DIARY - 16 FEBRUARY 2004 - KIERAN KANE INTERVIEW
RING OF FIRE BURNS CASH CLAN
Carter sure can sing/ the wildwood flower, the one about the fiery ring/
in a world of country costume jewellery/ she's a diamond ring, June Carter
sure can sing." - June Carter Sure Can Sing - Kieran Kane/ John Hadley/
Kane eulogised June Carter Cash in a song penned long before her death
at 73 on May 15, 2003 he had no idea his lyrics might ring true.
Or that the song penned with touring partner Kevin Welch and John Hadley
might be a case of life imitating art.
Kane - photo by Mark Montgomery
song appeared on New York born Kane's sixth album Shadows On The
Ground in 2002.
Now a storm has erupted about the June Carter Cash-Merle Kilgore song
Ring Of Fire on the eve of the autumn tour of Kane and Welch.
Oklahoma born Kilgore, 69 and long time manager of Hank Williams Jr,
joked about the song when he introduced it in his concerts.
So it was
no surprise Merle, whose 300 song catalogue produced hits such as Wolverton
Mountain for Claude King, Johnny Reb for Johnny Horton and
Let Somebody Else Drive for John Anderson, jumped at the chance
to have the song used in a commercial jingle for an anal relief cream.
MERLE WANTS PILES OF CASH
TV production company plans to pitch Preparation H and other hemorrhoid-relief
products with a commercial that features Ring of Fire - a 1963 hit for
Cash who died at 71 on September 12.
The script starts with a shot of a sunrise, and Kilgore's version of Ring
of Fire is the audio.
Ring Of Fire has also been cut by a vast galaxy of artists including
the late Frank Zappa and Mark Collie.
The camera pans to a high-rise apartment building and zooms in through
an open apartment door to reveal a briefcase and shoes in a messy heap
on the floor.
bathroom door opens, a relieved woman in business attire walks out,
and the camera zooms in on a tube of Preparation H in the bathroom.
used a hemorrhoid joke onstage whenever he'd introduce Ring of
''I'd say, 'Ladies and gentlemen, I want to give credit where credit
is due. I dedicate this song to the makers of Preparation H,' ''
''And they would just fall out. So when the song publisher called
and told me about it, I said, 'I can't believe it!' ''
Also in disbelief
were Carter-Cash clan survivors headed by Rosanne - singing daughter of
the man in black and former singing spouse of Texan troubadour Rodney
''There is no way we will ever let that happen,'' Rosanne roared.
''We would never allow the song to be demeaned like that.''
(Merle) started talking about this moronic tie-in without talking
to any of us,'' said Rosanne, now 47 and latter day wife of producer
and songwriter John Leventhal.
''The song is about the transformative power of love and that's what
it has always meant to me and that's what it will always mean to the
Merle, best man at the Cash-Carter wedding on March 1. 1968, stepped
back from the fire after it burned him.
"'I certainly didn't want to upset the Cash family because I
love them," says Merle, "I just thought it was kind of funny.''
ABLE FOR AUSSIE TOUR
bemused when he learned of the Ring Of Fire blaze storm during
an interview to promote his March tour with Welch.
"I wouldn't think they (the Cash family) would be happy with that,"
Kane, 54, told me in a call from Nashville on the eve of his fifth Australian
tour with Kevin Welch.
The duo, co-owners of leading independent Nashville label Dead Reckoning,
are here to promote their second duet disc You Can't Save Everybody
featuring Fats Kaplin.
Kane, a prolific writer who arrived in Nashville in 1978, practises quality
control on his songs used in commercials.
One was from his era in the eighties chart topping duo The O'Kanes.
"The O'Kanes song Will You Travel Down This Road With Me was
used in a Diner's Card commercial," Kane revealed.
"Another of my songs was in another back in the early eighties but
I can't remember which one it was. Actually the ad was actually quite
well done, it was a cable outlet. Not a mainstream TV commercial. I never
saw it, someone sent me a copy of it. I imagine if it was on network TV
it would be more lucrative. The royalties were not terrible but not enough
to retire on."
JACKSON AND KENNY ROGERS
tune I'll Go On Loving You - a hit for Georgian superstar Alan
Jackson - and enjoying a second sales spurt on his recent Greatest
"I was really happy when he put it on his Greatest Hits,"
says Kane, "it will keep on ticking over the years as long as he
keeps on chopping away at it."
Ironically, Kane's latest earner could be a song he wrote in French that
has been cut by veteran Texan star Kenny Rogers.
"I was very surprised to learn Kenny had cut it,' Kane said, "it
was originally written in French," Kane says, "it's really not
much more than a poem in terms of the lyric. Just the same verse over
and over again. It was translated into Spanish, Russian, Mohican and other
languages. In English it is We Are The Same. Basically saying deep
down inside people are the same and wants the same things."
QUEENS TO KINGS TO NORMIE ROWE
sired in the New York borough Queens by a sausage maker, developed
a penchant for bluegrass as a teenager in Mt Vernon.
He started on drums with his brothers in a family band and hit Nashville
after stints in groups at Suffolk University in Connecticut and
an extended stay in Los Angeles.
It was there he met Nashville producer-writer Rafe Van Hoy and singing
spouse - Texan singer-songwriter Deborah Allen - and drove south
to Music City with his own pregnant wife.
