Podcast Transcript



00:00:01.2 – 00:00:28.09

 Welcome to the takin a walk podcast music history on foot Follow us on Apple podcasts Spotify Podcast Playground or wherever you get your podcasts Taking a walk covers music of all genres from new unsigned artists to Long Standing Hall of Famers and everything in between Buzz Knight is your host And on this episode grit and resilience are the operative words regarding our guest

John Easdale is the leader of the band Dramarama blending a dash of hard rock alternative rock power pop and punk This Pasadena Records band is out with a brand new project called Color TV Join Buzz next with John Easdale.


Buzz Knight:

00:00:46.979 – 00:00:55.009

 Well hi John thanks for being on taking a walk albeit  virtually I wish we were together but we can pretend we’re


John Easdale:

00:00:55.02 – 00:00:59.639

 thousands of miles away but we are together through the magic of technology


Buzz Knight:

00:01:00.4 – 00:01:13.269

 Well congratulations on the now 2020 release Color TV After a 15 year hiatus we’re gonna talk about that But do take me back to the

the record store basement of Looney Tunes Records in Wayne New Jersey What were you listening to then And what did you imagine that your future was gonna hold


John Easdale:

00:01:27.43 – 00:01:38.959

 well you know I grew up listening to the Beatles and then you know well actually the Monkees came before the Beatles when I was really little I was like four years old Their show came on the air and I uh

and I was hooked to rock and roll So I was a little too young for the the first wave of the British invasion And so the Monkees turned me on a rock and then I caught up and got the Beatles and then the stones and then the who and the kinks And then in the early seventies uh David Bowie and and T Rex and stuff like that And then punk rock

uh you know Sex Pistols and Clash And then by 1982 when we when we started the band actually the store opened Looney tunes our original bass player Chris Carter he owned the store and it was like trying to be like a a Manhattan uh record store like a Bleaker Bobs or something And it only sold

you know uh imports and good you know just rock It was a rock and roll record store and sold imports and  don’t tell anybody but bootlegs and all kinds of you know we were just trying to be the coolest thing in the world in a town that really

didn’t have any use for that kind of a record store But


but yeah we were listening to all the new music that was coming over from England and all the cool new music that was coming out of the United States and out of Manhattan which was about

half an hour away maybe 15 miles or something from where we grew up


Buzz Knight:

00:03:04.259 – 00:03:08.0

 What was your favorite pizza place in New Jersey Just out of curiosity


John Easdale:

00:03:08.96 – 00:03:33.509

 you know Tony’s was great and then there was there was another place called uh Vinnie’s Pizza There was a lot of them just you know there were like four or five of them just in Wayne But uh yeah there was a whole bunch of them Yeah the pizza out there is so much better than uh I I’m in California now and they call it pizza but it really doesn’t uh live up to The name doesn’t deserve the name They should just call it


Buzz Knight:

00:03:35.66 – 00:03:44.08

 I don’t think you could get um bad slices of pizza or full pizzas anywhere in New Jersey


John Easdale:

00:03:44.82 – 00:03:48.649

 No not that I’m aware of unless they have a Papa John’s out there


Buzz Knight:

00:03:52.649 – 00:04:04.07

 So what were these places like Stone Pony the Green Parrot the fast Lane Uh what were they like What did they smell like Maybe


John Easdale:

00:04:06.0 – 00:04:07.979

 You know and when we were

 first starting out there was very few places for original music in New Jersey Um it was way more about cover bands and  you know bands playing Led Zeppelin and stuff So we went to we were playing at a bunch of dives Not that those places you mentioned were dives Those were actually a little bit more reputable and actual had had actual people who came to see what they came to see But we played at places called like the Dirt Club

and other places that uh weren’t even as good as that


Buzz Knight:

00:04:41.35 – 00:04:48.45

 And by the way a shout out to Chris Carter who you mentioned who does a pretty bad ass Beatles show I hear on Sirius XM


John Easdale:

00:04:49.119 – 00:05:05.549

 He does he’s been doing breakfast with the Beatles here in Los Angeles for gosh 25 years at least he’s on a Sunday morning show on a on KLOS 95.5 and he took that show over It’s been on for a long time

a AAA brilliant lady named Deirdre Donohue started it and then sadly she passed away and Chris took it over and he’s been doing it ever since and then he got picked up on Sirius and he does it on there And he also does another show on Little Stevens channel called The British Invasion And yeah he was he and I and and and my friend Mark

who I’ve known since I was two years old started the band in the basement and Peter Wood played guitar and I was actually the first drummer in the band We because we were just doing recordings before we played live We were just uh fooling around with four tracks and stuff And then we went in the studio same thing I played drums and uh those guys played the instruments


