Newsletter Archive

Archives: April 1996

Volume 2 No. 4

April 1996

America Trivia: March Answers

America Trivia

Additional Las Vegas Reviews

New "You Can Do Magic" cd

"Van Go Gan" cd

May 11, Pittsburgh, PA Concert Info.

Upcoming Concert Schedule

This and That (Letters from Readers)

History: "An American Dream" April 8, 1971

Photo of the Month

Fan Club Survey


America Trivia: March Answers

Most of us were stumped by the March trivia questions, so don't feel bad if you had no clue! Here are the answers: (Let me know if I'm wrong!)

1. The song "Story of a Teenager" (from "Hearts") was included in the film "Jim, the World's Greatest" starring Gregory Harrington and Marlo Pennington. The other America song used in the soundtrack was "It's Life." Congratulations to David Stengel who was the only one to submit that response!

2. The great studio guitarist that played the sitar on the "Harbor" album was Larry Carlton.

3. The former Saturday Night Live cast member who was the album cover illustrator for America's "History" album was Phil Hartman.


America Trivia

Here are the questions for this month! Good luck!

1. Have you ever heard that mysterious little voice that says something undiscernable at the 3:09 mark of "Horse With No Name?" Anybody know what it says? (submitted by S. Novak).....(Note: I have no clue about this one, so don't expect an answer next month unless someone out there knows!)

2. America has been opening their concerts with "Riverside." Is there another verse included during the concert version that is not heard on the album version? Anyone know what it is? (submitted by J. Madsen)


Additional Las Vegas Reviews

Planet Hollywood Show

March 8, 1996

by Rick Wahlgren

The Planet Hollywood all acoustic mini-show was a smashing success!

Dewey and Gerry were brought by limo to the Planet Hollywood at Caesars and were warmly received as they entered. They were both wearing Planet Hollywood jackets, and Ger even wore a Planet Hollywood hat until the performance started.

They were first interviewed for a Vegas radio show, and then performed, along with Brad, about seven songs including "Riverside," "Don't Cross the River," "Ventura Highway," "Daisy Jane," and "Horse with No Name." Vegas TV stations were there, and this event received a lot of coverage on the evening news.

The audience was greatly impressed, and the managers at Planet Hollywood said they were "stunned" how great America sounded live. They said they felt very privileged to have a legendary group like America performing, and were all smiles.

This was a great warmup and really set the tone for three great shows to follow at the nearby Desert Inn.

But, we all agreed that this unique Planet Hollywood experience alone was worth coming to Vegas to see...although none of us were ready to leave with three fantastic nights yet to come!

Baseball, Apple Pie, America

by Rick Wahlgren

Well, there was no apple pie, but plenty of America and baseball! Gerry and Dewey were invited to sing the national anthem at a spring training game in Vegas between the California Angels and Oakland Athletics.

They were introduced to the crowd as the "legendary and talented Grammy Award-winning duo" which was right on target, and they walked out on the field to home plate.

We've all heard the guys sing many great songs, but not the national anthem, so this was a first (at least for me!)

Gerry and Dewey sang the national anthem flawlessly and with inspiration, and received thunderous applause. It was a grand slam performance!! Then they sat down and enjoyed a close game between the A's and the Angels.


New "You Can Do Magic" cd submitted by D. Stengel

There is an import cd out from Holland this year, called "You Can Do Magic," which basically consists of the ten song album "View from the Ground" plus six live tracks from the Capitol 1985 "In Concert" album. The highlight, however, is the cover photo, which was taken sometime in the 1970's, of the trio, by a roadsign. The cd can be ordered for $15.88 plus $3.05 shipping from Take Notes, Co. in Texas (1-800-650-3472).

Barb B. noted that the cd includes these songs: "You Can Do Magic," "Never Be Lonely," "You Girl," "right Before Your Eyes," "Inspector Mills," "Love on the Vine," "Desperate Love," "Jody," "Sometimes Lovers," "Even the Score," "Tin Man," "Horse with No Name," "I Need You," "Sister Golden Hair," "Ventura Highway," and "Daisy Jane."


"Van Go Gan" cd

A reader noted that "Van Go Gan," Gerry's solo masterpiece is now listed in her local music store's import list.......if you missed out on ordering an autographed copy from Gallin-Morey (they are sold out), you can try ordering a copy through your local music distributor....


