Sunday, August 24, 2008

Memorial to a great author / record producer /recording artist

Wayne Wadhams:
Many Contributions to Boston Music and more...
 R.I.P. Wayne Wadhams Nov. 12, 1946 - August 19, 2008
Sunday: Guests are welcome at Tobin’s Funeral Home (666 Mass. Ave., Boston – between
Washington St. and Harrison Ave.), starting at 4pm, with a formal convening at 5pm.
This will be principally an opportunity for exchanging condolences and "telling
stories." Friends interested in continuing to visit are welcome to come back to the
apartment at 25 Bay State after the service, until around 9.
Put "The Fifth Estate" in "Find" on your computer as there are a lot of personalities on Channel 2 of Mark Snyder's PMP Network. Wayne Wadhams' interview is about #64 down on the scroll. Thanks to Mark & the PMP Network.

The Echo Of Wayne Wadhams...

A well-known writer sent an e mail after hearing of the passing of author/record producer/Fifth Estate lead singer Wayne Wadhams and said "He made a contribution -- not many people do, you know -- and seemed to have led a most interesting life."

Contributing to the greater good, really adding to the arts... Wayne made many such additions to our world of music, from pressing and distributing one of the first compilations of Boston music, the Chef's Salad anthology in 1975 on his own "Cooking Records" from Studio B, to producing the jazz group Full Circle on Columbia Records as well as releasing many classical and rock/pop discs on the label he nurtured - the Boston Skyline Records imprint, founded in 1991. Wayne was a very gentle and kind soul who found early success with a gleeful rendition of the Wizard of Oz classic, "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead", taking it to #11 in the Billboard charts with his Connecticut group, THE FIFTH ESTATE.

What is surprising about The Fifth Estate is that the music is SO pop with borderline psychedelic overtones. Their music was a natural for the "Nuggets" album (and series) created by Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye, but ...c'mon, all due respect to John Fogerty, how the heck did The Golliwogs (pre-Creedence Clearwater Revival) get selected on a disc featuring The Electric Prunes, The Seeds, The Blues Magoos and The Count V when The Fifth Estate was a perfect fit and was "conspicuous in its absence", as they say. Inclusion on Nuggets was vital and would have put The Fifth Estate back on the map. Was it the novelty aspect of some of their 45 RPMS on Jubilee that kept the group's music from being more positively exploited? The novelty - most especially- of the song that hit #11 in the Summer of '67, re-made by this eclectic group from Stamford, Connecticut 28 years after the composition was featured in the 1939 Judy Garland film classic.

The Fifth Estate deserved more hit recordings with some of their more serious music.

Though we had planned to get together socially Wayne and David's move to Haverhill put a bit of mileage between us - though we kept in touch on e mail, Wayne getting updates on my AMG writings. I'm so thankful that AMG allowed me to write a biography on Wayne and reviews of at least four of his projects - Tracks, Chef's Salad, Full Circle and the Fifth Estate compilation.

A couple of anecdotes - my roommate Jeff and I met Wayne at a nightclub in Boston one evening and in walked Barry Scott of The Lost 45s . It was kind of a thrill to introduce Barry to a "lost 45" and Barry was happy to meet Wayne (and vice versa). Also, one evening Wayne brought out the movie projector and played Joe Tortelli and I the lost Wayne van Vorhees films of The Fifth Estate. It was quite a treat to witness this film of essential music that had been lost for decades. Wayne sent me a 31 minute DVD of the material he called "Somewhere There Is Music" dated October, 1967.

One of my last interviews with Wayne was for Arts Media Magazine - it was conducted via telephone and e mail so it is not on video, unfortunately. This was from October, 2005:


You can read that article here:

Enclosed are my reviews of "Chef's Salad", "Full Circle", the Boston Skyline disc from "Tracks"

Chef's Salad: The Sound Of Boston From Studio B
Reviewby Joe Viglione

Prior to Live at the Rat there were few compilations documenting the vital Boston music scene. Producer Wayne Wadhams, who hit the Top 40 in the '60s with his band the Fifth Estate and their version of "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead," recorded this collection along with Miles Siegel and Allen Smith. It survives as an important document of excellent music from New England in the mid-'70s. A black and white photo on the back features 25 of the participants -- their hairstyles and clothing quite telling -- making for a warm community atmosphere. "30 Seconds With Michael Fremer" is perhaps the best-known bit and the highest-profile personality from this point in time. Michael Fremer was a comedian and disc jockey who used to emcee major concerts in the region. A full-length album with his bits was released on Kant Tell Records (a take-off of K-Tel, and it is as funny as this highlight on Chef's Salad. Wadhams was pushing "the sound of Boston," and his original composition for the Gang Band is a good ribbing at the Sound of Philadelphia that Gamble & Huff made so popular in the '70s. It's an excellent instrumental, and is a good indication of where the Fifth Estate might have headed Read more here:

