KISS drummer ERIC CARR’s sister Loretta Caravello and Beth Jordan about the new album UNFINISHED BUSINESS!!!
Q: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us Loretta. This new album project “Unfinished Business” has an appropriate title, it’s so great to see more recordings surface from your legendary brother. KISS fans are very excited after all this time how on earth did this come about ?
A: It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do and it’s just taken a lot of time and care to get everything just right. Over the years there have been tapes of Eric that have surfaced or even people showing up on my doorstep with tapes of my brother. I really want to emphasize that all of the artists on this album are so fantastic on their own merits and we’re really proud to have them involved in bringing these tracks to the fans.
Q: It sounds like a tremendous task though and there has been such a high level of work put into this to actually see this through….do you think your brother would be surprised?
A: My brother was the BIGGGEST ham, I’m not sure if I’d say he would be surprised, he loved the attention from fans and the fans loved him right back. I think he would like the end result.
Q: It doesn’t sound at all like some album slapped together just to put something out nor does it sound like some poorly recorded product. “Elephant Man”, “Shandi” all of this stuff sounds totally pro even though some of the source tapes were very dated. That’s such an accomplishment!! The original version of “Little Ceasar” is on here!!! Thank you for this!!
A: Thank you!! The person who deserves a lot of credit for that is Beth, who is not only fantastic in the studio and working with sound but just a total pleasure to deal with. This could not have happened without her, you really need to be interviewing Beth!! I do think that the album sounds awesome and that is a testimony to the amount of passion she and the artists who helped us have. That “Little Ceasar” track is actually the original song “Nobody’s Messing With You” on which they based it on.
Q: The list of artists is pretty impressive, dare I say a rock fan who isn’t even a KISS fan might dig it. You have members of Europe, Twisted Sister, Danger Danger, and so many others all contributing. And of course the MAN Bruce Kulick!!!! I guess the one question I would have is….there are so many great artists who made this happen, how much of ERIC on the final product and all of the tracks??
A: It’s an ERIC CARR album. It’s not just a tribute album to Eric, he is ALL over it, playing, singing. talking. It really shows how much talent he had as a musician too John, I mean some people might not really be aware of the fact that my brother had been in lots of bands and had always played many instruments and sang constantly well before KISS. You couldn’t stop him from singing. People recognize him as a great drummer but he was artistic in general, writing, drawing, singing…..We have him speaking on tapes in between the songs throughout the album, some of that is pretty funny and it‘s all stuff people haven‘t heard before. You have to hear it!
Q: We KISS Fans are a bunch of psychos. We will obsess over the most obscure details and will follow the band through hell or high water. It’s not always pretty or easy but we do it. When Eric joined KISS they were changing but they were still one of the biggest names in rock. Were you a fan of KISS before your brother joined, was it exciting?
A: No, I wasn’t. I was not a fan of the band. In fact I hated them (laughs). I used to work at a store that sold KISS Costumes and I would poke holes in them (Laughs). Of course once my brother got in the band it was a whole different story. Total hypocrite (laughs)….I loved the band after Eric joined, but I suppose anyone would be that way if your brother or sister was asked to be in one of the biggest groups going.
Q: There’s some really, really cool stuff on www.ericcarr.com besides the album also. Unreal posters, personal items, Bobbleheads and things like special drumsticks. Is it fun working on items like that? That solo album art lithograpgh is so amazing
A: Yeah! That is a limited thing, they were going to make a ERIC CARR solo album back in the early days when he joined the band. Same style as the other solo albums, same art. I wanted to make a few of them available for people, people need to understand I am NOT living like Gene or Paul (laughs). I have a very modest house and I’m not striking it rich, I just wanted to make some things available for the fans that continue to write and email and show such devotion to Eric. He and the fans had an amazing relationship
We took Loretta’s advice and hit up BETH for an interview about her role in making the album…..read on
PART TWO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Interview with BETH JORDAN, Official Eric Carr page mistress, radio host and driving force behind the “UNFINISHED BUSINESS” album………………
Q: You’re usually on the other side of the mic…how are you doing handling all these press inquiries about the album?
A: It feels strange but its a nice change of pace. At least now I know how it feels to be on the other side!! (laughs)
Q: The album is now available at multiple outlets and at Ericcarr.com. Does it feel good to start getting all the feedback from fans about the album?
