Friday, February 26, 2010

Book Review: “The Essential Jim Carrey,” by MA Cassata

Text © Robert Barry Francos
Images from the Internet

The Essential Jim Carrey: An Unofficial Fan Guide
By M.A. Cassata
BearManor Media (Albany, GA), 2009
131 pages, $19.95 Why am I reviewing a book about comedian / actor Jim Carrey? Well, I am proud to call the author my friend, and we support each other. She was a long-time contributor to the print version of FFanzeen, which you may have seen reprinted in this very blog.

M.A. Cassata is not new to the celebrity game, with a number of books under her belt, including ones about the Monkees, Michael J. Fox, Cher, Elton John, plus many other modern cultural phenoms, such as Britney Spears and ‘NSync. But I’m here to actually talk about the book, not the author (though if you’re interested in more of her work, check out

The book points out that Jim Carrey’s idol was Jimmy Stewart. While Stewart is not usually remembered as a comic actor (though he had his shining moments), Stewart’s everyman can be seen in Carrey characterizations, especially when Carrey’s in his non-rubber mode.

This factoid about Carrey admiring Stewart is sort of the heart of what makes this book tick. Rather than the usually bio book of the life of whomever where the author tells us what the subject was thinking years ago, Cassata breaks the information down to the bare, well, essentials.

The Essential Jim Carrey is almost like a “book of lists” about the Canadian comedian, which is well researched in fine detail, and collected into appropriate sections, such as filmography and other works (e.g., television roles and talk show appearances), trivia facts and quizzes, quotes by both the actor and his characters, and many other spots of information. This info is conveniently broken down into sections for films, topics, etc. For me, an especially interesting part is the section where his fans, such as the “Carreyholics Society,” get to spout off what they like about the man, their favorite films, and sometimes the ones that don’t work for them.

There is info and pictures of Carrey in various roles, right up to his 2009 portrayal of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (hey, this book is hot off the press, printing listed as Feb 2010). Heck, there is even a list (and description) of his films currently in development.

As much as this book is about Jim Carrey, it is also about – and for – his legion of fans. Yet, as gushy as this book sometimes becomes (in this case the direction one wants to go), it does not shy away from the knowledge that not all his films have been popular (such as The Majestic and, to some extent, The Cable Guy), and even his fans get to spout off what they think are his worst, as well as his best. There are also quotes about Carrey’s performances by various film critics, listed under banners of the films they reviewed. His co-actors also get a section to state what it was like to work with him.

Everything is very neatly packaged for the reader to find out what they want, including an extensive bibliography, and what memorabilia is most popular (and how much it sold for in auctions). It’s all very fun, breezy, and user – I mean reader friendly.

This is the kind of book I like to read before I go to bed, or, yes I’m going to say it, in the bathroom (I had the 50th Anniversary Edition of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in my “library” by the throne for years…and now it looks like Carrey may be playing Ripley in a future flick…cosmic!). This book is chock full of short, fun facts, as well as Carrey’s history, both before fame and since.

To set the record straight, I thought he was brilliant on In Living Color, and my fave films of his are The Mask (I was a fan of the Dark Horse comic it was based on) and the bravo performance in Man on the Moon; I’m actually drawn towards his more serious work. Lastly, and this is important: one of the fans thanked and quoted is listed as Robert F. of Brooklyn. This is not me. Okay? Got that? Good. Now go out and get the book if you’re a fan: It’s essential.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The New Wave of Horror: Punk Music and Horror Films

Text by Matt Ruderman, introduction by Robert Barry Francos
© 1981, FFanzeen; introductory comments © RBF, 2010
Images from the Internet

The following article on the use of horror in the emergent music scene was originally published in
FFanzeen magazine, issue #7, in 1981. It was written by Matt Ruderman.

