Q&A WITH JOHN KAY: LONG Q&A FROM 1999
When you started, did you ever think that you would still be active 30 years later?
For those younger fans who didn't grow up in the 60's, what is Steppenwolf named after and why did you choose it?
Steppenwolf was originally a book written by Herman Hesse, (a German author) and it was a book I was totally unfamiliar with when the band that became Steppenwolf was in its infancy. The young man who lived next door to where Steppenwolf started to rehearse (by the name of Gabriel Mekler, born and raised in Israel) he had read the book. When it came time to put a name on the demo box that was going to go to the first label, he said "Well, what is the band called?" and aside from the obvious joke names and other obscene suggestions which were not marketable, he finally said, "Well look, how about 'Steppenwolf'? I think it's a word that looks good in print, and it denotes a certain degree of mystery and power and you guys are kind of rough and ready types." Everybody said that sounds pretty interesting and if we don't get a deal we can always scrawl another name on the box and send it to somebody else, so let's go with that for now. Well, that's what it's been now for many years and, to be honest, it's been a very good name.
When I talk to college kids today, the 60's is almost a myth to them. It's a fabulous time. They wished they could have lived through it. Are your memories of the 60's as groovy as the kids think it was? Was it as good as we think it was?
Well, I supposed to some extent our experience is perhaps a little bit outside the mainstream in the sense that we, Steppenwolf, were just catching our first big wave of success. So, in addition to living through the 60's in the way that all other Americans, or for that matter people in various parts of the world were, we had the added bonus, so to speak, of having our music hit the charts and all the rest that went with the success of a rock & roll band. My personal recollection of the 60's was one of a tremendous amount of activity, both in terms of what we were up to (zipping all over the country and the world and TV shows and recording and what have you) and to some extent also a very frantic time as far as what was going on in the streets and the halls of government etc. Were they as groovy? Well, I personally feel it was a mixed bag of blessings...I felt this was a rare opportunity for the idealism and the energy of youth to join forces with the experience and know-how of the previous generation and like two horses on the same wagon pull us, as a species, forward in terms of our joint development. Unfortunately, what seemed to have happened is the normal youth with its arrogance and it's ignorance thought it knew it all, and naturally the older generation knew that they didn't know it all and resented them claiming to know it all and so rather than kind of shaking hands and working together it was an "us and them" thing, and it manifested itself in many different ways, the majority of which, to my way of thinking, were not really productive. Since then, things that have been the fallout of the '60s, some people like to kind of point at that and say well all they gave us was drug abuse and so on and so forth.....I happen to disagree with that strongly. I feel that the '60's were a vibrant, exciting, progressive time. There were the normal bandwagon jumpers who did it because it was the thing to do at the time. But those who really were progressive thinkers and had something fresh to say and play, and so on, I think that's why so many younger people who ready about or see documentaries realize that they unfortunately missed a very vibrant, important time. So, when it's all said and done, I guess the short answer is...with hindsight and with the time-span that permits certain wounds to heal a little bit, it probably is a bit more rosy in our recollection than it was, but I'm certainly not one to trash the '60's. I think it had a tremendous amount of things to offer that have been absorbed by society since and that still are with us today in a positive way.
Could you describe your personal politics and how you got there?
At the core lies the fact that I was born and raised in post Second World War Germany. As a result, I witnessed how, what was at the point a relatively new concept for the German population (The Weimar Republic notwithstanding which was in ill-fated, short-lived attempt of democracy) to see the population after World War II be politically interested and motivated and active with frank discussions and a lot of back and forth as to which road to take with the new nation, etc. That was something that, although I was a boy, I witnessed in our family, in our adult neighbors and what have you...and when I came to Canada I learned that to a certain extent that whoever wins the war gets to write the official version of the war. The history books vary somewhat from nation to nation. Perhaps because of my interest in history (be it ancient history, mythology, recent history) coupled with growing up in a country at a time where politics and the actions of human beings and the results thereof where very much stamped on all of our consciousness. The Hitler regime certainly did not leave one single life untouched in Europe during that period. All of those things combined, I think, were at the core of my on-going interest in paying attention to the world around me and when I, through rock & roll and other forms of American roots music eventually found my way to folk music, I found that there was a type of music where politics or social commentary were well known. Eventually, through the likes of not only Dylan and many others of a similar persuasion, I found that there was a type of music where making comment on the times and conditions one lived in was considered appropriate. So, that's how I kind of segued from there into what Steppenwolf eventually did with it's hard rock.
