THE STANLEY SHELDON INTERVIEW - PART II

by Art Connor with Jim Wilson and Jim Wentz

For Part I of the interview click here.

In the May issue of The Private Times, Stanley took us on a wonderful journey down rock and roll memory lane. Thanks to his great recollection and humorous stories about the band Energy and the whole Colorado/LA music scene, he filled in many of the missing pieces of Tommy’s life as well as his own. We ended Part One just as the two of them were at a major crossroads in their respective lives and careers. Tommy was preparing his plans for a full-blown solo career, when suddenly out of the blue Deep Purple came knocking. Stanley, on the other hand, was about to go off with Peter Frampton, a career move that would not only forever change his life, but would actually become an important part of the late 70s rock and roll history.

As you will read, Stanley has many more great stories to share, but you may be taken aback (as I was at first) on his very candid and matter of fact discussions about his own personal battle with drug addiction. He was very honest and sincere, which he explained to me is part of the healing process for people recovering from any type of substance abuse.

So sit back and get ready to enjoy the second part of our exclusive interview with bass guitarist extraordinaire, Stanley Sheldon

Do You Feel Like We Do? 1976-1981
Sunday night, March 4, 2001

AC: Going back to our early emails, you had mentioned that you and Tommy, and Peter, were actually in the same studio at one point, and you were working on Teaser and Frampton Comes Alive.

SS: Yes, that’s true, at the same time! I was running back and forth from Studio A to Studio B, it was crazy. This went on for a week!

AC: So you’re recording with Jan Hammer, Tommy, and Narada Michael Walden, one minute...

SS: Yep, cutting those tracks for Teaser and running back and mixing the Live album. Well, I wasn’t really doing any work, I was just hanging out and partying with those guys. All of this at Electric Lady Studios, what a fateful week.

AC: What was it like working with Jan and Narada? You mentioned earlier, that you wanted to play a “higher type of music.”

SS: People have asked me over the years about that whenever I do interviews, and I like to tell them the story about when FCA went to number one. We were all sitting in the hotel room, and Peter raised a glass, and says, “Here’s to the best band I’ve ever been in.”

AC: You talked about that on the Tribute video a few years back.

SS: That’s right. I knew I had been in better bands musically. That’s exactly how I felt. Peter didn’t really know about the fusion world, I don’t think he still does.

AC: That’s odd, because for years he has always said that one of his favorite guitar players was Django Reinhardt, the famous jazz guitarist.

SS: Well, he does like the beautiful melodic jazz, but I think the dissonant people like Miles Davis, I think that put Peter off a little. Peter was like the “Kenny G” of guitarists (laughing). Not quite, but you know what I mean. Peter plays beautiful guitar. His tone is impeccable, and I don’t think he ever misses a note, and he rarely bends a note that’s not calculated, if you ever noticed.

AC: Now that you mention it, yeah you’re right. I saw Humble Pie as a kid with Peter - even with Steve Marriott’s raucous, “Let’s get it down in your face blues,” Peter’s solo’s never really were improvised.

SS: That’s right, he would play the same solo note for note just about every night. Even with Humble Pie it was calculated. So that kind of put me off. I know when I was playing with Tommy and my cousin Tom and Bobby Berge when we first got together, I played the real blues. Barry Fey was putting us on the road with any blues act that came to town. We got to play with Albert King, and this was all in the space of like three months — John Lee Hooker came to town next, and we did two weeks with him at Tulagis in Boulder. We actually went on the road with Albert all over Colorado.

AC: While with Peter, you joined in 1975, FCA is released in January of 1976, and then boom! We have Framptonmania! Now, you have twenty-five years of hindsight here. What was is like? Was it as crazy as we can imagine it? Was it like “Spinal Tap?” (laughing)

SS: That’s pretty close! (laughing)

AC: Here you are playing at Tulagis, and then you’re on a world tour, playing on the Dinah Shore and Mike Douglas shows...

SS: Really, it hit me... I remember kind of a numbness, and a lot had to do with my drug intake. At that time, I felt I had full license to become a drug addict, because I deserved it. I could do it because I “earned” it. You know what I’m saying? I was swaggering around like this stupid young successful musician that I was. You know, looking back I think success was probably my demise. I had to leave the business to really get clean and sober. And this was years after Tommy died. When Tommy died, I didn’t really grieve his death until ten years after that, I was so drug addicted myself.

