The Glorious Corner: Patti Smith Group (1978), Todd Rundgren, Rufus Wainwright and More

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David Salidor with Todd Rundgren and The New Cars at The China Club



G.H. Harding 


BECAUSE THE NIGHT — Via Modern DrummerThe saying It takes a village certainly applies to the Patti Smith Group’s breakthrough single “Because the Night.”

Bruce Springsteen wrote the song around the time of his 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town. Jimmy Iovine, who engineered and mixed Born to Run and Darkness for Springsteen and was about to produce Smith’s Easter, steered the song to Patti, who added lyrics of her own. Shelly Yakus engineered the track, dialing in an ideal drum sound for the song’s shifting dynamic: ultra-sensitive during the hushed verses, big and bold like a Phil Spector production elsewhere. Tom Petty cited that drum sound as the reason he hired Iovine to produce Damn the Torpedoes.

Finally, let’s give it up for Jay Dee Daugherty on drums. He drives a killer band performance on this slow-burning, dramatic track, which introduced mainstream audiences to punk poetess Smith and her group’s artfully spastic brand of rock ’n’ roll. Daugherty’s kit work is a big part of the song’s magic. He spreads tasteful flourishes (an upbeat hi-hat accent motif; the snare hits on the “&” of 1 that emphasize “be-CAUSE” as the choruses wind down) and kickass drum heroics (those massive snare and tom flams on the “&s” of 3 and 4 that bring the band in; the driving tom-tom groove in the guitar solo) throughout the track, which made it to number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1978.

Daugherty is quick to credit the source material that inspired many of his drum parts. So make room for one more in the village responsible for turning “Because the Night” into such a classic. “I stole a lot from Max Weinberg,” he admits with a laugh. “We were basically learning it off of a full [E Street Band] demo. That two-beat drum intro—that’s totally Max. I’ve played it so many times that I think I wrote it. And the little upbeat hi-hat accent, I’m pretty sure that was on the demo.”

One lick Daugherty is proud to call his own is the blazing 32nd-note snare roll out of the bridge, bearing a striking resemblance to Weinberg’s roll into the guitar solo on Springsteen’s “Prove It All Night,” released a few months later. “I’m willing to cop to everything else, but I didn’t steal that from Max,” he says emphatically. “I probably did that because it’s a little over the top; it just felt right there.”

Daugherty says the Patti Smith Group was anything but a polished unit in those days, despite having a few hundred shows under their belt by the time they got to tracking Easter. “Poor Jack Douglas, who worked on the record before that [1976’s Radio Ethiopia], was so frustrated with our professional amateurism. He would come out and try to conduct us, because we couldn’t play to a click. He actually tried to quit the record.” 

Patti Smith Group “Because The Night”

This begs the question, What was it like for a drummer admittedly rough around the edges to work with Jimmy Iovine, who historically clashed with Petty’s drummer, Stan Lynch, while producing Torpedoes and subsequent albums? “There was an excitement factor Jimmy was going for,” Daugherty recalls, adding with a laugh, “because he knew we really weren’t the most exacting set of musicians.”

Though “Because the Night” sounds like a fairly detail-oriented production, with so many nuances to Daugherty’s parts and the song’s dynamic builds, “There wasn’t that much direction [from Jimmy],” according to the drummer. “We had a really good blueprint with Bruce’s demo. The builds and the things like that—I think that might have just happened organically. As for all the fills and the cymbal crashes, he was probably encouraging me to do less by the time we got to the [keeper] take. I was doing so much after one take, he got on the mic and said, ‘Are there flies out there? You trying to hit flies?’”

THE RUNT — Notably absent from the Rock and Roll Hall of FameClass of 2019 (announced last week) is Todd Rundgren, who was the only artist among those eligible who made the fan ballot but did not get elected. His resume includes Badfinger, The Band, XTC and Paul Butterfield. Todd’s omission was a hotly contested one. Pundits from all over weighed in with comments.

Let me just say that Todd’s work –from his outstanding solo albums liker Something/Anything; to his production work with Hall & Oates, Meatloaf, Badfinger, XTC , Grand Funk Railroad and countless others, cannot be undervalued. He’s a true artist in every sense of the word; from starting up one of the first video-studios (in Bearsville, New York) to re-forming his visionary group Utopia for a national tour earlier this year. Like with The Monkees … a huge oversight.

Check out this article in Keith Girard’s The Improper for an overview of this year’s nominees:

Michael Weatherly

CBS BULL — Via Deadline: After it was revealed that Les Moonves was directly involved in a $9.5 million payout to Eliza Dushku in January, after the Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum accused Bull star Michael Weatherly of sexual harassment, Weatherly’s former NCIS alums took to Twitter to defend their former co-star.

NCIS fan favorite Pauley Perrette posted a pic of herself and Weatherly with the caption: “This man… I love, respect, trust, and I KNOW. TWO decades of friendship and respect. The best. I love you @M_Weatherly Always and forever.”

