Backstage Pass: Barry Tashian of the Remains

A band that was destined for big things, The Remains called it quits way too soon.

RemainsDc-01-01.jpgOn the strength of four sparkling, yet rambunctious, pop-rock singles released between 1965 and 1966, the band ? featuring lead singer/guitarist Barry Tashian, bassist Vern Miller, keyboardist Bill Briggs and drummer Norm Smart (who replaced original drummer Chip Damiani) ? secured the opening slot on what turned out to be the last tour The Beatles ever did.

An LP was in the works for Epic but was delayed by the label. When it finally did come out, the Remains were a band in name only. All had moved away from their Boston home to other parts of the country.

But, in 2002, the Remains launched a comeback with a firecracker of a new album, Movin? On.
Now, in 2007, comes The Remains, a greatest hits package that includes 10 songs from the band?s only LP and another 10 songs they recorded for CBS in 1965-66.

Tashian talked with Goldmine about the band?s history.

Goldmine: In the liner notes, you talk about how the mid-?60s was a magical time to make records. What was it about the era that fostered musical artistry?

Barry Tashian: The mid-?60s was an energetic era. Front-page news dealt with racial issues, the drug culture, anti-war issues and sexual freedom. Revolutions were in progress, which spawned tremendous creative energy in all the arts.

Young artists were expressing themselves about these issues.
With the British Invasion, the air was filled with new music declaring freedom from constraints of the past. New forms and sounds were being created. The crooners of the past were gone. The Remains? music was a departure from older musical codes. We wrote songs in free form. Our amplifiers increased in size. Angst was invented. Creative bands abounded!

Critics like Jon Landau have maintained that the Epic album, as great as it was, did not match your live show. Do you agree?

BT: I wouldn?t say that one is better than the other; they are different, but both are legitimate. There are some Epic studio recordings that are wild, for example: ?You Got A Hard Time Coming; ? ?Once Before;? ?Time of Day;? ?Me Right Now;? and ?Don?t Look Back.?

Somehow, these miraculously bypassed the engineers? repeated warnings to ?turn it down!?
On the other hand, the Sundazed CD A Session with The Remains is a great example of our live sound. On stage, we were pretty wild. It was not as easy in the studio. The stage and the studio are vastly different places.

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