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Drywater interview

September 21, 2012

Drywater interview

Drywater was an unknown band from Pennsylvania. Originally there were only 25 copies released. Today we have a reissue out and I was lucky enough to talk with two members of the band. Enjoy their story. 
Interview:
Thank you for taking your time for It’s
Psychedelic Baby. We are really pleased to have your band here. ‘Drywater’ LP was
reissued on ‘Time-Lag Records’. How do you feel about that?
Dennis Cheplick: I was quite surprised when
I was contacted by Nemo, mainly because the album is almost 40 years old, and
it certainly (and understandingly) does
not showcase the current level of my musical “chops”.
Jack Sarvis: Overall, surprised but excited
to have the opportunity for our music to be heard by a wider audience.
Did you imagine, that after all this years
people will still find your music interesting?
  
Dennis Cheplick: Not Really.

Jack
Sarvis: Yes considering it’s never been
heard by most people.
How did Nemo from ‘Time-Lag’ reach you?
   
Dennis Cheplick: He contacted me after seeing an article about
the album selling for $1000.00 on the internet. He somehow already had a CD copy of it and liked it.
What would you say were some important musicians or bands, that
had a great impact on you. How did your
influences changed from childhood to teen years?
Dennis Cheplick: Do I have to go back to my
childhood again? Oh musically. I mainly listened to
top 40″ radio in the sixties, so I
love the Beatles, Stones, Creedence, etc. Later, I really got into a wide range
of acoustic/electric music, from John Denver to Led Zeppelin.
Jack Sarvis: I always remember Elvis
Presley as a young Kid on T.V. and
wanted to sing like him as I Got Older, Chuck Berry, Creedence Clearwater
Rival, Santana were big influences.
Were you in any bands before ‘Drywater’?
Dennis Cheplick: I was in a polka band from 15-19 years of
age. We had regular gigs on weekends during that time, mostly weddings, VFW’s
small clubs,etc. Needlless to say, I was by far the youngest member. No, there
were no concerts or recordings, Thank God.
 
Jack Sarvis: No I wasn’t in any bands, but I did sit in
with Dennis in the polka band when they wanted some rock & roll.
What would you say was the scene in your
town? Which local bands were there in late 60’s and early 70’s?
Dennis Cheplick: I’ll refer to Jack on this one, since I was
to young and “nerdish” to even know there was a scene.
 
Jack Sarvis: I remember a band called ‘Menagerie’. A great
band that sounded like Chicago and
a band called the ‘Silver Spurs’, a great
country band.
Tell us about the beginning of ‘Drywater’.
How did you guys came together and start the band?
 
Dennis Cheplick: Jack was introduced to me at a playing gig
through my uncle Henry, who by the way being a farmer, inspired the title cut
of the album.
 
Jack Sarvis: I saw Dennis playing in the band and he was
really talented and when I got to know him, found out that we had the same
interest in music.
Where was your rehearsing place and what
are perhaps some memories from jamming there? What songs did you usually play at
the start of the band?
 
Dennis Cheplick: The rehearsal place was frequently the
basement of my parents home, or Henry’s living room, Or Jack’s parents trailer.
Memories are scarce , but I do remember frequent interruptions from family or
friends. We played mostly “covers” at first like “Johnny B
Goode”, “Proud Mary”, “Twist
& Shout” Etc.
 
Jack Sarvis: Dennis and I liked playing our own music and
we worked on the songs that we wrote.
What can you tell me about writing down
material which later appears on LP?
   
Dennis Cheplick: The songs I wrote myself,
I scribbled down on paper as they came to me. The co-written ones were pretty
much the same although sometimes Jack or I already had parts of the song.
   
Jack Sarvis: I would rarely write down the
song until I was finished with it. Writing took to much time and I wanted to concentrate
on the creation of the song, but now I do write everything down.
About LP; at what studio did you record it?
I would love if you could tell us what are some of the memories from recording
this LP? I believe it was done without any editing?
 