I really don’t know what happened to Matt Ruderman. We worked for a while at a Fortune 500 company where I was a proofreader and typeset my fanzine on the side. Matt was really into horror films, as was / am I, so we got along well. When I left there shortly after the issue this article appeared came out, I lost touch, as these work-friendships seem to often end. Love to hear from ya if you’re out there, Matt.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything Matt is saying below, such as rock’n’roll not being a collective experience; this has become especially so since the days of hardcore, which was starting around the time this article was written. As for a fascinating study of gender and what is now commonly known as slasher films, I recommend Carol J. Clover’s
Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (1992) – RBF

When I think of the ‘50’s youth culture, rock’n’roll’s original generation, the first image that comes to my mind is that of teenagers at the local high school dance being attacted by Michael Landon in werewolf makeup and jeans. This is one of my basic impressions of the generation into which I was born. Likewise, there are similar impressions (“nostalgia” would be an inappropriate word) of the relatively placid ‘50s era within our ‘80s generation of rock’n’rollers (i.e., punks, or New Wavers), of which I am a peripheral part, who are in the throes of a scary movie mania, the likes which has not been seen since the Eisenhower years.

Some New Wave clubs in Manhattan have been screening horror films, many of the campy type, and the cinemas are packing crowds of kids who can be lured by a clever ad campaign to see absolutely any promising schlock horror film. Most of these are bitterly disappointing, and yet nobody learns from experience, including myself. There is an undeniable compulsion to witness the terrorization of innocents, mutilation, monsters and psychopaths, and to experience the ultimate cheap thrill of fear. This compulsion demands at least a cursory comparison of the inherent qualities of basic rock’n’roll and horror films, and what makes them so sympathetic.

Rock’n’roll as a culture, specifically in the microcosm of New Wave, appears to be bound to horror as a sibling, rather than as a mate. Yet, they are too closely related to be considered symbiotic. The major distinction is that rock’n’roll draws its strength from communion. It is a medium of mass generation and interaction, not just between artist and listener, but among the listeners, as well.

Horror is inherently personal and depends upon claustrophobia and anxiety. Even in the horror of the multitudes, such as The Blob and Jaws, which portrays crowds in peril, the threat is ultimately to the individual – is IT going to get ME? In the rock’n’roll society, the individual plays the tightrope game of ego expression (something not desirable in horror, as it has the urge to hide), and losing one’s self in an aura of crowd enthusiasm.

The entire nature of rock’n’roll changes when you take away from the crowds. Listen to rock’n’roll in solitude provides thoughtfulness. When listening with a friend, perhaps while turning the friend on to the song or group, it causes a controlled enthusiasm. But rarely does one experience the gale of emotions that erupts in a crowd.

The presence of the audience at horror films serves a number of complex functions. We sense the nervousness of people around us. We subconsciously detect feverous coughing and people shift in their chairs. Their screams during shock climaxes are akin to the laughtrack of television sit-coms, which serves to intensify our reaction to the stimulus. But at the same time, the presence of the crowd is vastly reassuring.

Horror is rarely thoughtful and when it is, it either loses its power or becomes science fiction. The whole point of it is to hand over your logic and invite irrational fear into your subconscious. Here we arrive at the first important point of similarity between rock’n’roll and horror: they tend to appeal to our base, crude, and often cruel, anti-intellectual instincts; the urge to close our minds from sophistication, and expose ourselves to manipulation. And who among us doesn’t cater, in some degree, to the side of our personalities that most desperately wants to vegetate and masturbate until the sun comes up? The trick is to know how much gratification is healthy, and how much is degenerative and self-defeating.

I am able to view a phenomenal amount of horror films, depending on how inventive they are, before succumbing to utter boredom (this applies to my tolerance for basic three-chord rock’n’roll, as well). After a while, though, I can’t help but wonder why women are brutalized in such a manner and to such a degree. When it becomes fully clear that the terrorization of women is a manifestation of a pervasive misogynic attitude in myself and society, in toto, it somewhat affects my ability to fully appreciate the Mise-en-scène, or craftsmanship, of the filmmaker.