Full Circle on Columbia Records
The Allen Weinberg cover of this CD features a beautiful photograph by Chip Simmons showing fields, a mountain reaching up to fluffy white clouds against a blue sky, and a young girl holding a white Hula-Hoop above her head. This cover is a good reflection of the instrumental sounds recorded in Studio A of Boston's Berklee College and mixed at Rainbow Studios in Oslo, Norway. The music of keyboardist, arranger, and composer Karl Lundeberg is pretty and mellow. Anders Bostrom's flute glides alongside Philip Hamilton's percussion and use of voice as an instrument, especially in the third track, "Croton Drive." Producer Wayne Wadhams, who had a hit in the '60s with his group the Fifth Estate, is known for getting a sparkling clean sound, while allowing the group members to be themselves. Read more here: 

BostonSkyline Records imprint:

There were two groups named "Tracks" on the Boston scene. Lori Doll's punk band became highly popular with her 45 "Brakes On You", this is a totally different artist in a different genre. Had Wayne Wadhams not preserved their music it is safe to say they would have slipped through the cracks.

Not to be confused with Bowie guitarist Earl Slick's 1972 group on Capitol Records or a late-'70s Boston punk band fronted by Lori Doll, this Tracks reigned between 1969 and 1974 and had the distinction of being produced by Wayne Wadhams, lead singer of the Fifth Estate (which hit with "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" in 1967). Along with a unique version of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," this ensemble comes up with a real sleeper in the tune "Pawnbroker" -- a strong, methodical ballad featuring great vocals and interplay from the guitar and keyboard that put it in a league with the legendary Modern Lovers. "Bottleneck" is another excellent track, recorded by producer Wadhams at the prestigious Orson Welles Film School outside of Harvard Square where Willie "Loco" Alexander and Walter Powers created their post-Velvet Underground tapes in 1974. Wadhams' March 1991 liner notes on this treasure help put things in perspective, though the four-page booklet and highly informative back cover are all the press record collectors are likely to find on a band that hardly got the attention of the aforementioned Modern Lovers or, for that matter, Aerosmith, the Sidewinders, Moulty & the Barbarians, Seatrain, or Barry & the Remains. Read more here:

Wayne Wadhams Biography on
Wayne Wadhams, founding member of the '60s pop group the Fifth Estate, was born on November 12, 1946, in Stamford, CT. He attended Stamford public schools and later Dartmouth College, graduating in June of 1969. Originally class of 1968, Wadhams took off a year plus to tour with the Fifth Estate after "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead" was a hit in mid-1967.

At age nine, he lit on fire to become a theatrical pipe-organist, inspired by the million-selling LP George Wright at the Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ on the HiFi label. Wadhams' parents bought him a piano in 1956, then a large Conn electronic organ in 1957. Taking lessons, he began appearing as a "child prodigy" at Hammond Organ Society meetings. ...Read more here:

Inside The Hits

Wayne Wadhams appeared on Visual Radio with both
Joe Tortelli, the person who wrote the Liner Notes to
"Ding Dong The Witch Is Back", the compilation of
FIFTH ESTATE material released on Boston Skyline, now a collector's item itself (as is the original vinyl album on Jubilee),
and with yours truly hosting a second segment. Only the first hour of the program aired on television, so we intend to air a two part, two-hour special on the life of Wayne Wadhams in the coming months with commentary from some of Wayne's friends and fans. Wayne was interviewed when the INSIDE THE HITS book was released by Berklee Publishing.

Berklee College site

Wayne was a professor at Berklee College Of Music. Please check the above link for more information on his academic life.

Wayne Wadham's Message: This was taken from a Greek site that published after INSIDE THE HITS was released.

Technology is a wonderful thing. The tools of any craft have always provided great motivation to true artists in all ages, places, epochs, cultures and media. Working with tools, and applying them to the raw materials of which art is made - from stone and paper to ink, paint, film, tape or data - nurtures a charismatic bond between the artist and his or her goals, hopefully leading to a satisfying product.

Thus, learning to master one's toolset becomes one with developing the expressive potential to stir the soul
and emotions of other human beings. Only when the craftsman become a virtuoso with his toolkit, no longer thinking about how to use them for expression, but focussing ONLY on what is to be expressed, does craft become real art.
In that way, making art is an act of love. Love of the process, the raw materials, tools, and love of the product that was only a concept, but now exists in real time and space; able to convey that love to others, to help them realize the love within themselves, and to touch the common heart that beats in all humans.

