Garfield French

Garfield Interview with Jacob Hansen of Deep Cut Classic Rock

by Garfield
in News


Q: Let’s start off with your background and what kind of musical influences you had?

Garfield: My influence would go really back to Tim Hardin and very early Randy Newman. Back from his very early days. Before Baltimore and all that sort of stuff. Not the Randy Newman you know now as in Hollywood, but the Randy Newman the folk writer from many, many years ago.

Q: The one thing that I was fascinated learning about you is that you used to go into seclusion in different places in Europe before you started the band. How do you think all those trips helped in your musical creativity and were all did you go.

Garfield: One of the places that I chose was the island of Formentera. If you were to research a little bit about Formentera, it’s one of the Spanish islands and you’ll discover that many, many artists including James Taylor. I was watching an interview with James Taylor and James was talking about his Fire and Rain album and he was working in with the Beatles, who were doing the White Album at the time. James was filling in the down sessions over there when the Beatles weren’t in the studio. Well they were there and they ran into a time where the Beatles were going to be in for several days. So the producer came out and said “Hey look why don’t you take off for a little holiday, There is this little place, an island called Formentera.” Taylor talked about what the influence of the island was on him. It was an incredible little place that many, many, many artists were going to. At any rate, I would go in to seclusion for a half a year in the Spanish islands and the other half of the year up in the Swiss Alps.

To put it bluntly, I took a little tape recorder with me. That’s the only thing I had that I spent my money on was the batteries and the tape recorder and the strings. I would just sit and play and play and play. When I first arrived in Europe I had no idea where my voice was or what I was going to sound like or “Geez how can I sing? Who would want to listen to anything I’ve got to do?”

I was really lost. So the way I finally put it down was like a little ladder and I put all these artists that I really loved and respected. You know the Cat Stevens’, the Neil Youngs’. Everybody on and on and on. I put them all in a place and up to Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. I put their voices there and I tried to sit and find a place like “Ok, where can my voice go out there or what do I got to offer? How can I make it fit?” Well I worked there and I worked like crazy and in the end it was just like OK, just use your natural voice, don’t really try to sing just use whatever comes out.

I would go from youth hostel to youth hostel when I was on the move and I would go in at night time. I would go into the washrooms where they had nice echoes in the youth hostels. I would sit and by dawn the washroom were just full of people with blankets wrapped around them and I would just be writing and testing out my songs on them. That’s the sort of things that I did when I was in seclusion.

Plus when I finally came out of seclusion I had an opportunity. This model that I met down on the islands said “Look, if you ever go up to Paris, you should see this Mr. Barclay.” He owned Barclay records of Paris. He was a very big, rich, very rich man. So I wrote a letter to them and I must have been twenty one or something. So I said “I’m going to be passing through town.” How naive. At any rate I passed through Europe and I got into Paris and I’m wearing a cape and a Bob Dylan leather hat and I went right into the studio. I knock on the door and say I’m so and so and they were like “Oh you’re that person that wrote that letter.” I was going from room to room with their receptionist to the A&R reps and they were like “Oh you wrote that letter right?.” Up on. I think in the letter I mentioned something along the lines of “If you happen to have anything I’d like to offer. Maybe we can work something out before I got back to Canada or the United States and then you know.” Oh, I was so young.

Anyway I actually did get a meeting with them and sat down and played some songs for them. They said ‘well the songs are really good but not quite right at this time.” But they were very polite. You know they didn’t hurt my feelings or rupture the fragile little ego of a young artist. They were wonderful and they sent me on my way I felt good about the whole thing. OK I’m going to just go to the next one.

When I finally was ready to come back, I think it was 1973. I was way up in the Swiss Alps in seclusion up there running. All of a sudden I just looked up one night when I was writing and I said I’m done that’s it and I can’t do any more by myself so I came home to Canada. I asked my father for the first loan of many. I said “Dad I need a tape recorder.” I got a big Reebok reel to reel that sounded so beautiful. Small mastering machines that they used to have. I bought one of those and set it up in the basement and then I met Paul O’Donnell who was a friend of the brother of my best friend. As a matter of fact he just reached out and connected with me now and asked to be friends on Facebook. So we’re talking about the next piece of work that I’m doing and getting back together to do it. Chip Yarwood and a few of the others like Jacques Fillion, my best friend and we all have studios in our homes and Jacques almost got the same studio that I have, piece by piece. He follows me so tightly. A big grand piano and everything else. He’s got it all.

