By the early/mid 70's, pop was defining itself as a genre running counter to the dominant forces of the day: dinosaur rock (your ELP, Yes, and similar) and the nascent disco scene, which swept everything else out of its path for a good five years.
But there were standard-bearers. The Raspberries, for one. Big Star, for another. Badfinger (though arguably, they're more of a bridge back to the 60's). Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour (bridging the gap to the future, this time). And Blue Ash.
Like their fellow double-monosyllable Ohio B-band Big Star, Blue Ash were critically acclaimed but didn't quite get the sales one might have expected. Except for a few small radio hits, they went largely ignored on a commercial level. That, to put it not too delicately, sucks, because they were a great band.
Pop Culture Press's Kent H. Benjamin sat down and talked to Frank Secich over last summer about the band's history, the recently released Around Again (a wide-ranging double CD of classic Blue Ash tunes, some never before released), and the band's current reformation.
PCP: Unlike most power pop bands, Blue Ash had a really tough instrumental sound, very similar to what The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Faces, and the Stones sounded like live at the time, not at all like bands played in the '60s, even though you chose to play '60s style 3-minute pop songs using that '70s big rock sound.
FS: Well, you know we were a three piece band with a singer; Jim (Kendzor) didn't play much guitar live, so we all played a lot to make the sound bigger live. So I played a lot of bass, Bill (Bartolin) played a lot of lead guitar, and Dave (Evans) played the Keith Moon-style drums, we did all that to deliberately make the sound 'bigger' live. I've switched to rhythm guitar now, so the sound is actually much better, I think, than it was then, now that we have two guitars live. We have an old friend, Bobby Darden play bass, we have all the original members, plus TWO original drummers. All four original members sing, so we have 4-part harmonies. I thought the hardest thing to get back would be the singing, but a lot of us have quit smoking, so we actually sing better than we used to. I have an extra note in my range now (laughing). We're just nailin' everything, you know?!
Secich also notes that he was in conversation with Greg Shaw at that time about their new work: no word on what's happened to that project since Shaw's untimely death.