Interview with Davie Allan from Motorcycho #15
Davie Allan! The King of Biker Rock! Name a bike movie and chances are he did the soundtrack to it! Bike images surround the man! He's been doing it forever. Yet is Davie Allan an enigma wrapped in leather?? We were privileged and honoured to be able to chat with Mr. Allan over the last few months. For such a legend, he's the most approachable guy! Don't let that Werewolf appearance fool you, Davie Allans a real nice guy!
Name some bike tunes you've done?
This could really get out of hand but here are some titles anyway. I guess you're using the "Hondells" titles? I actually played on some of
those including a couple of instrumentals on their LP (one of which I wrote with Curb called "Cycle Chase"). From "The Wild Angels": "Theme From..","The Chase", "Blues Theme", "Midnight Rider", "The Lonely Rider", "The Unknown Rider", "The Loser's Burial", "The Wild Angels Chase","Cycle Party" and "The Last Ride". "Devil's Angels": From "Devil's Angels", "Cody's Theme" and "Hell Rider". From "The Cycle-Delic Sounds of.." "Cycle-Delic", "Blues Trip", "13th Harley", "Another Cycle In Detroit", "Grog's Hog" and "The Born Loser's Theme". "Hellcats", "The Hard Ride", From "The Glory Stompers": "The Stompers and the Souls", "The Stompers Ride", "Black Souls" and "Glory Stompers". From "Fuzz Fest": "Angel Dust". From Loud,Loose and Savage": "Rebel on the Run" and "Cycle Path" from "Bykedelics" and issue #16 of "Carbon 14": "Recycled". From "The Arrow Dynamic Sounds of ...": "Another Moped in Schenectady". From "Skaterhater": "Devil Dust", You Meet The Nicest People on a Harley" and "Supercycle". Phew.....
My discography might help a bit (have you checked out my website recently?-a new webmistress has really done a job with it!). Before the "Arrows" thing, I was doing a lot of parties booked by Richie Podolor's brother Don. Mike Curb and I had a group that at times featured three black girls doing the early sixties hits of "The Dixie Cups", etc while Mike and I did our "Beatles" covers, etc. We also got booked as "The Wailers" one time and we even did a job as "The Rockin' Rebels" (correct me if I'm wrong on that) that did "Wild Weekend" and we didn't even have a SAX?! As far as studio stuff, I did all the Curb related "Hondells" stuff (some of which came out as "The Buddies and the Compacts". I spent about five years in the studio (daily) doing all kinds of sessions but not any "hits" to speak of (not counting the soundtracks). It wasn't a hit but I was on Linda Ronstadt's first session when she came here from Arizona ("So Fine" released as "The Stone Ponies" on Curb's "Sidewalk" label). If you notice anything else on the discography that you want more info on, let me know. I worked with all the big studio musicians of the time like Glen Campbell, James Burton, Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, Larry Knechtel (check the spelling, please), Jim Horn, Billy Strange, Don Randi and many others.
Did you ever do any studio work with Gary Usher?? he did alot of biker tunes too
I never worked with him. Many people probably thought I did because of "The Hondells" but I was only on the Curb related tracks.
How did you get to do the Wild Angels soundtrack?
From what I heard, Roger Corman saw "Skaterdater" and said "that's the sound I want for The Wild Angels".
What other biker movies did you do?
I also worked on "Devil's Angels", "Born Losers", "The Glory Stompers", "Hell Cats" and "The Hard Ride". See the discography for the other "B" movies (non-biker).
Did you ever get to see the flicks first or did you just pen some rippin tunes and they threw them in wherever?
Some were written for the films while many were just thrown in (for instance: "Cycle-Delic" and "Mind Transferral" both appear in "The Glory Stompers" but were left off of the soundtrack; "The Unknown Rider" was on a "Buddies" album before ending up on "The Wild Angels" soundtrack).
would you say "king of the biker movie soundtrack" is a fitting title for you?
I would love to say "yes" but is doing only six biker films enough?
(Ummmm YES! - ed.)
Ever meet Simon Stokes? He did some bike movie soundtrack and some biker-ish tunes around the same time not as boss as your stuff but..
Don't know of him.
Did you see every movie that you did a soundtrack for??
Never saw "Hell Cats"-probably didn't miss much.
What was your favourite?
On my list of all-time favorite movies, none appear (am I losing points on this interview or what?)! Since "The Wild Angels" was first, I guess it would rate my fave. Even though I have some fame from those films, they also leave a sore spot. I made very little money (gee, who ended up with most of it?) and was cheated on screen credit: NO credit on "The Wild Angels" and my name was misspelled on "Devil's Angels". But, I'm still coming up with new tunes that were inspired by those films (do you have the latest issue of "Carbon 14"? A "Blues Theme" type tune is on the "45" that accompanies the 'zine, it's titled "Recycled").
Have you ever owned any bikes if yes what if no why not!
NO and I never got into them (unless you mean bicycles-DUH).
Ever come into contact with any bike gangs from being involved in all them bike movies?
NO Sorry 'bout that!
Any bike stories? bike inspirations? Anything bike related other than the fact that you've played all the bike tunes and biker movie soundtracks?