At any rate.I came home to Canada. I borrowed money from my dad. Started in the basement and jt kept going from there. Within about six months I had rented a place up across from York University and rented a place on Wildcat there and built a studio in there and there began the band Garfield. That’s where all the rock n roll musicians started coming in and worked them to death and slowly developed the sound. Then I got very, very lucky and met a manager through a last ditch effort at a concert at a masonic temple. The only thing good that came out of it was that a manager called and said “Hey we should get together and that led to the contract with Polygram or Polydore, I can’t remember.

Q: On your first record (Strange Streets), you worked with producer Elliot Mazer. How was working with Elliot? How do you think he did at transferring your live sound to the studio?

Garfield: The Strange Streets was done with producer Elliot Mazer right down in San Francisco. At the time we arrived I was quite excited to work with Elliot Mazer because of his links with Neil Young and other artists. People like Van Morrison dropped in while I was there working and stuff. It was really a terrific atmosphere but the problem was that Eliot. Him and his new wife’s new child had just died. So my arriving at the time that his baby had died, the influence was horrific, he just put everything down and repressed it. It made everything softer and I know it sounded sweet to him and everything in the studio but I was a young artist and I didn’t get it.

At that time we also had the song sundown that was a possibility for recording and he shied away from that. He just made everything softer and he changed so many things. By time I got back home, the way it had been done, my own staff was absolutely furious to say the least.

I felt we work so hard. When we got back the staff said “What the hell happened?” But anyway we got three hits off of it and everything but we weren’t very happy with what Eliot did.

The session should have been halted until he basically recuperated. He should have known better to then to be working with us at that particular time. When he really needed a break to take care of his wife, but that was life. That’s the industry. That’s just the way it goes. Oh

Q: I’ve always been a fan of the song Eyes and Above the Streets from the first album. Describe the inspiration behind the song Eyes.

Garfield: I think Eyes I wrote from a very bad dream I had.

On the spanish island that I was talking about, Formentera and that was a dream that I had one night. Just a bad, bad dream.

Q: During the time of opening for 10CC, the band was noticed and signed to a record deal. Tell me more about deal. Was there any other interested labels at the time? Did you know they were watching you?

Garfield: No, sometimes you would know people were coming. Sometimes your management tells you.But opening for 10CC… Those fuckers tried to do a number on us on the stage come to think of it. They kept trying to turn our volume down and the more they turned the volume down on us the more the crowd appreciated what we were doing. By the end I guess it didn’t seem to matter much because we had a really good night. Everybody was just in sync, We just felt so good.

Q: You guys were known for your elaborate stage shows. Now did you ever run into problems with bands not wanting to play with you, knowing that it would be hard to match up.

Garfield: Yeah, yeah we did. We got fired a couple of times after we would open for them. They would be like “We like you guys it’s really traffic and everything but you know you just aren’t quite compatible with us.” So they let us go right away. We’ve had a few of those.

Q: Who are some of those artists?

Garfield: I don’t want to get into names or anything. Everybody was out there conducting business. I will say this I didn’t have much success with working with British bands. We’ll say that. Gentle Giant? Did we work with them? We had some really rough times. Some really rough times. You know people putting pins through our powers to shut us down. There were there were lots of times where we weren’t the act people expected. When we got into our show people were enjoying it. We had great fans, but there was of course a lot of people that didn’t know what the hell we were doing.

Q: When you got shut down like by those bands do you think that really hurt the momentum you were building?

Garfield: Yeah absolutely.

Absolutely. Of course it makes it more difficult because if you land a tour with an “A” act, of course you float along with them and it gives you all that exposure. Absolutely. But you know we did very well with the first album that way.

When we took the deal with Capricorn and went to Georgia and Alabama and that stuff, that’s when it started to get really political and tough. Of course when the Canadian act leaves the comedian market then WOW. There’s a lot of people trying to put you down.

Q: So you faced a lot of backlash when you signed with Capricorn Records?

