Friday Knights Page 9
Final Reunion, 2021
I have long been Inspired by Jeff Lynne’s incredible feat of taking an unheard, poorly done/recorded would-be demo track by John Lennon, and trying to turn it into an actual completed song. After getting Paul, George and Ringo to agree to join in, with the joint mindset that “John was just away on holiday”, they began the challenge of a lifetime. Jeff’s mission was to get all four Beatles back together and complete this poorly recorded, partial track.
Prior to all this I had heard the original track on a syndicated history of John Lennon weekly radio program, and thought very little of the song. By the time Jeff got done with his signature editing, producing, mixing, sound enhancements, etc. as he had done for his own Beatles-inspired band, Electric Light Orchestra for so many years, he had created a gem. Here he had formed The Beatles’ new song, Free as a Bird which reached #1 in 1995, twenty-five years after they broke up and fifteen years after John was killed,
It is with a heavy heart to say, much less even think of, that the most fun and fascinating Knight, Cory, at only age forty-six took his own life from a world that he brightened and enlightened for all who were lucky enough to cross his path. Gone, but not forgotten, a true friend beyond friendships and funny beyond hilarity, I wanted to do whatever I could to keep his memory alive.
After listening to our Giants’ song for the first time in decades and having my mind flooded with Friday Knights memories it occurred to me to try to do on a much smaller scale the same thing with the Friday Knights as Jeff Lynne had done with The Beatles, to improve a song sans the very key writer, singer of their very own song. But if I were to attempt this it would have to still be Cory’s song with his voice, his drumming and much of his original lyrics that he sung. I did not want to do too much tampering or lose the integrity of what The Friday Knights were so proud of nearly a half-century ago. I promised myself I would be sure Cory would still have his vocals, lyrics and drums intact as would also be true for Rick, Paul, Laura and a for this beginner bass player. The song, which truthfully was too long, monotonous at times, and to put it succinctly could have been much better if not for the inexperience of the musicianship of some well-intentioned teens. But I didn’t want to let any little intricacies like those hold us back, so It was time to fixup the song without re-doing it.
Well, as I began working on my new website with many chapters and subchapters, I decided to choose The Friday Knights (one of my favorite years of my life) as my starting point. As I began to write about my first band, which I originally thought would require only a few paragraphs, began to grow with each memory that began to enter my head. A full page materialized, then two, then three! After a month of daily writing the story really started to write itself and take on a life of its own. Before I knew it, I was up to forty pages and my fingers weren't finished yet.
Last count, I had over sixty pages, and more memories are being remembered and added. Many days I have typed for nine straight hours without taking a break. More than once it wasn’t until the next day that I realized I had forgotten to have dinner the night before, or to leave the house for anything for the entire day or more at a time. I was (and come to find, still am) all consumed by The Friday Knights. A love I’ve always had, and have learned that I still do.
The first step was to see if Rick and Paul would be on board to add their musical and vocal challenges to my re-written version of a song that I had only contributed about 25% to, to begin with. I called Rick, he sounded very hesitant at first, but he agreed. Next, I called Paul who is now living in Washington and I hadn't been in touch with for over four decades. It was a quick enthusiastic yes from him along with some technical advice he offered as he has grown a lot in that area since the days of the Knights.
With that, and some research, the plan was on! The master tape, which Paul somehow ended up with and passed it along to Cory, over twenty years ago, and then gave to me for safe keeping. I found a studio (also in Washington) that specializes in the restoration of old, semi-ruined recording tapes of various types and speeds. It was a lengthy rather expensive process, involving a special process of actually baking the tape and hand winding and more to do the job. I felt if we were going to do this we had to have the best of conditions otherwise there wouldn’t be any point to even starting this.
Much of the highs and lows (frequencies) were deteriorating and lots of hiss accumulating due to age, improper storage, only using average grade tape, etc. No tape could be expected to survive all this, but I put out the money to try and I was more than pleased to hear the restored version that I got back, in pretty decent quality and stereo! You could actually pick out the sounds pretty well! The next step was to bring it to one of my very good friends, trusted producer/engineers who I have used and performed with for most of the last twenty years, Talbot Snow, who I call The T-Man.
After laying out my plans of editing, verse/chorus re-alignment, re-writing/structuring, composing a bridge (which the song lacked entirely), adding sound effects and few other things, it was time for us to roll up our sleeves and dive in, head first. Talbot has proven himself to be magical in so many different ways that I wanted to use him for this challenge.
After I mapped out every detail of all the changes, we got to work 8 am sharp on February, 26, 2001. I had been so excited to do this, that I barely slept the night before, and immediately got a triple shot Starbucks caramel cappuccino to get my wheels in high gear. By the time I arrived at the studio, I was bouncing off the walls with anticipation and excitement! Without going into a lot of detail, suffice it to say: I’m not much for paranormal stuff, but both Talbot and I agreed that during the time we were working in this first studio editing/mixing session, that Cory may very-well have been there with us, helping and guiding us along as it went remarkably smoothly-and at the risk of sounding corny, I don’t know about Talbot, but at times it really felt there were moments when I could sense Cory watching and coaching us from above. Who knows?
This is where we are right now in the project. Next week Rick and I plan to go into the studio and enhance our music and vocal parts, before I send the results to Paul so he can do the same from his home studio.
Rick, Paul and I cordially invite you to be among the first to listen to (and hopefully enjoy) this new (and hopefully improved) version of our Giants song, now dedicated to not only The Giants, but the song’s brainchild, Cory Joseph Fernandez.
Rick Rich Talbot
Compare the two versions of the Giants song
(1973 to 2021)
TRIBUTE TO THE GIANTS
Revised 2021 Version
TRIBUTE TO THE GIANTS
Original 1973 Version
All the songs I can remember that we ever performed
(Lead singer in parentheses):
All I have To Do Is Dream (Rick)
American Pie (Rick)
Bad Moon Rising (Rick)
Barbara Ann (Cory)
Blue Suede Shoes (Rich)
Can’t Get You Off of My Mind (Kelly/Friedland) (Rick)
Cinnamon Girl (Paul)
Coming Into Los Angeles (Paul)
Dizzy Miss Lizzie (Rick, Rich)
Folsom Prison Blues (Paul)
Fresh Garbage (Inserra)
Good Lovin’ (Rick)
Hocus Pocus (Instrumental)
Hound Dog (Rich)
I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better (Cory)
Jailhouse Rock (Rick)
Louie Louie (Rick)
Love is All Around (Paul)
Mother Freedom (Cory)
My Sweet Lord (Rick)
Peggy Sue (Rick)
Proud Mary (Rick)
Smile Away (Rick)
Smoke On The Water (Paul)
Sunshine Of Your Love (Rick)
Surfin’ USA (Rick)
Thoughts (Kelly/Friedland) (Rick)
Tribute to The Giants (Fernandez/Friedland) (Cory)
Try A Little Kindness (Rick)
Wild Thing (Rick)
Wipe Out (Instrumental)