Officially Endorsed By Dean O. Torrence (c)2004-2014 MGA
Updated whenever we can!!!
MM: You say the kids here are receptive to you. Unfortunately, back in the Midwest, where I’m from, most kids worry more about peer group pressure, and trying to appear “hip” by following whatever’s trendy, like Kiss and Aerosmith. From what you tell me, Dean, I guess kids here aren’t like that.
DT: They were maybe two or three years ago. But California is pretty progressive. It’s too relaxed here to worry about things like that. The basic idea of Papa Doo Run Run sounded pretty gross to me at first. I didn’t think the younger kids would be receptive. But look how well Beach Boys repackages have sold. And you saw the audience at the Forum New Year’s Eve. You, Jan, myself and the Beach Boys were probably the oldest people there. The guys in Papa Doo Run Run are in their early to late twenties, but they could pass for teenagers, I think that’s extremely important.
MM: How did Pap Doo Run Run get started?
DT: Three of the guys were together for about six years. They were originally a quartet. The fourth guy left, because he didn’t like the band’s image, and they came to me. I sort of became their director. They added two new kids, and it’s worked out perfectly. We opened up for the Monkees about a year ago.
MM: Oh really? You mean Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart?
DT: Yeah. They were excellent. I was curious to see whether or not the Monkees had figured out their situation. My point of view was to keep it young and refreshing. The Monkees is still a good enough name, it’s not all that dated.
MM: Most early Monkees records go for phenomenal prices among record collectors.
DT: Sure! It’s good stuff. I was very interested to see what would happen between the Monkees and us on stage. But as far as their philosophy goes, they didn’t appear to have thought it out. They just seemed to have been hurriedly trying to do their best with their hits, instead of worrying about trying to attract a new audience. I looked at the Monkees and saw that they added in Boyce and Hart. I thought “so what!” To you or I, they are a well respected songwriting team. But the younger kids have never heard of them! They even look like they’re in their late thirties. Dolenz and Jones could just as easily have added to guys in their younger twenties that would be excited to death to be on stage with the Monkees. Keith Allison was OK when he tried, but everyone else just didn’t fit.
MM: The Monkees played Pine Knob near Detroit last summer to a crowd of mostly 18-19 year olds. The response was just like the Beatles in ’64, screaming, stage rushing and all. Incredible!
DT: Right! There is a market for it, and the Monkees should take advantage of it. Papa Doo Run Run can draw large crowds at Disneyland every day for a whole summer, and I think the Monkees could, too. There’s some magic in the kind of music both groups do that the younger people just don’t get tired of.
MM: Don’t misunderstand me, I mean this as a very high compliment, but it seems that groups like Pap Doo Run Run, the Monkees, Jan & Dean, the Beach Boys and the Rip Chords are the only universal outlet of the middle class white culture.
DT: That’s exactly what I’m shooting at all the time! That’s where the strength is. That’s what I like about Papa Doo Run Run. They were playing this music even three or four years ago, when nobody else did. Even when they were called the Goody Two Shoes, or the Zoo, or some other typical 60’s name they used to go by. They’d be up on stage playing Jimi Hendrix’s Watchtower, then all of a sudden break into FunFun Fun, and the crowd went wild! The thing I do like about the seventies is that the musical barriers are finally being broken.
MM: Do you remember when you and Jan got into a water fight with Paul Revere and the Raiders on Where the Action Is?
DT: No, but I remember having a giant cake fight with them. That’s the kind of on-stage outrageousness we wanted. We were very interest in sharing a good time.
MM: Would you say many of the classic groups of the sixties were major influences in the Jan and Dean recording career?
DT: We drew on people like the Mamas and Papas, the Lovin Spoonful and Paul Revere and the Raiders for aesthetic inspiration, but my personal favorites are R&B groups like the Dell Vikings and the Five Satins. I also really like Dion and the Belmonts. Brian Wilson stepped in and made us realize that we could do all those harmony parts, too.
MM: I met the Belmonts a couple of months ago. Their performance was impeccable!
DT: I have an album by them that’s probably one of my top five all time favorites. All acapella.
MM: Cigars, Accapella, Candy?
DT: That’s it! I love Street Corner Symphony and Rock and Roll Lullaby. I had Papa Doo Run Run over to my house to listen to the LP. They loved it, and we might even be doing some of those songs on stage. We do Teenager In Love, and the kids love it. I’d hate to get into a self parody think like Flash Cadillac.
MM: Still, Flash Cadillac represents the 50s visual image, but their music lately has taken on the ’66-’67 punk sound, like the Seeds or the Standells.