Garfield: Polygram Records got upset with us because we chose to tour the U.S. as opposed to touring with them. We had separate contracts. One with Polydor in Canada and one with Capricorn record in the States. The states, the amount of money you know it’s just so much more. I mean four acts today they couldn’t even imagine the kind of money that was floating around then. I think we were doing like fifty grand per album from the Canadian side and I think the contract was about one hundred seventy five thousand for an album and tour with the American side for us. That’s a quarter million dollars right there, right? I lot of money was getting pumped into us.

Q: Who were you touring with when you were playing in the U.S?

Garfield: Mainly we played in the areas that are Capricorn records areas. They were a small label but a highly, well respected label. They only had I believe 12 field staff at the time. They could basically handle one album per month basically for launching products. So if they had a half a dozen acts they could release one a month. So we knew what we were getting into with them but they wanted us to be like an Eagles type sound. When we released today Out There Tonight to them it was really difficult because Canada got pissed off at us for not touring. We didn’t tour until the winter with it. We toured the states first with it. We worked the southern area and also the New York area, but our strengths we’re from the down south area which was the stronghold of our label.

Q: Speaking of strongholds, You were very popular with Joe Anythony of KISS-FM in San Antonio. He played Private Affair quite often.

Garfield: Oh yeah, oh yeah, that was huge. The show that we worked with Budgie down there was probably one of the best shows we ever put on. It was certainly the biggest bloody stage I ever played on. I didn’t know if I could make it to the other side of the stage. It was so big for me. We went out there with our full elaborate stage. We were using gas lamps at the time I think you know, those big antique lamps and I think that I started the show with the song Play It Again Boys and I think I was just sitting on the front edge of the stage under a lamp all by myself and the light slowly came in on me. I sat there and started singing to the audience. To try to bring them into the mood. You know to settle them down into what we were doing and going to give them, because they’re all kind of raucous because they were there to see Budgie. But you know I also had to calm them all down so we started the show off very quietly and then I stood up and you know my brother, back on the drums doing little percussion by making little sounds that would start happening across the stage and I think my brother at the time also had stairs that he would climb, he had bells and all sorts of stuff. So the lights started hitting all these things and I guess it really calmed the people down. So when I said “One more night, time to start the show”, people were in the mood. It‘s like OK what the fuck is this. But it turned out. It was a great show for us. I don’t know if I ever got that high again. It was an amazing night

Q: Were you surprised that Private Affair became so big there?

Garfield: I heard the status that it got so much airplay. It was in very, very high rotation. That’s all I know about it through Chip and all the different people that have reached out to me over the years as a result of this gentleman at the radio station. So we’re very lucky very fortunate he happened to be here.

Q: What was the inspiration for Private Affair?

Garfield: What I’m remembering is we were doing a show in Ottawa and at that time I was still sitting on a chair giving the show and I was still afraid to stand up. So I was still sitting down.

And after the show this girl came up and tucked a note in under my seat and I think the note said “I’m not as good as I once was or as good as one night should be” and it’s from those words from her you know I guess she was asking me to spend the night. Of course it’s from that, that I spent many nights tinkering on the piano. The rest of the story of Jacob and that, I can’t remember at the moment where it came from but I had that part of the story in my head or maybe I wrote it when I was working on that beautiful chorus, those words she gave me. I can’t remember how it all came together but I know that that was something like that. I remember that night for sure because I kept that note for many many years. The story in the song probably happened from family you know and stuff like that. The story being about power trips. You know the whole power trip snd you know what’s going on. Trump and all that shit. Now you know it doesn’t change.

Q: Lets talk about your next two albums, Reason To Be and Flights of Fantasy, how did you feel about those albums?

Garfield: OK, so I am answering this question in a roundabout way. Out there tonight….I’ll just tell you the truth exactly as it happened to me back then.

With Out There Tonight. I had my own engineer and my own staff when we went to wishbone studios with Capricorn records. I had free hand to write the material and to record it. When we did Out There Tonight, we put the producer and everybody out of the room. I had my own engineer Terry Woodford was on the road in my studio with me, Gideon and myself, we stayed down there for almost three months putting it together. What would happen is they would leave the studio and I would take the night shift.

