real albums". We owned, when I say "we" my partner Terry Cashman and Phil Kurnit who is an attorney and another partner owned the Croce masters from the time they were recorded in 71, 72 and 73. We owned them up until 1985 or 1986 when we sold them. We sold the master recordings to a company called "Lefrak" - they own the masters - they also own the 50% of Jim's publishing that we owned - the other half is owned by MCA, which bought out the ABC interests. So I have no ownership and I have no say in how that music is used. Usually the way it comes out is in compilation form, like on "greatest hits" packages. The 3 albums individually have not been released yet and I hope they come out at some point. That also is not up to me. Cashman and I still get paid royalties - production royalties on Jim's music, and we do very well with that which indicates to me - I guess after 24 almost 25 years I think now the stuff is pretty good - it's sort of held up. But I don't think there's anything left to put out as far as I know. I have some archival stuff which is not of great quality. And there is one other tape that we have in our vault in New York City, but that's not available either.


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Scott Lamaestra: For the album "I Got A Name", was the artwork determined before or after Jim passed away?

Tommy West: I think the cover was probably in the works before Jim died. Certainly the pictures were taken before Jim died. What happened after that is hard to remember. I think we decided to hand tint the album, that's why that album looks differently. And the album on the insert which I think is Jim lying on the bed and Maury above him on the wall, that was obviously a tribute to Maury. And I would imagine that everything that happened after Jim died from the mixing of the album, because the album wasn't mixed until after Jim died, to the label design or the album design and the liner notes and all that - I'm sure at least on an unconscious level we had that in mind and we probably wanted to treat the album with as much dignity as you can in a pretty undignified business.


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Tom Orecchio: In Maury's songs "Salon and Saloon" and "I Remember Mary" who actually was "Mary"?

Tommy West: In those songs, no I don't. I would take a guess it was probably somebody Maury had big eyes for - he was a romantic little cat, Maury - a lot of women loved Maury. He could seduce a flea, just by being quiet. Maury Muehleisen was a genius. People used to say "wasn't Jim great?" I 'd say "Yeah, Jim was great, but Maury was a genius". We did an album with Maury called "Gingerbreadd" that Capitol released and is probably long out of print, but it's a wonderful album. He kind of sounded like an un-whiney Neil Young and he wrote songs that Joni Mitchell would have loved.


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Scott Lamaestra: Speaking of Salon & Saloon, Tommy, was Maury ever considered to play piano on that song?

Tommy West: No. Maury did play piano - but I had worked the song out with Jim - and that was an important day because Jim and I, from day one - when I say day one I mean 1961 - had always played together. By the time we got to do the 3 albums, playing was like second nature to us - we were like the Everly Brothers. We sounded great together, we played great together. Sometimes for fun in the studio I would play the piano and sort of yell out "Over The Rainbow" and we'd start doing "Over The Rainbow". So we hatched the idea, at least in my mind, that we had already done 3 albums of guitar oriented acoustic music. And this would have kind of been - not like Springsteen and "Nebraska" - but it would have been a real departure because what I wanted to do was take - it would have been like Willie Nelson's "Stardust" album where we would take standards like "Over the Rainbow" "Blue Moon" - whatever he wanted to do and the idea would be to cut the record with just him and piano - Jim singing and a piano player. 3 or 4 cuts I would do - then I figured maybe we could get Randy Newman to do some because he was a big fan and they were friends - and Richard Carpenter, and maybe Leon Russell or Dr. John - who knows - Just great keyboard guys playing behind Jim - but - it never happened.


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Tom Orecchio: Tommy, being so close to Jim and Maury, would you say their personalities were more similar or different? And it what way?

Tommy West: The only similarity between the two of them would be the love of music. Jim was Mediterranean, Italian, temperamental, very ethnic, very on the surface with his feelings, but at the same time somewhat afraid of conflict. He was older than Maury. Maury I think was 24 when he died. Maury was right in the throws of "hippie-dom" and was kind of "oh wow" and he could have been a "Haight-Ashbury" poster child at his peak. Maury was gentle with a capital "G" - he was intelligent. They were both very passive kind of people in the sense of they didn't initiate a lot of argument. Jim had a tendency to flare up when he was pushed into a corner. And really avoided conflict at all costs, which later proved to be somewhat of his un-doing and sort of related to the plane accident, but that's another question. But the similarities were mainly that they both loved music - Maury was classically trained, Jim was self-taught. Jim was more pragmatic than Maury was - but if there were no Maury there never would have been a Croce record of that type because he was like - while he didn't co-write the songs per se, as Jim wrote the songs or finished up, Maury was right there doodling with that style and musicians later would come to me in Nashville - they knew the records were good but they'd say "hey who was that guy who played the guitar?" - I mean they could really hear that. He never got a chance to fulfill his dream.


