The Albums, Interviews, Articles & Info
George Cummings’ Live Online Webchat/Interview
Sunday July 28th 2001 1PM Eastern to 3PM Eastern
Credits and Thanks You’s…… George Cummings, and Ken Hatley for facilitating. Ryan Sperry for suggesting the chat, Keith Green for setting it up, Mary Kay Paquin for helping moderate and transcribing the whole thing.
We had some log-on problems at the beginning, so it was partially a phone interview and relaying questions the first 20 minutes or so, please forgive the choppiness of the early part of the transcript, a good bit is from memory, lol.
Mike Paquin: Thanks so much for allowing the fans the great treat of speaking with you today George, it’s our privilege to have this opportunity.
George Cummings: Thank you, I’m just glad to tell my story.
Mike: How are you?
Mike: The fans are looking forward to the chat.
George: I am too.
Mike: Folks are all saying the same thing…. Happy Birthday, they all hope it was a good one, we think you were 63 yesterday, is that right?
George: Man, I hope not, it’s gotta be less than that..
Mike: Okay well you’re young at heart, how bout we tell ‘em you’re 53?
George: Less, I don’t feel that old..
Mike: Okay George is now 43 Years Old, lol, Mare you getting this?
Mike: When did the group actually start? I’ve seen several versions, was it ’68 or ‘69?
George: It was around ’68. I was playin round up in Jersey ‘64-’66, just travelling around and seeing this big beautiful world.
Mike: Wasn’t that the time of the Chocolate Papers, the band before Dr. Hook?
George: The Chocolate Papers was about 1966 back down south in Mobile. I came back up north after a little disruption down there. I was playing around Jersey again and doing pretty well, when I sent a ticket down so Ray could come up and join me.
Mike: That was the beginning of Dr. Hook?
George: We were playing at a place called The Bandbox, and I put a sign up that said
Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, straight from the south, serving up soul music.
Mike: How did you meet that long haired young guy?
George: Who is that, Dennis?
Mike: yeah, he’s the one I meant.
George: He just asked if he could sit in one night and he was good so he stayed.
Mike: Well George, Mare is missing too much of what you’re saying, she just can’t type that quickly, so it’s back to plan A. Now that we have you logged into the chat room, we may as well jump off the phone and let the fans ask some questions on line. Just let us know when you get tired of it and we’ll sign off.
George: Okay, well thanks….
George: We are here...and hello to everyone….
Kaylan: happy birthday, a day late
Keith: How was your birthday yesterday, George?
George: Thanks...it was a fun one here in Florida. Spent the day
with friends and we had good southern soul food meal, collards
bar b que, fresh grown vegetables. All the things I love.
Mike: George we are honored to have you with us.
George: Thank You..I am honored at the loyal dedication you exude.
Kaylan: What are you up to musically?
George: Working with Ken Hatley....I just love the great American music scene.
George: Just did something recently...a film called Florida City...Ken is Musical
director....did one song...a boogie woogie era song...
Mike: If you can let us know when that'll be released, we'll be sure to let the group know.
George: What I really want to do is my own album.
Mike: What kind of music?
George: swamp, blues, funk, southern.....
Mike: That sounds like how people described early Dr. Hook in reviews.
George: well I don’t think we captured on record what our live shows were really like.
Mike: Was there anything you did record while you were with Dr. Hook that you felt did capture it?
Nik: Can you keep us posted when the album is released?
George: Yes, no problem, we are working on song selection now.
Keith: George, you talked about good soul-food on your birthday. Do you have any
special recipes of your own?
George: Yes, I have many great southern soul food recipes, many vegetarian concoctions
of my own, and many of my Mother's Cajun dishes.
Keith: Do you have any that you want to share?
George: Any that you want.
Nik: You wouldn't consider writing a cookbook?
Nik: We could use some good southern cooking up here in Canada.
Keith: I would love to try some, maybe that is something for another day.
George: Yes it would be "How To Survive on the road in a rock n roll band,
with just a hot plate and some pots"
Keith: Was that last word supposed to be plural?
George: I was going to leave the "s" off of pot, but didn't know if the Internet police
were tuned in.
Keith: Not on this channel I don't think.
Mike: That would be so cool. "The Guitar George Southern Fried Soul Food Cookbook"
Food to Nourish Your Soul
Nik: I'm sure this group would buy a copy
George: Yes, we can arrange to get you some good recipes. I love that title!
Mary Kay: I read one of the members of the band used to grow alfalfa sprouts out
of the back of the car...was that you?
George; That was me, and the sprouts I grew were mung bean, soy bean and alfalfa.
I was trying for the true vibration, but it apparently upset some of my band mates, because I didn't "surf n turf" with them, plus I grew wheat sprouts from dry seed to 8 inch green leaf while travelling on the road in the back of rental cars. Dennis found this very strange.