We are all one - that is what every great work of art proclaims. My joys and sorrows are identical to yours, and his, hers and theirs, from one edge of the earth to the other, from the scribe of ancient Egypt to the astronaut sending us images of earth, full-scale, from the International Space Station. Only the toolkits of each are different - hardware AND software - from environment and culture to language, raw materials, and the artist's creative inferface.

But technology is not life itself. It is no replacement for the great deeds recorded on papyrus, or seeing the earth from the Space Station, feeling the wind against the face, the waves against the chest, the ecstacy of love or the pain of torturous illness or an untimely death. Technology, no matter how cutting edge or well-tooled, is only the mirror by which the artist reflects life onto the blank canvas, or focuses its image into stone, paint, or music.

Thus, the truest advice I can give to all who love to be overtaken by creating or confronting great art... is to drench oneself in the torrent of LIFE. You can't feel or express deep compassion without experiencing tragic loss, or know the intoxication of a first love without being the lover and loved in such a giddy whirlwind. Seek out the extremes, the calms between storms, the violent opposites, the corners and crevices of your own life and the lives of those around you. Suffer a defeat, knowing that will sweeten a coming triumph. Even the Pharoah's priests knew that "Shadow gives Light its splendor."

So devour and conquer the best and most current technology available to you, whether it be in music or scultpure. Know where your toolkit came from - and how great artists have achieved miracles with virtually no tools at hand. Then, when life confronts you point blank, shakes you like a leaf in a hurricane - and you survive to relate the experience - you will be equipped to do so in the most emphatic and powerful form possible. READ MORE HERE:

Ding Dong The Witch Is Back

In the mid-'60s, Wayne Wadhams performed in a band called the D-Men that evolved into the Fifth Estate. They went Top 15 in 1967 with a novelty remake of the Wizard of Oz tune "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead!." Their only hit on Jubilee Records is very misleading. This group should be as sought after as Moulty & the Barbarians. This is a very generous collection of demos: songs they wrote for the Righteous Brothers and Cilla Black, and covers of Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy''" and John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom." This album really goes across the '60s spectrum, which makes it so fun and so unique. The rhythm tracks to "I Wanna Shout/Tomorrow Is My Turn" sound like the Ventures performing in your living room; the second portion of the song descends into a dirty "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"-type riff. With all the cult fascination for Roky Erickson and the Chocolate Watchband, it is amazing what the 64-plus minutes on this disc reveal, and even more amazing that this music isn't as sought after as so many other bands from that era. A novelty hit, after all, hardly has the lustre of a Standells riff or ? & the Mysterians' organ passages. The unreleased 1966 single "How Can I Find the Way" sounds like Barbara Harris of the Toys. The liner notes on the back of the CD call this "A real first: the complete recorded output and memoirs of a group who recorded for four labels between 1964 and 1967." The demo for their breakthrough hit, the cover from The Wizard of Oz (as well as the hit version) is here, and when you play that next to "Love Isn't Tears Only," their demo for the Righteous Brothers, the abilities of these New Englanders comes totally into focus. It would've been perfect for the Walker Brothers or Tom Jones. Read more here:

Sound Advice book by Wayne Wadhams

Also, Steve Morse of the Boston Globe wrote a piece on Wayne which is archived

Wayne Wadhams Takes On The Record Industry (Archive fee)
Wadhams is trying to get back to basics. As the...Avenue is a long way from the dance floor. Wadhams has logged years of experience recording...decentralize the power of the major companies, Wadhams has recently formed an independent production...Source: Boston Globe|Date: Jun 27, 1980| by Steve Morse

Here's an interview with Ken Evans and some excellent photos of THE FIFTH ESTATE






M O N T H L Y ! tm
Vol. 10, #1 September 2008

Wayne N. Wadhams guest book
Guest Book for
Wayne N. Wadhams

Page 1 of 1

August 23, 2008
Oh, how sad I am. I'd known Wayne since 1970, enjoyed many a frolicsome time at 421 Broadway, Cambridge, and we were housemates at 334 Marlborough St. in the Back Bay my last 2 years in Boston before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1978. He was a kind and generous friend, and the best example of a "polymath" in my acquaintance, simply one of the most brilliant and talented people I've ever known. We spent 3 great weeks in Amsterdam nearly 10 years ago, but I hadn't seen Wayne in about 6 years. My thoughts are with David and Arlene and the multitudes who loved him.
John Jobeless (Corte Madera, CA)
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August 23, 2008
I thank God for your being my cousin. I have been bragging on you a lot this week. For someone so gifted, you were equally as humble. I remember the Fifth Estate days and constantly bugging my parents to allow me to watch you guys rehearse. Through it all, you never changed.
Cousin John
John Kelley (Norwalk, CT)
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