A: Oh yeah! We’ve been working on it for so long, I’m so happy we can finally share it with everyone. Even though everyone seems to like something different about the album, the feedback I’ve seen has all been very positive.
Q: We talked to Loretta who LOVES you and was of course a big motivator behind this project. How close have you grown to her and the family and how does that strike you after all these years as a KISS fan?
A: Loretta and I became friendly many years ago after I sent her a cassette of a tribute I did in Eric’s memory on my radio show (that was back in the late 90’s). It doesn’t seem so strange or jaw-dropping now but when we first started talking, I was like “Holy Crap! I can’t believe I’m talking to Eric Carr’s sister!” (laughs)
Q: A lot of people are aware that Eric wrote, played guitar and was very musical due to the ROCKHEADS album. What makes this album so much different than that material?
A: Rockology has SOME completed songs (the stuff meant for the Rockheads) but most were unfinished demos. With this album, we took partially completed material and had Eric’s friends … and fans who are now in the music business … help us finish them. One example is “Just Can’t Wait” which originally appears on Rockology as an instrumental. We had lyrics written for the song and they were later recorded by Ted Poley. NOW it sounds like a complete different song. Another example is “Elephant Man,” which was one of the last songs Eric wrote. We only had the lyrics that he had written while he was in the hospital, so to make that song come to life we needed an entire musical arrangement. That one was MUCH more difficult because we had no real way to know what Eric envisioned it to sound like musically.
Q: You also run the Eric Carr social media sites. Sounds like a busy job. How important have those pages been as far as gauging the fanbase and what they wanna see or hear and how much does the family pay attention to these all important interactions?
A: Yeah … they keep me pretty busy but its a great way to talk to and get to know the fans. I know Eric would’ve LOVED them and would’ve been on them all the time. I try to stay as interactive with the fans as he would’ve been. Sometimes, I’ll post a hypothetical question to get people talking, like “It’s Eric’s birthday. If he were here today, what do you think he’d want as a birthday gift?” Other times, I’ll ask them something because we want to know how to proceed. For example, not that long ago I asked the fans what they thought about certain merchandise ideas … plush dolls, T-shirts, etc and we got very honest and mixed reactions but it helps Loretta to determine what to do next. The social media sites are the number one way we communicate with the fans. We still have an email mailing list and everyone is always welcome to join, but in most cases its faster and more convenient for everyone when we use Facebook and Twitter to make an announcement. Loretta receives every merchandise question, comment or memory that the fans post on the site and in some case, she’ll comment back to them directly via email.
Q: You have a show called Amplified 24/7 and have dealt with many artists, some close to their fans others not as close. Do you think that “personal touch” will always be a part of Eric’s legacy and is it a big part of what motivates Loretta Carr to keep that legacy moving forward?
A: Everyone I’ve spoken to who knew Eric, name that as the number one thing that made him stand out … not just as a musician but as a person. I do think that it was his love and closeness to the fans that has helped keep his memory alive. He made a huge impact on everyone he met … almost everyday we get emails and photos from fans who only met him once but felt as if they knew him for years. Even now almost 20 years after he passed, we have newer, younger fans contacting us to say how much they love him and his playing. And other then the simple fact that she loves and misses her older brother, I think that Loretta’s determination to keep his legacy going has a great deal to do with the fans and how they still feel about him after all this time.
Q: How long did it actually take to bring this album to completion and how much effort was it to actually line up all the musicians and create the completed tracks?
We started talking about putting another album together back in 2005 or 2006. Some tracks came together quickly … “Just Can’t Wait” was one of the first to be completed … but others, like “Shandi” and “Elephant Man,” took much longer. It was a huge effort to coordinate everyone because some artists wanted to participate but for whatever reason couldn’t … but most of that I didn’t have anything to do with … Loretta dealt with that stuff directly.
Q: You obviously have the chance now to sit back and enjoy/promote this effort but is it possible that there may still be another project (book, DVD, tribute) further down the line?
A: I hope so! There isn’t too much more material to work with that I know of but who knows, maybe one day one of his friends or even a fan will find something we didn’t know existed. It’s been a blast and I’d definitely do it all over again given the chance!