Mike: hahahaha, George has a hell of a sense of humor.
George: Hey, I was just trying to survive the California way
Mike: oh well, screw him
Nik: What made you decide to live in Florida?
George: I don't live in Florida, I am visiting my friend and colleague Ken Hatley and his wife Donna
Mike: Are you strictly a vegetarian George?
George: No, I eat anything I want, in moderation, but dig my veggies.
Nik: I grow my own in my backyard
Mike: cool. I eat meat and plenty of it, but wish I didn't
Keith: While you are not working, do you still play...just for fun or relaxation?
George: I play all day everyday. Sometimes up until the wee hours of the morning.
George: I still play for a living and write.
Mike: Your friend Hank from NJ has posted a couple notes about how fantastic you
still play and what an incredible treat it is to hear it and to play with you.
Keith: Do you ever play any old Hook stuff?
Mike: I've had a question...what is your Favorite memory from your time with the band?
George: My favorite memory from the band...it's hard to define just one. I think back to
our bar days, when we were playing 5 and 6 nights a week for a living and we were soul
brothers and friends.
George: This was before egos and stardom crept in.
Nik: Nothing ever stays the same
George: You are right, nothing ever stays the same
Howie: I would like to know if you make it known that you are a former member of Dr. Hook, when you play?
George: Most of the time no, because of all the negative things that happened to me,
I do not feel proud of the name or the accomplishments, but I am working to make that better.
Howie: Thank You. And I am glad to hear that.
Mike: We're glad that you are George, and we hope that you get your dues
George: nothing ever stays the same, but the scars remain.
Nik: I am sorry that it turned out that way for you
Keith: George, you left the "Chocolate Papers" and put together another band. Then later
you left Dr. Hook. Do you prefer not to be in the limelight?
George: I did not leave the Chocolate Papers, something happened in Biloxi concerning
one of my band mates and an under age girl. The FBI caused the immediate disintegration of The Chocolate Papers. You can verify this with our former drummer Popeye Phillips.
George: We will let you know how to contact Popeye when we get his URL
Mike: What a bombshell...I guess in those days things were a bit more tense especially down south lol
George: Just a little, that's why we took so many tension relievers
Keith: Was you happier with "Chocolate Papers" than with "Dr. Hook"?
George: I was happier when we were free and not being under control, over directed by a
so called Producer/Manager. We were better brothers and had more respect for each other, before the fame game slithered in, plus we knew where the money was going back then.
Nik: the price of fame
Mike: seems there are several folks who think that fella was the one that did the best on the whole deal. You are not alone in your thinking. Right or wrong there are several folks who share your opinion
George: The assumptions are correct about “that fellow” coming out better on the deal
than anyone else.
Mike: You’ve said you really liked the guitar mix on Cookie and Lila...I know I LOVE that steel guitar lead on Carry Me Carrie...the bottom line is that those songs are better for your contributions, I think most would agree.
George: Thank you for the compliments on both songs, I was trying to slide into home plate safe.
Mike: No need to thank me...thank YOU. And that didn't come across right, anyway. I meant to say ALL the early songs were better for your being a part, not just those two.
George: I liked the mix because I probably played truer than usual on that unpredictable
hard to play instrument.
Mike: There is a pretty well known appearance from Germany's Beat Club show, where
you just go off and use the feedback and get silly with Dennis, it is a favorite among fans.
George: Where can we find that from the Beat Club?
Mike: George, I will send a copy of that appearance to you forth with, with my compliments. To NJ, TN, or Florida, just let me know which.
Mike: Why did you use the bandana? That has been a big question of mine for a while. When you sang you put a bandana over the mic.
Nik: Only on Penicillin Penny
George: I used the bandana because Dennis and I shared one of the vocal lead microphones, and because he sang so hard, he left chunks of spit and phlegm and other unknown particles hanging on the microphone. When my lips touched the mic, they would always slide off. So I wiped it off with my bandana before I started singing.
Mike: hahahaha GREAT thanks so much!
Mike; I could never figure it out, then as I was typing it just now, I thought “maybe because they shared a mic” DUH and that was it….TOO funny
Nik: I thought it was because of the "content" of Penicillin Penny
Howie: Would you ever consider touring with Ray and Billy if you were asked by them
to do it?
Keith: Ken if I have my info right, you have been friends with George since the Chocolate Paper days (or before). Why was it that you didn't become involved professionally with Dr. Hook?
George: This is Ken. I met George and the guys in Charleston, while I was working with
the Drifters, we hung out together for the 6 weeks we were there. I moved to Nashville
and became involved in the Outlaws scene as a staff writer and musician with Tomplall
Glaser, Willie & Company. Then I had to go into the Army.
