Like so many classic rockers who make a living on the road these days, Mark Stein has found himself spending a lot of time at home during the pandemic. But also like many of his musician brothers, he decided to take this forced vacation and pour it into a creative endeavor, putting pen to paper to write new songs.
But while many might expect something straight along the lines of Vanilla Fudge, the band he’s been on and off since their 1966 founding (former name: The Pigeons!), Stein decided to take a more modern look at his new solo efforts, there is light (decor).
The Ten Tracks of Stein’s Origins and Choice cover topics such as pandemic, social unity, unrest, racism, immigration, intergenerational division, patriotism, and peace. It didn’t lose sight of Stein that these were also very big social themes when he got started in the music business over 50 years ago.
“I started in April 2020 with the song ‘We Are One’, which was a reflection of what everyone in our block, in the country and the world was feeling, just pressing the holes, afraid to shake hands and hug our neighbor,” Stein says.
“We had a lot of opportunities to spread some human love and kindness in our lives. And I thought that was a karmic thing. An epidemic was a karmic thing that had to happen. But we are one in God’s shadow and under the sun. Why can’t we stop all this nonsense and come together?”
Other socially conscious recorded songs include “Let’s Pray for Peace”, “All Life Matters” and “Racism”. The latter was inspired by a news video that Stein and his wife watched on TV showing two young boys – one black and one white – walking together to school, cuddling and laughing. He was inspired by the love that the children showed for each other. Stein says the album takes listeners on a journey of love, patriotism, and social affairs that we all deal with (“Lyin” is the only tune that addresses the issue of losing a loved one).
“That’s crazy. It’s like part of the human condition that we have to give each other a hard time, everyone the time. And it doesn’t have to be that way.” “And as songwriters, things like this come through us. We just want to make the world a better place, even if it’s just a little bit.”
Among the cover songs, Stein chose two very timely tracks: “Ball of Confusion” for temptations and “People Go Free” by the Rascals, these heroes were among Stein’s first musical heroes and part of a blue-eyed soul dubbed “The Long Island Sound” In the sixties and seventies of the last century. The record concludes with the criterion “America the Beautiful”. And the entire record swings from hard rock to brog rock to gospel and ballads.
Stein says “Ball of Confusion” (written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield) meant a lot to him in particular, when it was originally released in 1970 and a version he was asked to produce for the 2010 soundtrack. rockin’ wall. This was a documentary about rock music’s role in bringing down the Berlin Wall and dismembering the Iron Curtain.
At Stein’s main concert, Vanilla Fudge is known for her extremely heavy, psychedelic cover versions of popular songs. Their biggest hit was the unexpected shot on “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” The temporary bouncy kiss originally recorded by The Supremes of Motown has become something darker and more sinister in the hands of the Fudge band.
Director Quentin Tarantino must have thought about that, too, using it in one of the most pivotal moments in Charles Manson’s final alternate history film O.NC upon a time in Hollywood. It reached #6 on the charts in 1967, and according to Stein it was scored in a single take. The band also has “Fudged Up” songs like “Ticket to Ride” (The Beatles), “Season of the Witch” (Donovan), and even “The Look of Love” (Dusty Springfield).
In recent years, though, the band has looked to one-time tour mates Led Zeppelin for inspiration. They recorded an All-Zep album a few years ago, and last year the album “The Immigrant Song” came out before an older version of “Rock and Roll” was re-released. The band just released their version of ‘Rumble On’. So, what makes Led Zeppelin a rich source material for reinterpretation?
“Ever since we walked around together as kids, so has our history [intertwined]. Back in 2006, we and our management thought it might be a good idea to participate in Zeppelin songs because of the association,” Stein says. “But we get our hands on them, of course.”
Various lineups and get-togethers have occurred since the band’s original breakup. The current line-up includes original members Stein, Vince Martell (guitar), and Carmine Appice (drums). Pete Premi has continued to play bass since the retirement of Tim Bogert in 2009, who also passed away earlier this year.
Recently, Vanilla Fudge has performed about nine shows (most of which are jointly billed with Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger and his band), the first in nearly two years. “It was a great experience after a long vacation, and great to connect with a live audience again. It was an inspiring and lively event,” says Stein, adding that blue guitar champ Joe Bonamassa joined them on stage on one of their recent trips.
But Stein is excited to release there is light, Even if some words find him wandering his previous path.
“I ran into some resistance along the way, and some people were terrified of these songs when I wrote them,” Stein says. But now that they’re on an album, they’re like, ‘It’s time for this now! “But that Always It was time. And I say it as it is. ”