The formula remains unchanged from film to film: men are punished for not being the hero. This means that they are invariably faceless. If they are characters with a bit of dimension, then they are expendable villains, creeps, alcoholics, or sidekicks (whose main function is to create pathos in the viewer when he is butchered). At the same time, we can appreciate their destruction and be glad that we aren’t in his place.

Women are punished for being female, and rarely have any real personality or concerns, which makes it easier for men to appreciate their terror and possible subsequent death. The heroines are a bit more distinguished because they are tailored so that men want them to survive after a respectable amount of brutalization. It would be a shame to have the monster eat them because men would experience an emotionally painful, romantic sense of loss, and would miss out on a great fuck, as well.

The sparseness of intellectual themes in horror is reflected in rock’n’roll, in one way, by the “Baby we’re breaking up” / “Let’s get married” lyrics that have redundantly infested pop since Rock Year One. It is the equivalent of an earlier generation’s “Moon in June” / “Let’s make whoopee.” In effect, it is a sexual tradition for maintaining a childish idealization of relationships. Rock romanticism is, at the opposite end of the spectrum, as much a simplistic fabrication as horror misanthropy, perhaps not quite so vulgar.

One may wonder what it is that pop lovers derive from horror, as opposed to adventure flicks. Every generation has its mindless correlates, but there are some peculiar qualities that attract rock’n’rollers to horror, in particular. One quality is that there is no binding form of prescribed behavior in a situation, such as the macho behavior of men in westerns. Another quality is immediacy and humor of horror. The cheap shock of a throwaway horror film like Maniac might be more amusing and entertaining than a Hitchcock suspense film, or a psychological thriller like Polanski’s The Tenant, which has a sociological and introspective pretext, respectively. Therefore, the most popular rock’n’roll horror films are those what have the greatest potential for being camp classics.

In identifying rock-horror as predominantly camp, I refer to what was written earlier, that rock and horror interact as siblings. They cannot co-exist and remain untainted. Once horror has lost its immediacy, it no longer has the ability to scare, but only to make us laugh; all the more degrading for the film, because it was obviously intended only to scare us.

When The Exorcist was first released, I found it to be genuinely effective, and I am a hard-case with regards to being scared. This was before all the gimmicks and surprises in the film were revealed by word-of-mouth and the media, so that many who went to see the film knew what they were going to see in advance. When I saw the film a second time, I couldn’t keep from laughing, seeing through Friedkin’s manipulations, and refusing to put into practice the necessary suspension of disbelief. So when laughter is eternal, horror is fleeting and can only survive as camp.

[The club] Hurrah’s, which doesn’t normally show horror films, unlike Club 57 and Privates, had on their video bands a tape of a fifth-rate Japanese Godzilla-type film, New Wave music replaced the soundtrack, which could only be an improvement, and the crowd apparently enjoyed the film.

Horror, in the form of camp, becomes communal in its humor; it becomes participatory. In any given film that fails to captivate and scare the audience, we notice that people start cat-calling. Campy horror doesn’t necessarily demand shouting at the screen to be a community event. It only has to allow the freedom to talk to a friend next to you, to laugh at the wrong moments, to turn off the sound of your television or car speaker at drive-ins, or to walk to the candy stand for popcorn and wind up trying to make time with the candy girl, missing the rest of the movie. There is no need to detail the well-known phenomenon of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where crowd participation (to the point where audiences recite dialog with the screen actors and add their own, dress in costume, light candles and toss around rice) is the main attraction, or the American-International B-flicks where participation takes place from the back seat of a car.

Rock’n’roll horror-as-camp retains its horror in the form of the outré, the weird Rocky Horror groups like the Cramps, the Corpse Grinders, etc., assorted sex deviates, rock’n’roll Nazis, and various left-fielders contribute to the creepy ambience that rock’n’roll often generates these days.