There were a lot of people down there at the time. Different people running through there like Wayne Newtons’ and just tons and tons of different crowds and musicians and people coming from everywhere just to use the studios because it was pretty famous down there at time. At any rate I took the night session because that’s when I got to work the most. Gideon, my own engineer and I would send everybody else home. We would set up the studio the way I wanted and the control room and home.We wrote the album Out There Tonight and then I slowly called the musicians, one at a time I brought them and would familiarize them with things that they didn’t know because a lot of it they did know already. Then we laid it down. We brought back in the other people, Woodford & Ivey, the people we paid the money to produce it. But really I produced that one with Gideon.

Because I didn’t want the sound change I was so terrified of what Eliot Mazer did, that I didn’t want it to happen a second time. I couldn’t handle that and neither could the band. So Out There Tonight became the sound that was Garfield. That came out and I don’t know what came out of that in terms of that for singles or whatever. So then we had a second album to do so we came back for a second album with Capricorn. So we went back to Wishbone Studios again. This time I got even more demanding. I felt good, we all felt good about Out There Tonight. So I went in the studio and really worked hard with Gideon and myself and that’s it. We were inside the studio for a long time. For this album, I wrote a lot of it down here. Now when I brought all the people back in. While I was there I wrote all the strings and everything. We had an arranger come in and I would hum all the lines of all the things I wanted because I didn’t write music myself so I’d hum it to the arranger and then he’d write it all down. Then we went to Woodlands Studio in Nashville we recorded all the strings for it. It was a full orchestra, man. I had everything I wanted on that album, which is an album nobody ever heard.

Then we got it done…The heads of Capricorn wanted to come in to have a listen. So they flew in one day and the idiot engineers were sitting outside playing craps against a wall when all the heads and the rest of the crew came in. It was not a really good image. Well they came in there and they listened to it, they nodded their heads saying “uh, huh” and then they left. The Next thing I know, I’m fired. It was not what they wanted and so they fired us right there. Everything right then and there.

So then I get sent back to Canada. My manager grabbed me and was like “Boy, you’re going to listen now.” So all I had left then was Polygram. Polygram insisted that I use a producer of theirs. That ended up becoming the Reason To Be album. I was sent into Montreal to record this album. More to redo this album that I had done at Wishbone for Capricorn. I was sent into Montreal to redo the album. Only this time.. the producer was going to say which songs I would record and which songs would go on to the album. I was under so much pressure. So I went into the recording studio with just the producer and myself. He said “Ok, play me the songs for the album and I’m going to grade them with a five star system. That sort of thing.I’m really pissed off at this point in time, because I was so proud of what we did there in the states. But they just hated it but that’s a long story I can get into later. So anyway, I took the songs from the ones that I got fired for down south and I played the same songs to him. This is the first time that he’s ever heard them. I played them to him and he marked them with his star rating. Down south I got fired for one song in particular for doing it and this producer gives it five stars. The song I got fired for from one label, this guy gives it five stars. I just laughed to myself. But once he found out that I got fired for it, they were removed it. So I never did record it. It was a lot of politics, an incredible amount of politics. So I did the album Reason To Be. Off of that came From Buffalo to Boston. You know your airplay shit. So was I happy? No.

I had gotten fired again before I even started the Flights Of Fantasy album. Flights of fancy fan fancy. I didn’t have a label. So I said screw it and I gathered up the money and recorded the album. I then borrowed more money and flew to England to mix it in the Trident studios over there with Genesis. My lawyers called and said Polygram would like to come in from England and see what you’re doing.I said “I don’t give a shit.” So they came in and said “Oh,Garfield oh geez this is much better” blah blah blah blah blah. But tt was the only offer I had. So I wound up resigning with them to try to recoup my losses and pay back the people for all the money I borrowed from them. Then Polygram turned around and it was just a bad, bad situation because I had fired my manager. He was married to one of the women in Polygram. So they bought the album off me and put the album on the shelf. They made lots and lots of promises but they put the album on the shelf. So at that point I walked away from the industry, closed the door and never said goodbye to anybody. That was it. It was tough

Q: You talked about the third album with Capricorn that was never made. Is there any recordings of the way you made it for Capricorn still out there?

