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INTERVIEW: Doug Collins & The Receptionists

Hi Doug, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Great!  Musically, it’s been a really good year.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Conversation With My Heart”? 

I wrote it quickly, and had played it out solo for awhile, trying to see if it worked.  I bought it in to my band (Charlie Varley on bass and vocals, and Billy Dankert on drums and vocals) and we played it through once and their contributions really made me stop and think “hmmm…I kinda like this”.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song? 

I was fed up about how quickly I fall in love, and I said to myself “I gotta have a conversation with my heart” and…well, a lightbulb went off…..

How was the filming process and experience behind the video? 

Our dear friend David Dennison shot it, and we were in Delano MN on the HOTTEST DAY of the year, where wearing a wool suit and blazers isn’t the smartest of ideas.  But we did have smart idea in having my dear friend/fellow musician Katy Vernon co-star as a love interest.  And Dave asked “do you know someone who would like to dress up in a heart suit?”  And since my son Jackson is a professional mascot, I luckily didn’t have far to turn to get someone who was interested.  So there was a lot of literal sweat,  but I was so happy on how it turned out.

The single comes off your new album Good Sad News – what’s the story behind the title? 

A friend and I were talking about how people say my songs sound musically happy, but can contain pretty down beat lyrics.  So I said “it’s like Good Sad News”, and…well, a lightbulb went off….

How was the recording and writing process? 

The recording process was the best I’ve been involved with.  My producer Rob Genadek and I did drums first, and built from there, which is the opposite of how we usually do, which is record the whole band first.  I was also lucky to have some great local studio musicians, such as Joe Savage and Jeff Victor to help fill out the sound.  And I can’t praise the the contributions from my bandmates enough – big or small, any idea they had were always to betterment of the song.  As for writing, I just tried to be as honest as possible, and have a few hooks.  Also, I made sure that every song we put on the CD was played live and worked on to make sure that it had the right arrangement and sound to get it’s point across.

What is it about the 50s and 70s that you find so fascinating? 

I just love the sounds, and the eclecticism of each decade – from Broadway and classic country to rockabilly and R&B in the 50’s, to the AM cornucopia of the 70’s – funk/disco, power pop, country… I feel the more variety of what you listen to, the better you get, and both those decades had such a HUGE swath of musicality, it’s hard not to get influenced by that.

What aspect of these decades did you get to explore on this record? 

From the 50’s definitely the Tex Mex sound on Hey Mary and the Ray Price/Elvis/Roy Orbison thing on Please Don’t Make Me Leave You, and the 70’s influence for me is the slow dance-y vibe of Tomorrow, along with the jangly guitar of Crush on You, but I hear bits of both decades (and Beatle references galore) in all the songs.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics? 

Daily life, and anything literary, musical, theatrical…I always try to have the songwriting antenna up to pick up ideas.  As for musically, listening and playing for me is the best way to keep those creative juices flowing.

Any plans to hit the road? 

Besides the usual Midwest gigs,  I’m touring Europe for the first time in February, and will hit the South (Nashville, Memphis, etc) in late spring.

What else is happening next in Doug Collins & The Receptionists’ world? 

Gigs gigs gigs, and hopefully some recording this fall.  Being a musician is interesting (to say the least) in this day and age, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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