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Wildwood interview with Mark Stephen Ross & Frank John Colli

January 13, 2013

Wildwood interview with Mark Stephen Ross & Frank John Colli

Hailing from Stockton, CA, the music of
Wildwood was anything but what one would expect from the band’s name or
geographic location being neither mild mannered country rock nor West Coast pop
rock filled with jangling guitars. 
Recently two members of the band, bassist/lead vocalist Frank John Colli
and keyboard player Mark Stephen Ross were kind enough to talk about their
roles in the band in the heady days of 1967-1972 with “It’s Psychedelic Baby”
contributor Kevin Rathert.
To
begin with, when and where were you born and was music a big part of life in
the Colli and Ross households? 
Mark: 
I was born in Stockton, CA in 1950. Neither of my parents were
musicians, but there was always music on in the house – records on the
turntable, and local radio stations KSTN and KJOY. I became addicted to pop
radio at a young age, and my older brother had a collection with records by
Dion, Ray Charles, Elvis, Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson and others. 
Frank: 
I was born in Stockton Ca. in 1948. My mother is Hawaiian and my father
is Italian. My mother Dorothy is a marvelous singer. She looked like Ava
Gardner and sang Lena Horne in the day. She was always singing around the house
and still does at 84 yrs old. We did a CD together last year entitled Just
Frankie and Me. Classic American standards by Sinatra, Nat Cole, and some Ray
Charles. It came out great and I was happy to be able to do it with her. It’s
available for a listen on You Tube. She performed during the Big Band era. On
my father’s side the great John Catalano was a San Francisco musician and music
teacher for years. Played 10 instruments and was a guitar teacher for many of
the Bay area’s premier guitarist. So yes, music has always been a big part of
my life. The first sound I heard as a baby was my mother singing.
At
what age did each of you begin playing music and what were the first
instruments that you played?
Mark: 
I started classical piano lessons at eight years old.  My mother had taken lessons for a while and
she decided it would be a good thing for me. I was hooked immediately. I played
only piano for a few years, and when I started playing in bands I played a
Wurlitzer 112 electric piano, then when I started playing organ I got a Vox
Continental, then later a Vox Super Continental (with double manual keyboards)
powered by a Vox Super Beatle amp. 
Frank:  I was 14 and guitar was my
first instrument and voice was next. 
Frank: 
I was 14 and guitar was my first instrument and voice was next. 
How
old were you when you joined your first bands? 
What were the names of the bands and what role did you play in them?
Mark: 
When I was thirteen my first band was The Chessman, with three of my
junior high school friends. None of us were really singers, so we played easy
vocal songs like ‘Louie Louie’, ‘You Can’t Sit Down’, ‘Farmer John’, ‘High
Heeled Sneakers’, and instrumentals like ‘Green Onions’. That band didn’t get
beyond rehearsing and playing private parties. Next I played with The Coachmen,
an R&B band from the south side of Stockton. They were well known in
Stockton, and were looking for a keyboard player, and at the time there weren’t
as many of us around as there were guitar players and drummers. The band was a
mixture of white, latino and black guys. In North Stockton, Stagg High, where I
went to school, and Lincoln High where Frank went were pretty whitebread, so to
be playing R&B with guys that were really good was a great experience for
me. We played high school dances on the South side – a lot of James Brown,
‘Please Please, Please’, ‘Try Me’, ‘Night Train’, some Coasters songs, stuff
like that. I was with them for several months until I met The Mal-T’s. 
Frank: 
Frankie and the Fontels was my first band.  I was the singer and guitar player.  We played surf and soul.  After that, Frankie and the Hiwaymen all soul
and next I was recruited into Zephyr Blue that became Wildwood.
What
kind of music did these bands play and did you play original songs or were they
cover bands?
Mark: 
I wrote a few simple instrumentals in The Chessman. The Coachmen played
all covers. 
Frank: 
We played all covers.
By
1967, Mark, you were a member of the Mal-T’S. 
How did you become a member and who were the other members of the
band?  What was the origin of the band’s
distinctive name?