Garfield: I kept one copy of it and then I lost track of it through the years.I’m serious. We were just in love with it. But back to Capricorn. What happened there is that when we went to Capricorn records, every other Canadian band under the sun flooded into Capricorn records. Remember I told you how Capricorn only had a certain amount of staff to put out records. Well they wound up signing three or four other Canadian acts after us. They all pushed to go there after seeing us sign with them.

This is a fact now because I’ve reviewed it through history in Google that on everything else. Capricorn records had two vice presidents. So a small company with two vice presidents. The head of Capricorn was a guy named Phil Walden. Phil Walden was known for Otis Redding, Allman Brothers and all those people. That was his baby. He started this label. But in time, he got more into things like the governor’s picnics down there. All that stuff that he hosted by the label, which was based in Macon, Georgia. So I mean they had governors, Jimmy Carter, and people like that came by all the time. Anyway they had two vice presidents because of some deal that they made. You know you can’t have two vice presidents in a little label. There’s the fighting, “Oh I want this act” and “I want this act.”

What they wound up doing at Capricorns, years prior to them coming in and firing me was both of these vice presidents had hired a bunch of different acts. Too many acts for that little label to handle. They put out too much money. Also the infighting was going on amongst the vice presidents. Phil Walden was off in New York City getting involved in politics up there. So nobody was home watching the chickens. So I guess they wound up spending too much money and they bankrupted the label. Within six months of them firing me and refusing to pay the bills,the label was bankrupt.

So their firing me really was probably the bad vice president who didn’t like me getting his way. I was out the door and and they didn’t pay the bills. I never did have the luck. Some people have a lot of luck with things and I’m sure in other ways I’ve had great luck in my life but when it came to the recordings we never seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

When we recorded the very first album Strange Streets. The Canadian label Polygram, they really worked for us. They were busting their hump. Because like I said my A&R rep was married to my manager. So they were really busting their hump which is how I got three top ten singles off that album.

But then there was a meeting even with that first album. We went from Polygram to Mercury who signed us in the states right? There was a meeting where somebody called me down to Chicago or someplace. It was launching, a meeting. Freddy Heintz or something like that, who was the head of the label. He was flying in from England for this particular get together. Now this was my launching of my album. But this president came in and basically ignored me. He went straight into his pitch and saying “This year it’s Oxygen. I’ve met those boys as they all came into my office in England.” All he talked about was the band Oxygen, no word of Garfield and his new album. Oxygen which of course their album turned gold but the Candaians were allowed to play with their little budgets but when it came down to it England had the final say. Garfield doesn’t get the displays, oxygen gets the displays. “I like those boys, had them in my office they were fun” blah blah blah. I didn’t have that little bit of luck,that timing it takes to get one of those big boys behind you.

Also I didn’t have a very good manager. When I was on tour with Capricorn, the very first tour. We were giving a show and the people who set up all of the tour were flown in to see one of my shows. Afterwards we were told “You have a great show and these tour people coming in from the states they’re going to be setting up your tour.”. So we gave the show and did the best we could do. After the show, my manager came backstage and say “You know those guys expected me to give them drugs! They wanted coke! They wanted me to supply them coke! You think I was going to do that?” We were sitting there saying “Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Where are they? Go back to their hotel! You asshole!” Back in those days you had to take care of them. They expected it, the blow, the everything. Our manager was straightlaced but he blew it. We ended up getting the small tour and not the big tour

Q: At those times and you notice how big of an opportunity you missed?

Garfield: We realized at the time things were going wrong. But it’s like what what do you do? That is my biggest failing. I was lousy at business. I was so just into the art. That’s all I ever wanted to do was write these songs. It’s like when I got in the studios at Wishbone, I’d go in and work as hard as I could to produce what I think is the sound that I would want to have represent me and the band. That was where my head was at. The people I trusted to be in front of me and control finance and all of the rest of it, I was sort of betrayed by them. That’s why in the end I just walked out. That meant the lawyers on the US side in New York and the lawyers in Canada. The ones in Canada who when I asked about money would say “Oh yeah we got a check for X amount of dollars here” and I said ?Where the hell is it.” They would reply “Oh well we just applied it to your account”, what account? That was the way of the business. It sucked, it really sucked.

