RODNEY CROWELL AND VINCE GILL | Q &amp; amp;A The Cherry Bombs' members reunite
After 20 years of individual success, some of the members played together for an awards ceremony.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Even if they had never played another lick, the Cherry Bombs left quite a legacy.
More than 20 years ago, a young Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill and a group of their buddies played clubs up and down the California coast, catching the attention of pop stars like Linda Ronstadt and Glenn Frey and cutting now-classic alt-country records.
The group had spun off from Emmylou Harris' Hot Band as a vehicle for Crowell's solo work. In the studio they backed Crowell, his then-wife Rosanne Cash, Guy Clark, Bobby Bare and others.
But after about five years their lives and talents were evolving, and by 1984 the band began to fade.
Crowell and steel player Hank DeVito became hit songwriters, Gill a superstar solo act. Keyboardist Tony Brown, bass player Emory Gordy Jr. and guitarist Richard Bennett morphed into top record producers, and drummer Larry Londin Jr. became an ace session musician.
The Cherry Bombs was a fond memory for nearly 20 years -- until they got together one night in 2002 to perform at an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers award banquet for Crowell.
One thing led to another, and the Cherry Bombs were reborn -- well, almost. They had to change the name to The Notorious Cherry Bombs for copyright reasons, and with London's death in 1992 and Gordy choosing to sit out, they added new members Eddie Bayers on drums, John Hobbs on keyboards and Michael Rhodes on bass.
An album of new material came out recently, and Crowell and Gill recently spoke with The Associated Press about the project:
Q. That must have been some night at the ASCAP dinner. What happened?
A. (Crowell) It just so happened that when we played, it sounded good. It sounded really good. Tony Brown and I doubled up afterward and said "What do you think? Do you think Vince would be interested?" I said, "It looked like he was having as much fun as we did." So we called him.
A. (Gill) The truth of it is, it felt the same. It felt like your favorite pair of shoes.
Q. How was making this record different from the old days?
A. (Crowell) This was the first where we really collaborated. Early on it was mostly focused around something I was doing. On this record Vince is a leading collaborator, whereas his contribution to the records in the '80s was no less important, but it was more from a supporting role.
A. (Gill) Even back then I think us, as a band, felt like we were a part of it. We all believed in him, we all believed in his songs. We felt like we were the E Street Band or the Silver Bullet Band. We were part of the records, and we felt a big part of Rodney's career.
Q. Why did the Cherry Bombs break up?
A. (Gill) I don't think it ever really ended. We all still wound up on records with one another.
A. (Crowell) The collaborations never stopped. It's been all tethered to itself.
Q. Was it any harder creating music now that everyone has had a high level of individual success?
A. (Gill) The peace of mind everybody has is to look back and say, "Look at what we've all done the last 25 years. Doing this is not my livelihood -- this is not the only thing I'm going to be remembered for." When you're young, you're so hellbent on the results that you lose sight that the results never change a note of the music, good or bad.
Q. You guys are viewed as sensitive singer-songwriter types, yet "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips ..." really goes against the grain. That song has raised eyebrows, with some calling it sexist. How do you respond to that?
A. (Crowell) It would only be sexist if we were serious. I'm the father of four daughters; Vince is the father of two. We both played it live and men and women alike, they love it. Women want to hear the truth as much as men. If anybody thinks it's really sexist, they don't have a sense of humor -- and they don't know us.