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Orange Wedge interview with Joe Farace



Interview:

1. Thank you very much for agreeing to the interview. You released two amazing heavy psych albums and I would like to now some details about them. Lets start with first question. What do you remember from your childhood, what did inspire you the most?

When I was 7 years old I was taking drum lessons. I switched to guitar as soon as I heard The Beatles. I didn’t have a decent guitar, but I would listen to various groups like The Stones, The Animals, The Byrds, The Yardbirds and try to play parts of the songs. I got a better guitar and began lessons.

2. Were you or other band members of Orange Wedge in any bands before forming this band? If so, does any material exist?

Orange Wedge actually started out as Greg and the Originals. Obviously Greg Coulson was in that group. I’m not real sure about the rest of the group. I was in a group called Cabbage and before that The Monarchs. There are no recordings available of these groups as far as I know.

3. If I'm correct, you formed in Baltimore around 1968? How was the scene there? What can you say about the very first days and sessions you had as Orange Wedge?

There were lots of groups around. I went to the Orange Wedge audition and we practically played the whole side of the Who album Live At Leeds. After the audition I joined immediately.

4. Why the name Orange Wedge?

It was the name of a popular LSD back in the day.

5. Did you release any 45's during your carrier?

 We did one remix/radio version of the song “People” it wasn’t really available to the public. It is included on the LongHair cd “No One Left But Me”

6. What can you tell me about touring...did you have many concerts? I would like if you could share some interesting experiences...Did you perhaps perform at any festival?

During my last 2 years in the group most gigs were in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington DC. Most were festivals and concerts. Typically 1-2 hour shows. We did some shows with some bigger acts and others we were the headliners.

7. In 1972 you released your debut album called Wedge. It's 500 limited edition LP. I would like to know where did you record it? In fact if you can share with us story about producing and recording this LP. Was it released as private press?

We recorded the album in Baltimore at Flite Three. We were broke and didn’t have the cash to do anything more than the 500 copies. We went in the studio twice to record and Greg and Gene Meros the engineer were more involved with mixing and producing later. The record needed a cover so we came up with the basic dark blue with the Wedge stamp. The record was available in some local stores and on gigs. We gathered a list of record companies and packaged  the album for them to review. The responses varied but no record deal.


8. What can you tell me about songwriting ? Opener on your first album called Love Me is a catchy folk rock song. The next track, Death Comes Slowly is an 11+ minute jam, which is absolute killer. Song three, The Comfort of You, is a very tender ballad. The next one is Keep on Livin, which is really rocking and after that bit of a darker One Night Lover. Meat House Shuffle is a boogie standard song and the last one, which is another killer is called Revenge. Can you share few words song per song?

We were a four piece group when we performed. Just the guitar, bass, drums and lead vocals. Greg asked me if I could write some original songs and my first ever was One Night Lover. I didn’t have a melody or words, I just played the chord changes and Greg came up with lyrics. The rest of the group just added their own interpretation. The rest of the songs just came out of my head mostly relating music that I listened to or things that were happening in my life at the time. One song that I do remember something about is “Revenge.” I was dating this chick that lived across the street from me and I looked out my window and saw her getting out of some other guys car. That pissed me off.  I even wrote about half of the lyrics to that one. It was inspired by my anger.    

9. No One Left But Me is your next album from 1974. Was it also a private press released, if so how many copies were made? I have again same question about recording & producing and also if you can share a bit about songwriting.

 I had continued to write new songs but some of the influences had changed. This time we had 1000 copies made. Half of the album was recorded at Flite Three studios and the rest at Sheffield Studios also in Maryland. The songs were put together in the same way. I would present the initial idea on guitar, than the lyrics and band followed. The song “Dream” was created in the studio. We just needed another song to complete the album. I began to play the chords and everyone else started adding things kind of in layers. We also sent this album out to record companies and no offers.


10. Who did cover artwork for your LP's?

 Because we had a very low budget, we  were very limited. We always had a crew of 4-5 guys that set up the stage, ran the lights and worked sound. They did all the artwork for the front and back cover of “No One Left But Me”. As I mentioned the Wedge album was just a dark blue textured cover with the white Wedge stamp.

11. What happened after the second LP?

We continued to perform until 1975 when some friends, who had a group that  needed a guitarist, contacted me. They were playing 6-7 nights a week and making very good money. So I decided to do it. I left the group and they continued for a couple more years and split up.

12. What did you do in the 80's and what in the 90's?

I played music professionally until I got married in 1979. I went to school for electronics and worked a regular day job. Music became something that I only did on the weekend.

13. I know you played in a band called Bottle of Blues. Would you like to share some words about that?

A friend and I formed “Bottle of Blues” about 10 years ago. We changed players several times until we ended up with the current configuration. We play 2-3 gigs a month because in Baltimore it’s hard to find places to play especially since we are a blues band, We have recorded songs for our website and demo but no original tunes. I have written other songs but never recorded any of  them with a group. .the website is www.bottleofblues.net if you want to hear the demos.                                                                                                                             

14. Any future plans?

I often get text messages from people who liked the albums so I recently got the idea to try to do a one time reunion. Greg and I have got together to see if we could perform the songs from the albums. It is in the works and hopefully it comes true.

15. Well, I would like to thank you again for you time and effort. I have been your fan for a long time and making this interview was really fun, to get to know some details about your music. Would you like to add something else?

Klemen, Thank you for this opportunity. It has been my pleasure. It’s great to know, several years later that people in many countries have listened and enjoyed the music of “Orange Wedge”.                                                                                

Rock on, Joe Farace



















Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011

© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2011

6 comments:

Kevin Rathert said...

Great interview Klemen. Joe Farace is still one of the best guitarists in the Baltimore area. Orange Wedge made two classic lps and the Long Hair Record reissues are well worth seeking out. Thanks for having Joe's voice heard.

Anonymous said...

Nice interview. I was a huge fan of Orange Wedge back in the 70s. I still listen to their music. You guys made Baltimore proud!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the interview. I was in a band called The New Vibrations, later called Chapter 12, which played in some "battle of the bands" gigs against Greg and the Originals, and then Orange Wedge. I thought they were a great band and put on a professional show. I hope the original members are all doing well.

Anonymous said...

Correction to the previous comment. I mentioned that the local Baltimore band named The New Vibrations changed our name to Chapter 12. While we considered that name, we actually called ourselves Stone Throw, named after a real small town in northern Baltimore County. To me, however, The New Vibrations will always be how I remember our band. I still remember the great time I had playing with those guys and the many battle of the band gigs with Greg and the Originals/Orange Wedge.

anziulewicz said...

I remember seeing Orange Wedge perform when I was growing up in Rockville, MD (circa 1965-1974). I think they played a dance at my high school.

Steve B said...

Thanks so much for this wonderful interview and sadly it's taken me 30 odd years to find out the band existed ( been aware about five years now ). I cannot believe that nothing came out bar 1500 copies, such a shame. The quality is amazing and I listen to them so often and it's great to know more about the band from here in Tasmania, Australia. There's not a bad song on either album but for me the build up and actual guitar solo on No One Left But Me is an all time classic as is the song itself.
Thanks again.