There are a number of Steppenwolf songs that are anthems for a generation. Was there a moment when it became clear to you that that's what they were, or were they that from the moment they were created?
Do you think of yourself as disabled? When answering could you talk about how sight problems might have affected your response to music?
I was born with a birth defect that left me lacking in the eye department...I'm totally color blind, which means that my world is black and white and gray....I am very light sensitive....hence, I've been wearing dark glasses since I was about 3 years old and I'm so-called legally blind, which means that I can't drive and a few other things. Perhaps because of the fact that I grew up in Germany after World War II (and then later during my high school years in Canada), but in Germany with people returning (those that were lucky enough to return) with limbs missing, families that lost (as did my father's family) up to 6 boys in the war and so on and so forth, it seemed relatively insignificant by comparison to real suffering. Certainly my mother understood my difficulties and tried to help me in whatever way possible. One of those attempts at helping me took the form of her managing to get me into the Rudolph Steiner School in Hannover, Germany where we lived after we escaped from East Germany in the 50's. This was tremendously helpful to me since I could not read the blackboard and schools were overcrowded in post-war Germany....this sort of private attention really helped me to learn, not only in the normal sense, but also their way of teaching was one that broadened one's horizons and taught the humanities..... and it was no wonder this particular school had been banned during the Hitler regime because they were far too humane, I think, in their view of the world and its inhabitants. In any event, there were certain benefits, I think, that I derived. I was always fairly tall and big for my age and would perhaps with normal eyesight have gravitated towards physical pursuits. It turned out that team sports were really not in the cards. However, as a young child, music...albeit in the early years it wasn't rock & roll...it was the Russian Cossack music and other things that I did not necessarily understand the lyrics of, but that as one of the Neville Brothers said, "Music from the heart goes to the heart"....somehow, this music connected with me in a way that the pain and humanity of it connected deeply with me....and it gave me my first inkling that music was more than just something that's in the background while you do your homework, or whatever. When rock & roll came....(that is after the goose bumps and the Little Richard baptism and so forth)....after that I knew what I had as a boy in the way of a daydream. You're in that adolescent period where you don't really think about reality 10 years from now, but what you'd like to be if your wish list could be granted, so to speak. It was at that time also that you realize the lack of sight was something that....sometimes you didn't need it. Stevie Wonder, I suppose, and Ray Charles and others will tell you that the ears work very well even if the eyes don't so, overall I have made peace with that situation a long time ago. And in Canada, when I went to certain special classes where some of the people were outright blind, I had the good fortune of making a friendship with a fellow that I'm still in touch with who's one of Canada's finest blind skiers.....totally blind. And when you see the capabilities of others who are worse off in that sense than you are in keeps it in perspective for you.
Tell me about the culture of American music, coming to it as an outsider and what did you find in the music that was so compelling?