AC: Well... OK, we kind of jumped ahead there, because I did want to talk you about that rough time in your life.

SS: That’s alright, we can come back to it. Yeah, when the success of that album hit, I thought I had “arrived”, and I guess I had. But I wasn’t planning for the future very well.

AC: With the situation you were in, no one can really blame you. Here you are, kind of just barely getting by back in Colorado, and the next thing you are on this world tour, with everything you could possibly want suddenly at your feet.

SS: We had the number one album in the world! It was too much for all of us, and Peter especially crumbled. The follow-up record could have been so much more. We didn’t have to live through the sophomore curse, which we did anyway.

AC: So you did the three albums — FCA, I’m In You, and Where I Should Be.

SS: That’s correct. But FCA is the only one I have on my wall right now.

AC: After the initial tours of Framptonmania, 1976 and 1977, there were a couple of big tours after that — 1979 and 1981. The 1981 tour was probably the beginning of the end for the large arena tours Peter would do. That tour he actually opened for Stevie Nicks, he was billed as a co-headliner or special guest or something like that. Were you on that last big tour?

SS: I think that was the year I left Peter. Was that the year she did her first solo?

AC: Yes that’s the one.

SS: Well I had started to drift a few years before that. When Peter made the Sgt. Pepper movie that’s when I was really becoming disappointed in Peter’s career moves, as we all were, but we played along. I’m actually in that stupid movie! (laughing)

AC: Hey, that was part of the times.

SS: It was fun to do, but I think it really had a lot to do in ruining his career at that point in time. It detracted from the music. I think he should have been focusing on what he was going to do on I’m In You instead of worrying about that silly movie.

AC: Perfect answer! But, at the time, it was the thing he had to do. Robert Stigwood produced it, the Bee Gees were in it, George Martin was supervising the music, and so, on paper, it seemed to be the “correct” career move to do.

SS: Yeah it seemed logical then. It’s like the Heaven’s Gate of rock movies and albums. (laughing)

AC: Some of our readers may not even know about that movie! (laughing)

SS: Ah, I think a lot of people know what that movie was.

(Editor’s Note: Heaven’s Gate was a film written, produced and directed by Michael Cimino of The Deer Hunter fame. At the time it was made in the late 70s, it cost an unheard of fortune to make and was plagued by controversy from the start. Cimino had envisioned his film to be the “epic Western of all time” — his masterpiece. By the time it was released in 1980, the critics universally panned it, and the film was withdrawn from the theaters after only three days. Cimino never really recovered emotionally from the critical onslaught, and in effect his career was ruined.)

AC: Now, you’ve played with Peter and you played with Tommy, both great guitarists in their own way and their own fashion. How would you compare and contrast them?

SS: Well, that is an interesting question. I would say that Tommy was this unbridled, unrestrained player. He had no restraint whatsoever in his playing, and that could have been a weakness at a point. It was also the strongest thing about his playing, so it was like a double-edged sword. With Peter, it’s just the opposite. It’s inverse. Like we already talked about, he was almost too afraid to take chances on stage. Too methodical, too thought out, too calculated, just too contrived in a word.

AC: He is capable of doing it though, or it least he was.

SS: Oh, he is very capable. We used to have jams on stage at the sound checks, and we had some amazing jams, because Peter is such a great guitar player. He’s just so clean and studied and practiced. To his credit, he has a lot of soul. Tommy was unrestrained, “Go for it, balls to the wall” and that’s what made him great.

AC: Speaking of jams, at the big Denver show at Mile High Stadium, was there a jam with Peter and Tommy? That’s one of the rumors that have been floating around for years.

SS: Unfortunately, no. That never happened.

AC: OK, you just killed that one!

SS: Well, I’m going to tell you a story here about that show. It was real personal moment for me. Tommy and I were alone in the dressing room, and it was big pill for Tommy to swallow, having to open for us, and all of that. My cousin was there that day too, he was playing with Gary Wright.

So Tommy was opening, then Gary Wright with my cousin Tom, and then I got to play! All of Energy was right there except for Bobby, and I’m sure he may have been somewhere in the stadium. And Tommy, he was actually crying. We were partying backstage, and suddenly he just broke down. We just started hugging each other, and I said “Shit man, it’s just the way it ended up Tommy!”

