For the full story
behind the Raspberries reunion, check out “Raspberries TONIGHT!,” a
100-page, full-color book crammed with band interviews, rare photos and
memorabilia. The book is available for $24.95.
Click here to order yours now at www.ericcarmen.com
Chapter 1: I Can Remember ? A Brief History of Raspberries
From pages 13-20 of ?Raspberries TONIGHT!?
by Bernie Hogya and Ken Sharp
In the early 1970s, bands like Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead occupied the current rock and roll market. Horn bands influenced by Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago and progressive rock outfits inspired by Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes sprung up everywhere.
Eric Carmen recognized that a huge void existed for the kind of music that he had admired, emulated and played for his whole life. He longed to be in a band that would lovingly trace the steps of his beloved ?60s rock brethren, rekindling the glory days of the Beatles, the Who and the Beach Boys.
That year, Jim Bonfanti called.
Eric and Jim were the brain trust behind this grand concept. Their new band would effect a head-on collision with the local progressive rock scene.
Beards and 20-minute solos were out. Matching suits and a Beatles-flavored sound were in.
Celebrating the timeless power of an immaculately crafted pop song, this new band, specializing in two-part and four-part harmonies, would prove to be the antithesis of the stoner hippie generation.
The band?s first official lineup included Eric on rhythm guitar and keyboards, Jim on drums, Wally Bryson on lead guitar and John Aleksic on bass ? in lieu of Dave Smalley, the group?s first choice, who was serving in Vietnam.
They had such a difficult time deciding on a name for the new group that they actually began rehearsing and booking gigs without one.
One day, Eric came to rehearsal with what he felt was a particularly good one, and in the process, accidentally came up with something better.
?We were trying to name the band,? recalls Eric, ?and I came up with some horrible name, like the Electric Lime or something, and they started throwing stuff at me, so I said, ?Aw, raspberries!? Everyone said, ?All right, why not??
?History will record that the very first song Raspberries ever played onstage was ?I?ve Got a Feeling? by the Beatles. It was Oct. 16, 1070, at Cyrus Erie in North Ridgeville, Ohio.
?The first important gig we played was at the Angora,? remembers Eric.
?On our first visit to the club, they had a band playing to a crowd of about 20 people in a club that could hold upwards of 1,500.
?We told the owner that we wanted to play there and that we wanted Sunday nights.
?Within a short six weeks, we were pulling more than 1,000 people a night. It was magical. We owned the place.?
Without question, Raspberries were destined for greatness, but their long journey to stardom was only beginning, with one member left standing at the side of the road. By March of ?71, John Aleksic was out of the band.
?John Aleksic was in the band for three months,? says Jim. ?He was gone by the end of the year. That following April, Dave was home from the service, so he joined us.?
?I had retired from the music at the tender age of 18,? recalls Dave. ?I had been working for two or three years in a number of bands ? first the Mods and then the Choir, which had a Top 40 hit with ?It?s Cold Outside.?
?I retired because my throat was