Dennis Cheplick: It was recorded at a local
studio called “Marjon Studios”. I remember feeling “rushed”  because we were “on the clock” due
to our limited finances. I also remember
hoping and praying that we didn’t make many mistakes because there wasn’t time
to correct them. (Obviously, we had to leave a few on the album).
 
Jack Sarvis: It was our first time in a professional
studio, we played live as a band, what you hear is the real thing. We (the
band) did no editing because of money concerns and the mixing was done as we recorded.
 
What gear did you guys use?
Dennis Cheplick: I used a hollow body
Gibson electric (I don’t remember exact “specs”) and a cheap 12
string (don’t remember brand). I ran them through a fender amp.
 
Jack Sarvis: I used a Gibson ES (Electric
Spanish) 335 semi hollow body guitar and a Kustom 200 amplifier.
The cover artwork is something, that I
find really good. The sea and the clouds make you want to grab the record not
knowing whats on it. How did  you choose
this photo and what do you think it represents?
Dennis Cheplick: The cover was chosen from
a large sampling of photos from RPC Records, which manufactured the album. (all
25 of them).
Jack Sarvis: We liked the cover because it
had water on it and dry skies. Thus you have Drywater.
Did you have any concept in your head while
recording this album?
Dennis Cheplick: No
  
Jack Sarvis: We wanted a blend of acoustic,
with 12 string, mixed with hard fuzz or deep reverb lead.
We wanted to combine the two extremes to
come up with a unique sound. Each song different but the same. Kinda of like the name Drywater.
  
Dennis Chelick: I Think Zeppelin did it a
little better.
Jack Sarvis: Well, maybe a “little
better”.
Like in most of my interviews I kindly ask
band members to comment each song a bit and perhaps introduce the fans of the
LP and those who still don’t have it, to the songs and in general about your
background as a songwriter. So please tell us about your songs.
Backbone of the Nation
Dennis Cheplick: “Backbone Of The
Nation” a pro farmer anthem, was inspired by my Uncle Henry, who was (and
still is) a farmer and friend of Jack’s. The back cover photo on the album was
actually taken at my uncle’s farm and he still has the Hay wagon. The rest of the songs that I wrote alone (To Much Of Nothing, The Stones You Throw,
Sweet and Free and How Many More Years). I don’t remember any notable specifics.  Suffice it to say  I was in a state of melancholy and
bitterness, probably due to “getting no satisfaction”! Oh Yeah. I remember, feeling relieved at
getting my electric parts on the first “takes on “Untitled Love”
and “How Many More Years”.
I  Don’t Love Her Anymore.
Jack Sarvis: About a man who cares for someone, but know’s
it will never work out.
Airplane Rider
Jack Sarvis: The music, I wanted to sound like a plane
coming in for a landing and then taking off.
Untitled Love:
Jack Sarvis: If you want a relationship to work, you have
to tell them how you feel. Denny’s lead
and
guitar playing is my favorite of all the
songs.
Hooky Player
Jack Sarvis: I never liked school but I was always going. I
was attending Youngstown State University but would rather stay home and play
my guitar and write music.
You send the tapes to ‘RPC Records’ and order
minimum of 25 LP’s. Tell us about this deal?
  
Dennis Cheplick: RPC records had a minimum order of 25 copies,
so we chose that again, because of limited resources.

