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Meet “The Knack”

14 Nov Meet “The Knack”

Well, “The Knack” are another one of my favorite bands. Weird, no? (no). They lived shortly in the sense that, only one record is really worth listening. But THAT record is amazing.

I know, I sound exaggerated. I apologize.

The thing is, that on that FIRST record (“The Knack”) they were brilliant. They were fresh, happy. Truly happy. They were an US band formed in LA (see here for more info).

Original drummer and original singer are both dead, singer having died last year on a motorbike accident (Rest In Peace, Doug).

What I’ll be featuring here is exclusively first album videos. Notice the energy, TIMING and band feel. All those components were soon to be lost in just a matter of one or two years. Talk about a badly managed band. I remember when in 1979 – I was already in love with AC/DC – the hit single “My Sharona” came out. I remember that summer clearly. As soon as I heard the song, I asked my mom (I was 9 years old) to buy me the tape. I put that tape on everyday all day for the whole summer. The summer of ’79. I was dancing to it like a crazy (that I still am). I also recall clearly that we went to Sardinia that year (known Italian big and gorgeous island) and it was my first chance to go to the disco. No one was dancing to that song, so I jumped on the disco stage and danced the whole song by myself. I was literally jumping. Must have been the best “9 years old nerd” show ever seen.

Get some. Meet “The Knack”.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc3KXwd8ZWQ[/youtube]

Things to notice in the above video: it was clearly a staged video, all in playback (but nicely done). Features a studio – probably the true studio where it had been recorded – and the band is all in the same room. While I am sure that that really happened during recording, it is unlikely that they are singing – on a Neumann U47! – in the same room a feet away from the drummer. You would have heard the drummer more than the singer in that microphone!. Lead player is playing a 1970s Gibson Les Paul Custom, likely the guitar that most of the album was recorded with (and I have a surprise, will show later). GREAT musicianship.

My Sharona (LIVE, 1979, just right after album release):

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5yWDPGfbUc[/youtube]

Another live performance, 1980:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4vKaiZQwUI[/youtube]

Original promo video for My Sharona:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbr60I0u2Ng[/youtube]

Let me Out (MUST watch)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCqD055X8MQ[/youtube].

The above was shot live, but professionally. This captures what a great live band is all about. Amazing. Super fresh, super good vibes (look at them smiling).

avatar
Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri
sd@solodallas.com

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

10 Comments
  • avatar
    addx
    Posted at 18:40h, 14 January

    In case anyone is interested, there is a long interview (2 hours) with the Knack’s Berton Averre here:

    http://www.mevio.com/episode/230301/classic-albums-revisited-get-the-knack-with

    the host is a bit annoying, but the interviewer does do a track-by-track breakdown of “Get the Knack” with Berton which is pretty cool.

    Another youtube video that is good is the live Sharona from the Funhouse:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1T71PGd-J0

    it has stereo separation so you can isolate the guitar parts (Fieger/rhythm on left, Averre/lead on right).

  • avatar
    Andreja
    Posted at 02:09h, 08 January

    A great Band….
    Thanks Dallas. More…..

  • avatar
    Max
    Posted at 16:52h, 29 November

    The album was produced by a very cool guy named Mike Chapman, who produced, and wrote for Suzi Quatro, The Sweet, Mud, Pat Benetar, Blondie, Tina Turner and had tons of hits in the 70’s and 80’s

    He said, quite rightly that the Knack ALREADY sounded like a record when he saw them live, and that audiences were lining-up around the block to see them.

    So he basically recorded them live, with a lot of first takes, and a lot of ambience on the drums.

    this is Chapman’s (unofficial?) myspace page

    http://www.myspace.com/mikechapmanproductions

    and Chapman did say that the problem with that band was basically a mix of drugs, ego problems with the singer (who was on drugs) and the manager who was pushing the singer to go over the top with his drug abuse and arrogance..
    the singer did blame Chapman as well, but I think it was just too much money, girls and success and maybe just the vibe of the early 80’s that did them in

    on the other hand AC/DC has had a slow build-up for years and they learned how to keep it together without blowing-up like the Knack did.. IMO

  • avatar
    mstewart2k
    Posted at 04:13h, 22 November

    Fil, I just wanted to thank you for putting up this site. It’s SO MUCH FUN and a great learning experience! I’m a beginning guitar player, still a beginner after so many years! But I love it! You have the best energy ever!

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 06:37h, 22 November

      Well… thank YOU!

      Fil 🙂

  • avatar
    driverwild
    Posted at 05:54h, 16 November

    Hey Fil,
    I am from the Detroit area, where Doug Fieger, the singer of The Knack grew up. While I never met him, my brother-in-law and a number of his friends all went to school with Doug many years ago in Oak Park, a suburb outside of Detroit. Don Was of the band, Was/Not Was, also attended school there at Oak Park High School.

    I saw The Knack do a reunion show at DTE Energy Theatre (AKA Pine Knob) about four or five years ago (I’d have to find the ticket stub to narrow it down) in Clarkston, Michigan USA. Doug was playing a beautiful red SG, and they performed a lot of Beatles covers during their set. We did not know that Doug was ill.

    Doug’s brother Geoffrey is a prominent (infamous?) attorney who defended Detroit-based mercy-killer Dr. Jack Kevorkian through the 1990s. Small world: I used to be in the orbit of the people who lived next door to Geoffrey’s lake home back around 1990; Kevorkian used to stay at the house during the trials and wound up in our friend’s kitchen to wait for Geoffrey when he accidentally locked himself out once.

    So there’s my “Knack” story and more. Thanks for all of your help to us beginner guitar players (I picked up the guitar for the first time at age 43). RIP Doug!

  • avatar
    redlinechavez
    Posted at 06:19h, 15 November

    What a coincidence, I just started diving into The Knack. A few months back I bought a record of their first album, “Get The Knack” sadly we don’t have a record player that works. I just saw a movie a few nights ago called, “Getting The Knack” I strongly recommend it. Would you do a tutorial on My Sharona?

  • avatar
    06AngusSG
    Posted at 19:24h, 14 November

    Sucks that these guys never continued with a great deal of success. This (my sharona) has been a favorite of mine for a long time. More like this would’ve been cool.

  • avatar
    banane
    Posted at 11:39h, 14 November

    Ah, the good old seventies 🙂 Didn’t know The Knack, sorry, will look out for them in the afternoon. But I know this feeling, remember myself being the only one freaking out to the only one AC/DC song they played in the “Disco” at one evening in our schools auditorium 😀
    And no, doesn’t sound exaggerated at all, but rather normal 🙂

  • avatar
    Angusrocks
    Posted at 11:32h, 14 November

    yeees, this was still music Fil (-:
    Sadly, long time ago…….
    I danced to this, too, at the age of fourteen (-:
    Two years later i worked as a roadie for a band called BULLLET. They played ACDCstyle music.
    That was a fantastic time !! It was soo funny as i heard a riff of BULLLET in the STIFF UPPER LIP CD in 2001 (-:

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