Mal-T, 1966
Mark: 
I answered an ad that was posted in a local music store. The Mal-T’s
were from Linden, which is in a rural area a few miles east of Stockton. I
joined in late 1965. Bob Zachary was the lead singer and songwriter in the
band. Danny Williams played guitar, Johnny Hensley played bass, and Steve
Pierce was briefly the drummer, but was soon replaced by Tim Mora, who had
recently moved to the area from Santa Rosa. Danny and Johnny also sang
background.
The name came from the Maltese cross, which
was a popular surfer emblem at the time. Later, and still now, it remains a
popular biker emblem.
At first we played mostly surf music, but
quickly started playing British invasion music. Yardbirds, Animals, Beatles,
Stones, Zombies, and American groups like the Rascals, Paul Revere and The
Raiders, The Seeds, Question Mark and The Mysterians, etc. We played a
combination of Bob’s originals songs and covers.
Mal-T’s promo shot
The
Mal-T’S cut one impressive single, “Here To Stay” b/w “Stand Up Today.”  Mark, how long had you been with the band
when the 45 was recorded?  Where did the
session take place and who was the producer? 
Who wrote the tracks and how were they selected for release?
Mark: 
I was with the band for almost a year before we recorded the single. We
traveled to LA in mid to late1966 to record the songs at Stereo Masters studio
on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. The session was engineered by Bruce Morgan. He
is also credited on the single as producer, but we laid the songs down exactly
as we had rehearsed them, so it was essentially self produced.
Bob Zachary wrote both songs, and as
leader, chose them as the two to go on the single. The general band consensus
was that they were his strongest songs and the most obvious choices. The
original A side was ‘Stand Up Today’, which got most of the airplay back then,
but the B side ‘Here To Stay’ has since gotten most of the attention since
appearing on the Pebbles Vol 9 CD years ago.
I remember after finishing the session, we
all went down that night to catch Buffalo Springfield at The Whiskey a Go Go.
Heady stuff for a fifteen year old.
Released
on the band’s own Lady Luck label, how many copies were pressed?  How was distribution handled?  Did the single get radio airplay, and how
were sales?
Mark: 
I don’t remember how many records were pressed. As far as I know the
only promotion was done by Bob and Danny driving around to various radio
stations in the Central Valley to get it played, and they would go to the local
record stores in those towns to make sure it was available to buy. The most
airplay we received was on the local Stockton stations KSTN and KJOY. It was a
real rush hearing it on the radio. We also played in Modesto a couple of times
on a TV show that was like a local version of American Bandstand. I wish I had
that on video.
As far as I remember sales were good
locally, but I think that’s about it. The single is considered rare these days
– I recently saw one sell on eBay for $575.00! I don’t even own one myself
except for the original acetate from the session.
What
sort of venues did the Mal’T’S play and did the band share the stage with any
bands our readers may be familiar with?
Mark: 
The Mal-T’s played a lot of high school dances all over the Central
Valley. We also would play various town halls, local Stockton clubs such as
Music World and Del Rey’s Pacific Playhouse, and dances in larger venues such
as the Sonora Fairgrounds up in the Sierra foothills. One of my favorite venues
we played was The Minotaur in Stockton. It was an old house converted first
into a beatnik style coffee house with poetry and bongos, then a stage was put
in and local bands such as The Family Tree, Gary Wagner, the Mal-T’s and others
would play there regularly. It also drew some bands from the bay area, most
notably Country Joe and The Fish.
I don’t remember The Mal-T’s ever opening a
major show with a name act. We usually headlined our shows, sometimes with a
local opening band. In some of the smaller towns in the Valley, people thought
we were a national act because we were being played regionally on the radio
alongside the Beatles, Stones, Rascals, etc. We even signed autographs on some
occasions- pretty funny.
Several
changes took place with the band at this point, the band’s name became Zephyr
Blue and a guitarist, Frank John Colli, took over as the group’s bassist.  Why the name change?  Who made up the band at this point and did
the band’s sound change with it’s name?
Mark: 
Danny Williams was drafted into the army, so he was replaced on guitar
by John Turner, who had been in a Stockton band called The Cloud. Then Johnny
Hensley left the band, and was replaced on bass by Robbie Orr, who was from
Ceres, but he didn’t last long. That’s when Frank Colli came in on bass. I I
don’t think he had played much bass before -he was an R&B singer and guitar
player, definitely not a British Invasion type of guy. So Bob, Frank, Tim, John
and I started rehearsing in a barn where Bob and his wife lived, on a property
near Linden that was owned by Bob’s mother-in-law.
We changed the band name to Zephyr Blue at
that point, mainly because The Mal-T’s name sounded like a surf band and we
felt it was outdated. With the addition of Frank and John, the band soon took
on a more aggressive and meatier sound.