My first exposure to American music of any kind was through the Armed Forces Radio Network in Germany......Little Richard was the first one that connected with me in a manner that was beyond "this is a nice tune." This was one where I didn't understand a word, yet the rhythm and that guttural, primal, intense vocal performance, that pounding piano and buzzing saxophone. There was just something about that that I just literally sent chills or goose bumps up and down my spine. I became addicted to listening to rock & roll wherever I could find it, which was quite limited in the mid to late 50's in Germany. When I then came to Canada during my high school years and learned to speak English, some of which I accomplished by listening to the radio all the time. I was like a kid in a candy store. The radio dial, particularly my first summer in Canada when I knew no one, had no friends and really no place to go, I would listen to everything -- country music, R&B from Buffalo, Sunday morning black church service music also from Buffalo, 100 miles away. It was still at a distance. While obviously Canada was nothing like Germany, nevertheless Canada wasn't quite like the US either. So, after my first 5 years in Canada (which were very good years, I'm very fond of Canada and think very well of Canadians and enjoy visiting there) when I came to the States, first to Buffalo and then to California (where I was later to spend 20 years of my life) much of what I had fantasized about as a child in Germany was not necessarily to be found there in the sense that the rock & roll movies that I saw in Germany and in Canada (Don't Knock The Rock and Alan Fried stuff) they were, as so much of Hollywood stuff is, somewhat distorting what it was really about. It was only when we were in Steppenwolf and we were traveling through all the states that I started to absorb the realities or the geography and different cultural groups and regional territories that were the birth places of some of the roots music that in various combinations created rock & roll. That is one of the reasons that some years ago I moved to Nashville, TN. Because you can draw a circle around Nashville (a 500 mile radius) and you will cover a lot of territory that in one form or another (be it blue grass, Appalachian music, the Delta, Clarksdale, New Orleans, or what have you, Macon, GA and so on and so forth) there is so much in the way of blues and country and various other types of music that were the building blocks of that music that I still to this day love to perform. I feel very much at home here. There are many things that as a stranger initially threw me for a loop. The whole civil rights movement that I observed primarily from Canada was something that puzzled me to no end. I didn't have the background in American history to comprehend many of the underlying demons that were at work there. With time and my interest in history per se, I have been and still remain to this day an amateur student of American culture and history. I find it a fascinating and endless subject.
There was a period of time when you buried Steppenwolf and then embraced it again. I would if you could talk about this period and what lead you to have this new incarnation?
How do you think people perceive John Kay and who are you really?
John Kay, as perceived by a lot of people, is the guy in the black leather pants with the dark glasses who kind of growls his songs and, as a young woman in the late 60's told me, "Well, you know, I was afraid to do this interview because I saw you on stage and you looked like you were going to jump off the stage and kick the crap out of the first three rows." She was from New York and she used this term, "you look like a hitter." I said, well I'm very intense about what I do but I generally like to treat people the way I like to be treated and don't get physical or aggressive with anyone unless I feel I've been unduly provoked. There is John Kay the private citizen, very definitely. But what a lot of people, I think, are confused by is the John Kay on stage is not a different John Kay, It's just another facet of John Kay. Maybe I'm quirky in this way, buy I happen to think that most of us, if we really think about it, we tend to let different aspects of our personalities show or come to the surface depending on where we are, with whom, under what circumstances. I'm one way with my mother. I'm somewhat different with my wife, with my daughter, with my business associates, with my band mates. There are degrees of, just different aspects of, the personality. When I'm on stage, I do have this sort of attitude. This is my territory. I'm up here, this is my turf. I don't let audiences intimidate me. This is what we do. We care about our fans and our audience. It's not like we want to do that BOC thing, you know, "on your feet or on your knees" kind of thing. I don't view ourselves in that way. It's just that we play fairly intense, fairly aggressive music and when I sing and spit out my lyrics, so to speak, it tends to come out in a sort of intense, and to some people somewhat intimidating or frightening, kind of way. That's something that wasn't really done by design. I think that partially it was because of the dark glasses, which hid my eyes, the leather pants and the connection with Easy Rider and motorcycles. I mean, once that was established that was something that a lot of people focused on. It was sort of like we need something quick, something that we can have as a cubby-hole for this band. Let's see...leather pants, dark glasses, "Born To Be Wild," Easy Rider, motorcycles. Hey, biker band! And it went into that little pigeon-hold and when afterwards we would have an album like Monster, which was a social, political concept album, people were scratching their head saying, "Wait a minute. We just put you in that other biker band pigeon-hole. I'm not going to take the trouble now to reevaluate." I mean media, generally speaking, likes to tag you and then move on. They don't really come back to reassess you. Once in a while you have someone like David Bowie who managed to reinvent himself with every album and it was expected. Which Bowie do we get this time, kind of. But with us if was sort of "Born To Be Wild," OK, we know who and what they are and that tag will stick. That was one of the problems that band itself was, sort of, arguing about that led to my pulling the plug on the band the first time...because there was a one dimensional perception of the band that some of the media and others had of us which was limiting and was sometimes difficult for us to overcome as an obstacle with songs Snowblind Friend" which were acoustic and not what they expected.