Buzz Knight:

00:05:54.429 – 00:06:10.13

 The local music scene in Jersey was so fertile You had bands like Red House the Smithereens the Whirling Dervishes Um Was it camaraderie with all these other bands or was it raw Get out of the way competition


John Easdale:

00:06:11.14 – 00:06:12.63

 I think at that age

everybody’s kind of like we’re the best Get out of the way kind of a thing I mean I’ve always been trying to be cordial and friendly and I I certainly don’t have the you know a massive ego or whatever but I think every band kind of just is like thinking about themselves and and we’re the best you know

 a lot of them II I like a lot of the bands you mentioned I didn’t meet at the time Uh We never did share a stage with any of those bands until later Uh We played with the Smithereens and and the Whirling Dervishes In fact when we play in New Jersey the the keyboard player from the Whirling Dervishes his name is Billy Siegel He actually sits in with us and plays with us


Buzz Knight:

00:06:57.57 – 00:07:20.94

 You shared a part of your history with a um a similar outcome of Mink Deville and Jerry Lewis This was the cult praise you received in France Um How did you embrace that And didn’t uh the DJ from K Rock Rodney Bingenheimer Think that the band was French


John Easdale:

00:07:21.85 – 00:07:50.98

 Yes What happened was we were going in the studio and making our own recordings And so first we put out a 45 all by ourselves on our own label Question Mark Records Then we put out a 12 inch uh ep also on uh Question Mark And um there was a French DJ It got it got reviewed in a in a magazine called the Trouser Press and uh a DJ in France read the review and

picked up the record and

he loved it and was playing it on his show and he introduced us to a French label called Nero’s Records which was primarily releasing records by American artists uh who weren’t necessarily signed to a major label or whatever So we got a deal with Nero’s Records and they put out our first album and it was only available in America as an import


And Rodney Bingenheimer in Los Angeles bought it He just went to the store and bought it I in Pasadena Records in Pasadena at a um at a store called and had a picture of Edie Sedwick on the cover and it said New Rose Records Paris France on the bottom So he thought we were French and then we found out he was playing it and we called him up and said hey Rodney we’re from New Jersey

He came out to

visit the east Coast when the Monkees were doing their first reunion in 1986 And he slept on our couch and he said you guys should come out to Los Angeles now little known to us He wasn’t it wasn’t just getting played on his Sunday night show Um The radio station actually added it to their playlist and it started getting

a lot of phone calls and requests and uh you know it was on the radio every it was in heavy rotation as they say


Buzz Knight:

00:09:18.83 – 00:09:29.94

 you’ve had movie success with your music in a nightmare on Elm Street Four You’ve also had music in the Sega video game So you were really

ahead of your time in that area of uh kind of branding if you will wouldn’t you agree

You know and it

had all the wonderful things that have happened to us over the years You know aside from me writing songs in the band playing them and and going and laying it down to tape all the wonderful things that have happened to us have been a result of the music and not necessarily of branding or you know any kind of uh efforts behind the scenes II I it’s way more like people hear the music and then they want to use it

you know Um That’s how It Got in Nightmare on Elm Street That’s how a lot of our other songs have gotten in movies It’s like they find the music and then they contact us as opposed to having somebody you know pitching and saying hey you got this great new song by this band you know you gotta put it in your movie It it goes the other way it’s like a a director or a musical uh supervisor will say I gotta have that song

in my in my TV show or in my movie or something And so it’s kind of backwards but it’s really nice because it it’s all about the music and not about the fashion or the style or the trendiness or the fad and we’re we’ve been very fortunate


Buzz Knight:

00:10:44.25 – 00:11:02.909

 you had a great one called hi-fi sci-fi including some uh backing vocal contributors like Dwight Twilley and uh Sylvan Silvan Uh and then the band broke up after that release Um What did you learn from that break up


John Easdale:

00:11:03.7 – 00:11:05.08

 Well you know


we had done everything ourselves up until about our third album and then and even that we recorded ourselves but then we signed to a small label in in in in Torrance called Chameleon Records Um And that label

ended up being distributed by Warner Brothers or Warner music Uh and we had to start dealing with the major label thing and we weren’t used to uh


input from executives So we weren’t uh very um open to suggestion And we thought we knew better than the record company So we kind of probably were a pain in the neck to these guys And we you know we complained and not only did we complain privately but we also did it publicly um

memorably one of our members did an interview and pretty much thought the interview was over and started talking to the journalist and telling him how terrible our label was and how terrible of a job our label was doing And that’s what got published was the uh all of us all of the gripes And uh


