Twilley's on fire, again
By Thomas Conner
© Tulsa World
The star-studded Spot Music Awards show just added
Dwight Twilley — premier pop-rocker behind such early
hits as "I'm on Fire" and "Girls," — has been added to the bill
of the Nov. 12 concert at the Cain's Ballroom. Twilley will
headline the Tulsa-talent show along with the Tractors and
Admiral Twin. The free concert that night follows a
first-ever VIP awards ceremony honoring Tulsa musicians,
presented by the Tulsa World and its Spot entertainment
Twilley's performance at the Spotniks will reunite him
with original Dwight Twilley Band guitarist Bill Pitcock
IV, who hasn't played on stage with Twilley in nearly 15
years. Pitcock contributed some of his unique guitar work
to Twilley's latest album — Twilley's first new material
since 1986 — entitled "Tulsa."
And "Tulsa" is beginning to get around.
Recorded entirely in Twilley's converted garage studio
in midtown and released this summer on the American indie
label Copper Records, "Tulsa" was picked up just this week by
Castle Music, one of the largest independent record
companies in Europe. The company also has agreed to
distribute "Between the Cracks," a CD collection of rarities
and outtakes from Twilley's entire three-decade career,
released in the United States last month on Not Lame
"We got the deal!" exclaimed Jan Allison, Twilley's wife,
from the canned veggies aisle at the neighborhood
supermarket. She and Twilley were huddled in conference.
Big dinner plans were afoot to celebrate a record deal that
could be the beginning not only of Twilley's long-overdue
comeback but of the much-ballyhooed return of power pop in
"Everyone's been talking about how power pop was going to
make this big return, but it hasn't happened. These people
at Castle are telling me they want my record to lead the
charge," Twilley said. "They've picked up six other bands
from these labels, too, with the intention of starting this
pop revolution in Europe, where they're craving it. I mean,
people are going crazy to get these records over there ...
And if it happens in Europe, then it could more easily
happen here. We tend to take our cues from Europe on what's
cool." Twilley's been releasing occasional vinyl singles
in Europe for about a year through a French label called
Pop the Balloon Records. The label reports that Twilley's
singles have been the most successful sellers in its
Why is the Old World so mad about the boy? It may be the
Elvis Factor: Twilley never toured in Europe. Like Elvis,
Europeans have only heard the buzz about him and been able
to buy records, but they've never gotten to actually see
him. Thus, they clamor after the records with greater
"From their standpoint, I'm just something they've heard
about," Twilley said. "When I had big records here, the first
thing the labels wanted to spend money on was a tour of the
states. We just never got to tour over there. If someone
had said, 'Go play over there,' I would have. It was only
when we set up my web site that I realized how big my
audience is over there ... The worldwide reaction to this
record has made me go, 'Gah!' I guess I'd better get off my
butt and make another one."
Are there songs in the works for another record?
He simply chuckled.
"I always have songs," he said.
"I could make probably two or three records without
writing a single new song. 'Baby's Got the Blues Again' (a
song on 'Tulsa') is an old one that was on the original
demo Phil (Seymour) and I took to Shelter Records. I
thought that was a quirky and bold thing to do, putting it
on the new record. Funny thing is, that's the song that's
been spotlighted in most of the press we've been getting. I
look back and think, 'Well, hell, there's 13 or 14 boxes
with more of those.' That's what I raided to fill up
'Between the Cracks' — which is titled `Volume One,' by the
way. And, I mean, these songs seem to stand the test of
time. I don't think anyone listens to 'Baby's Got the Blues
Again' and says, 'Wow, that's a 20-year-old song.'"
Twilley hopes to mount a European tour soon to capitalize
on his new continental success, but it will take some work
to put it together. He hadn't even planned on playing
locally until the Spot Music Awards came along. "It was only
because of this thing you guys did — paying some attention
to Tulsa musicians — that I decided to play," he said.
In addition to suiting up with Pitcock for the first
time in a long time, Twilley said he's planning some other
surprises for the Spotniks show. Namely, he said he'll
probably sit down at a piano again, "which I haven't done in
years on stage but actually did on this record." Mostly,
Twilley said, he just wants to have a blast. "This thing
is like a special occasion. It's almost a partyish
atmosphere, I think. The key to the whole deal is just to
have a gas so the audience is aware they can have a good
time and see what these wacky Tulsa musicians are all
Also on the bill for the Nov. 12 concert are the Red
Dirt Rangers, Freak Show, the Full Flavor Kings, Brian
Parton and the Nashville Rebels, and Republic Records
recording artist Molly's Yes.
Twilley's "Tulsa" album has been nominated for the Best
National Album award, and Twilley himself is up for Artist
of the Year. Ballots for the awards run each Friday inside
the Spot magazine. The last chance to vote will be the Oct.
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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.