Rock-horror loses it’s campy, lightweight quality in the proportion that it corresponds to real life. Sid Vicious’ rendition of “My Way” in a clip from Mondo Video, which he finishes by randomly pumping bullets into his audience, is a hilariously demented example of campy horror. It isn’t so funny when we consider the bizarre circumstances of his life and sub sequent drug death. Yet, this aspect of pop is as fascinating to rock’n'rollers as the “Hollywood Babylon” syndrome that has traditionally appealed to middle-America.

There is currently a relatively ambitions horror film making the rounds called Fear No Evil, which advertises a soundtrack that includes music by the Sex Pistols, the Boomtown Rats, Richard Hell, and Talking Heads, among others. Never having seen a horror flick that uses pop successfully as an integral part of the soundtrack (as far as memory serves), I was most anxious to see how effective a pop score would be. It was hardly a surprise to discover that rock’n’roll had little to do with the mood of the film. The music was used in the high school scenes, apparently to draw a rock’n’roll audience. Any music that hinted of a contemporary sound would have served just as well. The true background music during the scary scenes was, of course, traditionally orchestrated. The fact is that pop dissipates terror.

Some things never change, and this goes double for use of music in horror films. The orchestrated arrangements provide mainly incidental music, and it is only in the rare case of Bernard Herrmann’s score for Psycho, and possibly It’s Alive! and Goldsmith’s The Omen, where the music has a fife apart from the film and still does not work against the mood. There are very few horror soundtrack records available, and the ones that are released are often tremendously boring, swamped with variations of one recurring theme.

It seems that horror films and rock’n’roll both recycle their gimmicks more often than anything else these days. But when a catch or variation is used effectively, people will always come back for more. Unlike science fiction and free jazz, they work on the principal that you have to invoke the familiar, the expected, in order to shock and delight people; in horror, by revealing the bizarre thing which lies behind the masks of sanity and normalcy, and in pop by devising a new twist to an old formula.

Pop comes closest to being incorporated in the horror background in the form of the transcendental electronic music that is now the standard, thanks to John Carpenter and Mike Oldfield / Billy Friedkin. A simple piece of music is repeated over and over, with variations added at intervals. This has the effect of evoking the claustrophobic mood that is complimentary by the action on the screen. In the Philip Glass tradition, the synthesized music puts your nervous system on a constant wave or plateau by using this droning theme. The wave is shaken by the subtle addition of new instruments, voices, and rhythms. Halloween, The Exorcist, Phantasm, and The Omen (which uses chants to this effect), have all showcased this method of film composing. The transcendental effect is also common in rock’n’roll, although as used in horror films, it is neither frivolous nor electrifying, and main characteristic of rock’n’roll.

Repetition and simplicity is the key to both scary film music and rock’n’roll. Interest is maintained through the gimmicks and cleverness of variations on a theme. The recent horror films that can be classified as ambitious are those that have made the most of what has been done a million times before. The writers generally come up with a gimmick that is sensational and distinguished and knit the rest of the narrative with hackneyed stories and predictable characters and events. Maniac has a subway bathroom centerpiece, some gory special effect, and little else; Blood Beach has fancy soft-focus photography and laid-back narrative, but the gimmick of a creature sucking people into the sand is a blatant rip-off of Invaders From Mars and The Outer Limits’ sand-shark; Scanners is the most inventive, but owes a great debt to Stephen King; Fear No Evil has a great passion play stigmata sequence, but resorts to laughably worn-out “living dead” scenes and Carrie plotting.

In the final analysis, the obvious appeal of terror to the rock’n’roller must ultimately be the anarchy prevalent in the claustrophobic world of terror. Just as importantly the hero often survives the ordeal and assumes some sort of control – the stake through the vampire’s heart, the superiority of White (Christian) Magic over Black, etc. The traditionally anarchic supernatural elements suggest an affinity with the rock’n’roller’s alienated background and lifestyle.