John Easdale:

00:12:15.19 – 00:12:38.099

 uh as you can imagine the label didn’t uh really appreciate that So we had a bad experience but I think it was mostly uh our own fault and that’s that had more to do with the band breakup Also just the fact of being together by that point we were we were together more than 10 years and I think we were we were ready to take a break


Buzz Knight:

00:12:38.609 – 00:12:41.7

 We have a podcast project

that is called Music Save Me And I know you’ve had um

trials and tribulations uh relating to addiction Um Can you talk about the power of music How important it is Especially when you’re going through a struggle


John Easdale:

00:13:01.07 – 00:13:02.07

 Well you know


John Easdale:

00:13:03.179 – 00:13:10.21

 it’s weird because when you’re growing up when you’re little when I when I heard the monkeys or when I was listening to The Beatles or or or whoever


John Easdale:

00:13:10.739 – 00:13:15.799

 I wasn’t doing drugs I was I wasn’t drinking I was just uh uh you know


John Easdale:

00:13:16.5 – 00:13:26.84

 getting high on the music if you will And a as I grew up and and you know started being in advanced you know uh the old uh


John Easdale:

00:13:27.549 – 00:13:36.84

 the dangerous phrase sex and drugs and rock and roll was in the back of your head And so they kind of went hand in hand and at some point


John Easdale:

00:13:38.039 – 00:13:44.03

 the drugs anyway really took over and when it was time


John Easdale:

00:13:44.679 – 00:13:47.21

 to give that up and you know uh


John Easdale:

00:13:48.0 – 00:13:58.799

 rock and roll did save me because I still had that and I and I remembered you know you know what you don’t need drugs or you don’t need to be drunk You don’t need to alter your conscience


John Easdale:

00:13:59.38 – 00:14:06.989

 consciousness because um you know what the music alters your consciousness the music lifts you up and the music


John Easdale:

00:14:07.51 – 00:14:08.21

 you know


John Easdale:

00:14:08.799 – 00:14:32.71

 it’s the music that that that that is the strength and in in a lot of ways music is my higher power when it comes to that And uh yeah music is miraculous It’s the only thing I think we still have as humans touch with That’s magical You know it it really can lift your spirits You know what what’s that old phrase that has charms that that soothes the savage breast


John Easdale:

00:14:33.239 – 00:14:46.099

 It does it can make you happy If you’re in a good mood it can lift you even higher And if you’re in a bad mood it can lift you out of that And uh yeah No it is uh


John Easdale:

00:14:47.039 – 00:14:49.619

 it is a bomb on the soul


Buzz Knight:

00:14:50.21 – 00:15:11.219

 We share a mutual friend named Rich Russo who um uses your song Anything as part of his uh his show his theme uh Rich is such a great guy and such a great uh musicologist Really Um How did you first encounter Rich


John Easdale:

00:15:11.739 – 00:15:35.729

 He decided to name his show anything And that’s how I first became aware of Mr Rich Um I’m happy to say that he and I are now friends more than you know it has nothing You know it started as AAA professional uh relationship but it’s blossomed into AAA true friendship and you know I’m I will say


John Easdale:

00:15:36.049 – 00:16:05.39

 that I have a lot of friends that I’ve made over the years in in show business in in the music business and which is uncommon because there’s a lot of you know guys that you wouldn’t you know ever wanna speak to uh uh except for that the business relationship But but Rich and I are really close He’s uh a wonderful DJ He plays you know the greatest music goes on He’s all over the place Uh eclectic I is uh


John Easdale:

00:16:06.0 – 00:16:16.979

 if you look in the dictionary picture a rich under eclectic because he plays everything Um if you’ve ever seen his collection you would be flabbergasted because it’s just incredible Um


John Easdale:

00:16:17.559 – 00:16:30.0

 he he he’s the kind of guy who who picked me up and take me to the airport when I’m back east He’s given us so many opportunities over the years when the band got back together And um


John Easdale:

00:16:30.89 – 00:16:43.5

 and he when we played back East uh he would like be be our host and and sponsor the shows and he’s just been a great friend to the band but he’s also just a great friend and I and I love that guy


Buzz Knight:

00:16:43.869 – 00:16:45.96

 He’s got a great head of hair too


John Easdale:

00:16:46.51 – 00:16:58.95

 I gotta say that that I I envy that and uh II I that’s why I wear a cowboy hat because I prefer it to a a toupee or a weave But uh no yeah he looks good He’s a he’s a good looking fella


Buzz Knight:

00:16:59.65 – 00:17:15.8

 I wanna thank you for uh on color TV Turning me on to uh the song Abandoned Love which I did not know as a Bob Dylan fan You do a tremendous cover of that Uh How did you find that tune


John Easdale:

00:17:16.63 – 00:17:21.55

 You know there’s a there’s a tape recording of him doing it


John Easdale:

00:17:21.9 – 00:17:38.689

 at a club in New York back in the in between blood on the tracks and and desire when Bob went back to Manhattan and was like going to the folk clubs again he got up and played that song one night and I heard a recording of that Now after that


John Easdale:

00:17:39.369 – 00:18:04.53

 uh it was like a bootleg thing Uh somebody had a tape recorder in the club and they recorded him when he when he sang it Now after that apparently he went in and tried to do a version of it a recording of it which it has a lot of different lyrics than the than the version I first heard the bootleg version Um well not a lot but a few there is a um there is a it’s on one of his bootleg series


John Easdale:

00:18:04.819 – 00:18:27.53

 the studio version that he did record but it it’s slightly different lyrics and then I think George Harrison even did a version that’s uh like an outtake I don’t know if it’s ever been commercially released but you can find that as well Um yeah it’s an amazing song and you know throughout the years we’ve always tried to do songs and covers versions of songs that weren’t


John Easdale:

00:18:28.069 – 00:18:35.25

 the most well known by you know well-known artists perhaps but not their most well known song Try to find something a little bit more obscure


Buzz Knight:

00:18:36.01 – 00:18:40.119

 So what’s your uh creative process in terms of writing new stuff


John Easdale:

00:18:41.04 – 00:18:41.729



John Easdale:

00:18:42.28 – 00:18:43.699

 Yeah it’s uh


John Easdale:

00:18:44.439 – 00:18:55.77

 99% inspiration 1% perspiration It just uh it comes to me like uh I turn off the radio and I listen to the radio in my head and it just


John Easdale:

00:18:56.3 – 00:18:58.42

 it really is It’s all


John Easdale:

00:19:00.0 – 00:19:17.25

 comes from outer space I don’t know it comes from heaven Iii I really I couldn’t tell you how it happens It just does and I’m very fortunate that that’s the way it goes because when I do try to write a song er the I’m not usually happy with the result


Buzz Knight:

00:19:17.739 – 00:19:37.76

 Well I know you’re playing out live and I know you’re playing out live really tremendously My friend Elliott Kendall just saw you a week or two ago and told me how great it was Um what’s the joy of playing live Uh especially after COVID kind of shut that down


John Easdale:

00:19:38.4 – 00:19:48.88

 II I have to say that as the years have gone by I I I’m even get more pleasure out of out of performing Uh at some point

20 some odd years ago someone said well you’re an entertainer and I was like I was blown away I knocked me down because I never thought of myself in those terms and I never thought of people coming and buying tickets and coming to see me I I just iii I had AAA much larger ego when I was a younger man and especially when I was drinking and doing drugs and you know um


 I didn’t care about anything but me it was all about me and about how I felt and if I felt like getting up there half half cocked and half assed and half in the bag or whatever you wanna call it um

that’s what you got you know and now when I get up there I I think you know I I know that people have come to see me and they bought tickets and I owe them the very best that I can do And I have 10 times more fun than I ever did before Uh after COVID we’ve been really busy We were you know we had to take a few years off Uh we put out Color TV like

a month in May you know the shutdown was March The album came out May 1st So we weren’t able to go out and promote and you know play the album live for a while and it wasn’t until almost uh well we started doing some stuff late in 21 and then 2022 I think was our busiest year ever at least since we got back together in 2003 Um we did all kinds of things We traveled all over and it’s just wonderful We’re


it is wonderful that we’re still doing this 41 years After starting the band and that we still get up and have a great time and try to you know rock hard and people are having fun people show up and it’s we’re the lucky I’m the luckiest man in the world


Buzz Knight:

00:21:43.52 – 00:22:05.849

 Well I’m pretty lucky because the taking a walk podcast reconnects me with folks and it connects me with uh new folks Allows me to have music discovery and  I so love discovering Dramarama and John and I thank you for uh sharing on taking a walk


John Easdale:

00:22:06.119 – 00:22:12.349

 Pleasure is entirely mine Thank you so much for having me on Buzz I thank you



00:22:13.51 – 00:22:21.949

 Taking a walk with Buzz Knight is available on Spotify Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts


About The Author

Buzz Knight

Buzz Knight is an established media executive with a long history of content creation and multi-platform distribution.

After a successful career as a Radio Executive, he formed Buzz Knight Media which focuses on strategic guidance and the development of new original content.