Zephyr Blue rehearsing
The
band did some additional recording around this time with original vocalist Bob
Zachary?  Where did these recordings take
place and were they done under the name the Mal-T’s or Zephyr Blue?  What became of these recordings? 
Mark: 
Bob was responsible for our introduction to Max Weiss and the old
Fantasy Records studio on Treat Avenue in San Francisco. We did several
sessions there as Zephyr Blue, all of them with Bob’s songs. I don’t remember
much about the particular songs we recorded there during this time, and I have
no idea what happened to the tapes. Bob probably has them, and I ‘m not sure
what became of him either. I haven’t seen Bob since around 1968.
The
band signed a contract with Max Weiss’ Fantasy label, but before any recordings
took place Bob Zachary left the band and Frank took over as lead vocalist.  Known for his powerful vocals, how did this
change the group’s sound and its dynamic?
Mark: 
Bob announced that he was breaking up the band.  He said he was starting a new band with Doug
Wareham, a guy from Modesto who had had a band called The No-Namees, so that
was it for Zephyr Blue. It didn’t occur to the rest of us not to carry on, so
we started rehearsing with Frank on lead vocals. With Bob out of the picture we
became something else entirely, and the music immediately took on a tougher
edge than The Mal-T’s ever had.  I was
writing during the Mal-T’s / Zephyr Blue days, but Bob was not really open to
contributions from other writers, so this was a new creative era for us-we
began writing the songs, and we were free to be as balls out as we wanted.  One of the interesting things that defined
Wildwood was that we were a rock band fronted by an R&B singer singing
rock. Frankie has always had great soul chops and his vocal style worked great
in that context. 
Frank: 
Our sound became much more aggressive with the lead vocal to match.  We didn’t hold anything back.  The music morphed into a much heavier guitar
and bass driven sound with Mark constantly pushing us with a crushing full
chord sound and Tim driving it home behind his drums.  John Turner had a very limited understanding
of chording and he was primarily a lead guitarist and a power riff man.  We worked with what we had and kicked serious
ass.
Saul Zaentz bought Fantasy
Records from Weiss and started two new labels, Magnum and Onyx Records.  Wildwood’s most revered track the incredible“Plastic People” b/w “Swimming”
was released as Magnum Records catalog #420, produced by Weiss.  Is it true that Frank brought the song
“Plastic People?” 
to Wildwood?  When was it penned and what was the song
written about?
Mark: 
After Saul Zaentz bought Max’s share of Fantasy Records, Max started the
two labels Magnum and Onyx. Plastic People’ and ‘Swimming’ were the first songs
that we wrote in 1968. Frank brought in finished lyrics for both songs.
’Plastic People’, like most of our songs came about through jamming on grooves
and riffs until we hit on something we liked. I usually came up with the chord progressions.
My goal with the writing was to make the songs go somewhere interesting –
progressions, arrangements, and melodic instrumental hooks that the vocal could
play off of.  That was easy with Frankie.
Whatever chords I’d throw at him, the first thing he would sing was always
good, melodically and emotionally. Aside from the lyrics written by Chalker,
Frank wrote most of the lyrics.  The only
exception would be the lyrics for ‘The Weasel’, which I wrote. 
Max Weiss Letter
Frank: 
The way we would create our original music was by brain storming until
we came up with a riff while jamming at rehearsal. Then Mark would. usually
come up with a chord progression of some sort and we’d put it all together
until we had a completed piece of work. 
In most cases the next step was coming up with the lyrics which usually
fell on me since I was the Vocalist. And to be perfectly honest I was the only
band member that could sing. If you could call it that. I sounded much older
than I was. I wrote the lyrics to Plastic people after being turned down for a
a part time job for refusing to cut my hair. It just seemed to me at that young
age that I was surrounded by   hypocrites
going through life and Bull Shitting people about who they really were by
living lives that were filled with lies. Swimming came about after my High
School sweetheart left to go away to college and I felt like I was drowning
between the love I had for her and the love I had for Rock and Roll. 
How many copies of “Plastic People” were pressed?  How much radio airplay Did the track receive?  How was distribution handled by Magnum and
how many copies of the single were
sold?
Frank: 
500 copies were originally pressed. Magnum did nothing to promote it at
all. Max wrote us a cover letter for our press kit and we drove all over the
country taking it to radio stations and mailing it out to get some air play. We
did quite well with it in the Central Valley of California where we were from.
Beyond that we didn’t have much luck. fjc 
Mark: 
We did get a little airplay on KMPX FM in San Francisco-we also did a          live on-air interview with that
station.
Somewhere around this time Mark switched from playing a Vox Continental
to a Hammond B-3 with twin Leslie speakers? How did this change the band’s
sound?  Is there any truth to the rumors
that this switch may have been made so that Ross’ keyboards could compete with
John Turner’s twin reverb sound?
Mark: 
Although my changing from the Vox to the Hammond B-3 filled out the
sound more, I still have a fondness for the Vox sound. It’s interesting to hear
the two different versions of ‘Free Ride’, one with Vox, and the other redone
with the B-3.  The rumor about my
switching to Hammond to compete with John’s volume isn’t quite accurate. I
would have switched anyway just in the natural progression of things. The B-3
offered me a broader palette of sound and more texture with the Leslie
speakers. Also, the Vox organ sound was becoming less popular as time went on.
I got the Leslie first, so for a while I ran the Vox Continental through the
Leslie until I bought the B-3. That actually sounded pretty damned good.
The issue wasn’t strictly about the volume.
Hey, it’s rock n’ roll – loud is good. Beefing up my amplification gave me all
the power I needed, but I think that the rumor has more to do with my
objections to the volume being at full throttle all the time. There was a
tendency towards that, so I fought hard for the band to pay more attention to
dynamics. A song will have so much more impact if you let the music breathe and
give it somewhere to go. Just banging it out with the volume stuck on eleven
didn’t appeal to me.  When Wildwood
played live, we had a “take no prisoners” attitude. We were on a mission to get
on stage and kick some serious ass, and we did, but at times it could be a
challenge to control the adrenaline.
The
band’s second single “Free Ride” b/w “Wildwood Country” was released as Magnum
#421.  The b-side is notable as it
represents Wildwood’s first recording with lyrics by the enigmatic William
Chalker.  Who was Chalker and how did he
become involved with Wildwood?  What was
his relationship with the band?