May 11, Pittsburgh, PA Concert Info.

I realize the concert schedule I posted does not include venue information, but it is the best schedule available to us at this point in time.

If any of you see or hear specific information for any of the concerts, please let me know immediately, and I'll distribute the information to everyone on the newsletter list. The following information concerns the May 11 concert in Pittsburgh. I copied it from the local newspaper:

May 11, 7:30 pm (Thursday) "70's Star Party"

Star Lake Amphitheatre, Pittsburgh, PA

Four bands will be performing: BTO, America, Steppenwolf and the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Tickets went on sale Monday March 25, and can be obtained from Ticketmaster outlets, Kauffman's, or Giant Eagle stores or by phoning: 412-323-1919.

No ticket prices were listed in the ad, but I heard a radio spot promoting the event and caught something about $10 lawn seats..... I'm not sure what else is available.


Upcoming Concert Schedule (Repeated from Last Issue, No new dates listed, although I've heard through the grapevine that there are many new dates to be announced, so keep your fingers crossed if your area is not represented below!)

April 19 San Juan, Puerto Rico

April 20 Valley Forge Music Fair, King of Prussia, PA

April 26 Metropolis, IL

April 27 Jackson, MS

May 4 Ocean City, MD

May 11 Star Lake Amphitheatre, Pittsburgh, PA

June 17-22 France

July 5-6 Horizon, Lake Tahoe

July 10 Livermore, CA

July 25 Waukesha, WI

July 26 Wheaton, IL

July 27 Columbus, OH

July 28 Jackson, NJ

August 1 Albert Lea, MN

August 2 Vancouver, WA

August 7 Paso Robles, CA

August 10 Malone, NY

August 25 Hershey Park, PA

August 28 Centre Hall, PA

August 29 Essex Junction, VT

August 31 Detroit, MI

October 4 Humphrey's San Diego, CA

October 5 Ventura, CA (not confirmed!)


This and That (Letters from Readers)

From John W.

"When I lived in Colorado, I saw Dewey and Gerry play their hits in Boulder. I felt like I was 17 again! Towards the end of the concert, I went close to the stage and drew caricatures of the band and left them on the stage as they came out to play their smash, "A Horse With No Name." One of the band members saw the drawings and started chuckling, and he pointed them out to Gerry. Gerry, while still playing lead, picked up the drawings from the floor to keep the audience from grabbing them and put them on a speaker.

After the concert, I wandered down the hallway after everyone had left and I met Gerry, who introduced himself and we talked just a little. He is very personable and the group is very appreciative of their fans, something that is not so common among rock's chic, but they are definitely cool, and better than ever!"

From Leah S.

"In terms of my 'American History', I became a fan with the release of "Horse" and have been obsessed ever since.

"To each his Own" is my favorite song and has haunted me for years..."Watership Down was my son's favorite lullabye...

Keeping current has been basically impossible - till now. I've only seen two concerts: Charleston, West Virginia: 1974 when Jackson Browne opened for them, and again in Charleston in 1986 or 1987 when they opened for Stephen Stills.

My two great memories: having my picture taken sitting on an America equipment trunk in 1974 and seeing Gerry in San Francisco International Airport in the PSA terminal in 1977..."


History: "An American Dream" April 8, 1971

Here is an excerpt of an article printed in "Melody Maker," a British magazine, in 1971. It was written by Mark Plummer.

"The limousine picked up the crew at Kinney Records. Manager Jeff Dexter, friends, artist liaison men, and me settled into the real leather seat at the back--seven people and still room to move legs. Slowly, it picks its way through the mid-afternoon traffic jams, down Shaftesbury Avenue, turn right into Great Windmill St...

America are big now. Last week they pushed Neil Young off both American charts, zooming their "America" album into the number one slot, and their British top tenner "A Horse With No Name" into the same position in the singles chart. Ironically, when their short career has been beset with the inevitable CSNY copying tag.

Things have rushed up quickly on the band. Seven weeks ago Jeff Dexter left for the States to make check preparations for their first Stateside tour. They weren't prepared. The single was not ready for release, and when, after lots of hustles, the single was eventually got together, the B side was wrong. Then there were hustles with the album; if it was to come out in the States, the record company people wanted "A Horse With No Name" on it. After all, if the single sold by any remote chance, then the album stood more chance if it contained the single.