AC: You were right, it’s just the way the cards fell. But, a year before Tommy was touring the world with Deep Purple.

SS: Tommy wanted to be the Number One and Peter was the Number One right then and it was tearing him apart. It was just the pure showman in his blood. He wanted what Peter had, and he wanted to be headlining. And not having that, it brought him to tears. I don’t think that detracts from Tommy, he was a brave player.

AC: Now I have a few questions for you from Jim Wentz of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has been a big Tommy Bolin supporter for many years, and he has dug up some stuff! You seem to be on a couple of albums that maybe you don’t want to talk about, or maybe you do — Robert Fleischmann, Perfect Stranger, remember that one? (laughing)

SS: God, you are really putting salt in the wounds now! (laughing really hard)

AC: You’re listed as being on three tracks.

SS: Well Robert was actually a pretty good singer. My cousin Tom was kind of like the musical director on that album.

AC: Apparently, Fleischmann almost got the lead vocalist spot full time with Journey before Steve Perry came along. That would have been a completely different musical history!

SS: That’s right! He was in the band for a while. Like I said, he was pretty good singer, but I never really respected him as a real rock and roll singer too much. I found him kind of wimpy... more on a personal side, not as a singer. I didn’t get along with him, but my cousin Tom was making sure I got paid. Andy Newmark came in and played drums. I knew Andy, because he played with Peter on a few tours.

AC: It’s listed here that besides you, and Andy and your cousin Tom, Neil Schon is on it, Jimmy Crespo is also listed (who was in Aerosmith for about a minute). And get this, it has “Career Direction and Management from Barry Fey.”

SS: Really! (sounding very surprised) I didn’t know that. That’s how my cousin Tom got involved then. Jimmy Iovine was the overall producer though.

AC: Jim also found something else from your musical past!

SS: Oh no! (laughing nervously)

AC: Something about a band called Ronin? Circa 1980? (laughing with him now)

SS: I was going to talk about Ronin believe it or not! Remember when we were talking about Peter opening for Stevie Nicks? Well about 1978, the year my son Alex was born, that’s how I can pinpoint the date, Rick Marotta had also played drums with us. He and Andy Newmark were two drummers who lived in the same apartment building in New York on 35th street on the lower East Side. John Siomos had bailed out on Peter, so we were getting a new drummer like almost every month. We were getting the greatest drummers in the world at that time. I met Andy and Rick, and Rick was friends with Waddy Wachtel. He had played on Hasten Down the Wind with Linda Ronstadt. So it was Rick and Waddy and Dan Dugmore and myself, which became the core of Ronin. Waddy at the time was playing with so many hot artists — Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, and producing Stevie Nicks. His brother designs the album covers and Waddy does the music.

But how we met to play, Rick had pulled me in on a Warren Zevon tour, the Excitable Boy tour in 1978, and that’s how I first really came to play with Waddy. Now after that, Waddy’s talking about doing this idea of his — “I’m going to be Mick and Keith at the same time band.” That’s Waddy — “I want to be Mick and Keith! If I can’t be in their band, then I want to be them both!”

So that was the beginning of Ronin. “Ronin on empty” we called it. (laughing) We were very famous in Japan for a bit, because of our name. I’m not joking, that’s the only place we played. So we did that for a short stint. I had quit with Peter. That was my excuse to leave. Right after the Sgt Pepper stuff and all of that. Quite frankly, I was having to turn to heroin just to play the songs every night.

AC: Well... (after a few seconds pause on my part reflecting on what Stanley had just said) you are pretty much answering my questions about what happened to you after Peter. If it’s getting strange, or you don’t want to talk about it that’s fine, we can go on to something else.

SS: I don’t mind at all. It was drug addiction, and it took me down! Through the Ronin period, which only lasted about a year, I was getting very disillusioned with the business. I quit Peter’s band to play with those guys. We were touring with our record just being released, and it was getting play. All of a sudden those guys say, “Well we gotta leave the road, because the three of us (Dan Dugmore, Rick Marotta and Waddy Wachtel) have to go out with Linda Ronstadt.”

Peter Asher was the manager of band, and I think he had allowed Waddy and us to do that album just to keep his stable of musicians happy. And when he needed them to go out on the road, they went, and I was the one left out without a gig. So at that point, I’m doing more drugs and starting to just hang out and go downhill. I did meet a good friend, Lou Gramm (lead vocalist from Foreigner) at that point, and I did a record with him, Ready Or Not. Yeah, we were good friends, our wives and kids were friends. I did a short stint with him.