Chalker and Tim in rehearsal barn
Mark: 
Chalker (William Chalker) was introduced to us by Max Weiss. He had been
a merchant seaman. He wore stovepipe jeans with the cuffs rolled way up 50’s
style, with black workboots and flannel shirts, definitely not the hippie type.
He always had a bag full of pills of all different shapes, sizes, and colors –
uppers, downers, and in-betweeners. Chalker was usually in a mildly wacked-out
state, not the most stable personality. Max thought his lyrics might be a good
match for us, and suggested we check them out. He wrote some crazy stuff- very
dark, twisted, and vivid imagery- really inspiring stuff. Check out ‘Steel
Cathedrals’, ‘Choo Choo Thunder’, Durango’, ‘Mary Midnight’, ‘Wildwood County’.
Chalker would record rambling demo versions of his songs, some with just an
acoustic guitar, and some with backing band. We preferred to just see the
lyrics and write our own songs with them. He would send us packages in the mail
with tons of lyric ideas – we would just choose one that resonated with us and
go with it.
One
of my personal favorites by Wildwood is “Choo Choo Thunder.”  Could you tell me what this song is about and
how you came to record it?
Mark: 
‘Choo Choo Thunder’ is a drug song, plain and simple – haha. Chalker
loved his pills (“…I get there quick, I got the speed…” ).  The lyric inspired a rhythm like a fast moving
train. I don’t remember much about the recording session, but it became one of
our favorite songs to play live.
With
two singles released, were you playing larger venues now?  What was a typical Wildwood gig in 1969
like?  Were you playing all original
songs or did you do any covers?  How long
did a typical show last? 

