Les and Loretta Fradkin of California Band Interviews

Interview with pop rock band California

MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.

So you have a new release out called ‘I Could Make It Last Forever’, you wrote this song back in 1972 and are bringing it back to life now 50 years later. What inspired bringing this song back now?

  • California: Three reasons. First, although this song was originally recorded as part of a Left Banke reunion project for Bell Records, with myself, Les Fradkin as the Producer and owner of the recording, but not released at that time, the song was presented shortly thereafter for a deal made with Laurie Records as a new band called California which I own, which was signed to Laurie in January 1973 by me. Second, there was a recent interview I did for a Baroque Pop blog which proved inspirational to consider a reincarnation of the song.

    Baroque Pop Blog Interview >>

    Third, the song and recording had reached its 50th Anniversary and Loretta and I felt it deserved to be more widely heard in its final form. It’s a great record and the video is a wonder of modern technology. The video was originally realized by Charlemagne Fezza back in 2006 and updated by Loretta and I in 2023. It’s a charming Cartoon based look at the lyrical plot of the song and of our love story still going strong for over 24 years. It also gives a glimpse of my relationship as friends with the various members of the Left Banke. And it seamlessly integrates Loretta with my past with Michael Brown. It’s a real and true story of technology and emotions of the heart coming together to create something vital and new.

MuzicNotez: How does it make you feel with a song about lasting forever, now after so much time has passed?

  • California: Just watch the video! I think that song deserves to be a hit record. Time will tell!

MuzicNotez: You’re singing the vocals for this track with your wife and partner in California, was that an emotional experience together?

  • California: Yes. Not just for Loretta and I but for my memories of my long friendship with Michael Brown. But it wasn’t just an exercise in nostalgia. Loretta and I wanted to represent the sound as it was originally intended. My intention as the Left Banke’s Producer in 1972 was to modernize their sound for the 1970’s. This included simplifying the Piano based approach, adding more guitar, adding Brass with their customary strings (a practice begun by Mike Brown with their “Desiree” single) merged with their trademark harmonies. And modern technology has given Loretta and I, the opportunity to create something to realize that objective for the California band which emerged from the original Left Banke reunion project. This new version of “I could make it last forever” is a great representation of the vocal sound that Loretta and I have in our current album “California Loves You”.

MuzicNotez: I read that you play numerous instruments on this track, how many do you play in total?

  • California: I play the Electric 12 string guitar and the Mellotron on this track. I also arranged the Brass and string parts. Harry Lookofsky gave me assistance in realizing the Violin and Piano duet I envisioned between himself and his son, Michael Brown during the instrumental break.

MuzicNotez: This one’s just for Loretta, have you been in any other bands or projects singing without Les? When did you start singing?

  • California: As a songwriter and Producer, I have continually been involved with Les since 2003. California is my first project as a featured singer. However, I have contributed harmonies over the past 20 years to Les’s solo recordings. I started singing in Church Choir. That long ago experience gives my voice a versatility and range that greatly adds to our vocal sound. With respect to Left Banke related recordings, Les took me to meet Michael Brown and his lovely family back in April 2014. It was obvious to me that Les and Michael were best friends. I filmed a video performance of Les & Michael playing their song “As Eagles Fly In The Night”.

    And this new release of “I could make it last forever”, gives me the opportunity to participate not just singing, but also preserving and extending that lifelong friendship in song into the future. We still stay in touch with Michael’s family.

MuzicNotez: Who else assisted in creating this track?

  • California: Loretta Pieper Fradkin (Additional Lead & Background Vocals, 2023 Co-Production), Michael Brown (Piano), Tom Finn (Bass Guitar & Background Vocals), Steve Martin Caro (Guitar & Background Vocals), George Cameron (Drums & Background Vocals) and Harry Lookofsky (Violins). Herb Abramson engineered the original track. I overdubbed Mellotron Brass. I remixed the recordings in 2023 digitally for this new release.

MuzicNotez: What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?

  • California: We are waiting for the future to present itself.

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