ETHOS


Pre-Fame Interview
Summer 1973, for MTSU

Written 2010 Linden Ave Nashville
Voiceovers recorded Anderson Trailer, Millersville TN


VICTOR: Well, the amazing thing is that nobody's heard of us, y'know the name and all is the thing, and it's the name that people should seem to ask us about.

WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE MUSIC?

ROGER: The name?

STEVIE: The name is ETHOS.

(cue up music: "Radios")

YOU SAY THE NAME OF YOUR SOUND IS ETHOS? BUT WHAT DOES ETHOS MEAN?

VICTOR: I'll be level with you. I don't think the definition is as important as what the music conveys.

BILLY: Everybody always seems to ask us that.

STEVIE: We––are––probably, what, the greatest unknown band in the world, and by coincidence, we speak to, where?, Murfreesboro–– trying once again to convey...

VICTOR: A new excitement!? Is this 1973 or 1983?

AS FAR AS I KNOW IT'S STILL 1973, BUT, GETTING BACK TO THIS 'NEW EXCITEMENT' THAT YOU WERE MENTIONING...

(cue up music: "What A Waste Of Time")

...WHEN DID YOU ALL DECIDE THAT YOUR MUSIC WAS WORTH RECKONING WITH? THAT THIS NEW SOUND THAT YOU'VE DEFINITELY CREATED WAS TO ADD BUT ANOTHER DIMENSION TO THE SO-CALLED RISING FOCUS OF AMERICAN STYLE ROCK MUSIC–– IF I MAY REPEAT THE QUESTION, WHEN DID IT ALL BEGIN?

STEVIE (to Vic): Do you wanna answer that, Vic?

VICTOR: No, that's okay...

STEVIE: Lessee... Roj, Billy and I went to Madison High School together, and one day a year later I suddenly met Victor from New York City, and we teamed to form this style's roots. Vic wrote and sang like Cat Stevens/Paul McCartney and I arranged and rocked it up a little bit with electric guitar...

(cue music up: "What A Waste Of Time" guitar solo)

...it went on and on and on, we formed a group called Goods with Rogo singing with us and did an album which never caught a record label's attention. Naturally, the material and maturity grew and grew and this year it's Ethos.

VICTOR: Roger, or Rogo, is the featured vocalist, and Billy A. completes the roundness of the sound with vocals and keyboards. But what's really strange is this: we have no drummer or bass player.

ROGER: Yeh. So there's no so-called "touring band". On the record, Stevie plays bass and drums in addition to electrics.

WELL, IF YOU ACQUIRED A DEMAND FOR A LIVE BAND OF ETHOS MUSIC, WHO'D PLAY (THE MISSING INSTRUMENTS)? ALTHOUGH STEVE PLAYS MORE THAN ONE INSTRUMENT IN THE STUDIO, HE OBVIOUSLY WOULDN'T HAVE THE "SLIGHT OF HAND" TO BE ABLE TO DO IT ON STAGE.

(laughter)

VICTOR: Okay. We're essentially a studio band. Unknown at that, but the studio is the studio, and as much as we may want to record, still the music needs to have its life, y'know, by playing live for people and for ourselves. All we need is a bass player and a drummer who can be able to learn the material.

YEAH.

(cue music up: "World's Fair")

STEVIE: But that's it; that's it; that's the difficulty and irony of it all...

VICTOR: Music and its hardship...

STEVIE: Like there aren't that many people like us to be able to work like we have and be able to learn what we've merely taught ourselves... Does that make sense?

I THINK IT DOES.

STEVIE: Sure. This is all so important, because it's time for the United States to set the spark in futuristic entertainment, like...

VICTOR: It's time for screaming girls again.

ALL: Hooray!

I KNOW I COULD DIG IT.

BILLY: Hey, this is almost the opposite of your typical interview... y'know, asking an established star about his hit records and career... but us?!

VICTOR: Yeah, but no real serious education. Like we are unique, right? And we think we have the best, right? But we are our own promotion, our own creators, the weight is completely on our shoulders, still being very unestablished. You folks out there haven't even heard of us, have you?