Within their apolitical society they have power – they are special. Carrie isn’t part of the hierarchy, just a destructive loner who is doomed. But the Scanners are a full-fledged society of tormented outcasts and ostracized loners who eventually realize the potential to manipulate and destroy the world. What could appeal more to a rock'n’roller?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chinese New Year's Celebration, 2010, TCU Place

Text and photos (c) Robert Barry Francos

The year of the Tiger may have started a couple of days before, but it was Sunday night, February 21, 2010, that the day was recognized in celebration and collective participation at the TCU Place.

The groups performing were the Sichuan Professional Art Institute (who arrived by plane from China just hours before), the Chinese Students & Scholars Association at the University of Saskatchewan, and the Chinese Dance School of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon Branch).

The colors of the outfits were bright as flowers, but thanks to sitting way to the side in row R, a lot of color - and focus - was lost in the translation. Being digital had its effect, as well. Sitting so far back, I was not sure the camera would even be worthwhile in that lighting, so I did not try until the second half of the show, which is represented below.

At the end of the performances, Saskatoon's mayor, Don "Ramses II" Atchison, gave out a plaque to the show's organizers, and trinkets to each performer, having a great photo op before heading out to the Olympics to unveil Saskatoon's newest mean mascot, Sunny.

To see larger images, just double-click on the picture. For more of this celebration (and many others), you can find them here at my photo-storing site:

May the year of the Tiger be one that fills your tank and is grrrrrreat!

These photos are dedicated to Ping, who generously gave us the tickets.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TOMMY JAMES – He’s Not Alone Now

Text by Joe Viglione, intro by Robert Barry Francos
Interview © 1984; RBF intro © 2010 by FFanzeen
Images from the Internet

The following interview with Tommy James was originally published in FFanzeen magazine, issue #12, in 1984. It was implemented and written by Joe Viglione.

As I was led into an office to interview novelty country musician and advertising maven Chinga Chavin in the early ‘80s, Tommy James was walking out. Being introduced by Chinga, I shook Tommy’s hand, and mine was lost in his huge mitt. That was what I took away from the three seconds I met him, physically. Musically, he was part of my life for years, through all the songs that Joe mentions in his piece. Even to this day, Joe Viglione remains a huge Tommy James supporter, which I respect. In that honor, I reprint this Q & A interview. – RBF, 2010

Tommy James, one of the master craftsmen of pop, returned to the Boston area after an absence of more than seven years. The man made an indelible impression on many a memory with such hits as “Hanky Panky,” “Three Times in Love,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mirage,” “Crimson & Clover,” “Mony Mony”; and there are so many more.

To any serious rock’n’roll fan, this is great news. To a Tommy James devotee, it is intense news! I first saw Mr. James at The Red Barn in Westboro (MA), on October 3, 1975. It was a magical night full of energy and hit recordings. A night we got to relive in 1977, when Tommy returned to the area to play The Weymana, in Weymouth.

In honor to Tommy’s return, I decided to track him down. It took a few days of negotiating, but before long, I found myself on the phone setting up an interview with one of my rock’n’roll idols – at his home! To say I was nervous is an understatement. What do you say to someone who has had a hand in making some of your best memories? I flipped through my Tommy James albums. Aha, maybe I’ll ask Tommy some real off the wall questions about songs, like Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” which Joan Jett’s producers, Ritchie Cordell and Kenny Laguna first recorded with Tommy; maybe I’ll ask him what it felt like, in 1977, to be produced by Jeff Barry, the man who co-wrote “Hanky Panky” more than a decade after the song made his career. There were many questions on my mind. Monday, February 6, 1984, I decided to begin with Joan Jett:

FFanzeen: Joan Jett had two big hits with “Do You Wanna Touch” and “Crimson & Clover,” proving once again that you were ahead of your time. How do you feel about that?
Tommy James: Well, it’s always flattering when people do your songs. It’s also very interesting because many of the records I did have turned into classic. I don’t know that I would go back into the studio myself and re-cut them. It would be very tough to recapture the magic. And every now and then somebody does. I think Joan Jett did a nice job with “Crimson & Clover.” They did it a little bit – they beefed it up. I don’t think as much thought went into the production; I think that it was very effective. It was done just the way it should’ve been done for today.