George: George has stepped away for a minute, he will be right back
Keith: I just figured that you might have looked after George and the rest of the band more. And maybe things would be different now.
George: (Ken) Yes...things would have been entirely different if they would have had good management, whether me or any one else that was honest and competent.
Mike: George you did a phenomenal job on Penny and the song breaks that you had
on a couple others, I would imagine with having two lead singers it was hard to get a
word in edgewise...HOW did you end up with leads.
Mike: The outlaws? bikers? musicians? LOL
Howie: Mike, did you figure any way to save this chat for Fuzzy?
Mike: We're working on it
Howie: Me too.
George: Yes, If Uncle Sam would not have called me and tried to ship me to Vietnam
I may would have. But that wasn't the course life had for me then. George and I hooked
back up in Nashville after my return home from the Army and started a group The Raven
Mike: my able bodied assistant is transcribing the whole thing LOL
Mike: THANKS MK - (you’re welcome dear)
Keith: How did RAVEN do?
Howie: Are there any Raven recordings available?
Mike: My Dad is a crazy 50's music fan, he would love that you were with the Drifters.
Were you the only white guy in the band?
George: I would consider working with Ray and Billy if I finally got paid, and they explained to me why they put their names on that document of lies sent to me when I was recovering from acute bronchitis!
Mike: That sounds like we're a far ways from a reconciliation, but it ain’t out of the question. What more could the fans ask for?
Howie: In other words, that may never happen. Thanks for being honest.
Mike; Do you receive any royalties for your work on the first few albums?
Keith: What was the document of lies?
Mike: I'm not trying to pry George.
George: I have not received a penny of royalties or statement of account ever from that
Keith: That is an absolute disgrace!!
Mike: another bombshell
George: The document of lies, we are going to scan it and email it to you
Keith: thank you
Mike; I don't know jack squat about the music biz, but would have thought you received SOME compensation
Keith: How have you managed to keep quiet about it all these years?
George: I should have, all I got was a down payment on a house, to go bankrupt and play
more of the producer manager's game.
Mike: The stories you hear about the music biz I just assumed that you would have some raw feelings about not being properly compensated, but NOTHING, Jesus that is hard to believe.
George; this is Kenny...when this session is over, I will send the document to you and Keith, plus more information.
Mike: These kids today if they have at least 3 hits on their first LP they're millionaires, and they have more money than a horse has hairs.
Mike: Hey Ken, I would love to be carbon copied on that too please
George: I have remained quiet because the lawyers I hired along the way in search of my share of the CBS and Capitol Records Contracts that I signed have not been able to find the pot of gold.
Keith: I am really sorry for you George. This sort of thing should never be allowed to happen.
George: More details will be forthcoming when my web page is completed.
Nik: Can't wait
Mike: George exactly when did you leave Dr. Hook?
George: you are right it shouldn't be allowed
Howie: let us know when it is up!
George: I left in August 1975
Nik: The band sounded much different after you left. Of course we fans never knew ANY of the behind the scenes stuff.
George: We will let you know
Howie: Thank You!
George: Probably be asking for advice on the way while we are building it
Keith: If I can offer advice, It would be my pleasure
Mike: We would all love to offer any help we can
Keith: Well spoken Mike
Nik: George I saw you in the old days in the Band in Toronto
George: we appreciate your offer
Keith: George, you're off to Nashville soon?....are you touring again?
Mike: Way to go Nik! I think Lou is the only other one who saw the original band
George: Toronto what I remember about Toronto, was that it was a clean and progressive
city, a place I might like to live. We worked there a few times and we did so many one
nighters, that it all a blur, but with Canada I have fond memories, from Vancouver to Moncton.
Mike: You are both very welcome! We (the fans) really do love you guys, you may not even understand it, we maybe don't, but we all love the joy that George's music has brought us, and just want him and the other guys to all be happy, and satisfied.
George: yes I’ll be leaving for Nashville, either Monday or Tuesday, to Lonnie Mack's house for a few days of music and fellowship and try to connect with my latest lawyer.
George: Lonnie's site www. lonniemack.com if you want to reach me there , plus check out all the music this great historic player has to offer.
Nik: So you know you have left a legacy.
Howie: Have you been to any of the Dr. Hook sites and checked them out?
George: I have visited through Ken’s computer. Tapped into the electronic magic
and checked a few out.
Mike: We've got more lawyers than you could shake a "Philadelphia Lawyer" at, here in Philadelphia, lol. I hope your latest is your greatest!
George: Andy May and I are becoming friends
Howie: Andy may well be your second biggest fan. lol
George: I am trying to improve upon the legacy and be more proud of any possible
accomplishments in the future
Mike: I'm sure I speak for all the fans when I say we have no doubt you'll do just that
Andy: Hello Everybody!! Andy from the UK calling!!!