STEVIE: Not yet...

WOW. BILLY, HAVEN'T I SEEN YOU WITH ANOTHER BAND?

BILLY: Yes, indeed. My band is a boogie group called Flat Creek, and it's mainly playing the blues for bread, y'know, and the people dig us... but that's a whole different thing.

ROGER: I suppose it's a matter of doing what you feel.

DOING IT THE WAY YOU FEEL HAS BEEN THE ANTHEM OF MANY SELF-STYLED MUSICAL GROUPS OF THIS DECADE, BUT DOING IT... CREATING THE 'NEW SOUND' IS PROBABLY THE MOST DIFFICULT OF ALL. IT'S A MARVELOUS THING WHEN A TRULY MUSICAL TEAM LIKE YOURSELVES CAN STILL ELEVATE AND DISPLAY THEIR TALENTS ON EVEN THE SHABBIEST OF EQUIPMENT. TELL US ABOUT YOUR EARLY RECORDINGS AND THE EARLY EQUIPMENT YOU'VE USED.

VICTOR: Ahhhh. But that might not be as early as you may imagine.

HOW COME VIC?

VICTOR: Because we still use that shabby equipment even now. An old hundred dollar AIWA, tiny cassette player, two cheap mikes and the worst recording tape on earth. That's us--Ethos: sometimes in the studio, most of the time by hand.

(cue music up "Swing In Me")

IS THIS THE MUSIC THAT YOU'VE WRITTEN AND RECORDED JUST ON HOME EQUIPMENT?

STEVIE: Sure. Quality's bad, but we try to get the ideas down.

AND YOU SAY NO LABEL OFFERS YET?

STEVIE: Correct. I can't explain it. For any A&R men listening out there, first come first served!

VICTOR: This may not have anything to do with it, but we really are the nicest fellows you'd ever want to meet, we're clean, good-natured...

ALL: (groaning)

STEVIE: Somebody tell Vic that we're not at home... you can't clown around on the radio and expect people to put up with a lot of airplay about nothing.

ROGER: Paging Rogo Farflung!

VICTOR: No no no, like, we simply represent your typical American struggling Ethos rock and rool band who knows exactly what needs to be done, and can do it musically, but there's that thing again about being unknown and being original all at the same time. Who wrote this scenario, anyway? Was it Dwayne?

BILLY: I don't know.

LET'S LISTEN TO MORE ETHOS MUSIC WHILE WE CAN.

(cue up music: "The Essex Coast")

BEING A VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN ROCK BAND FROM NASHVILLE TENNESSEE, WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU FORESEE FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR MUSIC? DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN WAIT AROUND AND MERELY BE DISCOVERED OR WILL IT TAKE THE COMBINED EFFORTS OF EACH INDIVIDUAL TEAM MEMBER IN FINALLY GETTING THE RECOGNITION YOU DESERVE?

ROGER: Starting back, I think the future's an open door when it comes to any kind of music, especially ours. I see theater pieces to be written; movie scores, and I'm glad you're stressing the fact that we are unknown, the fact that we are here doing this interview, I think, shows that we are combining our efforts in perhaps the attempt to reach just a few people.

VICTOR: I think it's about time we got even a little recognition, and it would be the greatest thing if we could get a following of admiring listeners... just a handful.

I HOPE YOU ALL REALIZE THAT JUST A SMALL FOLLOWING OF ADMIRERS IS REALLY ALL A BAND CAN HOPE FOR IN THE BEGINNING.. BUT WHAT IF YOUR STATUS AS A SUPER-GROUP NEVER REACHES THE DAZZLING HEIGHTS YOUR AMBITIONS AND INCLINATIONS YEARN FOR? WHAT IF THE DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY NEVER QUITE OPENS ALL THE WAY?

VICTOR: Then, I guess that that moment in our careers will have to be enough... I firmly believe that Ethos music is the greatest there is... I have to believe that and I think that everyone here believes that. It's the idea, y'know? To know that what you're doing is a success, even though it's you and a couple of other people against the world... your music and your art is enough to carry itself through, and for sure as there's a person called Victor and a band called Ethos, there will never be a moment where I will lay down my efforts and say, "This is enough. It's finished."