FF: I thought your production of “Crimson & Clover” was unbelievable.
Tommy: Well, thank you. The funny part about “Crimson & Clover,” y’know, we had two ways of doing it. As a matter of fact, we were thinking very seriously about doing it the way Joan Jett ended up doing it… which was doing it very hard and doing it with a little more of a heavy metal sound. We chose back at that time to go with a little bit softer sound, to go with an acoustic guitar. Then, I think we had a harpsichord on there, and we had a whole lot of other things that allowed us to build the record… to do both a short and a long version. The longer version has ended up to be the classic, with the big guitar solo in the middle of the record. But I must say though, for the single, Joan Jett did a real fine job. The Rubinoos did a nice job also with “I Think We’re Alone Now,” and Billy Idol had “Mony Mony.” It’s very flattering when new artists do your material. I think it shows that your songs stand up to time, and that’s always a good feeling.

FF: I’d like to see these artists contacting you to have you produce some of these tunes, because you’ve really shown yourself to be a master of the studio. I don’t think a lot of people have picked up on that.
Tommy: I think that you have to – well, at Roulette Records, I had to. I was kind of a jack-of-all-trades back in the old days, because I was writing the songs, I was producing the songs, I was performing the songs, and in many instances, I was promoting the songs. It was like a one-man operation up there. But I don’t think I could’ve gotten the training any other way… the knowledge of the record industry all the way from the nuts and bolts of the production to the marketing procedures and things like that. I don’t think I would’ve known the industry like I do today if it hadn’t been for that time.

FF: I found an album called Tommy James’ 20 Greatest Hits, released in Canada.
Tommy: Well, that was all part of a package. We went platinum in 1976-77, on Adam VIII, which was released in this country, and then in Canada with another package. It has 20 songs on the one album; the fidelity is terrible.

FF: But there are two songs on it that I had never seen in America: “Celebration” and “Love Song.”
Tommy: They were both out, right at the period of time when I was leaving Roulette. They were songs that were a little bit later on, before I made the jump to Fantasy Records.

FF: The Fantasy albums were pretty great, both of them.
Tommy: Thank you.

FF: And Jeff Barry producing you.
Tommy: Jeff did the last one. It was me, Ritchie Cordell and Kenny Laguna who did the In Touch album, the first Fantasy project. And The Midnight Rider album was Jeff Barry, who wrote my first hit song, “Hanky Panky.”

FF: So that must have been a magic moment.
Tommy: It was a good combination. I gotta say I was a little disappointed with the production on that. I think the songs were fun and we had fun writing it, but I was a little bit disappointed. I think there could’ve been a little bit more depth to the production; it was real straight ahead. But you know, every producer has his own tastes and it’s so hard to tell. You’ve gotta just let somebody else pain the picture before you really see what it looks like. It’s a different way of looking at yourself when somebody else produces you.

FF: You released something called “No Hay Dos Sin Tres,” on Millennium.
Tommy: Oh, that was the Spanish version of “Three Times in Love.”

FF: Really, I didn’t know that.
Tommy: Yeah [laughs]. We had the gold record in 1980 with “Three Times in Love.” It went #1 Adult Contemporary, and Top-10 in the pop charts. That was the last gold record I had. I did a Spanish version of that.

FF: I thought it was some obscure Millennium release I missed out on. You’re recording a new album now?
Tommy: That’s right. We’re being very careful this time.