AC: That was one of my next questions, during the 80s and 90s not really much was heard from you.

SS: That’s about it, I couldn’t even get arrested because of my drug problem.

AC: Stan, you are being very honest here, and I appreciate that. We all have our demons, and I think we all still struggle from the excesses of our youth from those days.

SS: It is part of who we are... Tommy was one who didn’t come out of it unfortunately.

AC: I’d like to go back for a minute to Peter and Tommy if we can. You were on the road with Peter when Tommy died. Can tell us what happened with you when you heard the news?

SS: Now that’s a story in itself. On the days between when Tommy died and his funeral, we had sold out the LA Forum for three nights in row. And Dee Anthony (Both Peter Frampton’s and Humble Pie’s notorious manager) made it quite clear that I had to stay there. So I couldn’t even go to his funeral. And that haunts me still to this day.

AC: Did Peter and the rest of the guys in the band talk about it with you? They must have known how close you and Tommy were, or was it a personal and private thing for you?

SS: It was very personal. Peter was very elegant about it. He said very few words, but he kind of let me know that he knew and he understood. He was real considerate, as a matter of fact everyone in the band was very supportive, because they all knew who Tommy was.

AC: So I can imagine it was a very hard time for you.

SS: It was really difficult to play those gigs at the Forum. But again, I got through it with the help of substances.

AC: Good old “Mr. Brownstone” as Guns and Roses would say.

SS: And quite frankly, that helped, it got me through it at least, for whatever that is worth.

AC: Well... again we’re talking about twenty-five years ago, that’s the way it was back then.

SS: Yeah, and I’ve gone through a pretty good healing process psychologically since then, and I did finally grieve over my best friend’s death. And I know Tommy would forgive me for not being at his funeral and not being a pallbearer.

AC: I’m just going to talk off the top of head here. I don’t think there was anything to forgive. I think he would have said, “You have a show to do, you worked hard for this day, you need to be there!”

SS: I’m sure he would have! (laughing again)

AC: You just raise a glass in his honor after the gig.

SS: Exactly... but when I see the video of his funeral, and to me nothing is more morose, and that’s really the last place I would want to be, even if I had been able to. I just don’t like funerals. But of course, out of respect and love, I still would have wanted to be there. (continued...)

Someday We’ll Bring Our Love Home, 1987 - Present

AC: Right after the holidays, when we were planning this, I had asked you about the whole FCA 25th Anniversary re-issue, has Peter talked you at all about this?

SS: You mean the re-issue of the re-issue? (laughing)

AC: Yeah, the one with the extra four tracks.

SS: Do you know anything about those tracks?

AC: Well only from what I read about it. Two were originally recorded for the album, but left off, and the other two were from FM radio broadcasts.

SS: Am I on the tracks?

AC: You must be, they are all listed as 1975.

SS: I have to be on them then. Peter has been very cryptic about that, we’ve stayed in contact through email, but he hasn’t mentioned anything about the extra tracks.

(Editor’s Note: Unfortunately for this interview I didn’t have a copy yet of the FCA 25th Anniversary CD. But the four additional tracks that are included are “Just the Time of Year,” “Nowhere’s Too Far For My Baby,” “White Sugar,” andDay’s Dawning.” Yes, Stanley is on all four of the tracks.)

SS: OK, now let me ask you something.

AC: Sure...

SS: If you were Peter Frampton, and you were going to try and capitalize in the highest way possible on the re-issue of that album, what band would you put together?

AC: I would try and put the original band together if possible. That would be my mode of thinking.

SS: Well, Peter has never asked me... I think we may have talked about it once or twice almost twenty years ago, but he’s never forgiven me for quitting that band. So that’s why that’s never happened.

AC: Yeah, but after 1981 his career more or less went belly up...

SS: That’s true, but it’s just been in the last three or four years since he did the “Simpsons” where he is now in a unique position of being popular again, that he could have at least tried to have gotten a hold of me and at least asked me about a reunion! (a bit of a pause from Stanley here) I take that back, we did talk about it! When he was here three years ago I went up and did a “Spinal Tap” and did an encore song here at the stadium in KC, not the big, big one, but the Sandstone Stadium. Peter was there with Foreigner, and I saw Lou Gramm at the same time.