Mark: 
We played a lot of large shows opening for name acts in the Central
Valley, Bay Area, Monterey, and the Sierra foothills. We played the Fillmore,
and most of the San Francisco and Marin County clubs at the time – The Matrix,
The Lion’s Share, The Bodega in Campbell, The Chateau Liberte in the Santa Cruz
Mountains. We promoted many of the Central Valley shows ourselves, hiring
headliners like Tower Of Power, Cold Blood, and other Bay Area name acts, securing
the venue, promoting and selling tickets and then we would open the show. As an
opening act, we would usually play an hour set, all original material. Every
once in a while we would do a four hour gig at a ski resort in Bear Valley in
the Sierras. In that case we would throw in a few covers to get through the
night.
Fillmore West
Frank: 
We were playing all over the State. Mostly The Bay area, Monterey
peninsula, the Central Valley and the Sierra mountains. We promoted a lot of
our own shows. If we self-promoted the show was usually 4 hours long with an
opening act. We only played Wildwood originals.
Who
were some of the artists that you shared the stage with?  What are some gigs that stick out in your
mind that you might describe to our readers?
Frank: 
The first time we played Fillmore West and the way it felt to walk out
on that stage that everyone from the Rolling Stones to Jimi Hendrix had
performed on and to look over at stage left and see Carlos Santana and his band
mates watching us play. Opening up for the Grateful Dead, Steve Miller, Elvin
Bishop, The Doobie Brothers, Ike  and
Tina Turner, Cold Blood, and so many more that I can’t remember and getting
.standing ovations and call backs at every show. Now that’s a batch of good
Juju. 
Stoneground and Wildwood
Mark: 
The Fillmore show did stand out, as well as playing with the Grateful
Dead at Cal Expo in Sacramento, and opening for The Doobie Brothers at The
Chateau Liberte in the Santa Cruz Mountains just before their breakout album
Toulouse Street. We also had quite a large fan base in the Modesto/Turlock area
where we promoted many of our shows- those were always rocking).
The
2012 release “Plastic People” on Frantic Records contains 18 recordings by
Wildwood.  Would you talk a bit about
your time in the studio?  What was a
typical Wildwood recording session like?
Mark: 
Both songs on the first single (‘Plastic People’ and ‘Swimming’) were
engineered by Max Weiss. After that, he would set us up to record ourselves,
then he would disappear upstairs to do crossword puzzles. Whoever in the band
was closest to the control room door would run out to the board and press
record, then would run back in the studio and we’d count off and play. The
studio was in the basement of the old Fantasy warehouse where there were
shelves full of albums by Lenny Bruce, Bola Sete, Cal Tjader, Odetta,
Creedence, and other artists from Max’s Fantasy Records days. It was funky, the
wiring was going bad, and we struggled to get a good sound. The recordings
definitely have a raw sound. We don’t know what happened to the original
masters, so what you’re hearing on the CD are second and third generation dubs.
Many of the actual sessions are fuzzy to me after all this time, but one in
particular that I remember was the day we recorded the first version of Steel
Cathedrals. Max had a dog that hung around the studio, a Rhodesian Ridgeback
named Freako. We were laying the track down, and the dog was right outside the
studio door. He barked in deep reverb just at the perfect time during the intro
of the song. You have to listen closely because it’s way back in the mix, but
it’s on the second beat of the 16th bar (30 seconds into the track), just
before the song breaks open. I thought it was perfect – the hound from hell.
There were some memorable moments aside from our usual weekend recording
sessions as well. One day, jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi dropped by. Max was his
manager, so we were introduced, and he came in and jammed with us on a couple
of songs. He played the studio grand piano and I played B-3 -that was a
treat.  Another time, Max called us and
asked if we would be interested in recording with Gene Vincent. Of course we
said yes, so we spent a day with him recording a version of Kris Kristofferson’s
‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’.  I wish I
had those recordings – Gene was a real gentleman. He died less than a year
later.
In 1971 you recorded at Wally Heider’s studio in San Francisco with Russell
Schmidt, and A&R guy from Mercury Records in attendance.  Was there any talk of a Wildwood album?
Mark: 
Mercury Records A&R guy Russell Schmidt took us into Wally Heider’s
in 1971 to record songs to try to get us an album deal with Mercury. We laid
down three songs that day,  ‘Knock On Any
Door’, ‘Lonesome Roads’, and a remake of ‘Steel Cathedrals’. The sound quality
at Heider’s was superior to Max’s studio, and the tracks sounded great, but I
still prefer the original version of‘Steel Cathedrals’ over the one we did at
Heider’s. The new version felt rushed, and it didn’t have the spontaneity or
the same anguished energy of the original from Max’s studio. Nothing came of
the Mercury deal, they passed on us.. Later on, post Wildwood, Russell Schmidt
did hook Frankie up as lead vocalist for Sahara, a band featuring some of San
Francisco’s finest musicians at the time.
In
1972 Mark left the band to explore other musical options.  Was there any attempt made to replace him?
Frank: None. We were through at that point. I left next and that was it. John
and Tim attempted to keep it together but nothing came of it. The Wildwood
sound was over.
Mark 1972
Forty
years ago Wildwood called it a day, with two singles and a bag full of dubs
from the Fantasy (Magnum) sessions. 
Looking back, how do you feel about your time spent in the band?  Are there any regrets?  Any magical memories?
Mark: 
No regrets at all. It was a great time in our lives, a valuable
education, and for all of us, our first experience playing concerts to large
audiences. As Frank said, we gave it our best shot. It’s impossible to single
out even a few magical memories, we had four years of them. It feels great now
to have the music and the story out there for people to experience, even if it
took forty years to do it. John left us a few years ago, Frank and I have
remained best of friends all these years, and recently it was great to catch up
with Tim after so much time gone by.
Frank: 
It was a great time for a group of young American Rockers giving it
there best shot. No regrets. And a stack of great memories. 
Country Weather and Wildwood
Both
of you have remained active in the music business in these past forty
years.  Frank you are still quite active
in the Central Valley, CA music scene. 
Would you share some of your adventures post-Wildwood?  What are you up to these days?
Frank: 
Still writing and performing and loving it. Mark and I have remained
best of friends. Periodically we perform together locally for old friends. Life
and music is a wonderful gift.
Mark,
you spent time in the Mark-Almond Band. 
Would you tell us a bit about that chapter in your life?

