Three Dog Night - Cory Wells
Yep. We've talked before about how great Sam Cooke was. If we ever get together in an informal setting again, I'd love to hear you sing "Bring It On Home To Me," "Having A Party" or one of those other great Sam Cooke songs. But, you're right, "A Change Is Gonna Come" is really special.
Those lyrics spoke to me also. I just knew things were gonna change for me someday, too. I was born near the Niagara River and the rest falls in line.
And I remember you mentioning "Yellow Beach Umbrella" because you said "it takes to a different place."
"Yellow Beach" was not a
favorite as much as it was outstanding in my mind. It was one of the
lowest times in my life. A time when I just wanted to run away. No one
was sober in the group and half were gone off to other places. The new
guys were confused and scared it was all going to fall apart at any
moment - and it did. We had new people producing, new manager, new
musicians. It was not what it had been. I wanted out.
I'm sure the ladies will agree.
"Can't Get Enough Of It" was fun and again another song Jimmy and I liked a lot. I liked "Heavy Church" too. I think Danny brought that in.
Michael and Jimmy have both mentioned that one, so it seems that you all liked it.
It had a strange feel to it, like I was in the church. I think "Good Feelin' 1957" was one of the most fun songs I had making. We all laughed so had doing it. Danny was the first "Godfather" because he stuffed his cheeks with paper to get some different sounds, and I couldn't sing from laughter if I looked at him. We were singing about five o'clock in the morning, so we were all dingy. That was a great moment. Most of the songs I liked were not the hits. "Freedom For The Stallion," "(I'll Be) Creepin'," "Sittin' In Limbo."
It did seem that Three Dog Night, in tandem with Richard and Bill, had that Midas touch. So why did you change producers in '73, and was that a move you regretted later?
Yes, Richie and Bill had the Midas
touch, and we were right there to make it all happen. No, I never
regretted that. I thought it was time to try and get some sanity to our
recording and thought someone else would have the power to help make it
work, but I was wrong. It was Three Dog Night that was screwing
things up, the producers just went along, including Bill and Richie. It
became a party, and not recording.
We've talked about this before, but you lost some friends and fellow performers to drugs. I remember you mentioning Sly Stone, who didn't lose his life, but his did lose his career. And there were others who lost it all ...
Yes, I never paid a lot of attention
to what people were doing in their lives, but I started to realize that
drugs and alcohol were starting to take their toll on people I knew
directly and indirectly. I lost a friend and bass player in the Enemys.
Rick was creative, funny and from San Francisco. He didn't get past 27.
What does the future hold for Three Dog Night, and for Cory Wells?
To quote John Lennon, "If we knew that, we would all become managers and become rich." I think we are headed in some new musical territory. A time to experiment again, to create, to take chances. "If I don't do this, I will surely die."
But you don't have a record company breathing down your necks for four hits a year now.
I don't feel we have the pressure we
had in the beginning. No deadlines to make. We do it when we feel it. I
have things I want to do and I know Danny does, too. To push the edges
and yet stay centered is a tough thing to do. But it can be done, I know
... we did it once ...
I'm sure you're right, but somehow, I think they'll remember that grandpa was a pretty good singer, too.
For more on Cory Wells, visit
(Portions of this interview first
appeared in the Three Dog Night newsletter. Thanks to Madonna Nuckolls
for her support and assistance.
(Portions of this interview first appeared in the Three Dog Night newsletter. Thanks to Madonna Nuckolls for her support and assistance.)