To some of us classic rock radio sounds like a wasteland. The same 99 tunes consistently receive the kind of airplay that they haven’t deserved for 35 years. Seriously, let’s stop with the “Dream Ons”, “La Granges” and the “Frankensteins.” In a perfect world, any song recorded before 1984 would be placed in an airtight trunk and lowered into the Mariana Trench, not to be recovered for 125 years.
It’s be a shame to do that, though, and miss out on some of the music that hasn’t been shoved in down our earholes by the milquetoast corporatocracy of modern radio. We’d miss out on a prolific and influential artists like Bill Payne, one of the founders of Little Feat, and legendary rock and roll keyboardist.
Payne is one of those dudes who have you heard a million-billion times on the construction site or in your uncle Pat’s Trans-Am. He bangs the piano on the Doobie Brothers’ “China Grove, ” keeps it chill on Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock” and plays on hundreds of tracks by artists such as Jimmy Buffet, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and basically every one else that matters. Payne’s in-studio advice and songwriting abilities have had as much effect on FM radio as the Gibson Les Paul and cocaine.
Speaking of the good old days, Payne, who now lives in southwest Montana’s Paradise Valley, is spending this tour reminiscing about past glories and sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of life on the road with music aficionados and fans. He is joined by Dennis McNally, former Grateful Dead publicist and author of A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead. Before Tuesday’s gone and the great musicians of the past are just dust in the wind we might ought to take one last listen before we lower that trunk into the sea.