Mark: 
One of my greatest experiences. I was already a fan of Jon Mark and
Johnny Almond when they were in John Mayall’s Turning Point band, and became a
bigger fan when they left to form Mark-Almond. I remember when I first heard
‘The City’. Nobody sounded like them. With Jon’s acoustic guitar, vocals, and
songwriting, and Johnny’s jazz/blues woodwinds, they created a unique stew of
folk, rock, blues, and jazz with Latin rhythms.
After leaving Stockton, I had moved to the
Monterey peninsula in 1973 and was involved in the local music scene there. In
1975, I heard that Jon Mark had recently moved to Carmel, and when the owner of
a local recording studio offered to introduce me, I jumped at the chance. Jon
and I started hanging out a bit – they had just finished the album ‘To The
Heart’. In 1976 they went on a short tour, and when they returned, their
original keyboard player Tommy Eyre decided to leave the band, and Jon invited
me to play with them. Over the next four years I toured with them and we
recorded two albums. One was a studio album ‘Tuesday In New York’, which we
recorded in Monterey in 1977 / 78. That album was released in Europe in 1981.
The other recording was a live album recorded on tour in New York in 1978.
‘Best Of…Live, The Mark Almond Band’ was released on Michael Nesmith’s Pacific
Arts label in 1981.
On tour, the band thrived on spontaneity.
They liked to change things up each night, so you really had to be on your
toes. They were also pranksters. One night 
in St. Louis on my first tour with them, Jon announced halfway through
the show that there would be a surprise solo spot, so I thought someone was
going to sit in. Then Jon announced my name, and the band exited and left me
alone on the stage. It was the ultimate trial by fire. I stayed in touch with
them through the years, and I played at Johnny’s memorial service when he
passed away in Novenber 2009.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1980, I
played with a lot great artists through the Eighties and into the Nineties,
such as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, Delbert
McClinton. Brenda Russell, Brian Wilson, Ronnie Laws.
A complete Mark-Almond concert recorded at
The Tower Theatre in Philadelphia from
our 1978 tour can be heard at Wolfgangs Vault.
Here are three Mark-Almond Band YouTube
links below from the two albums mentioned above.
  