AC: I’ve seen Peter in concert during the 90s, and I’ve enjoyed the shows. One show with hair, and one without! He looks like an accountant now! (laughing)

SS: Oh, he has had great bands. I like that kind of unpretentiousness, he’s been stripped away of the “image,” he wears his glasses now, he’s dealing with it, and he’s playing better than ever! But, the one time he mentioned a possible reunion, he said he was trying to get a hold of John Siomos. Now John was the worst heroin addict of any of us, and he left the band just completely disgruntled, because he thought he was getting screwed. John was imagining most of it, because Peter would have given him twenty-five grand just to go and dry out.

But, there was nothing on paper, and John had been beat with Mitch Ryder before, and he was always leading the battle cry — “C’mon guys, let’s threaten to not go on, and make him pay us five grand” or some shit like that.

AC: Whoa, so John’s not from England originally?

SS: No! John’s from southside Chicago.

AC: Stanley, I did not know that. John was with Peter all the way back from the Frampton’s Camel album in 1972, and I just thought he was a Brit.

SS: Well, Peter had befriended him in New York, he was the first musician he found, because Peter is of the mind, as most great musicians are, they think that they need the drummer first. John was a pretty hot session drummer at that time, he played with people like Todd Rundgren on “Hello It’s Me.” Peter was just lucky to snatch him up. That’s why our band was so funky! Peter wanted an “All American” band. Bob Mayo (keyboards and second guitar) is from Yonkers, New York.

But, getting back to the reunion, Peter has always put the blame (for the band not getting back together) on John. In a way, that’s partially true. No one really knows if John would do it. I’ve let Peter know that I would do it!

AC: Is John accessible? Is he still around?

SS: You know, Peter actually told me he tracked him down on a search on the Internet, and found him on a map in Brooklyn. Like literally two blocks away from where Peter’s roadie lives. The last time I heard him mention it, he was going to send someone over and knock on his door. That’s the last thing I heard about it.

AC: Now, I don’t know how the contracts were worked out, but do you receive any royalties from FCA?

SS: I didn’t have a contract...

AC: Oh no! You are kidding?!

SS: No really, I’ve have not seen a cent from that project. That’s why I, more than anyone, would love to do a reunion tour.

AC: Not even from the two studio albums?

SS: Nothing. I was such a poor business man and so addled with drugs...

AC: And Dee Anthony got one over on you.

SS: Big time! And Peter, I don’t want to say he was spineless, but I took him at a “Gentleman’s Agreement.” He said, “You’ll never have to worry about money again for the rest of your life!” And I was naïve enough to bite that, I wanted to believe it. So I never really pushed it.

AC: When the old songs come on the radio, do you listen?

SS: I rarely hear that stuff anymore. My friends all tell me about it. But, every now and then I do hear one or two.

AC: How about the TBA releases, have you listened to any of them, like the Energy stuff?

SS: Some of them. I was very interested to hear those, I usually can get through one listening, because it was pretty rough some of it. But it’s very interesting for me to hear, because we do have our moments on those tapes.

AC: That just leads right into my next question here. On the Tribute video, you look so happy playing those old songs. Was that the first time in a while you saw a lot those guys?

SS: Yeah... (sounding very nostalgic) it was the first time I had seen Johnnie in a long, long time, probably since the funeral and stuff.

AC: It was probably the first time you had played those songs in years.

SS: Yeah... since Tommy had died, I hadn’t played them.

AC: There you go...

SS: Basically, if I’m on a stage and I’m having that much fun that’s pretty much how it is, just me having fun. You should see me in my Latin band!

AC: Well, do you have any tapes or videos?

SS: Actually, we are just finishing one up. The band we have here, it’s kind of semi-professional.

AC: Last year was the big Latin music explosion, how do you feel about that?

SS: Well that leads up to my move to Miami. Now I’m pretty fluent in the music. I’ve been devoted to it for the past decade. I’ve studied it, and I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m getting pretty proficient at it. I love it more than any music I’ve ever played. For bass guitar, the Latin groove is just awesome. It’s just because the bass is written out ahead of the bar, and ahead of everything else, it’s really in a lead position to set tempos and to set rhythms. It’s just a powerful instrument for that type of music.

