Chad & Jeremy to bring warm sound to TiffinWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
The cover of the new Chad & Jeremy disc, “Ark-eology,” shows a rabbit, squirrel, two frogs and a couple birds riding on a turtle.
“ ‘Ark-eology’ was named that because it’s the 40th anniversary of the release of ‘The Ark,’ which was the last album on Columbia,” Chad Stuart said. “The original ‘Ark’ cover was a painting by a wonderful artist named Charlie Bragg, who did a parody of the ark coming to rest on Mount Ararat and it gets stuck in a tree and it’s full of generals — it was the Vietnam War era.
“So that was a comment about the futility of Vietnam War, and lo and behold here we are again mired in Iraq.”
Stuart said it was déjà vu when he saw the new painting by Robert McCauley.
“There’s something vaguely apocalyptic about it; the turtle appears to be rescuing these rather petrified animals,” he said during a phone interview from his home in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Released in October, “Ark-eology” includes re-recorded versions of the British duo’s hits, including “A Summer Song” and “Yesterday’s Gone,” and some favorites from their earlier works.
“Bob of TBO [Records] … said, look, nobody can download any of your early work, none of it’s available except on these sort of tatty best of re-releases that are always just thrown together,” Stuart said of the label he and Jeremy Clyde started with business associate Bob Heinlein. “[Bob] said before you do a new album — lord knows we’ve got enough new material for several — he said you really ought to do the definitive retrospective that covers all of it.
“It’s something we wanted to do to lay the past to rest in a way; OK, been there, done that. Now we can move on and do original material,” Stuart said.
Chad & Jeremy will play old and new songs when they come to Tiffin’s Ritz Theatre for a 7:30 p.m. show Jan. 24. Tickets range from $15 to $45.
“We’ll play ‘Zanzibar Sunset,’ which I think is a worthy successor to ‘A Summer Song,’ which is better, actually, more sophisticated,” Stuart said, adding it’s the title track to the group’s new disc due out this summer.
“ ‘Some Small Town’ is another [new song] that’s kind of neat, ” he said. “It’s about Norman Rockwell’s America. It’s reflective. We’ve all reached a point in our lives where we’re not jumping up and down screaming anymore.”
Not that Stuart and Clyde don’t remember the British invasion.
“That was obviously completely insane. We didn’t belong there; we weren’t a rock ‘n’ roll band,” Stuart said. “It was basically they couldn’t have a Beatle, so they’d have the next best thing, which was anybody who had an English accent and had hair down to his collar.”
The singer-songwriter recalled meeting his musical mate in 1960 at Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
“There [Jeremy] was with his guitar on his back and he had a World War II bomber jacket and tailored jeans and cowboy boots, and he was very much a trendsetter. I mean, let’s face it: He was the grandson of the Duke of Wellington and he was a happening guy; he had a Vespa,” Stuart said. “He was equally impressed with me not because I had anything remotely resembling his style but because I could play [guitar].”
The two released seven albums during the ’60s before going their separate ways. They reunited now and then during the ’70s and ’80s.
“It was PBS that got us back together this time. It was 2003 when we did that show with Tommy James and The Buckinghams and The Grass Roots,” Stuart said. “And the reception was very warm and tearful, and we just looked at one another and said, hey, why aren’t we doing this?”