‘Tuesday In New York’ –the title track from
the album ‘Tuesday In New York’
More
recently you have written music for television and have won two Emmy
Awards.  What were they for?  What are some of your other television
related exploits?
Mark: 
In the mid-Nineties, my focus began to shift from playing live to
composing. I started composing music for production music libraries for
placement in television shows and films. Over the years, I’ve written music in
many genres – drama, action, romantic comedy, entertainment, sports, etc. aside
from composing for specific shows such as ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and ‘Extra’,
I’ve had music in hundreds of shows worldwide.
The Emmy Awards were won in two consecutive
years (2007 and 2008) for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition for a
Dramatic Series. The show was Guiding Light, for which I wrote music underscore
from 2003 to 2008. When they went off the air in 2009, Guiding Light had been
on for fifty four years, the longest running TV series in history. That was a
really fun gig while it lasted, and I was working with great people.
Frank,
what is a typical day in the life in the year 2012, nearly 2013, like for
you?  What are your favorite activities
these days?
Frank: 
I still continue to rehearse guitar and work on my vocal style and
original music on a daily basis. My web site frankjohncolli.com and CD’s I have
available on CD Baby, Amazon and ITunes keeps me busy. I enjoy a good gym
workout and spending time with my family and children. My son is an Attorney in
San Francisco and my daughter is in the Restaurant Business with Television
personality and Chef Guy Fieri.
Mark,
I’ve seen several music videos by your wife. 
Are you involved with her career? 
What is a typical day in your life like today and what brings you the
most joy?
Mark: 
My wife Ann Kelly is a singer/songwriter. I produced and arranged her
debut EP ‘Petals and Thorns’, which we released on our own label October Daze
Records last May. Ann and I also co-wrote the songs. The music is a blend of
pop/rock with jazz and blues influences, and the CD has received substantial
airplay nationwide on Triple A format radio as well as on Slacker.com internet
radio. We’ve been playing shows in Southern and Northern California, and we
hope to hook up a tour in Europe this year.
A typical day is spent in my studio. Ann
and I are working on songs for a new release, and my composing for television
is an ongoing endeavor.
Spending time with my wife and making music
brings me the most joy. Oh, and 
traveling, we love that too.
Below is a link to Ann’s website for
samples of the songs on the CD and video links to our three YouTube Videos:
  
What
about the mysterious William Chalker? 
When was the last time either of you saw or talked to him?  Do you have any idea of his whereabouts?
Mark:  We’ve all tried every way we know over the last couple of years to
locate Chalker, but with no luck. I think it was Tim who saw him last, and that
was probably around 1972.
Frank,
one last question for you.  You were
known in your Wildwood years for having a powerful set of pipes.  Have you still got ‘em?  Does the band still have to turn up to be
heard over your booming vocals?
Frank:  HAHA! Now that’s a wives’ tale. I’ve been blessed with a powerful voice
and have no problem projecting. A strong voice can’t compete with a band that’s
too loud and a PA that can’t put you over the top. The quicker a singer can
learn that the better. If the audience can’t understand what the singer is
saying the band is just too damn loud. Balance is key.
Thank
you both so much for agreeing to this interview and for being so gracious
through the whole process.  Is there
anything I have neglected to address or that you would like to add?  Please feel free.
Mark: 
I’d like to give huge thank yous to Joey D of Frantic Records, and
Alec Palao of Ace Records. Without them, the Wildwood  project would never have happened. Kevin, many thanks to you for the interview, and to Klemen for having us
in It’s Psychedelic, Baby. Last but not least, a big thanks to my Wildwood cohorts for some of the
best times.

Interview made by Kevin Rathert / 2013
© Copyright
http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2013
2 Comments
  1. Kevin Rathert

    Many, many thanks to Mark and Frank for sharing so freely from the Wildwood archives!

  2. Air Max Weiß

    The band signed a contract with Max Weiss' Fantasy label, but ... airmaxweibe.blogspot.de

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