An Interview with Lou Christie
Posted on 02/10/2020
All Access had a chance to speak with Lou Christie, who is featured in the Golden Oldies Spectacular on May 31! Lou chats with Kelly about his current touring schedule, producing his own podcast Lou Christie Says "It Should Have Been A Hit," and more!
Read the transcribed interview below
with Kelly from All Access and special guest Lou Christie
Kelly: Welcome to All Access with State Theatre New Jersey. I'm your host Kelly Blithe and this is the show that takes you behind the scenes and behind the curtain of the legendary State Theatre in downtown New Brunswick. Now, we are always looking forward to the spring because it's concert season and Golden Oldies Spectacular returns Saturday, March 21.* Our co-presented presentation with WillJam Productions. We are so very excited! This year's lineup is spectacular. And with us today is one of the featured performers for Golden Oldies Spectacular, Lou Christie! Welcome Lou!
Lou: Well, thank you Kelly! Thank you, It's nice to be back again.
Kelly: Lou, this is great! You've been to the State Theatre a couple of times and it's always a treat. The audiences just eat it up!
Lou: Thank you. It's nice to known at this point in your life.
Kelly: Tell us about you and your travel schedule. You always seem to be on the go and there's always something new for you. What are you up to these days besides Golden Oldies Spectacular?
Lou: This weekend I'm in Florida, I'm going to Fort Pierce down there, I have a concert, it's a big rock n' roll show. I'm heading out Friday, the show's Saturday, and we'll be back Sunday. So, it's in and out. I have a podcast called Lou Christie Says "It Should Have Been a Hit," I also have itshouldhavebeenahit.com, and it's a show I do where I put on records that I believe should have been hits. I play the records, talk about the artists, and sometimes they're friends of mine. Right now there's a Leslie Gore record up there, and it's a record that didn't make it for Leslie, but I thought it was one of her best records. It's called "Treat Me Like a Lady." I talk about Leslie, I miss her an awful lot and we did a lot of things together, and every Sunday I change the record. Every other Sunday I do a replay. There are 75 records on the website now. Thousands of people are getting on to it, they really enjoy it. So, I have to do that and keep that going because I have had a lot of music in my head since I was a little kid. I go back all the way back into the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, and pick up songs. That's what I'm doing, and it takes a lot of my time up. I'm working on a couple of other things, probably the more I talk about those the less happens, so I won't talk about the ones that are real secret.
Kelly: People love podcasts and love those behind-the-scenes look at things. With you talking about Leslie Gore and other performers you've worked with through the years, I think that's real interesting stuff.
Lou: Yes, that's what people really like. That's what people keep telling me, "say more, tell me more about this and that." When I first started I would sort of just play the record and say who it's done by, and say a few lines. But, now I'm adding more and more things. I just did a tribute to Billy J. Kramer, who's a friend of mine, and of course he came over with the Beatles from London, England. He lives in America now. Billy has a new album out and a new book, and so I talk about him. It's nice. I can give a tribute to people that I really enjoy and that you haven't heard from in a while, like Chris Montez, Brian Highland, and all of the people that my generation were in the top 10 with.
Kelly: That's great stuff. Tell us about this lineup and your history with everyone like BJ Thomas, Dennis Tufano, 1910 Fruitgum Company. Have you worked with these guys before?
Lou: Every one of them. Of course, Jay and the Americans I've known since 1962. BJ Thomas is a very good friend and we've done many gigs together. Of course, Dennis Tufano he's just wonderful, another Italian boy from Chicago, and 1910 Fruitgum Company. It's wonderful. These shows are like class reunions for me. I get to see these people every couple weeks, every month, or six months. There's always someone new that comes on the scene that I haven't seen for a while, like Freddy Cannon. I haven't seen Freddy for a while and I'll be doing a show with him. Then I get to see Mary Wilson periodically, from the Supremes, just all the people that I've traveled around the country with for many years.