George: We are going to have to leave, I must take my wife to the airport and it's an hour trip. She is flying back to NJ where I will be in 2 weeks, hopefully with an activated computer.
Mike: HEY ANDY!!
George: Hi Andy, we can hook back up tonight and continue this if you wish
Andy: HI MP! Have I just missed George?
Nik: Bye George & Good Luck Always!!
George: In the meantime, I will send the document and a few more things out via email
Howie: Thanks for your time George!!
George: Thanks for your continued interest.
Mike: THANKS!!! GEORGE
Keith: Thanks George, Thanks Ken
Mike: Thanks Ken!!!
Andy: Hi George! Have a safe trip - but I think this time difference thing is against us! Catch you later though!
Kaylan: bye George and have a good one
Mike: We'll all be waiting for your site and your new music and a few of us will be in touch in the mean time too. Have fun in TN and stay safe.
George: You guys have a good one also. I have registered my site as www.cummingsmusic.com
George: it is not set up yet, but will be this week
Andy: Looking forward to it already!
Mike: can't wait
Howie: count me in too
Keith: I will add a link to your site as soon as it goes up
George: (hopefully), it will be a continual work in progress
Andy: I'll add a link BEFORE it's up!
Keith: For many years I hope
Andy: Is this cool or what....?
Howie: TOOOOOOOO COOL!!!
Mike: Couldn't be cooler
Andy: Brrrr....2 cool 4 me ! Is Keith here?
Keith: Keith is in blue Stigbert
George: Same here, well...
George: take care
Mike: Well Guys, thanks again, you can bail whenever we'll probably stay and bask in
the Georgeness a while LOL
Keith: Thanks for joining us George....I hope you come back and chat again
Andy: HI Keith! Can I nick a George pic from your site and use with my link to his site...please?
Keith: I would say that's ok
Andy: You’re a diamond! I'll buy you a pint somewhere (ahhh the universal currency of drink!)
Mike: Andy have you heard about the freakers ball convention?
Keith: I need 2 find out where u r in the UK
Mike: January 2003 in Florida
Andy: To MP -No! To KG - Leics!
Mike: Gonna try and have the guys play there and everything
Mike: can you make it?
Nik: dreaming again?
Mike: no way...plans are in the works
Andy: I'll have to save my hard "earned" pennies but a gig in Florida sounds pretty F'ing
good to me!!!
Mike: Maybe just Maybe if they've been able to mend any fences by then George will sit in too. He does have friends in Florida, so it's possible
Nik: Give it up!
Mike: Ray and Billy....we'll just have to see about Mr. Loccorriere
Andy: Does anyone know what Jance is up to? I've had the occasional "cryptic" mail but
no real news
Nik: I can see Ray, Billy & George but NEVER Dennis
Mike: yeah, me too, bummer
Mike: the original THREE GUYS would be sweet
Howie: That would still be COOL!
Mike: Dennis would be icing on the cake
Mike: Maybe Jay would come, if we paid his airfare, that would be pretty splendid
Andy: yeah...but R, B & G are the CAKE
Mike: Say it brother
Nik: I can live without the icing
Howie: You Know It!! I love cake even without the icing!!
Howie: Has George left the building?
Keith: How is MK getting on with the transcription?
Mike: Ok for those of you who don't know, Keith and I each got emailed images of
the Original Chocolate Papers group photo
Nik: Can you post it?
Howie: You going to post them to the group?
Mike: they are still on the list but may not have thought to log out hard to say
Andy: No Shit! Ken promised me that photo too but I never got it!
Andy: What year was that pic? 68-69?
Nik: What about the document of lies? post it too?
George: We're still here
Nik: Hi again
Howie: Well guys I gotta go....I can hear my lawn screaming for some attention See ya'll
George: I will send the photo...is that Andy who said that he didn't get it? we just got the scanner up today . I had to reformat this computer.
Howie: Not yet....George is still here
Andy: welcome back George! Do you know what Rik and Jance are doing these days?
George: 1967 or 1968 , yes post that document of lies too
Mike: sorry guys doing three things at once as usual OF COURSE WE WOULD SHARE THE IMAGE LOL
Mike: what fun is it if we can't show everybody?
George: I have not heard from Rik and Jance in a quarter of a century, I wonder if they still love me :)
Andy: I have their addresses - Do you want me to contact them or pass on their addresses to you?
George: Gotta run guys, I will be back in a couple hours
Andy: I'll try to be here too - may be in a different color!
George: Only if they are interested in contacting me
Andy: ok...I'll send them a subtle mail to 'em both
George: Bye for now, peace, love and harmony and all that other hippie times BS
georgecummings2001 has left the room
Ladies and Gentleman George has left the building, the show is over, go home now.