Straight talk : With Michael DeGreve
by Candice VanDyke The Sunday Magazine

Q. What brought you to Cheyenne?

A. A two week contract almost 13 years ago-that’s a true story. I was in between gigs, I had been working in Milwaukee for awhile and my agent called me. I was living in the Hollywood Hills, and I was just kinda in between things. So what do you think about Cheyenne, and I said I don’t know where it is? And my best friend in world, David called me. He was living in Evergreen. He’s the guy I wrote, The Lion and the Bear for, and he said, “Oh, Cheyenne-two hours away. Michael come on out, we’ll have some fun and you’ll make some money, come on down and we’ll spend it.” And, I came out here the day after Frontier Days 1977 with the intention of working two weeks, and two weeks lead into almost 13 years.

Q. What made you stay?

A. I like the people; I came here in the first week of August and, of course, it was beautiful. The man who owns the motel, Paul Smith, gave me a little house downtown next to his and…I guess I was ready for a smaller town. I’d never lived in a place smaller than a million before. So this was a new experience and it seemed real friendly. And honestly, I guess the thing that I think about over the years is that from the very first time I ever sat up on that stool, people have been receptive to me here and like my music and made me feel a part of Cheyenne.

Q. What type of music do you prefer?

A. I think anybody who's,heard me knows that I'm really '60s oriented: ... I'm a real Beatles fan Bob Dylan and country rock. People like The Eagles and Dan Fogelberg; and I like a lot of the general folk singers; people like Donovan, Cat, Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel, and I'm a big Joni Mitchell fan. I like people like BilIyJoel and Elton John, those kind of things; too.

Q. Why is it that you like 60s music so much?

A. " It's my era; I don't know, maybe it's just that everybody feels that way about their generation or that part of their life, but I think that music still holdsUp. I think that it was really strong and vibrant, important music...with a lot of meaning in it.
Not that there's not great music being made today.... I love bands like U2 and some of the new artists. But I' don't think there's by and large the quality of music that there was (in the 60s). .

Q. Wh'at are your feelings on heavy metal music?

A. "If Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull is heavy metal, I think they had the first heavy metal award last year and they gave it to Jethro Tull, which makes me laugh. I don't consider Jethro Tull heavy metal at all. I consider that good strong rock 'n' roll the power of rock 'n' roll. If heavy metal is trash music,or whatever that's called, I have little time for it. I don't understand it; I wonder if I sound like an older guy now, just like they were saying about Elvis or the Beatles.
It has to have'some meaning and even Led Zeppell or Jethro Tull would have some melodies and great lyrics. And trash music or a lot of it head banging or whatever they call, just doesn't do anything for me."

Q. How did you go about making the album and did you write all the songs?

A. They're all my songs… Those songs actually go back from about less than a year ago to 15, years ago - some of the songs are that old.Robin's Song,' I think is probably the oldest song on the album.

I think the theme of the album, 'Gypsy' Lament, it's a lot about what I do. There's two or three songs on the albiim- 'the lights' go down, the show begin's, are songs about pIaying music for a living. 'Tender Nights' is another one, 'Untitled Road Song; and, there's' some romance songs on it, 'Robin's Song, Magic Eyes,' about relationships, And there's actually a couple of Cheyemne songs: 'Silver Linjng was a ' specific event tIiat was for the concert that we did witli Neil Young .

Q. How hard is it having to try and sell the album without a label?

A. It has been a real experience doing it; I think' it has been successfuI beecause we're getting exposure. But its' a lot of work, especially working six nights a week and doing it all myself.

I have basically done all of the radio shows and stocked all the stores and done all of that myself-it has been a one-man operation a mom and pop kind of deal. So, I'm reaI ready for one of the labels to take it and take me out of that process and let me do what I’m supposed to be doing, 'which is writing the next album.

Q. Do you haye high hopes that the album will take off?

A. Oh sure, you always do. I think I'm enough not have any hopes of being the next Springsteen. For me, success would be to have a label and have, my music out across the country, across the planet, wherever, and just have the freedom to tour and record more; to me that would be, very successful. How many it sells or how big it gets, I don't really think about that.

Q. Where was the album recorded and do you have a studio in Cheyenne that you work in?

A. At Soundcastles studio in Los Angeles – a great studio, state-of-the-art studio…. I have, what I use as a demo studio at my house that is twenty miles North of here.

Q. How did you go about getting people like Randy Meisner to participate in the making of the album?

A. Part of it is I kniow a lot of those people; a lot of them' have been friends for a long time. Like Graham Nash and I go back; this is an old story most people in Cheyenne know this story. Graham is actually married to my ex-wife. So Graham and I basically kept in touch since then and it actually started with a demo that Graham Nash and I did… I had gone to Hawaii to visit the bear, David my best friend. He lives on the big island and my ex-wife and Graham have a house on another island.
And I went over to see them and we spent about three days over there and Graham heard the tiItle song; we were just sitting around trading songs, and he just really liked it. He said, 'Let's, cut a demo of it, let's do something. 'He basically had the same kind of studio that I have here in his house. So we cut a demo of it and I brought it back here and it started to get a lot of radio play ...

It lead to Graham introducing me at that point to the engineer that had done both Crosby Nash albums. And both those albums, Whistliiig Down the Wire,' all the Crosby Nash products at that tiriie! Were engineered by a man named Don Gooch And he truly is one of my very, very favorite people and lie flew out after Graham and I recorded and set up my studio, basically like he'd set up Graham's studio. Then I started writing some more- I wrote 'Silver Lining, Ground Zero, some of those songs and started demoing anid sending them out to him. I worked at a snails pace which took couple of years and at one point we 'decided 'well, Michael let's do an album, let's go ahead and, get something down.

He was working with a great keyboard player mamed Jeff Boydstun and Don and Jeff are still musical partners in a couple of ventures. Jeff is a key, key person in this.

At the time that we were getting ready to do a session; I was demoing them in my studio and I was sending them out to Jeff and he was doing all thier arrangements - he's their arranger on ,the album and the co- producer and Don’s the engineer and, co-producer.

So, I would send them to Jeff and he would listen to them and then he would write… and a lot of thing's changed.. he just heard a whole different thing with them we just really hit it off, Jeff and I. We got to be real musical partners as far as how we heard and what we were going to do with it.

Jeff had just finished touring with Graham Nash, same Circle – that’s how all of this, happened. Graham Nasli went out a couple years ago solo. He did a great album called Innocent Eyes. Jeff was the keyboard player on that tour with Graham.

So we decided to do the sessions, and having worked with Crosby Nash and all the people that Don worked with, he basically set up the band.

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