Can you draw a character portrait of the average Wolf Pack member, the average fan who is the core audience?
What made you write you autobiography?
Who have you influenced among the younger generations of musicians?
As far as Steppenwolf having influenced others is concerned, there are, of course, numerous incidents where as we travel and do our concerts people who are in local or regional bands or what have you come up and tell you how they do this song of yours or that song or they grew up in a household with your music and they were influenced by it. As far as well known performers are concerned, it's difficult to say because you don't want to imply something like this.....this is almost like I don't feel right about being the one to even say it. But I know that, for an example, I know that Travis Tritt has done "The Pusher" on stage; I know that Bruce Springsteen has done "Born To Be Wild" on stage (and so have others)....I know that Slash from Guns N Roses has mentioned Steppenwolf and there may be a couple other people that I can't think of right now. It is, of course, something that I take (I don't want to say pride in) but it's something that I'm glad about, particularly when it's someone whose work and whose artistic direction or integrity you respect and admire......it's nice to know that somewhere along the line they were aware of what you did or a song that you did. I know how I feel about the likes of Little Richard and the rock & roll pioneers and my blues Icons......you know, the Muddy Waters and the Howlin Wolves and people like that....who had a tremendous influence on me. But there are so many......if I had to draw a list of whose songs did you really listen to or try to play, the list is phenomenally long because it goes through just about all of the outstanding people that were in the country music field of the late 40's into the early 60's, as well as the same counterparts in R&B and rock & roll....so there's just so many people. It's something that, I'm assuming, is similar with most other contemporary performers where they have crossed the path musically of dozens, if not hundreds, of people and it you were one of those it's not half bad.
Does being called a "rock legend" make you feel uncomfortable? How does it strike you?
A rock legend? Well, again it's one of those things were I think of Little Richard as a rock legend but I'm aware of the fact that someone who is younger than I often will come up to me and say, "Oh, you're a legend." Well, as long as I'm not a legend in my own mind. Mack MacAnnally one time when I was down in Muscle Shoals in '78 or thereabouts, they were all kicking around album titles for somebody and it was the old thing-- "a man and his music," no, no that's not it, "a legend in his time," no, no. Mack said finally, "so and so, a rumor in his own room." I like to think of it along those terms a little bit more because for me to view myself as a legend, I think, is kind of inappropriate. I mean, that pretends that you could crawl inside the head of someone else and see yourself through the eyes of the other person.....I certainly don't profess to be able to do that. I am aware of the fact that others view me this way, some do, and it's something I'm not uncomfortable with, but it's certainly something that I don't (I don't want to say encourage) but it's something...I'm kind of neutral on it because I don't want to step on somebody else's...You know, if I was standing in front of whoever, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Ray Charles, somebody like that, and I was searching for the words to express my admiration without making a fool of myself I would appreciate it if they didn't cut me off at the legs saying, "No, legend. I don't want to hear that word." So when I hear others use it in the context of what I've done I let them choose their own words and I appreciate the favorable comments and if they choose to use legend I can live with that.
Of the songs that you've performed on stage, is there one that would surprise people that it's your favorite?