What am I going to do with you? I wish I had some great answers for you from this non-biker. I am truly sorry that I don't have a blow you away biker story. As far as inspiration for the soundtracks: once I did that nasty sound on "Blues Theme" it came easy. The only thing any of us did that was bikerish was what you see in the 1967 photos. We were all just the opposite of the image we projected. One story of interest are the motorcycles that are heard at the beginning of the "Devil's Angels" single (some idiot left them off of the album!). The engineer on that session (Larry Brown, my usual drummer) hired a hells angel to come down to the studio and start up his bike and takeoff in the parking lot a number of times. We put them all together and we were thrilled with the result (too bad Curb wouldn't do any stereo mixes). By the way, you may have read that Hal Blaine was the drummer on that soundtrack. The "Buddies" LPs were part of the fad with tunes of the time like "Little Honda", "GTO", "Leader of the Pack", etc. Our upcoming CD (no label yet) is nastier than ever. My drummer played it for a co-worker at the "Rhino" record store and the guy said "I didn't know Davie was such a noise meister"!
I've heard tracks from The Buddies LP. What was that all about were all the songs sickle songs.
Those sessions were tied in with "The Hondells". Curb was working at "Mercury Records" and doing those albums on the low budget "Mercury Wing" label. He was up to his tricks early on with re-using and re-naming tracks and getting tracks recorded on big sessions to later finish in the off hours. He was the lead singer on the "Buddies and the Compacts" along with the female trio and I was on harmony vocals and guitar. The sickle aspect came from "The Hondells" connection. Have you seen the covers for the "Buddies" LPs?
fFr someone who isn't into bikes why all the bike songs and sickle images?
After doing those 60's films and having them resurface (new video releases of "The Wild Angels" and "Born Loser's") I'm still stuck with that image. Also, I like the hard edge of my music and I think some of my low notes are almost as nasty as a bike starting up. Wait'll you hear the upcoming "live in the studio" album due out in September on "Total Energy"....."grunge" galore!
A friend checked you out not that long ago and again there was this biker thing attached to the gig
It's really interesting how I'm still associated with that scene. As a matter of fact, the new CD is titled "Live Run" and has a biker themed cover. A copy should be on it's way to you next week. (Got it see review section!)
Have you ever sang??
Yes. The 90's+ version of "The Arrows" is the first group of mine without vocals. I made the most money in the 70's, 80's and early 90's in vocal groups doing top 40 and then "oldies" later on. I was never the main lead singer but I had my moments.
Is there anything recorded with you singing?
I sang on a couple of tracks in the 60's and had four vocal singles in the 70's and an entire album in the 80's (a country flavoured LP titled "An Arrow Escape").
Any thoughts of re-issueing older stuff?
I may have told you that Curb is holding all my 60's stuff for ransom except for "The Wild Angels" which he DOESN'T own! MGM has the rights to it and "Varese Sarabande" has scheduled a new release of it for 4/4/00. Curb is refusing to turn over the tapes and to pay royalties for the various comps featuring "Blues Theme" and for his awful version of the soundtrack in '96 so it may end up in the courts instead of on CD. Do I need to tell you how I'll feel if he f---s me over again?! He also has a clause from 1966 that gives all the artist royalties to the producer!!!!! What a guy!
maybe you'd like to comment on the new CD!!!!
It was actually done "live in a recording studio" but we did it in a club atmosphere with an audience, snacks, drinks, mood lighting and all the mistakes were left in! I think it's damn exciting but what do I know?!
What bands have you been digging lately and what bands influenced you in the past ?
I don't listen to new bands. I either listen to "talk radio" or stations that play "big band", Sinatra, Bobby Darin, etc. Weird, huh! The influences were Duane Eddy, Nokie Edwards and Link Wray but it was Elvis who inspired me to go into music.
What does The King of Biker Rock do on his non biker rock days?
I love to hike and bike; swing a bat (when I can hit the ball!); movies; I used to collect autographs (but after being turned down by Steve McQueen in I club I was playing in, I quit), I collect the "Hallmark" "Star Trek" Christmas ornaments (I'm sure you'll get some chuckles about that!).
Since you don't RIDE what do you drive?
My car is nothing special, just a "Toyota Camry". I wish I could've kept the car I had in 1967: it was one of the first "Camaro's". Curb gave it to me in lieu of royalties but eventually took it back!
You mentioned using the name "Motorcycho" for a song title. Did you redo that song under the "Motorcycho" name like you mentioned?
It is in our shows but we haven't recorded it yet.
What's new and exciting coming up in the life of DA
I really hope to find someone to finance an album. I've been sending messages out there, anyone listening?
Any final words of wisdom from the King of Biker Rawk?
All I can say is thanks to you and the small but mighty crowd that continues to be there for my music. I can't tell you how much I really appreciate it!
Wanna find out anything and everything you need to know about Davie Allan and The Arrows music?? Track down a copy of FUZ zine issue #1. They do a GREAT discography and history about Davie Allan. A must read for anyone into DA!! To find out about FUZ and other stuff check out Davies website at www.davieallan.com - Davies' the man!