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This is the end of PART I of the interview

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Home Q&A with Tommy West (RealAudio Version)


PART II text PART III text PART IV text


Tommy's Closing Statement text
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This interview may not be used in ANYWAY without the written permission of the
Webmasters at Jim Croce: The Tribute Page!
Copyright 1998 All Rights Reserved

Q&A with Tommy West
(Text Version)
A "Special Thanks" to Margaret Gletherow (nee Cafarelli)
for transcribing the interview to text!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART II
Scott Lamaestra: It always looked as if Jim were having so much fun performing. Did you ever see him nervous before a show?

Tommy West: If he was nervous he didn't show it very much. There were times when the stakes were high - like "The Midnight Special" where he was really exhausted. He was a little nervous and cranky before that one. The most upset I ever saw him before a show was actually because a joke was played on him. In the summer of '73 Jim and I and Maury went to California to perform on the "Helen Reddy Summer Replacement Show" on CBS. And at the rehearsal - and I was all excited because Anne Murray was going to be there. It was Anne Murray, Helen Reddy, the Pointer Sisters, Joan Rivers and Jim - it was a pretty good show. And they gave us all a copy of the script. And I would read the script and Jim put his copy down - he wasn't reading the script. Jim was kidding me because I had a crush on Anne Murray - I was thrilled to meet her. So to get back at him for kidding me I clued everybody in - I said "I'm gonna tell Jim he has to dance". Well, Jim was not a dancer. And Jim said the only dance he knew how to do was an Italian called the Vacaga. I said "what is the Vacaga" Jim? He said "you stand still and move your bowels". It's typical Croce humor. But I said to Jim, I walked over to him I said "look, I just noticed in the script that there's a situation here where you have to do a couple of steps after you play. He said "what do you mean"? I said "it's just a dance - don't worry about it - it's just like a couple of steps - no big thing" - and I just planted that in his head and I watched him. Well, when Jim got nervous he would put his elbow on his knee and his chin in his hand and he would twirl his hair and he would blow out…. And I walked over to him again and said "I just read a little bit more of the script - It's really going to be funny - it's going to be great - I mean - this is something you're gonna really like doing". And then we would go over and I'd open the page to everybody else in the corner, I'd point at the thing, we'd look at Jim we sort of laughed. And he was absolutely fit to be tied. And we kept him in the suspense the whole first day of rehearsal. And I said "well, I guess they didn't get to it today, well tomorrow you do the dance step - first thing you're gonna do the dance step". Well obviously the dance step never came off and he called me all kinds of names - but that's the kind of relationship we had.


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Tom Orecchio: There have been so many musicians tragically killed like Jim - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Harry Chapin to name just a few. Had Jim ever confided in you about any premonitions or fears he had about his own mortality?

Tommy West: As far as tragic endings and plane crashes and all that - I don't know. He was in a hurry to get from one place to the other. We used to kid about planes - and I didn't kid about it too much because I didn't like to fly in anything, but I often would beat myself up in the years after he died that he wanted me to come on that last little tour - and I said "I can't do it because I have to re-do some piano and I have to have some back-up singers in - we have to do "Top Hat Bar and Grill" and some strings are coming in and I have to mix it - so I can't go". He was upset. He was at a transition in his life and this album was the third album and he was having trouble writing and he was having trouble in his personal life like we all were - and it was a time of great stress. And he wanted to get out of that town, and therefore he booked a plane when he didn't need to and everybody knows what happened after that. But in the ensuing 24 or 25 years since he died I kind of know why he did what he did - and it has to do with a lot of childhood baggage and a lot of stuff that would take a lot of gigabites to go through.


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Scott Lamaestra: Out of all the songs Jim wrote, what was his favorite, and which were his first and last written?