So now I just have my studio paid for by me and I work in it and I’m happy. Nobody tells me what to do. One of the things I love about today is the fact that if you want to do something you can do it. There are many ways to do it. I really do feel sorry for for the acts today. I just don’t know how they can even do it.

There’s so much less falling through the cracks. There’s nothing out there. It’s just like working for peanuts. I hear of a bunch of guys who want to play, really good musicians that get together and they make fifty bucks for the night. Like how can you do it?

I look back and I’ve lost so many members of my band to women.

Because we couldn’t supply them with a decent paycheck. So the women would tell them that Yyou can’t have relationship, you ever get off the road. You got to be responsible.” It was bad then but can you imagine how it is now? It’s just not fair!

You have to hold down a full time job or whatever and then try to be a musician. But the one positive thing now is that for very little money, you can produce something. But I got to think that it’s a thousand times tougher than it was in my day.

Q: Now you were talking about that after Flights Of Fantasy that you just left the industry. Now is this before or after the band played their last show opening for Rush?

Garfield: That was a nice night. It was a really good night. It was a really good show too. You call it opening for Rush but that’s not how it was presented to me. Garfield in Montreal couldn’t quite sell out the full thing and Rush at that time couldn’t sell the full place so they wanted us to take them. Yes we would be the opening but we had a lot of massive fans.

Rush wanted to make sure it sold out because remember that was their most popular tour as well. Their biggest album and the most popular tour.

It was great for them. That Montreal show, I never looked at as an opening. I remember that I hired a saxophone player who I put on a cube that must have been twenty feet up in the air. All dressed in a top hat. I was a fun night. I was a great show. I had an absolutely incredible time with that show you know walking out with all the lights and everything. Like I said out biggest crowd was in Canada was in Montreal. So walking out there was just an amazing night for us. Then when I finished the show and I went backstage, we felt so great and then the label came back in.

I think was Bob Ansel, he was the A&R or whatever with Polygram or Polydor at the time. He says “That was great but why were you wearing leather up there?” SO finally I was like “fuck this”.

Because everything had gotten so tight and so hard and we’ve been squashed down so much. That for whatever reason I in my head just knew it was the last show.

Q: So you never know before the show that you were going to call it?

Garfield: No. I didn’t know. I knew there was an awful lot of pressure from musicians and on tour we lost engineers and electricians and musicians. When we were in Dallas on tour. That’s where I lost Chip Yarwood. I’m not going to say what he did but I never saw Chip after that until about two years ago. Jacques had his heart stopped and they had to fly in get cash in to try to keep him alive. So any rate we were down in Dallas and I’d flown in to do promo and somewhere else in Texas and I was having a great time by myself. The trucks pull in the next day to set up for the show and they tell me that I’m down two men.

We go onstage that night with holes in the show all over the goddamn place. You can’t fill these holes from these musicians. It’s impossible. So we would be going along playing a song and there there and there would be a dead spot. I don’t know how we got through the night. Seriously.

Q: It was a heck of an audible you had to call at that point.

Garfield: Oh my God it was unbelievable. I swear to you. The stress level was off the charts. I don’t even remember how we made it through that night. You know we sat in the back during the afternoon when the trucks came in and said “Ok how do we do this? Let’s look at the list of the songs, where are some holes?

Who can fill what?” It was brutal,it was brutal.

I can honestly say we didn’t have we didn’t have a lot of the luck, that I think is necessary because it certainly was not hard work on behalf of any of the musicians that were with me or myself. I had a dream. They fell into line with that dream and they gave it their all. As long as they could. Just like me, I gave it everything. And then in the end I was sued multiple times by my manager which he lost all the time. But it was very stressful and it was just terrible.

Q: Was there ever any live recordings ever recorded of the band?

Garfield: I’m sure that there were but I never saw anything. I had a bunch of live tapes and I know when I called the studios and whatnot, and of course Wishbone which had the best stuff the stuff that we put down. The albums Out There Tonight and the next one. That’s what I wanted but then they’re closed and there’s no tape left. But there were masters from all the different things according to them so I called Universal and Universal said “That was long ago and the tapes have all corroded. Yes you own the Masters but we can’t find them.” That’s what they said. The storage was not temperature controlled and then somebody must have taken them because they’ve been misplaced. That kind of thing.

