When I got involved with The Five Crowns who later became The Drifters, and we got this hit record, I still was looking at this as kind of a fun thing.
It never dawned on me at any particular time of my life that people are paid tremendous money to sing.
I never even visualized for a second doing what I’m doing.
I still think my whole career was accidental. I didn’t pursue it. I feel like I’m cheating sometimes.
He was a manager, one of the singers, I guess talent coordinator for the local talent in Harlem. His name was Lover Patterson. He was living right across the street from where my dad had his restaurant. I guess he saw a lot of kids come in, a lot of my buddies.
Yeah. I’ve been pretty fortunate to travel I guess, all around the place.
One minute we can be in a small club, the next minute we can be in a coliseum, and the next minute we can be in a small auditorium. It varies, depending on the promoter, the budget, and the travelling distance.
I do a lot of Vegas work and work with the comedians.
Many times I’ve gone on tours with Paul Anka. He would have someone sitting behind him to keep people from even talking to him. You were almost in a little restricted area there.
If there’s anything about the business that I love and that I’m extremely happy about, is that my career started at that time and that I met some of the greatest entertainers at that time and some are still here.
We were doing things with a hundred per cent feeling. It wasn’t programmed. It wasn’t asked for. It wasn’t structured. It was just there. It was very raw. I don’t think the industry would allow that to happen again.
The industry now wants to be in charge of everything.
At that time, we were in charge. We didn’t ask. We just did. We just did what was in our heart.
And, because there was an honesty about all that was going on. It connected with the people in the street.
You were able to sing something they related to instantly, because it was part of what you felt. It was part of what you had already traveled through. It’s part of the people you were associating with daily. It was all of that.
Those things don’t happen today. I feel sorry for the kids in the industry today. They have on sunglasses, eat caviar in jet planes, but they’ll never know the true feeling that we did.
Of course, the kids who had never heard of a person called Ben E. King were then aware of the name associated with the song. That gave a tremendous lift to me as an artist.
The movie is actually from a book by Stephen King called The Body. When they were gonna put it to a motion picture, they found the story was a bit too strong for the title The Body, based on a young kid’s movie. It would be too heavy.
It doesn’t take me long to write songs.
It would probably take me an hour to two to write it down, get the feel of it, and that’s with quite a few changes. It’s not really a hard thing for me to do.
Yeah. I’m amateurish. I can play enough to write a song, or strum on a little guitar to write out a song. But, I don’t play well at all. I wouldn’t even attempt for a second to play in public.
The Phil Spector that I would meet has always been a nice, quiet, little guy who’s very serious about his work; obviously you can tell that because each and everything he’s ever done has always been charted.
When we took on the name The Drifters, we became the new Drifters, and signed a contract to be put on salary, which I think was like a hundred dollars a week, a piece, five hundred dollars for all five of us.
One of the members of the group, I can’t remember which one, found out we were making $3 – $5,000 a night. We were getting a hundred dollars a week a piece. Everybody got upset about it.
I do like what Alicia Keys and John Legend are doing. With their music, you keep your clothes on.
In my vocal, I think you can hear something of my earlier times when I’d sing in subway halls for the echo and perform doo-wop on street corners. But I had a lot of influences, too – singers like Sam Cooke, Brook Benton and Roy Hamilton.
I’d originally intended ‘Stand By Me’ for the Drifters.