BY THOMAS CONNER
© Tulsa World
There's so much to do before leaving home to tour the nation in a rock 'n' roll band.
"I gotta bet batteries, strings, a foot pedal. There's hotel rooms to square away. Orders from the web site have to go out. A magazine wants a photo to go with an interview I just did. And who's gonna feed the turtles?"
This is an exasperated but excited Dwight Twilley. The Tulsa-based rocker hits the road this weekend — after a Saturday night appearance at Uncle Buddy's Roadshow in Claremore — for the first time in 15 years — since touring with Greg Khin.
Not only is he returning to the road — to support last year's CD release, "The Luck" — but he's heading out as the Dwight Twilley Band. The group heads through the Midwest before planning East and West coast legs.
Why is he touring again after all this time? It's business.
"We got roasted on 'The Luck,' " he said this week. "It's the first record on a label I own (Big Oak Recordings), we had a really good record to release, and we get it out there two weeks before 9-11. We'd done lots of prep work for it, but after that we were all just a bunch of zombies. So this tour is us going out to wave the flag and say, 'Hey, remember this record we put out?' "
The slimmed-down Dwight Twilley Band for this jaunt includes original guitarist Bill Pitcock IV, early drummer Jerry Naifeh and longtime bassist (and Nashville Rebel) Dave White.
The origin of the smaller ensemble has its roots in the recording sessions for Twilley's '99 "Tulsa" album.
"We've been doing the big show for so long, with the double drummers and everything, but there was a point during 'Tulsa' when just me and Jerry and Pitcock, no bassist, were goofing around and tracking it, and everyone looked at each other and thought it was pretty cool," he said. "So we thought we'd do the stripped-down thing for the tour — get rid of the bells and whistles and just leave the train."
The band is also rehearsing what Twilley called "the unthinkable" — a cover. He would not, however, tell us what song it is.
"I was thinking about Leon (Russell) doing that Rolling Stones song ('Jumpin' Jack Flash'), how he took a really standard song and really made it a Leon original. We've taken a standard like that and made it totally Twilley. I don't think I want to tell you what it is. I don't think it'll even be that noticeable. It'll probably sound like another Twilley song. Carl Perkins wrote it, as far as I know.
"I once did 'Money.' It's the only cover I ever recorded — the B-side to 'Somebody to Love.' It got massive airplay for a while, back in '79, and we loved playing it in the set because, for a while, people actually threw money onstage during the song. I remember Pitcock playing a solo that he couldn't tear his hands away from, and he was keeping this 20-dollar bill on his shoe. Some people threw checks — and they were good."
Twilley had Top 10 hits in '75 with "I'm on Fire" and '84 with "Girls." He was voted Artist of the Year at the first Spot Music Awards in '99.
These online "clips" reproduce a self-selection of my journalism (music etc) during the last 20+ years. It's a lotta stuff, but it only scratches the surface. I do not currently possess the time or resources to digitize the whole body of work. These posts are simply a bunch of pretty great days at the office.