The father of three cut his first solo album in 1982 after writing
hits for artists diverse as T. G. Sheppard, Dave & Sugar, The
Kendalls, Alabama, Oak Ridge Boys, Janie Fricke, John Conlee and
wrote all 10 songs on his debut disc including his Top 10 hit, You're
The Best, and repeated that on his three subsequent solo albums.
Kane - photo by Mark Montgomery
But it was
another Kane song, You've Got A Right To Love Somebody, which earned
him his first serious Australian royalties in 1982 when cut by Normie
"Bruce Channel and I wrote together quite a lot and that was one
of our early efforts," Kane recalled.
"It's one of most recorded songs I've ever written. I'm proud to
say Tom Jones did a fine version of it which I'm happy to put in my discography."
Royalties later flowed from chart cuts by acts diverse as Trisha Yearwood,
Emmylou Harris, Randy Travis, John Prine, George Jones & Tammy Wynette.
But his major
breakthrough was teaming with Jamie O'Hara - title track writer of Jones
rebirth disc Cold Hard Truth - as the O'Kanes who scored six Top
10 hits on their three albums from 1986-9.
In 1993 drummer Harry Stinson and Kane produced his second solo album
Find My Way Home for Atlantic.
and Welch are partners with Kane in their Dead Reckoning label that
released Kane's third disc Dead Rekoning in 1995 and Six
Months, No Sun in 1998 featuring In A Town This Size,
cut by John Prine on his 16th album In Spite Of Ourselves.
A Night Of Reckoning, featuring the entire label family,
in 1997 featured radio rompers I Desire Fire, Cryin' for Nothin',
Workin' On It and Waiting For The Assassin.
by Mark Montgomery
Welch also cut a live disc at the now defunct Continental Café
in November, 2000.
Kane exercised his artistic talents by drawing the cover art for fifth
album Blue Chair in 2000 and Shadows On The Ground in 2002.
three tunes on the new disc with Kansas born singer-songwriter Sean Locke
whose tunes have been recorded by chart topping Californian cowboy Gary
Allan and Pinmonkey.
"Sean is a lot younger than I am, we're good friends," says
Kane, "he likes writing with me. We have written about 30 songs together.
He also writes a lot on his own. You'll hear lot more of him. He wrote
Barbed Wire & Roses for Pinmonkey. Gary Allan also recorded
his song Don't Look Away for his new album See If I Care.
Allan also recorded the Kevin Welch song Crying For Nothing - that
Kevin cut as part of the Dead Reckoners Night Of Reckoning.
Kane and Locke wrote Calling Me in another spontaneous session.
"It was just something that came out when we got together,"
Kane said, "it was more what the co-writer and I were thinking about.
The songs are not pre-meditated. I don't write unless I'm sitting down
to work. I don't drive around and get ideas. When I sit down I don't go
to a book and say here's a title. I'm not sure if it was more spiritual
or philosophical. I'm not sure that I know. I imagine at some point I'll
find out, at some point we'll all find out."
It's a sibling song of sorts of Welch tune Too Old To Die Young,
originally a hit for Texan singer Moe Bandy.
"That's a great song, it's been around a long time," Kane added,
"Kevin thought about recording it a few times. He brought it along
for this record and we said why not, let's do it. We were going to play
with it, put a vocal harmony with it. We said no, just sing it - that's
how it ought to be."
Kane, father of a son, 25, and daughters, 23 and 19, said the song was
equally relevant to him.
"If you have kids or any experience with them having children, you
want to see them grow up," he said, "you have control of their
lives then let them move on, what every parent would like to witness before
they move on. You feel like my job is done, it's OK, they'll manage on
Kane and John Hadley, co-writer with Welch of Too Old To Die Young,
also penned poignant anti-war song Just Like That.
"Once again I don't know what John and I were thinking about when
we wrote that," said Kane.
"It morphed into that. I really don't know the inspiration. I'm not
trying to be evasive. I really don't know where they come from. Some times
I'll finish writing a song and say that's pretty good or it's a piece
of shit. That one I thought turned out pretty well.
It had something to say, doing it live it gets good reaction. It's something
I believe. There can be reasons to go to war but it never seems to end
anything, there's always another conflict of some kind. It just keeps
going on, it has been going on whether you believe in Genesis or evolution
it doesn't matter. People have been tumbling and have been having trouble
with each other since the beginning of time. I would like to thing there
is an end in sight but unfortunately I don't think there is, it's the
nature of it."
Kane doesn't expect the song will ignite the storms that tore apart the
Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith.
"I don't think anything I would record would enter into the fray
of controversy," Kane says, "the people that have their feathers
ruffled about these things are very popular artists. The world I live
in probably 90% wouldn't argue the point."
Dark Eyed Gal, Jersey Devil and Whippoorwill Jack - performed
on his 2003 tour with The Flood - are joined on the new disc by his title
track, Everybody's Working For The Man and finale song A Prayer
Like Any Other.
"Everyone's Working For The Man is a great song," Kane
said, "one verse came later after song had been finished. Kevin is
moré likely to continue working on a song to make it better. At
the end of a day writing I'm more likely to say that's finished."
HERE for a story on Welch from the Diary on OCTOBER 30.
HERE for tour dates.
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