Tommy West: Favorite songs of his… whatever he had written that day. I mean, he came in and said "I just wrote this Buddy Holly kind of thing - 'One Less Set Of Footsteps'". Far from his best tune - but not that day, I mean he really loved it. I would think that…if I were a betting man….(Tommy looks up)… "what do you think Jim? - which song did you like? help me" … I'm gonna get ahold of that medium that was on "Larry King" and see if I can get him to get me in touch here. Jim just said to me "Operator" and maybe "The Hard Way Every Time" I think had a special autobiographical spot in his heart. There were certainly others - "Time In A Bottle" is gorgeous, but "Operator" is the one - like if I had to play one song that I did with him - that we all played and sang on, that'd be the one. The last song he wrote I'd have no idea - I think the last song he finished for the 3rd album was "Lover's Cross" because he was struggling with that. And then there was a song he was working on that he never finished that I have a fragment of someplace. And something Maury was working on with Kenny Loggins - "In The Early Dawn" I think it was called. But I don't know what the first song he wrote - for the real stuff - I have no idea.


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Tom Orecchio: Tommy, after all this time, have you ever thought about writing a book about Jim and Maury?

Tommy West: Yeh - but when I look at television and I see how they treat things in our culture - which is basically, they would want to know how many people did he sleep with - how many drugs did he take - I would never answer it. That wasn't my business, even though I knew what he did from day to day. Jim's cousin, Steve Angelucci, who is like the official chronicler of Jim's stuff is writing a book and I'm helping with that. It's very tough for me to say because there's an economic component with all this stuff. And it's kind of like, if I wrote a book, would the book become a movie - then there's always, somebody would say "Well he's doing that for money, why don't they leave him alone?" Then when I see everybody else try it and they mess it up I want to rip their heads out and go do it myself - so I don't know, maybe some day. And it would start out when this kid carrying a guitar with a big nose walks into the Villanova University Glee Club classroom where there's a piano and he says "Hey my name's Jim, I want to join the Glee Club" and I introduce myself and I say "Well you sing this and I sing this" and I say "What kind of a guitar do you have?" and he says "I have a Stellar 12-String" and I say "So do I – they really stink, right?" and he say's "yep" and then he asks me out to his house for dinner and 10 years later we were making records and then he died. Yeh , I probably could write a pretty funny book and a pretty touching book, but every time I delve into that I kind of get lost in "am I treating this right, am I treating that right?" - so I think I'm gonna leave it to Stevie to do it. And I'll help out and if there's good reaction to that I may go to Elliot - his ex- manager who is partners with Penny Marshall in a film company and say "okay, maybe now, let's try it".


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Scott Lamaestra: Is there a story behind Jim's rose tattoo?

Tommy West: (laughs) I have no idea. Maybe what's behind it is a lot of beer - I don't know - or a little bit of wine. That's something I would've never done, but that was symptomatic of the time. I don't know how many tattoos he really had - that was a surprise to me - it was nice. He hung out with a couple of people who liked to tattoo themselves - One guy was named Bill Reed who was one of these self-taught incredible 5-string banjo players. I think Bill had the most creative tattoo I ever saw - it was on his thigh and it was a squirrel looking up, holding his little hands under Mr. Reed's testicles - can you say that in cyberspace?


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Tom Orecchio: Tommy, being so close to Jim's family, do you have any idea what his Mom and his brother Richard are up to?

Tommy West: Yeh, Jim's Mom, Flora, several years after Jim died - moved back to Rochester New York. Jim's Dad died in 1972, just before the album came out. Jim's brother Richie moved to Florida - he was a postman for awhile, then he got into different businesses, I think married had a family, is now divorced and I think Stevie said he's living in one of the Carolinas or someplace in the south. But I've had no contact with them. Had a little contact with them right after Jim died obviously, at the funeral and all that. But I've always felt great guilt - I regarded Mrs. Croce as almost like my second Mom - and I couldn't look at her, I mean it's almost like I feel like I was the catalyst for gettting him into show business, therefore he might have been alive but - it's tough.



