Concert Vault

Sha Na Na

Oct 30, 1975

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  1. 1 Interview 56:54
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Liner Notes

The story of Sha Na Na's rapid rise to success has its roots amidst the protests and chaos at Columbia University in the late '60s. After only three months they had branched out into the national consciousness with their performance at Woodstock.

In this interview, Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul and Mary) talks with two of the original members of the group, John "Jocko" Marcellino and Scott Powell. They recount Sha Na Na's origins, talk about their upcoming tour in Japan, and chat about their own individual interests. This is an interesting example of the guys finally slipping out of character (which they at times seem reluctant to do), and to hear them talk so eloquently makes you truly appreciate their ability to perform as a couple of knuckleheads.

As with most interviews from the With Mary radio show, the distinction between interviewer and interviewee often becomes blurry in this recording. Her rants and recollections often dominate the conversation, but she too has some interesting stories to tell, and Jocko and Scott are excellent sports.

00:14 - Theatrical performances / Alice Cooper (Mary)
01:35 - What happens when Sha Na Na performs
02:27 - Repression and evolutionary cycles: 1950's rock, folk, rock roots
03:52 - Juvenile delinquent gangs in NY in the 50's
04:55 - The band's repertoire
05:28 - [A reminder to plug one's name in the interview]
05:44 - Crowd reactions depend on prior experiences with the music
06:24 - The two gangs in Sha Na Na
06:58 - The musical environment and culture they became a part of
07:36 - Fighting with the Fillmore East staff (the light shows)
07:57 - How the group began
08:37 - Majoring in rock n' roll or English (depending on who you asked)
08:56 - Tight harmonies filled out with a rock n' roll band
09:52 - The Kingsmen in a coffee house / uniting the campus / needing a band
11:39 - The keyboard player who actually knew the songs
12:07 - Grease Under The Stars
13:18 - Within a month, rage of the Ivy League schools / Steve Paul's Scene
13:34 - Discontinuing, finishing, continuing school
14:00 - Steve Paul's Scene, getting booked for Woodstock
14:30 - Meeting Steve Katz (Blood, Sweat and Tears)
15:32 - Alice Cooper's take on the band / his golf handicap
16:09 - Golf and horseback riding
17:04 - Hotels while touring
17:53 - Thoughts for doing an album of original compositions
19:05 - Keeping ego clashes out of the band
21:47 - The stages of Group Psychology: Romance, Success, Self-expression (Mary)
22:56 - Different media / different dreams
23:59 - Successful bands without a hit / relying on live shows to succeed
25:41 - Changing the live shows
26:23 - Big decisions: doctors or musicians
26:59 - Henry Gross leaving / taking a more theatrical approach
27:25 - Acting in The Crucible (Scott)
27:52 - Acting in South Pacific (Mary)
28:48 - Her conservative leading man (Mary)
29:58 - The "Monster Mash" routine
30:38 - Listzomania
31:05 - Switching media / performing / desire to stay creative (Mary)
34:28 - Working in TV (Mary)
36:11 - No sponsors in the music business
37:08 - Scott's writing projects: music, poetry, screenplays
38:56 - Jocko's writing projects: a film treatment, a second album
40:08 - Favorite places to record albums / New York musicians / disco is over
41:44 - No great New York bands (?)
44:46 - The music industry moved to L.A. / "Stroll All Night"
45:38 - "Hot Sox," a dance crave
46:09 - Going to and performing in Japan (Mary)
48:59 - Releasing "Smoking Boogie" in Japan / bad translations
51:52 - The universal language of name-dropping / Japanese love for root music
54:18 - Learning songs phonetically
54:34 - The new album, Sha Na Now
55:52 - Intro line for Scott's "Lovin' in the Here and Now"

More

The story of Sha Na Na's rapid rise to success has its roots amidst the protests and chaos at Columbia University in the late '60s. After only three months they had branched out into the national consciousness with their performance at Woodstock.

In this interview, Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul and Mary) talks with two of the original members of the group, John "Jocko" Marcellino and Scott Powell. They recount Sha Na Na's origins, talk about their upcoming tour in Japan, and chat about their own individual interests. This is an interesting example of the guys finally slipping out of character (which they at times seem reluctant to do), and to hear them talk so eloquently makes you truly appreciate their ability to perform as a couple of knuckleheads.

As with most interviews from the With Mary radio show, the distinction between interviewer and interviewee often becomes blurry in this recording. Her rants and recollections often dominate the conversation, but she too has some interesting stories to tell, and Jocko and Scott are excellent sports.

00:14 - Theatrical performances / Alice Cooper (Mary)
01:35 - What happens when Sha Na Na performs
02:27 - Repression and evolutionary cycles: 1950's rock, folk, rock roots
03:52 - Juvenile delinquent gangs in NY in the 50's
04:55 - The band's repertoire
05:28 - [A reminder to plug one's name in the interview]
05:44 - Crowd reactions depend on prior experiences with the music
06:24 - The two gangs in Sha Na Na
06:58 - The musical environment and culture they became a part of
07:36 - Fighting with the Fillmore East staff (the light shows)
07:57 - How the group began
08:37 - Majoring in rock n' roll or English (depending on who you asked)
08:56 - Tight harmonies filled out with a rock n' roll band
09:52 - The Kingsmen in a coffee house / uniting the campus / needing a band
11:39 - The keyboard player who actually knew the songs
12:07 - Grease Under The Stars
13:18 - Within a month, rage of the Ivy League schools / Steve Paul's Scene
13:34 - Discontinuing, finishing, continuing school
14:00 - Steve Paul's Scene, getting booked for Woodstock
14:30 - Meeting Steve Katz (Blood, Sweat and Tears)
15:32 - Alice Cooper's take on the band / his golf handicap
16:09 - Golf and horseback riding
17:04 - Hotels while touring
17:53 - Thoughts for doing an album of original compositions
19:05 - Keeping ego clashes out of the band
21:47 - The stages of Group Psychology: Romance, Success, Self-expression (Mary)
22:56 - Different media / different dreams
23:59 - Successful bands without a hit / relying on live shows to succeed
25:41 - Changing the live shows
26:23 - Big decisions: doctors or musicians
26:59 - Henry Gross leaving / taking a more theatrical approach
27:25 - Acting in The Crucible (Scott)
27:52 - Acting in South Pacific (Mary)
28:48 - Her conservative leading man (Mary)
29:58 - The "Monster Mash" routine
30:38 - Listzomania
31:05 - Switching media / performing / desire to stay creative (Mary)
34:28 - Working in TV (Mary)
36:11 - No sponsors in the music business
37:08 - Scott's writing projects: music, poetry, screenplays
38:56 - Jocko's writing projects: a film treatment, a second album
40:08 - Favorite places to record albums / New York musicians / disco is over
41:44 - No great New York bands (?)
44:46 - The music industry moved to L.A. / "Stroll All Night"
45:38 - "Hot Sox," a dance crave
46:09 - Going to and performing in Japan (Mary)
48:59 - Releasing "Smoking Boogie" in Japan / bad translations
51:52 - The universal language of name-dropping / Japanese love for root music
54:18 - Learning songs phonetically
54:34 - The new album, Sha Na Now
55:52 - Intro line for Scott's "Lovin' in the Here and Now"