Dean Davidson Interview
Black Eyed Susan
In the ever-changing world of rock, yet another change has taken place.
Ex-Britny Fox lead singer Dean Davidson has formed a new group called Black
Eyed Susan. Recording for Mercury Records, their debut record is titled "Electric
Rattlebone". What makes Black Eyed Susan so unique is the way they went
about getting a record deal. Having formed the group, Davidson convinced
the owners of Studio Four in Philadelphia to let the band record an album
there "on spec", Word soon spread in the industry about the recording project,
and Dean found himself besieged with record offers from eight different
labels. Mercury won out.
Dean Davidson spoke with us about Black Eyed Susan.
Q -Explain how this whole recording an album "on
A -There's this studio in Philadelphia, Studio Four, and they believed in the
songs I wrote. They heard a rehearsal tape, and they were really behind it.
They didn't go by my name. Just because I was in another band that sold albums,
they didn't care about that. They heard these songs, and said, wow, and there
you go, you got the spec deal. So, what they do is give you all the time in
their studio to record the album. Now that adds up. They add it up every day.
So, they get their money in the end, when we get signed.
Q -You believe the sound of rock, as it existed
in the 70's was more real, than rock today.
A -It's honest, because there were no rules then. You just played, got on the
radio. There were no videos then. You just toured. That's the way we want to
do it. Just record. No samples, No machines. None of that stuff.
Q - About Black Eyed Susan," you say, "Now I get
the chance to prove to people that I have a voice and have a band that
can play." What do you think people were paying money for, to come and
see you, when you were in Britny Fox?
A - A gimmick. It was more of a show. There wasn't really songs that were on
the radio. It was more of a pre-fabricated, big performance on stage. There
was a lot of tape sampling. Black Eyed Susan is a bar band. Honky-tonk. Old
Faces. Old J. Geils. A lot of the influences show through. There's a difference,
a big difference. I want to be noticed for the songs, not the gimmick and the
flash. When I was in Britny, I had one sound completely, of the guitars and
vocals. That's it. In Black Eyed Susan, my voice, that's really me. And you
got, four or five different sounds, and keyboards, and guitars, and sitars,
and harmonics. And, the songs are all different, 'cause it's rock 'n' roll.
We have a lot of fun doing it, and when we go onstage, we sound the same way
(as on the record) 'cause we're all singing and playing. When we play live,
we're playing for the fans. We're out there for them. We're not bigger than
life. We're not rock stars. The last band I was in played for that reason.
We're not into that stuff. We remember where we came from. Our fans are first.
Q - Why did you have to leave Britny Fox in order
to do what you're doing now?
A - Why? Because, that's not the way I sing. It wasn't me then. That's not
the way I write songs. I was limited.
Q - Limited by who, your management?
A - No. How could Britny Fox do the Black Eyed Susan songs?
Q - You're talking about the other guys in the band?
A - Yeah. How could they do the guitar playing? They couldn't. You're talking
open tunings, blues type playing. There's a big difference in blues playing
and metal. Clean sounding telecasters. There's a big difference. Three or
four part harmonies. Full voice, and falsetto. Nobody had that in that band.
That's why we used tape recordings. You see what I'm saying? Who's gonna
play the honky-tonk piano? I was limited. All it was, was a bunch of screaming,
and just pounding on your guitar.
Q - You must've been the only unhappy guy in the
A - Right. I had songs laying around like the Black Eyed Susan songs, and getting
offered big record deals from it, Britny sold albums but sold albums from a
gimmick, and I wasn't into that. I said, I'm leaving. I started all over, and
Q - But, is it fair to say you started from the
A - I'll tell you right now, I didn't let my record co. know who the hell I
was, 'cause I didn't want to get a record deal on the fact that I was from
Britny. I wanted to get signed from the songs, and that's it. I didn't tell
Mercury Records who I was. They didn't come out to see the band. I gave 'em
three songs and we got signed on three power songs. I had every label there
was calling me in the beginning. Nobody recognized me, look-wise and sound-wise.
They had no clue who this band was. So, it proved my point. My goal was accomplished.
I got noticed for the music. So, my goal is already fulfilled.
© Gary James All Rights Reserved