Some songs wear a little better than others. I think that I've been asked the question many times as to which is my favorite, and I'm wondering whether my attitude towards that is a little bit like the parent that might have numerous children but it tends to maybe gravitate towards the one that is a little overlooked cause that one's a little too shy or it's the one that needs a little extra push or help because....they just do. There are tunes that over the years did not get the recognition that the "Born To Be Wild's," and "Magic Carpet Rides" and others did. But by the same token, I know through the letters and comments of those who listen closely that it didn't go out there and never connect and those are songs like "Desperation" and another one that I really like a lot is "It's Never Too Late." And oddly enough, that song...in fact both of those tunes....are songs that have brought a lot of specific letters over the years, where at someone's darkest hour this was one of the songs that they played......I'm assuming along with others by other artists, that gave them a little of that......for instance, Peter Gabriel has a wonderful tune called "Don't Give Up" and there are many other songs of similar orientation by a variety of artists. So a couple of tunes that I've always been very partial to from the early Steppenwolf days are those particular ones....and in many ways that red thread of, I don't want to necessarily say that at the core of those lyrics is a spirituality, but there's a tinge of that, and that has found its way through many songs over the years with Steppenwolf. My own friend and financial advisor in L.A. called me up from his car a few weeks ago and said, "You know, I've been listening to all those Steppenwolf albums I had over the years and never really realized how there's a degree of spirituality in this that I never somehow caught." And I said, "well, it wasn't something that was intentional".....I wasn't sitting there with, you know, a clerical white collar writing these deep hidden messages as to the meaning of life. But yeah, there is..John Kay does have some inner life that does, in fact, find its way into some of the lyrics. Whether it was in more recent years "Hold On" or from our newest release which is the Feed The Fire CD the title cut "Feed The Fire," there are certain tunes I am very partial to because they come from the deepest part from which I have yet been able to find some motivation for my lyrics. So, I guess it's a little bit self-indulgent on my part but as long as some of our own tunes can still give me goose bumps on occasion then this is one of the big reasons why I'm still doing this.
Could you reconstruct the writing of the lyrics to "Born To Be Wild?"
Tell us the story behind "Magic Carpet Ride"....
Do you remember the circumstances that led to the inclusion of "The Pusher" and "Born To Be Wild" in the Easy Rider soundtrack?
I remember exactly the circumstances because we had been called by our management company saying "You know Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper have made this film, and it seems they've run out of funds, it's kind of a low budget production and so they're not going with the standard Hollywood scoring approach for the music content of this thing. They have invited a number of performers to come and view a private screening they've taken the liberty of placing certain songs in the film to illustrate what their intentions are, and they are hoping that the various artists like the film well enough to permit them to use songs and then work something out". So we went to this private screening. Of course the soundtrack contained works by Dillon, The Band, and Hendrix and The Fraternity of Man (which later more or less changed into Little Feat) etc., including the two songs you mentioned by Steppenwolf. I, for whatever reason, was slightly late getting there....and so I just caught the tail end of "The Pusher" which is early on in the film with the limousine and Phil Spector scene, but by the time Born To Be Wild played in the film, I had settled in and was beginning to get into the flick, and yeah, it came on like gangbusters, and I personally felt it was the right song for the right scene. It may very well have a lot to do with the fact that to this day, obviously the song is very much tied to not just young adolescents who are into their rebellious stage, but also the entire biker community. Little did I know that sitting in the screening room that I was witnessing, really, the launching of the key song. At that point it had been our first hit, and it was a big one, and that was fine but, we already had Magic Carpet Ride under our belt, and it was even bigger....so nobody really knew that this film was going to give us international exposure to the point that these requests for us to come down later this year in Lima, Peru, or Santiago, Chile or, you know, we've played places like Saipan and obviously Japan and Australia, all of those things tend to start with that one song.
What prompted the Feed The Fire album? How long was it in the works? Was the material created specifically for the new album?