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This is the end of PART II of the interview

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Home Q&A with Tommy West (RealAudio Version)


PART I text PART III text PART IV text


Tommy's Closing Statement text
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This interview may not be used in ANYWAY without the written permission of the
Webmasters at Jim Croce: The Tribute Page!
Copyright 1998 All Rights Reserved
 Thatguy67
Joined: 9/20/2006
Msg: 8
view profile
History
Jim Croce
Posted: 8/6/2008 10:12:43 PM
Maury's "Gingerbreadd" album was released in 2006 on CD (on the anniversary of his death). Extra songs of unreleased studio/home recordings were released on a separate disc called "Maury Muehleisen - Before The Ever Since."


 MrT.
Joined: 7/3/2008
Msg: 9
Jim Croce
Posted: 8/6/2008 10:23:33 PM
Yo dude, you rock for diggin' up all of these old threads.
I grew up listening to Heavy Metal, but my sister listened to Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, Carole King, Carly Simon, etc., etc., etc. I actually got into all that stuff and loved them big time. "Tapestry" could be the best female rock album ever.
Btw, my brother got me into Phil Ochs, a kind of Elvis/Johnny Cash type folk/rock. I didn't hear any of his stuff for like 30-35 years, but found it on napster. Dude!!! It was like opening a time capsule and getting blown away,...LITERALLY!!!
 Duce630
Joined: 5/30/2007
Msg: 10
Jim Croce
Posted: 8/7/2008 7:00:10 AM
Only songs of his I know are Bad Bad Leroy Brown & You Don't Mess Around With Jim.

Still great, even if some of you bigger fans of his will tell me there's much better songs of his.
 Thatguy67
Joined: 9/20/2006
Msg: 11
view profile
History
Jim Croce
Posted: 8/10/2008 12:32:25 PM
"Time In A Bottle" was another #1 single on billboard charts he had after he died. Nice tune...

 MrT.
Joined: 7/3/2008
Msg: 12
Jim Croce
Posted: 8/10/2008 12:45:46 PM
And, don't forget, "Operator"!
 natural energy
Joined: 9/23/2006
Msg: 13
view profile
History
Jim Croce
Posted: 8/10/2008 3:45:26 PM
Jim Croce was a great musician!
His guitar playing and balads are great!
I still have his vinyls.
I loved his music before his tragic death in a plane crash.
Another musician who died too young!
"Operator" is my favourite song, but his others are great too!
 briargate
Joined: 8/18/2008
Msg: 14
Jim Croce
Posted: 1/12/2009 7:13:29 AM
I actually heard "Time in a Bottle" on the radio the other day if you can believe. Made me think about old Jim. "Leroy Brown" was my favorite of course.
 SixStringCJ
Joined: 4/16/2009
Msg: 15
Jim Croce
Posted: 4/30/2009 2:21:26 PM
Jim Croce is one of my favourites. Not a song of his I don't like. And Maury was a great compliment to Jim's songs. I have a couple of live bootlegs and the stories between the songs are almost as good as the songs themselves. Great artist.
 AlwaysOpen44
Joined: 2/3/2009
Msg: 16
Jim Croce
Posted: 5/25/2009 6:53:50 PM
I'm from the town that he died in. (Natchitches, LA)

He had to cancel a show there the year before, but prommised to make it up at the end of his next tour. So, after calling his wife and telling her that he had one more show to play, an old make-up date, that he'd be calling it quits for good. He was planning on only writing and producing, no more touring.

But the local cops couldn't resist a chance at a big bust, (as they tried with all big acts that would come to this shithole of a town), and chased him to his plane after the show. (They said they were tipped off)

It's not commonly known that those cops were the reason he had to rush the exit out of town, causing the wreck basically.

It really kills me that this town would be the one that brought him down. My uncle was about 8 when it happened, and the next morning, my grandparents brought him down to see the wreckage. It was pretty much an open scene to the public. He still has the flight plans with blood on them.

I've loved Croce's music since I first heard it.
 Hawaiianluau
Joined: 11/13/2008
Msg: 17
Jim Croce
Posted: 5/26/2009 12:46:36 AM
His wife has owned a restaurant/music club in his honor in San Diego for years called Croce's.

 KoaBassMan
Joined: 3/6/2009
Msg: 18
Jim Croce
Posted: 5/29/2009 11:19:43 AM
I always liked Jim .wonderful , down to earth , accessible music.

Time in a Bottle always reminds me of my first love.
Bad Leroy Brown always makes me smile , I had a good friend name his pit bull that.

It's a shame we lost him so soon
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