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Spend ‘An Evening with Don Was’ notes - April 2nd, 2012

From fellow fan Robert Silverstein:

For context, here’s a link to the concert:  Spend ‘An Evening with Don Was’

The show took place in a mostly full theater. Gary Graff gave an enthusiastic introduction to Don Was (noting that to fully describe DW’s accomplishments would take up most of the evening.) DW came out with an acoustic guitar and sang “Somewhere in America There’s a Street Named after My Dad” solo, a beautiful haunted version with occasional strumming of the guitar (as he noted to Gary Graff, “I’m not a folk singer”). He then sat down in a chair at the side of a stage, next to Gary Graff, and they had a conversation about his early interest in music. Then he brought out the other 2 members of the Saturns, his high school group, and the 3 of them played “If I had a Hammer” all on acoustic guitar. It turns out that a good portion of the audience were fellow graduates of DW from Oak Park High School class of 1970 (including Steve Brown, who put his hands on Zaz’s neck that day in the park!). After more conversation he brought out Was (not was):

first set:

second set:

third set:

between the sets there was more conversation with Gary Graff which I won’t try to reproduce. A few highlights:
DW’s new post as president of Blue Note Records
Bonnie Raitt’s management would have dumped DW (“for a real producer”) from the Nick of Time project if she had signed a record deal before he finished the project.
it was Milli Vanilli that had their tape break in the middle of song during the Club MTV tour.

When Gary Graff asked him about future plans, Don mentioned that he is writing songs with David, and eventually would like to do another WNW album. If Ididn’t mention this, he was very complimentary of David Was’ lyric writing, when Graff asked him if it was difficult assembling musicians to make the first WNW album, he said that the quality of David’s lyrics made it easy to attract quality musicians to the project.

He also mentioned that they knew the 6 record stores in Detroit that reported to the dance charts, and a calculated effort was made to buy up the first record (the first 12 inch, I think) at those stores to get the record on the charts. They were then pleasantly surprised that it became a club hit in England.

It was a great evening of music and conversation, I’m happy to have been there.
BTW, Terry “Thunder” Hughley is the drummer for the Detroit jazz/rock/funk institution The Sun Messengers, and plays with DW at the Concert of Colors revue he organizes every year in Detroit.

« Excellent radio interview with Don on WDET

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