Q: You were talking about your recording studio in your house. Any chance you’re going to release any of those songs to the public?

Garfield: Yes I will be.

Q: So you’re working on a new album now?

Garfield: Yeah. The thing is I took a long time off. I recorded. an album fifteen to twenty years ago. It was an unhappy album. It was a snapshot of my dad and his demise from cancer. It was not a good thing. There were family politics.But I wrote this album because I felt it was necessary. My own family never particularly liked it. But yet when Jacques heard it he said “Oh my God, that’s us.” When my cousins and such heard it they said “That’s exactly what I’d expect out of Garfield.” I said “Well fuck, my family hates but you guys that have listen to it love it.” See the album was all done by me. All the instruments, everything. I just did it myself.

So at any rate, I did that album. I actually put a couple of cuts called December Roads about six months ago quietly on youtube.

I intend to get what I’m working on now, even if it’s one or two of the songs. I will open the website properly. I spent the money and built the website for the new material and everything and then I wasn’t ready because the learning curve. For me coming from old school to this and working with totally virtual equipment now. I switched over from working with all the microphones and the instruments and everything else down to literally trying to work with a small virtual studio now. So I use a grand piano as the main instrument. I then have everything else set up all around me but it’s all virtual. I use Universal Audio which their store supplies me with every piece of equipment I want right down to two inch tape units, but the equipment is all virtual. I actually love working this way. It gives you about 95-98% of the quality and a lot less money and takes up less space.

I’ve spent an awful lot of money to get to this point but I’m just about a point now where I can float tracks down to my new drummer, this or that to various musicians and say “Ok, put this on for me. Let’s have a listen. See what we’ve got.”

But at some point I’ll just open up the website very quickly and I’ll take the albums and put them all under one thing and say there it is.

Q: What was your favorite album?

Garfield: The album I loved the most was out there tonight.

The lead up to that album, should have been the breakout album far as I was concerned. Strange Streets had the elements in it, but the producer with his baby dying turned it into this squashed down soft thing. If that had been wide open and not compressed like it should have been, it would have been a really good breakout album. Then I think Out There Tonight would have gone a step further and the third album that I got fired for would have been the cleanup album for us. But things just didn’t work out that way. But the way I write now is really you know I basically write how I’m feeling. So I don’t think one can really tell what things are going to sound like until they’re out there and they’re finished. I’ve written three albums worth of new material now so once I figure this shit out, I’ll be able to just release, release, release. Just like that. The newer material for me sounds like Out There Tonight but just more modern but just that same blend as Out There Tonight. It’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that with some stories thrown in. I like that flavor of the album.

But like I said I needed more experience in production. Had I had a producer with me that was qualified to work in that vain.

Terry Woodford & Clayton Ivey just didn’t know what my music was. That’s why I put him out of the studio. They were like “What is this shit? We write nashville twang and disco.” But such as life.

I will keep you posted and let you know when I’m ready to release my music again.

Comments (4)

  • Catherine Ramat

    That was such a treat, and so interesting! I so enjoyed hearing Garfield talk about his beginnings with the band and all the different anecdotes of fun or hardships. Hard to believe this genius band got so screwed over, and to get fired for writting the album that is now called Lost in the Shoals is beyond me. What a shame that artists have to deal with all the bs of the business end of it. Thank goodness Garfield French is back, happy doing things on his own, his way! Out there Tonight was and still is one of my all time favorite albums.

  • Helen Simpson

    I’m extremely happy to learn you are back. It’s been many years since I last spoke to you my friend. Welcome back….

  • Jeff

    Just picked up a copy of Strange Streets at a used record store in Oakville Ontario. I know Garfield said he was not happy with the album, but I thinks it’s a great album.

  • Frank Miele

    What a treat indeed! Great hearing Garfield. I am happy to finally see him out there doing what he is meant to do. Can’t wait to hear his new material. My favourite albums are out there tonight and strange streets, brings me back to a wonderful sound and lyrics that I miss. I only saw you once in concert at the Sundowner in Niagara Falls ( summer 1977), never forgotten our chat. Hope to see you soon on stage. Keep us up to date.

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