Pictures from left to right, top to bottom
 1.  
Gregg rehearsing on drums in the Cheplick’s basement
 2.  
Gregg, Jack & Denny proudly displaying album the day it arrived in
Henry’s living room.
 3.  
Denny & Jack leaning against Jack’s 1969 Camero
  4.  Jack
and Denny jamming in Cheplick’s basement.
  5.  
Denny rehearsing a song for album.
  6.   Ken
Turcic playing guitar in Jack’s parents living room. the amp Ken is using was
used
     
in the making of “Backbone Of The Nation”  album.
  7. 
Kathy,  My sister and now married
to Ken. standing next to Ken’s 1969 Corvette.
  8. 
Denny’  driving  His Uncle Henry’s tractor on his farm.
  9. 
Denny in his one room Nashville apartment, before 1st Nashville session.
How was the LP distributed if it actually
was?
Dennis Cheplick: It was “distributed” by hand to
relatives and friends. And the few remaining copies were sent to major
labels in hope of a deal. How naive, huh.
Concerts? 
   
Dennis Cheplick: We played no shows. (The band dissolved
shortly after the recording).
What happened to ‘Drywater’ and when did you
disbanded?
   
Dennis Cheplick: I went to Nashville 4 months later to pursue
my own music. I recorded a few
demo’s there, which are on the
“Nashville Sessions” bonus CD, which can be purchased with the
“Backbone” album.
  
Jack Sarvis: I went to work for a company called “Packard
Electric”, now called “Delphi Corporation”.
Were you part of any other bands after the ‘Drywater’?
  
Dennis Cheplick: I collaborated with other musicians on song
writing and recording, including, some material with Jack.
Jack Sarvis: I played in a band on the
weekends and continued to write music.
There is also a single out these days
called ‘Like a Vine’ / ‘Deception by you Danny’ and also a compilation called ‘The
Nashville Sessions’. Would you be so kind to tell us about this two things?
  
Dennis Cheplick: As I mentioned earlier, I went to Nashville
where I spent all of 1974. As I soon found out, the Nashville scene was very
“lyric oriented”, whereas I was very “music oriented” so
“Like A Vine” and Deception” were my attempt at more “in
depth song writing. “The Nashville
Sessions” is a compilation of of
the two sessions I did at castle Recording Studio’s there, including the above
mentioned songs plus a few others, some of which were written around the time
of the “Backbone” session. In fact, one of the songs, “The
Moment I Met You” was co-written with Jack (We had considered recording
it for “Backbone”, but passed). There are also four “Backbone” songs on the compilation with
alternative vocals, meaning I over dubbed stronger vocals to these songs
because I think the vocals on the originals are too weak.
Do you still own the original master tapes
of your LP?
Dennis Cheplick: Yes but unfortunately they are
unplayable. The ‘Time-Lag’ release was
made directly from an original “Backbone” album I still had.
What occupies your life these days?
   
Dennis Cheplick: Music continues to occupy
my life. Over the past two decades I’ve
recorded many
instrumental tracks (two sessions were at
Soundtrack Studios in N.Y.C.), some of which have been used on TV and radio (as background music). A song Jack and I recently wrote and recorded, “Going Green”, is currently being re-mixed at Soundtrack in N.Y. to be
pitched, hopefully, to current recording artists in the country/Pop
genre. I currently live with my wife,
Angie, in a small rural area of western 
Pa. U.S.A Check my videos on you tube, “Dennis Cheplick” 5 & 10 Films.
 
Jack Sarvis: I retired from Delphi
Corporation after 30 years and now am pursuing my music full time.
Writing songs, some of which Dennis and I have
written together. I have a song on You Tube, Jack Sarvis  “You Are A
Keeper”.
Thank you very much for participating in
this interview. We are really happy to share your story. Would you like to send
a message to It’s Psychedelic Baby readers?


Dennis Cheplick: Thanks for your
interest in our music. “Better Late Than Never” as the saying goes.
Jack Sarvis: I would like to thank, It’s Psychedelic Baby
Magazine and all it’s readers, for listening to our story after almost 40
years. For what we lacked in experience at the time, we gave our all.

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
© Copyright
http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012
One Comment
  1. Swahns krukmakeri

    I just listened to Deception on mixcloud (cabin floor radio)and wanted to know a little about the artist. Found Psychedelick Baby and this interview that I read with great interest. Thank you.

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