STEVIE: Wow. I think everyone is their own opportunity and I think we're gonna prove that.

JUST OUT OF CURIOSITY, WHO ARE YOUR MUSICAL IDOLS AND INSPIRATIONS?

ROGER: Can't you spot em?

WELL, UH, IT SORT OF REMINDS ME OF EARLY BEATLES COMBINED WITH...

(cue music up: "Wash Your Face Clean Your Hands Write Your Name")

VICTOR: ...where the Beatles might have progressed today. We listen to music in perhaps a different manner. We always become disappointed...

STEVIE: ...yeah, in our earlier heroes. With the exception of the Beatles themselves, all the old big sounds of, who, Procol Harum, The Who, Crosby Stills etcetera, they've all had their peaks... you can tell it... and now people aren't interested anymore. And we feel obligated to change all this soporific jamband bluesfolk rock these days... let's get back to exciting songs!

ROGER: Vic and Stevie have a myriad of material, and it keeps building and building... and still no record label! How?????????????

I KEEP FLASHING ON YOU GUYS MAKING IT VERY SOON... AND LOOKING BACK TO THIS LITTLE INTERVIEW... HOW MEANINGFUL EVERYTHING'S BEEN SAID.

VICTOR: Thank you, and make it we will! Stevie and I are illustrators as well, and we can do the graphics, we can nearly do anything, even though our materials to work with are so limited, expense-wise.

BILLY: I've just recently come into writing and home recording, too. And it's the best growth I've felt... sort of self-instruction.

ROGER: You bet.

(cue music up: "It You")

Y'KNOW, ETHOS MUSIC SEEMS TO BE FULLY SELF-CONTAINED. MAYBE IT'S GOOD YOU HAVEN'T BEEN TOSSED AROUND AND MOLDED BY A HIGH-STATUS BIG-DEAL-COMPANY LABEL.

STEVIE: Yeah, maybe up to this point. But we're ready now... our sound has the foundation and it can't be misused. And, my God, we need that financial support.

IS FIVE YEARS ALL WE GOT?

VICTOR: Five years and twenty.

JUST FOR THE FOLKS LISTENING...

STEVIE: I hope they're listening.

THEY ARE. WHAT ARE YOUR NAMES AGAIN AND WHO PLAYS WHAT?

(Everyone speaks at once.)

I'M SORRY...SAY THAT AGAIN, WON'T YOU?

VICTOR: Uh, I'm Victor and I play guitar, sing, write the songs.

STEVIE: I'm R. Stevie and I write a little and play it all... bass, drums, guitars, nectarine...

VICTOR: Sort of a one-man band... Roger?

ROGER: I'm Roger, or Rogo, and I sing and zing.

BILLY: I'm Billy A and I'm the pianist of the group.

ARE YOU ALL FROM DOWN HERE, NO, VICTOR, YOU'RE FROM NEW YORK, AREN'T YOU?

VICTOR: Yeh.

BILLY: I want to say something.

VICTOR: What?

BILLY: I just want to say thank you to Mr. Richardson here...

ALL: Right! Oh yeah! (sound effects)

BILLY: ... and to thank him and the station for letting us conduct this interview and play our songs on the air...

YOU'RE VERY WELCOME. WE'RE GLAD TO HAVE GUYS LIKE YOU WITH US... STEVIE, VICTOR, BILLY, AND ROGO AND TO ETHOS MUSIC... THANKS AGAIN FOR TALKING WITH US... PLEASE COME BACK, HOPE THE AIRPLAY WILL HELP... THE MUSIC CERTAINLY SPOKE FOR ITSELF. ROGO?

ROGER: Yes?

WOULD YOU BE KIND ENOUGH TO ADD ONE MORE THING BEFORE WE SAY GOODNIGHT?

ROGER: Sure...

(cue music up: "I've Been Here Before")





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