SEPT 10, 2004
Barnes and Noble is selling a 60’s music compilation CD called “Hippie.” The disc features a Sweetwater cut, the pre-accident “Motherless Child!” Warner Brothers Special Projects edited and re-mastered the music, including Arlo Guthrie, The Grateful Dead and others.
The best part?
This CD is #5 on Barnes and Nobles top selling 50 CD’s, even as I type this.
Thanks to all who’ve written. There isn’t any current band news, but we’re always ready to play when asked.
I’ve been working with the Beverly Hills Playhouse Musical Theatre Workshop on developing my one-woman show—some life stories and a little music--- different from Sweetwater’s performances. I’ll let you know when it’s close to “going up.” Don’t hold your breath, though. It’s more time-consuming than I ever imagined.
The Beverly Hills Playhouse is Milton Katselas’ (famous director, teacher, and writer) acting school/theatre. So far, I’m getting amazing support from the musical theatre class and my extraordinary teacher, Gary Imhoff.
Had a nice visit on air with Paul Berenson at KCSB in Santa Barbara a few weekends ago. See www.paulb.com. Paul Berenson is not only a long time dude on Southern California radio (well-versed in contemporary and classical music), he’s a successful artist, too. He’s politically outspoken and active on air about the political scene, and he really, really, really, really loves Sweetwater music.
Funny, Sweetwater played at the University of Santa Barbara years ago. Actually, we played the Earl Warren Showgrounds-- about 10, miles south of UCSB-- with Crosby, Stills, and Nash once and another time with Janice and Big Brother.
Also, kudos to Chris Huston, Sweetwater’s record producer, “Just For You,” who just became a grandfather! Chris also is recently returned from the celebration of Beatles week in England. Welcome home, Chris.
I hope you all vote this election. It’s sooooooooooooooooooooo important. Remember 2000? If you do, you know your vote matters. Keep it out of the Supreme Court this time, friends.
Life Food for thought: It’s not how high you jump or how fast you go, it’s how you bounce that matters.
If you’re new to Sweetwater’s website, read on for more details of the VH1 movie and so on.
A big thing for me to get over has been that Amy Jo is singing my songs in the movie. NOT ME. We (Sweetwater) are mind- blown over this one. Obviously, we wanted my voice on the tracks, but VH1 said it couldn't be done technically because Amy Jo's speaking voice didn't match my singing voice. Boo Hoo.
However, the GOOD NEWS is you have to watch and listen to the whole movie because I (the real Nevinator) am singing "Motherless Child" at the end of the film while Michelle lip-syncs to it. Also, if you caught the “Behind the Movie” show, you’ve seen the real me singing “Motherless Child” at the end of that special. The movie features eight Sweetwater songs .
As Joe Graves and I watched the premier of the movie, we reflected on the humble beginnings of this project, especially since we still have a feature film script packed with Sweetwater music (17 songs to be exact) to get produced. If you don’t know the real story about the beginnings of the movie read on. . . .
Writing my life story started about 2 1/2 years ago. First , I wrote it longhand ( single-spaced yellow legal tablet). It was 80 pages long. Boy, was that cathartic; because believe me, I have led an action-packed life. As I wrote, I cried and laughed and sometimes felt blown away that I even survived.
My pal Joe Graves is a professional screenwriter, friend, and loyal Sweetwater fan who loves us. He and I got our heads together over my 80 pages and we wrote a feature film script of my life and Sweetwater. It's a tale of music lived, lost and finally found again.
Music has been the biggest gift in my life. When Sweetwater first met, the music soared and we went higher and higher till one rainy night in December of '69 when a drunk driver made an accordion of my Buick on the Ventura Freeway. This happened 4 months after we played Woodstock and 3 days after we taped the Red Skelton show.
I suffered brain damage for the next 12 years and permanently lost the use of one vocal chord. It took a long time to learn how to sing again. Sweetwater was devastated by my accident. I loved these guys and they loved me and they couldn't bring themselves to replace me. Everybody's' hearts broke and we dis-banded in '71.
From there I went through a series of fantastic highs and lows in Hollywoodland, including cutting a solo album and hitting a hellish personal moment of truth. Someone kind helped me turn myself around then, and I walked away from music for awhile. I found other ways to express pain and joy and kidded myself that I didn't miss music.
Finally, Fred found me. And with Alex, Joe Bruley, and Mike Williams, Sweetwater started playing music again.
The rising, falling, and reuniting of Sweetwater are the stuff of the movie Joe Graves and I wrote. But especially, it’s a story of how music redeems one woman.
We took the idea of my story to Meridian Productions and they ran to VH1 with it. VH1 loved the story, especially because of Sweetwater. VH1 wanted a TV movie though, which is different from a feature film, and they hired a TV writer. The result is the VH1 movie, “Sweetwater: A True Rock Story.” Our page on Joe Graves provides more details of the TV movie’s evolution.
Right now, Sweetwater is heavily into working with Rhino on our new CD, which contains some of our original recordings and new material, including- - are you ready- - -a bonus Woodstock track! Rhinohandmade is Rhino’s cyber label and we hope they put the CD out in retail markets, also.
I’m happier than I’ve been in years, thanks to VH1 and my life-music-soul- brothers, Fred and Alex.
Thanks for reading and caring, and I'll let you know what happens next.