Short interview with Stevie Hill from Bloodrock
1. Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Steve.
My first question is, when were you first exposed to music as a kid? What were some of your early influences?
I tried to memorize any music that I liked (before I owned an instrument). There are a few albums that my parents played repeatedly: “Ray Charles’ Greatest Hits”, “Ray Charles: New Sounds in Country Music”, “Spike Jones Murders the Classics”, & 3 sound track albums: “The Music Man”, “Oklahoma”, & “South Pacific”.
2. Around 1963 a new band started playing called The Naturals. This first lineup featured Jim Rutledge, Nick Taylor, Ed Grundy and Dean Parks. In 1965 they released Hey Girl” / “I Want You. Since then you were not in this band, but still I would like to ask you if you can tell me something more about them?
The Naturals played occasionally in night clubs, but primarily worked as a cover band, playing corporate gigs and private parties.
3. Shortly after they changed their name to Crowd + 1 and released three more singles: “Mary Ann Regrets” / “Whatcha Tryin’ to Do to Me”, “Don’t Hold Back” / “Try,” and “Circles” / “Most Peculiar Things.” In 1967 Parks left Crowd +1 to become the musical director for the Sonny & Cher Show. He was replaced by Lee Pickens. It was also at that time that you, on the keyboards/vocals, joined the group. You continued as Crowd + 1 until 1969 when you changed your name to Bloodrock. I would like to know if you can tell me what do you remember from Crowd + 1 years? Why the name Crowd +1 and why did you change your name in 1969 into Bloodrock?
I remember that we were very focused on writing songs and having our own sound that would be strong and recognizable.
4. Around April 1970 you released your first self titled album. It was produced by Terry Knight and was released on Capitol Records. What are your strongest memories from the recording sessions and the production of the LP?
The album is heavy blues hard rock and if I’m not wrong the first album was pretty rare, not many pressings were made, or am I wrong? I also have to say, that you made an amazing spooky atmosphere which I love.
Thanks for the compliment. Feel free to fact-check, but I believe the first album sold 90,000 units in the first few months. I also seem to remember that when the third album was released, we had 3 albums on the Billboard charts for a while.
5. Just a few months later and a new album was made called Bloodrock 2. It is another piece of amazing hard rock driven music. Bloodrock 2 was your most successful album peaking at #21 on the Billboard Pop Album Chart in 1971 mostly on the strength of your single “DOA” which reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on March 6, 1971. I would like to know the story behind this incredible release.
Thanks for the compliments. By the time we began recording the second album, our sound had become more aggressive. We had been playing in larger venues, which gave us the
chance to preview some of the upcoming songs in the bigger rooms and
outdoor festivals. Although we were reluctantly using some songs from outside writers, the
members of the band wrote the song that put us on the map.
Various Bloodrock members wrote “DOA”, “Cheater”, “Fallin'” and “Dier Not A Lover” (Dier included Sam Gumult). Not everything you write gets recorded, but fortunately I co-wrote the 4 songs that made the album.
6. What are you doing these days?
One plan is to add content from my photo archives daily. Secondly, I would like to begin recording the second solo album as soon as possible.
I am working on the next album and a short film. As most people know, I was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002. The leukemia has had put a monkey wrench on my release schedule, but I have at least 2 albums of material ready to record.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
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