Miscellaneous Information Archive

Archives: Frequently Asked America Questions

Answered by Dewey and Gerry

1. What is "Horse w/ no Name" all about?

After living for several years in England, away from some of the wilderness I had been familiar with in the states, I was inspired to write a song about the desert, a place my brother and I enjoyed exploring as kids. As seen through the eyes of an imaginary traveler on an unnamed mount, this song is quite simply a description of the sights and sounds of the desert. The chorus is my way of explaining how the desert, and nature in general, can be used as sanctuary from the stresses of day to day living in the human world. The final verse is a call to help conserve the environment.

2. What's with all the "H" titles?

This started by accident. The first record was simply titled "America." The second was called "Homecoming" to mark our return to the USA. The third was called "Hatrick" after the sporting term for three scores. By this time Warner Bros. had started printing "Horse w/ No Name" on the cover of the first record so we had in effect three "H" titles. From then on we made an effort to come up w/ more "H's" for the heck of it!

3. How did you get the name "America"?

We were living in England at the time, our fathers were all in the US Air Force stationed outside of London. Dan & Dewey were working in a cafeteria on the Base & there was a jukebox called "The Americana" in the corner. That's where we got the idea & the more we thought about it the better it seemed to explain our origins. It did get a little confusing when we finally did come to the States to perform the adds said "Live from England ... America!

4. What was it like working w/ George Martin?

We have had many great experiences over all these years & met many fantastic people but perhaps the biggest thrill has been our opportunity to know & work with George Martin. We were very fortunate that our paths crossed when they did. George was in Los Angeles to promote his work on the soundtrack of the James Bond film "Live & Let Die". We had recently finished our third record "Hat Tick" & although we were happy with the results the actual job of producing was becoming harder & harder. George having finished his excellent body of work with "The Beatles" was looking for something new to get involved in. We flew to England to work on "Holiday" our first record together which had hits like "Tin Man" & "Lonely People". We worked on a total of seven records together.

5. What happened to Dan Peek?

Original member & school buddy Dan Peek left the band in 1977. He was going through quite a few changes in his personal life at the time & felt a need to move on. He has recorded quite a few contemporary Christian records that have been very well received garnering a Grammy nomination for one of them along the way.

6. Why did you get back together?

All right, trick question ... but we are often asked this. For close followers of the band the obvious answer is that we never broke up. We have been together for coming up thirty years & still perform over 100 shows a year! People who haven't followed quite so closely are apt to think that we broke up some years ago or maybe reformed in the 80's for our hit "You Can Do Magic" but it's not true. We have been together the whole time & are looking forward to many years to come.

7. Have you ever considered a reunion with Dan?

Yes, but the answer is no. Dewey & I have been a duo now for 22 years & we're very happy with the way it is. We have done some great work together & although we wish Dan all the best there are no plans for a reunion.

8. How many shows per year do you perform?

Sometimes it's not so much how many shows there are but where those shows are! We have done between 100 & 150 concerts a year for the last twenty years or so but just as interesting is where these shows have taken us. Now that everybody online has access to our schedule you can see what I mean. Go to the concert list for the latest updates. Sometimes our lives are like "The Discovery Channel"!

9. What is your favorite place to play?

After so many years we have many favorites. Favorite cities & even more favorite memories. I don't find that audiences vary too much from country to country. A great crowd is great whether your performing in a bullring in Equador or Carnegie Hall in New York City. I think the venue itself is more inclined to affect the crowds reaction than the country or nationality of the audience. A fine concert hall will quite often be more reserved in their response than a packed 1,000 seat club. To answer the question, we love them all!

10. How come you never play ----?

Well, ... we do our best to include everyone's favorites but we're not always successful. Every year we rework the show to keep it fresh for all, us included! Sometimes our showtimes are limited by things beyond our control & when that happens we have to stick to the hits. Fortunately there's quite a few but for us it's always exciting to work up some new material. For those of you who have seen the show recently you might of noticed that we now have 5 songs from the new record "Human Nature" in the show (time permitting). Other songs might have only been played once or twice when they were originally recorded & never again! We might have to go to some of the chord charts on the web to figure out those!

11. Jeff: What was the inspiration for the lyrics of "Tin Man"?

Dewey: "As for "Tin Man"...the lyric was built around the one line, so grammatically well written: "Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man, that he didn't already have." We all know that this is the obvious central theme of "The Wizard of Oz"...that all the characters already possessed the qualities that they were seeking. After that I simply built a collage of word pictures that really did not fit together, but helped create a visual effect..."spinnin' round, smoke, glass, stained bright colors", etc.."

12. Beechlady: Have either of you taken up any instruments OTHER than guitar/piano (i.e. looking for the EXOTIC)? It's mentioned on "Hearts" that all others were played by America.?

Gerry: "One of my favorite instruments is my "octave mandolin". As its name says, it plays just like a regular one but it's an octave lower. I have been using it a lot lately in the studio."

Dewey: "I have always been strictly a guitar player, I'm afraid. We have decided to add "exotic" instruments over the years on various tracks when we thought they would enhance a particular song, such as electric sitar, or banjo, violin, saxophone, harmonica and such. But these would have been played by friends or session musicians usually.

I did write a song or two, "People In The Valley" comes to mind, on the piano... but that was simply an exercise, and I've played a little percussion on some tracks and even mimicked a harmonica with my voice on "Rainbow Song"! Fun stuff!"

Last Revised: 18 July 2001