Kelly: Nice. Do you have any dirt on these guys? Any from BJ Thomas or Dennis?
Lou: Any dirt, how dare you? No, they're all really nice people. We won't get into any kind of dirt, you sound like Dick Clark!
Kelly: Yeah, I know, I'm just teasing.
Lou: I know you are Kelly.
Kelly: So, "Lightning Strikes," this is your big hit man! Every time you come around people can't wait for you to play that song.
Lou: It really has been something. This record was just about #1 in every country, and it goes on and on and on. It's going to be used in something in Italy, a new series on television. It was one of those magic moments. The interesting thing about it is the record became #1 on my birthday. I wrote it, I sang it, and produced it. What more could you do? It became #1 on my birthday, February 19th, it went to #1.
Kelly: Wow, that's quite a birthday treat. Not many people can say their song went #1 on their birthday.
Lou: No, I've never heard of it! But, it did! And, it'll be coming up, February 19th!
Kelly: Nice. So, Lou, as you go on to tour for Golden Oldies Spectacular, as well as other tours, do you find that their are new generations coming? You have your fans that have been coming for years, and coming to see you, but do you find that their bringing their kids and grand-kids, that they're making it a generational thing?
Lou: Very much so. Part of the generation out there, they don't even know that other human beings exist while they're on their phones, and hanging out in their rooms doing whatever they're doing. But, a lot of people want to know what it was like to be in the Andy Warhol crowd, or who were the Supremes, the Beatles, and the Stones? All of the people who had great records, our generation did that. We saw the beginning of rock n' roll. A lot of the young generation, just as they say vinyl's coming back, which is sort of a novelty or niche thing, so many people I find from other countries especially Germany, Japan, and England are so fascinated by people who are my friends and who made records with me. They don't get to see that, radio is not like it used to be. They don't have top 40 and top 10 records, or #1 records, it's just a different world out there. Everyone is so technically connected to their iPad and iPhone. But, many people are finding what's going on on YouTube, and they think, "oh my gosh, these people are gonna have a show and I'll come!" We really do good business, it's amazing that we can still do that. I think it was that generation that we were born in, I thought we had just a wonderful generation. Like I said, we started rock n' roll, we saw the beginning of it and I think we probably saw the end of it too.
Kelly: No, no stop it! You brought up something, I want to know what it was like being in the Andy Warhol crowd!
Lou: Oh, well, of course! That's what I mean, people were fascinated by it! They were all friends of mine. Andy was a friend of mine. One of my closest friends is one of the girl's, she's still around and looks beautiful today as ever, in his movies, Flesh, Trash, and Bad. It was a time period that was so different. The world was opening up, and life was a different situation. We went through the drug situation, then the Beatles came, then the long hair. Then the hippie generation, then people taking to the streets because of the Vietnam War. We had a very, very colorful circus to live in as teenagers.
Kelly: And we are reliving it in Golden Oldies Spectacular on Saturday, March 21.* It is going to be a fantastic evening of music featuring Jay and the Americans, BJ Thomas, and of course the one and only Lou Christie, Dennis Tufano, and 1910 Fruitgum Company.
Lou: That's a hard one to say! You got to say it three times, Fruitgum Company, 1910 Fruitgum Company. You can say it with a southern accent.
Kelly: These tickets are going fast! Make sure to get them at STNJ.org. So, Lou, anybody who is on the fence about seeing this show, why should they come see Golden Oldies Spectacular?
Lou: Why?! Come on! Jay and the Americans they're doing better than ever, so is BJ. Dennis Tufano, he's just the nicest guy. I mean, everyone is a good entertainer, so they'll enjoy it. It's just a great time, you won't have to worry about any politics or anything like that.
Kelly: I love it, I love it Lou. Thank you so much for being on All Access again, and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday, March 21.*
Lou: Thank you, Kelly. I look forward to being there too.
* = this show has since been rescheduled to Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 7pm.