Jeff hustled and fought record business men until everything was together--and by the time he had rung every single American rock and roller, he had ever met and introduced them to America, the ball was rolling.

The stateside tour opened up in Canada, away from people that should have seen the band, and away from people who were going to buy their records. They played obscure clubs across the border, during the afternoon when possible, so that they could become completely acclimatised before the real slog began. Dexter also had the confidence in the band. He chose not to put them on a "biggies" tour as bottom on the bill, playing ten thousand seaters. Instead, they toured all the little clubs; the Bitter End in New York and the Troubadour in Los Angeles. The little clubs where people could see them close-up, and where America would feel happier being able to see people's faces. It also ensured that people were going to hear their music rather than just sense it over a million watt PA...

Dexter also puts a lot of character into the band, although now their casual approach to live work is beginning to come through in their off-stage manner. When I met them for the first time earlier this year, they seemed too young to be in a rock band. But mainly their characters were just loose and floppy, leaving me with little impact. They were people you'd forget--But now with that push that success brings, Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek...are casual... on-stage. Off-stage too, they are casual, without a hint of big time....

On the way to Dunstable, the limousine had wound its way through country lanes to pick up the band, and Dewey's wife-to-be from their wooden house, Dirt Pit Manor, near Watford....and for the first time knees are beginning to get a little cramped.

The Civic Hall Gig was to be the last time America played their current set, mostly made up of numbers from their first album. The band were pleased about that. Dewey explained that they had been playing it for too long: it was getting stale with them. At the same time, he explained, the band have not had enough time to work out a new set, although they have a lot of new material together.

Dunstable was also the last gig of its kind. The band enjoy playing to smaller audiences, but realise to do that they have to work every day of the year to reach as many people as they can in concerts.

"We're sort of trying to get a lot more control over ourselves," explained Dewey. "It's not that we don't like playing these sort of places, but we need to play concerts so that we don't tax ourseles too much."

Taking off in America, the way they have done, has been a kind of fairy tale story in modern rock history. Bands happening to the extent that they are topping both charts after only being known in a country for six weeks doesn't happen any more---or at least it didn't until recently.

Are they worried about the sudden success? That maybe it could blow them out, I asked Gerry later on during the evening over a hustled bite to eat in the nearest Wimpey bar to the gig? That, he said is something they are not aware of.

"I'd probably be more worried if it had not sold," he replied. "I think the best thing to do is not to think about that. If we were worried about what has happened, we'd be in a position where we wouldn't know what to do next."

The main worry now is to get their next album finished. This time round, instead of booking a studio for two weeks and going in to record every day, they are going in when they feel they have something to put down. Already they have two new tracks finished, both with Gerry Conway on drums.

"The most important thing for us now is to get the album finished, and make it successful, because it looks like it is going to be an album that everybody is going to have. It's funny because everybody in the states seemed to get to know the single pretty quickly. It was good that the single didn't overcrowd the album. What we were shooting for was the album," said Gerry.

Now, like Dewey, who will be leaving their wooden house when he gets married, Gerry would like to buy himself a house somewhere. Not only because he wants room to breathe now he can afford it, but because he figures it's a pretty good place to invest his money. Quickly he points out that although they were not well off before the album broke, they were not down...Their big splurge so far has been to buy a colour TV and a stereo recording machine for the house. The recorder is a practical piece of machinery that cuts down on the amount of studio time needed. It allows them to work out harmonies at home.

Gone are the Yamahas of five months ago. In their place they play Guilds and Martins, including a meaty sounding 12 string played by Dan. On stage they sit at three mike stands on a Persian carpet in a semi-circle. Gerry to the left of the stage, swopping a see through bass guitar for the acoustic. Dan in the middle, 12 string in hand for most of the time, occasionally playing bass too. Dewey, who does most of the lead singing, on the right....


Fan Club Survey

Would you be interested in being a member of an "official" America fan club? If yes, what kind of services would you like to receive as a member, and what dues would you be willing to pay?

Send me a note at and let me know what you think about this...Thanks!!

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Last Revised: 6 January 1998