Interview with Dennis Coffey – at The Ponderosa Stomp in Lincoln Center 2010

Posted: December 23, 2010 in Uncategorized
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BA – How did you get involved in playing this festival?

DC – The promoter, Dr Wright, looks up unsung heroes & tries to get them a little more exposure.  He invited me to the The Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans, & I agreed to do it.  Then what happened was Katrina hit, & so he called me back, said since you can’t do it in New Orleans would you consider doing it in Memphis as a benefit for Gibson Guitars?  I did it & that’s how it started. The following year we did South By Southwest & I also did The House Of Blues in New Orleans; & this year it was in New York.

BA – When was the last time that you played in New York?

DC – It was back in the early 70’s in Central Park.  Since then I moved to LA from 1973-76 .  In the 80’s I lived in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, & did some studio work.  Then I moved back to Detroit & took a side gig as a consultant in the the Ford Motor Company for 20 years.  When Ford downsized 3 years ago I went back to doing music.  The last 2 years I played at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tribute to Les Paul, with Slash; Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top; & The Ventures.  This past month I did a new CD with Andre Williams.  I just did The Meltdown Festival In London with Richard Thompson.  I now have a new management team in London & just signed to Strut Records.  We got a CD, and I’m working with a producer who worked with Kid Rock.

BA – Going back to the beginning of your career, how did the song Scorpio come about?

DC – I was sitting in my basement with Mike Theodore, my writing partner.  We were doing some string guitar parts for the Evolution album.  We called it that ’cause we were taking the guitar to another level.  The record was out for a year & didn’t do anything.  Then Ron, the Sussex label guy, said that he was going to these dance clubs in New York & the kids were going crazy over the song Scorpio, & he started pushing it out as a single.  I was sitting in the offices at Buddha Records in New York City with my dad when Scorpio went gold.

BA – Did people ever think you were a black guy since the record was funky?

DC – It was interesting that one  radio station in LA that I went to talk to them & they said that they only play R&B records & you’re not black.  I said said let me see the top ten records you’re playing & I said you are playing me now cause I’m on these 3 records.

BA – Anything else you want to add?

DC – Basically, I’m back playing the guitar sound & it’s back to the Scorpio sound that is retro, but it’s new.


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