This Feed The Fire project is a very unusual one, even as crazy as some of our things in the past have been due to certain circumstances. We had several tunes written in the late 70's and we were in a demo stage and presented these tunes for the purpose of getting a recording deal. To kind of keep things reasonably short on this, what resulted was that the label that said, "Yeah, let's run with this," accepted these demos as masters and we were kind of scratching our heads going, "Well, wait a minute.....we wanted to set the deal, then we get the budget, then we go in the studio, then we record for real," because on these demos were drum machines, synthesizers. This was during that period of that sort of techno-pop. There was a lot of that stuff going on. They said, "no, no. These are fine. Give us three more and we've got the album and we want to put it out eight weeks from now and you guys got the whole summer tour. Let's go!" Well, it was at a time when our manager had not exactly had tremendous success getting the ear of the various A&R people in the corporate glass towers of LA and New York and this deal was a pretty good one under the circumstances for us. So we ran with this. Well, if was something that never came to pass. The record came out, it had an initial flurry of air play and it died in a relatively short period of time because it as a label that had been involved in other types of musical product and artists and so forth. They were not really experienced and we felt like guinea pigs. In any event, this particular project crashed and we were very disappointed because we had a lot of our..all of the years of rebuilding the Steppenwolf name, all of that gritting your teeth and rebuilding from the little clubs to the big clubs, etc, etc.....all of those human experiences of giving each other in the band moral support and not letting some of the setbacks and the grind of the road make us throw in the towel......all of those things went in the songs "Rock Steady, I'm Rough and Ready," "Hold On, Never Give Up, Never Give In" and a couple of others. And so we felt that some of our better writing had sort of come out and took a nose-dive and went nowhere. Well, not too many months ago, working with what are now my partners on the record end of things in Nashville, TN, listened to these particular recordings amongst other things that we were kicking around and they said, "These songs are really good. These are good songs. Have you ever considered to do it for real, do it the way you had intended to had you had the time and money?" I said, "No. To be honest with you, we were all rather dejected after this o ne." By the time Rise and Shine came out on IRS Records in 1990, we had a fresh batch of tunes and so we were always thinking forward instead of looking over our shoulder because, to a certain extent, we always felt that in order to avoid that nostalgia/run on auto-pilot act keep playing new songs along with the more familiar stuff on stage. Make sure everybody knows how you view yourself in terms of who and what you are and where your focus in the future is. So we didn't look over our shoulder with respect to these tunes. Well, they said you ought to consider it. So Michael, my co-producer and keyboardist and writing parter, and whose been with the Wolf and my right hand man since 1981 now, started the project and we got.... what it deserved..the drums, the organ the big rotating Leslie and all that. Around that time we had also written some additional tunes. Not enough to make an all new album, but songs that seemed to fit together with the cord tunes in terms of their general philosophical orientation. The most surprising, and perhaps the most gratifying, part of this whole particular project was, that an idea that Michael recently written on the bus, on the piano (on the tour bus) which I had been toying with and I finally started to write some lyrics to....and it was a real intense two and a half days.....you know, eat and sleep and do the normal things but other than that your mind was totally preoccupied. Not in a feverish frenzy, but in almost a semi-serene way and the lyrics for "Feed The Fire" came. And then we were all in the band very much gratified by the result of this tune. But I, for one, viewed it as the last tune of the album which hopefully created a mood that could linger with the listener when the entire CD was done playing on its system and hopefully leave a positive, hopeful note. And we didn't want to step on that mood by having a different tune come in.....it need to be the last tune. But other than that, I viewed it as a very private tune and one that was probably going to be, like the songs I mentioned a little earlier, "It's Never Too Late" and so forth, a nice tune, but it's not going to get the spotlight. Well, it turns out that even the case-hardened independent promotion people that are out there chose this song as the single and it's the one that's going to get the video. So that was a left turn of events that none of us had counted on or really dared to hope for because we felt this tune was somewhat less representative..well, I shouldn't say less representative..it was different from what the average Steppenwolf listener would probably expect from us in terms of the intensity of the song and the mood and flavor of the tune. So we, ourselves, felt that it was perhaps not one that was a contender as a single. But now that it is, we're very much gratified by it and we'll give it our best shot, see whether or not it connects. Like the man said, what comes from the heart hopefully goes to the heart.
Feed The Fire is a really solid album........!!
Talk a little about the show, the act of performing night after night.