DT: I noticed, and I think that’s really good. I loved their last single. If I was managing that group, I’d get rid of those outfits. Psychologically, they’re making fun of the music dressing like that. Papa Doo Run Run just dresses like any kid in Malibu, and plays the music as honestly as it can. We’d like to release original material in that same vein. We’re not with RCA anymore. Now we’re looking for a smaller label that can give us more push.
MM: Whatever happened to your old partner, Arnie Ginsberg?
DT: Arnie and I went to USC together. About the time of Jan’s accident, he got a scholarship for industrial design to go to the University of Moscow. The last I heard, he was in Iceland. He was a very talented guy.
MM: Were you involved on any of the Arwin records?
DT: Just Jennie Lee, that was it.
MM: How did your expression “my landy” originate?
DT: There was an old washer commercial Jan really liked, where one guy used that expression. So it just stuck.
MM: Did you have self-parody in mind on the song like Scholck Rod?
DT: Well, I did most of the high part on that. Jan had a limited vocal range. He did most of the “bomps” on our early songs. When the bomps stopped, he had to fill in where he could. We alternated back and forth on Scholck Rod. We cut it at 3 in the morning, and we were all tired, and didn’t really care. Anything we did spontaneously was usually a parody. That LP was one of my favorites.
MM: On the same LP, “Drag City,” I notice a song called I Gotta Drive that is almost identical to a version on Colpix by the Matadors. Any connection?
DT: It’s the same track with a different intro. The Matadors backed us up on the “Drag City” album.
MM: What about your records released in the late 60’s on Warner Brothers?
DT: That was old tracks by both of us that never got released until then.
MM: Why did you release the Gotta Take That One Last Ride” LP in mono?
DT: I like mono. I wanted to return to that. When I re-mixed those tracks, I heard so much in there I’d forgotten about. I did the cover for that one, too.
MM: How many LP covers have you done for Kittyhawk Graphics?
DT: About 300, but I’d only admit to about 50 of them. I did Mike Nesmith’s first LP cover. He has a new LP coming out on his label, distributed by Island Records.
MM: Would you do concerts with any of the Monkees or Beach Boys again?
DT: Maybe as just a one-night stand. I really respect Mike as a brilliant musician. I thought Listen To The Band was a phenomenal recording. I think Mike Nesmith and Rick Nelson were the pioneers of country-rock. I did a logo for Rick Nelson. I’m also doing the cover of the new Beach Boys LP, which will be called “The Beach Boys Love You.” I’m on a couple of the tracks.
MM: You see all of the Beach Boys a lot, don’t you?
DT: We’re pretty good friends. I played basketball with Stan Love, Mike’s brother, and Brian Wilson last night. Brian is like a Mack truck without brakes. We always got along because we had the same subtle, dry sense of humor. Brian learned a lot of electronic wizardry from Jan, who recorded our entire Dore LP in his garage with a home tape recorded. And we all borrowed from each other’s sense of humor.
MM: What can you tell me about the Dean Torrence of today?
DT: My dad? Oh you mean me? Well, I’ll be at work until 5. Then at precisely 5:20 I’ll go visit my mom, then I have to leave to be at the YMCA to play volleyball. And that’s the Dean Torrence of today.
MM: By that same token, did the Beach Boys appear on any Jan & Dean records, other than the few cover versions you did of their songs on the Take Linda Surfin’ LP?
DT: Well, just Brian Wilson did. I hear more lead from Brian on Surf City than I do from Jan. Brian and I sing lead on Barbara Ann, but I stick out farther than him. I don’t even sing on the song Surf City, Brian also sang on Drag City and Dead Man’s Curve.
MM: Would you consider recording again with the Beach Boys?
DT: Yeah, We’ve considered it.
MM: I suppose I have to ask the inevitable. Do you see a Jan and Dean reunion in the near future?
DT: No. I’d like to keep that in my past, because I don’t feel a reunion between us would be that good. Artistically, musically, and visually I don’t think it would be as good as it used to.
MM: I saw Jan in concert last night at the Golden Bear, and he put on a fantastic show. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what to expect from Jan, but I was very impressed. He did a tremendous show. He sends his best, by the way.
DT: Oh, we get along fine, don’t misunderstand me! It took many years for Jan to realize that it’s nothing personal. I’ll do anything I can to help him, which I have. It’s just that I don’t see any future in it because Jan wants to play clubs, like in Las Vegas. I don’t want to work for any audience over 20. I don’t like it. Maybe an average age of 20 is OK, but it’s really the younger people that come in droves, with enthusiasm. I don’t want to play for a bunch of older people that just politely clap between songs. That doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. Since I’ve been working with my new band, Papa Doo Run Run, it’s all been high schools. High school kids are so much more receptive. They don’t look at it as a “blast from the past,” since they’re not old enough to remember our records when they were new. They just get hysterical over the music for what it is.