FF: You have the same band as on “Three Times in Love”?
Tommy: No, it’s a different group of musicians; a little bit different direction in the studio this time. We’re using an instrument used on the Thriller album that’s very exciting. It’s called a Synclavier – a $65,000 computerized synthesizer. It’s a fantastic instrument that can not only give you every sound that you can conceive of inside the machine, but if you want the actual sound of a human voice, or a guitar solo, or a real saxophone or something, all you have to do is blow a couple of notes into the computer and it memorizes the sound of, like, a saxophone, or the wind going through the horn, and memorizes it digitally. You can play it on the keyboard. It consists of a keyboard, a typewriter, and a TV monitor, so you can see the actual signal playing onto a floppy disk. And then, from a floppy disk, you dump everything onto tape. So you can literally make the album in your living room, or a good portion of the album in your living room, and take it to the studio. ‘Cause everything put in there would be memorized by the computer and put to memory. So about the only thing you need the studio for is your vocal and to mix. It’s fun to play with. It’s not really an ends-to-the-means, but it’s a nice instrument to build the shell of a record; to build the skeleton. In the studio, I’d probably want to use other instruments. If you wanted to use a conga or something there’s nothing like the sound of a natural conga. We’re going a little bit more electronic this time.

FF: And you’re writing all the material this time.
Tommy: Me and my writing partner, Don Ciccone.

FF: Oh, Don’s still with you, then. He did keyboards on “Three Times in Love.”
Tommy: That’s correct. Don was one of the members of the original Critters; “Mr. Dyingly Sad” [and “Younger Girl” – Ed.], and then he was with the Four Season for about 10 years. We’ve been friends for a long, long time. We started working together about four years ago, and writing together two years ago.

FF: All you released on 21/Polygram last year was the 45, “Say Please”?
Tommy: That’s right. That was a project that got hung up in production. The record company fell apart before the project got done. It’s too bad, but that happens sometimes with a new label.

FF: Are you going on a nationwide tour?
Tommy: We probably will. The thing with going on the road, I don’t do it very often. I’m very selective about the dates that I play and the towns that I play in. I’m really looking forward to coming to Boston. Always like to play up there. We’ve always had great crowds up there, and the crowds are good and rowdy. Boston’s known for that. Always loved playing in Boston, even back in the ‘60s. There’s a new product coming this spring. As a matter of fact, I’ll be in the studio right after we get done wit the Channel in Boston, so I’m looking at a spring release for a single, and a summer release for an album. That means I’ll be in the studio pretty much right up until summer. If all things go as planned, I’ll probably be touring this summer. I don’t like to do the 30-40-50-date tours. I like to go out for a week at a time and then take a couple of weeks off, and go out for another week-10 days. I don’t know how these guys do it. We put out so much energy during a show that, if I were to literally play for 40 nights in a row, I don’t think there’d be much of me when I got home.

Tommy James & the Shondells Discography
Hanky Panky (1966)
It's Only Love (1966)
I Think We're Alone Now (1967)
Gettin' Together (1967)
Something Special! The Best of Tommy James and the Shondells (1968)
Mony Mony (1968)
Crimson and Clover (1969)
Cellophane Symphony (1969)
The Best of Tommy James and the Shondells (1969)
Travelin' (1970)
Anthology (1989)

Solo Discography
Tommy James (1970)
Christian of the World (1971)
My Head, My Bed & My Red Guitar (1972)
In Touch (1976)
Midnight Rider (1977)
Three Times in Love (1980)
Tommy James The Solo Years: 1970 - 1981 (1989)
Hi-Fi (1990)
Tommy James Discography: Deals & Demos 74' - 92' (1993)
A Night in Big City (1995)
Tommy James Greatest Hits Live!(1997)
Tighter, Tighter (2000)
It Keeps On Goin' (2003)
I Love Christmas (2004)
Sweet Cherry Wine (2005)
Isn't That the Guy (2005)
Lupe & Joe (2006)
Hold the Fire (2006)
I Love Christmas (2008)