The show is something that while, of course, we try to have consistency of performance quality and so on, it's something that to a certain extent has the element of surprise package about it every night. Will this amplifier blow up? Will this guy break a drumstick in the middle of his solo? Aside from the technical stuff of will it all work, how many shows have we done the last few days and have they been in the desert area and taken a toll on my vocal chords and now I'm barely sort of bluffing my way through the vocal parts, but it has to be done. That's when it's miserable. That's when you are up there going, "Man, I spent a whole day away from a very nice place where I live in Tennessee for express purpose of being on this stage for 90 minutes or whatever it is tonight and make that whole day of whatever it was (it might have been a regular day, it might have been a boring day), you know, whatever it was leading up to being on the stage. Now I can't do my best job." What's worse is that I hate to act and fake but I do feel that I owe it to the audience to not say, "Well, as you can tell the pipes are shot and it's not going to be all that great." They're there to forget whatever their trouble are. They set an evening aside, they spent good money, they probably worked hard for the money to see us do our thing. So I don't have the luxury of laying my difficulties on them. It's really my job to do the best I can under the circumstances and to look like I'm not suffering up there at a minimum. Well, that's when it's bad. When it's good, it's great. When the band is cooking and the sound is good and the audience is into it with us, yeah, those are the nights and thank God we have a fair amount of them. Maybe because of the maturity and the fact we approach it professionally. We try to have everything run like clock-work so there are as few factors at work there that could throw a monkey wrench into the show. When it's one of those things where you walk off the stage just tingling, just buzzing, that's a hard thing to walk away from.
Did you ever record in German?
How many people have been in Steppenwolf?
Does it strike you as extraordinary that your records have never been out of print in 30 years?
It is fairly remarkable, I think, that after 29 years we continue to sell an astonishing number of records annually world-wide. I distinctly recall a comment that a then financial advisor to Steppenwolf made in the early '70's when we changed labels from ABC Dunhill to CBS. One of the things that ABC Dunhill wanted as a prerequisite for our way out of the existing contract, which was still binding, was that we would give them back the rights to the master recordings that we had over there, the "Born To Be Wild's," etc. We were hemming and hawing and this person said, "God, it's slowly coming off the charts, 18 months, 2 years. How long do you think this stuff will sell?" We kind of looked at him and said, "Well, he's probably right, I guess." So we gave them back the masters. Well, I once told this story to somebody recently who said, "Oh, bad move, bad move. You guys lost millions." I probably would have said yes to him a few years ago but this happened, as I said, very recently and I said, "No, wrong. Good move." We were stupid. We didn't know how good a move it was and it was in spite of ourselves. But here's what happened. We gave them back the masters. We had our period with CBS in the mid '70's and here came the late '70's and I did a solo effort that didn't really go anywhere and here came the bogus Wolf bands. All of a sudden, I'm faced with what am I going to do? What do I want to do? This rubs me the wrong way. I can't stand to see the name being dragged through the mud. Do I want to take another whack at it? Meantime, the person who a few years prior to that said "yeah the stuff won't sell anymore" had, at that point, been a soothsayer. In fact, the catalog had fallen off and wasn't selling all that well, partially because ABC Dunhill and shortly thereafter (this was late 1979) the advent of the compact disk and classic rock radio came. All of a sudden, the catalog of ours that had just about gone out of print not only was revived by a very aggressively marketed MCA Records catalog push but, because of the compact disc, we were reselling two-thirds of the records we ever did sell to the previous fans in a compact disc version around the world. So when 1990 or thereabouts rolled about, looking over our shoulder with respect to the money that we had made was quite phenomenal. The point of all this is that had we owned our own masters 1977-8 or 9, which were pretty lean years of insecurity, or "where now brown cow," we probably, particularly since the catalog was non-existent in sales just about, probably would have sold it, hell, I don't know, for half a million bucks to anybody who would have offered that amount to us and really taken it in the shorts with respect to what we have in future earnings that came to pass because we didn't own the masters. Sometimes your own stupidity .. You know, you pay for your mistakes but sometimes, I guess, you're just plain lucky and we certainly were in this instance. We have tried to use our past as a means of bank rolling our future, and so far, it's worked pretty well for us.