MM: Who would you say your main influences were when you started record?
JB: Well, back in my teenage life at Uni High School we used to go outside on the benches during breaks between classes and start singing. Our friend, Arnie Ginsberg, he had a song he’d written about a girl he knew, Jennie Lee. We like it so much, we wanted to sing it in the school auditorium. We got a piano, and had Arnie banging on the side of it with a stick. And that’s how we got started.
MM: I notice that most people picture you and Dean as a surfing duet. Yet, I detect the makings of a tremendous satire team, if nothing else.
JB: In a way. You have to remember that the surf thing was a long time ago. Today, that surfing sound is still in the music, but on a higher level. We’re not as concerned with the surf itself, as with the basic musical feel.
MM: Do you remember Folk ‘n’ Roll LP?
JB: Yeah, that was one of the last albums we did before my accident.
MM: One song on there, the Universal Coward was the best satire I’ve ever heard. Can you give me some background on it?
JB: Actually that was one of the most easily forgettable songs I’ve ever done.
MM: What about I, which was obviously a take off on Surf City.
JB: We also had a hit called Drag City, if you detect the little parallel there. I think the city syndrome is over with. Now that we’re with A & M Ode Records, we’re working like crazy in the studios now over two songs. I still won’t tell you the A-side yet, but the B-side is That’s The Way It Is.
MM: There was a record released on J&D records in 1967 as Jan & Dean called Louisiana Man. I thought everything on that label was by Dean alone, yet it sounds like you singing on that one. Can you fill me in?
JB: About a week before my accident in 1966, we had just signed with Columbia Records. We did a session that week, and I remember laying down the basic rhythm tracks for that song. I never had the time to put my vocals on it. After the accident, Dean filled in the voice part and released it.
MM: I’ve always felt your best material is that which is least remember. For example, not just your Folk ‘n’ Roll LP, but also the Batman album.
JB: Oh yeah! Roger Christian, a local DJ, helped us out by doing some of the talking parts on the album. Batman was really not at the time, but people didn’t understand our album. So as it ended up, our record was somewhat of a hit, but more not a hit, if you know what I mean. Personally, I fell it’s a great record.
MM: I agree. If anything, you and Dean should be remembered mostly for your contributions to musical satire.
JB: Definetely. That was always our original intention.
MM: What about your Columbia 45, Yellow Balloon? Were you involved with that at all?
JB: No, that was just Dean. It was after my accident, and he just took over. He tried, and I thought it was good. Now he does photography and designs album covers.
MM: Kittyhawk Graphics.
JB: He did the Beach Boys 15 Big Ones album cover, which I thought was very good.
MM: On your Surf City LP, I detect a strong Freddie Cannon influence. Is that true?
PD: Freddie Cannon??
JB: Freddie Cannon! I liked him, expecially when he was recording with Dick Clark for Swan Records. I only met him once, shook hands and said “Hi, how are you?” and that’s about it. He wasn’t a major influence, but he had a basic rock & Roll feel I like. Dick Clark just taped his 25th Anniversary show which I really enjoyed. I was there, along with Sonny & Cher and Cheech & Chong. Cheech & Chong got into a pie fight like Dean and I used to, and I thought that was hilarious.
MM: Speaking of shows, do you remember the TAMI concert?
JB: Sure! Dean and I were the hosts.
MM: Was the TAMI show the same performance that ended upon your Command Performance album?
JB: I’m not sure, but I think it was, for the most part. We had a single from the show. From All Over the World.
MM: Excellent single! Speaking of From All Over the World, do you remember the B-side, Freeway Flyer? It sounded like an attak on the Los Ageles police department. Was this because of something that happened to you personally?
JB: Well, it’s true. I really dislike them (ha), but . . .
PD: Could I interject here? I think anything that Jan recorded was intended to put everyone on - complete satire. I don’t think he ever meant anything against anyone. Just look at their singles. It’s incredible satire, and Freeway Flyer is a prime exampe of it. It’s an early put on protest song.
MM: I’d just like to add one thing. Jan, there is nobody in the history of rock and roll in my book that will ever top Jan and Dean.
JB: But don’t forget Brian Wilson, he's pretty heavy too. If you were to put his songs against mine, I think he’d win. But with me and Dean communicating back and forth, it was really nice.