Sasha Alexander also chimed in, posting a pic of the two of them. “I have been in trenches w/ my friend @M_Weatherly⁩,” she wrote. “Always laughs, true friend & [heart] as big as they come.

Deadline exclusively reported the story that Mooves was involved in the sexual harassment payout during Dushku’s appearance on the first season of Bull. Additionally, the confidential payment was sneaked into “Bull’s” production budget in an effort apparently motivated to avoid the sum popping up on the company’s books, sources say.

Though Dushku believed she was going to become a series regular on Bull after an initial three-episode appearance at the end of the September 20, 2016 debut (Season 1), that deal changed as producer Glen Gordon Caron prepared to take over as showrunner for Season 2.

Dushku complained about Weatherly, who made remarks about her appearance, made a rape joke, and commented about a threesome. As her complaints about Weatherly moved up the corporate food chain in early 2017, Bull producers decided Dushku would be better-suited as a recurring character in the immediate future seasons and not a better-paid regular.

The actor declined that far less lucrative scenario and was soon written out of Bull altogether. That led to the retaliation complaint and that $9.5 million settlement that was designed to provide the financial equivalent of around five seasons on the show.

I like Weatherly … I always have, but this came as a complete shock. True, the show in its debut season was a bit rocky and the presence of Caron (Moonlighting) changed the tone of the show, but it worked for sure. I remember when Dushku was about to come aboard and then, everything changed.  She’s suppose to have video-evidence … I wonder when that will come to light. 9.5 million is a serious figure. Stay tuned.

Boy, things have sure changed for the Tiffany-network. Sad.

YEA NAY — When Ian McDonald (King Crimson, Foreigner) formed Honey West, with Ted Zurkowksi, it seemed a band for the ages. Their debut album Bad Old World was just terrific. A date at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room followed and was very well received. McDonald’s guitar work is just superb and the band rocked. Then, a subtle change in management brought forth some great ideas … such as a Collector’s Edition Vinyl release event (which was to have been held at The Cutting Room) … then nada. It’s too bad as West was definitely one of the bright spots in the last year-and-a-half.

Our best shows of the year include: Rufus Wainwright at St. Ann’s; Paul Simon, Jeff Lynne and Elton John at The Garden. The Simon and John  shows were their last one here. Terrific and bittersweet. I sat next to Bill and Hillary!

Rufus Wainwright


“The Mule” Poster

SHORT TAKES — Man, I love Matt Damon, but his stint on the weekend’s SNL,  their Xmas show, was awful. I know the show is an institution, but the writing is just terrible. Oh, for the days of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi … Clint Eastwood’s new movie The Mule opened Friday and the critics are saying that this is his best movie in 25 years! He’s 88.-Seeing it this week … From Kent Kotal’s Forgotten Hits: THIS WEEK in ’68: 12/11/68 – The Rolling Stones’ television special “Rock and Roll Circus” is filmed.  Special guests include John Lennon, The Who, Eric Clapton, Jethro Tull and Marianne Faithfull – 12/12/68 – The Guess Who’s first album featuring Burton Cummings on lead vocals, “Whitfield Soul” is released.  It contains their soon-to-be breakthrough hit “These Eyes. 12/14/68 – The Doors headline the L.A. Forum with Jerry Lee Lewis, Lee Michaels and Sweetwater also on the bill Also on 12/14 – “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly is certified gold today. It has since sold over 25 million copies. 12/15/68 – The Doors appear on The Smothers Brothers TV show performing their new hit single, “Touch Me.” Also, an hour earlier this night, Stevie Wonder (“For Once In My Life,” “You Met Your Match” and “Alfie”) and The Brooklyn Bridge (“The Worst That Could Happen”) performed on The Ed Sullivan Show… Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney had somewhat of a Beatles reunion on Sunday night when Sir Ringo joined Sir Paul at Paul’s O2 Arena show. The Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood was also at the show and joined the Sir’s for Paul’s tour premiere of the Beatles classic “Get Back”… Straight from his Rockers On Broadway charity do; which had The Who’s Pete Townshend perform, Donnie Kehr moves his Rockin’ Dueling Pianos, tomorrow,  to the new Chelsea Music Hall; which has the late-great China Club’s Michael Barrett involved. Show begins at a nominal 5:30 PM. Details to follow and, NBC’s Timeless wraps us this Thursday with a two-hour finale. Early reports are that the show is a love-letter to their fans. This show should NEVER have been cancelled.


Honey West

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Heather Moore; Debbie Gibson; Don Kaplan; Mike Greenly; Randy Alexander; Peter Abraham; Steve Walter; Tony King; Ray Caviano; Don Wardell; Harriet Sternberg; Far Out Productions; Jay Cassell; Mark Bego; and, CFS.

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