AC: It’s the rhythm. I don’t want to sound cliché, but Gloria Estefan said it over ten years ago, “The Rhythm Is Gonna Getcha’!”

SS: And it’s true! That’s the first person you have to get for a Latin band, besides the keyboard player, is the bass player, and really you don’t even need a guitar, and most of them don’t use a guitar, unless it’s for the “Pop” stuff.

AC: Your Latin band, what is the line-up like?

SS: The band is a twelve-piece with most of the guys from Venezuela. Venezuelan nationals who I met here at KU. We have a couple of Mexicans, and it’s a very, very good band. Right now, we need a singer, the singing is the one weak link.

AC: Uh oh, that sounds familiar! (laughing)

SS: Doesn’t it though! I’m anxious to see how it goes, and because I’m not a spring chicken anymore, I want to get into the business again, except I want to play Latin music this time.

AC: That is great, and because you have to grow.

SS: Yeah and it’s challenging! I’m even playing upright bass now, things I’ve never done before.

AC: What’s the name of your band?

SS: Son Venezuela, which literally means “Sound of Venezuela,” but really it’s more the “Sound of Cuba!” (laughing)

AC: Stanley, I’ve really enjoyed our conversation tonight, and I want to ask you just a few more questions, one of them my signature question — If Tommy had survived through the decades, where do you think he would be musically, and what would he be doing today? Perhaps something similar to what you are doing?

SS: Maybe... (really thinking about his answer) I know Tommy loved nothing above rhythm - rhythm was “god” to him, and it was king to him. The rhythms... He was, I think, more inspired by drummers, and he’s the one that pointed me in that direction. It’s what I’ve been studying here at KU. My master’s thesis has to do with the slave society in the Caribbean, and that whole Afro-American element in culture and art, and you know it’s pretty obvious, but it still can never be overstated. Tommy’s the one that led me to that understanding. I think he would be probably be doing what any of the great guitarists like Carlos Santana or somebody like Bob Marley, or any of those great players are doing. Tommy would be playing some great music and some great rhythms with a lot of fantastic musicians, and some of them would be Afro-American.

AC: That seems to be the general consensus, I’ve asked this question a number of times.

SS: Really, you’ve heard that before?

AC: Yes! At last years Bolin Fest, I ran around backstage bothering all of these musicians, making a nuisance of myself and basically they have all said the same thing. Even Glenn Hughes said he felt he probably wouldn’t be playing guitar as we knew him to be playing , he may have been into programming or drumming. Glenn Hughes of all people!

SS: That is wild, because Tommy was a powerful rhythmic innovator. And when I think about it, and the way he used that Echoplex, he used it like a drum, he really did. That was Tommy’s first instrument, the drums.

AC: That’s right! I remember reading about that. It’s funny, Jan Hammer said something similar, that Tommy was very rhythmic.

SS: Yeah, well, I guess I’m not too crazy!

AC: If we can back track on your work at KU, where are you now?

SS: Actually, I’ve been here twelve years now! (laughing) I’ll be defending my master’s thesis soon.

AC: Your son Alex, is he musically inclined?

SS: He leads his own band as a bass player, and he is the lead vocalist in a heavy metal band.

AC: As most kids do, each generation has their own music, and as it should be. My son Stephen is into the rap/rock/pop stuff.

SS: My son has turned me on to a lot of good music, and I’ve turned him on to Jaco Pastorious and some of my favorite players. My son can really play, he’s way more gifted than I ever was.

AC: The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree did it?

SS: Go figure, right? I think we are like that as fathers and sons. If we made pizzas, we would want our sons to make the best pizzas.

AC: Stanley, with all of the great things we have talked about tonight, I thank you for that! Do you have any message for the new Tommy fans, for the matter the older fans?

SS: Yeah, I do! Tell them to keep turning the world on to him!

AC: Stanley, I was very hesitant about asking you this question, but before we go tonight, can I ask you when was the last time you saw and spoke with Tommy?

SS: Well Art, since you’ve asked, and you’re the only one that has asked in a long time, I will answer this for you. The last time I saw Tommy, we were standing in front of the Roxy on Sunset Boulevard; we hugged each other, and said goodbye to each “for a while” and confirmed our plans to get back together after our stints with Peter Frampton and Purple, which we both secretly admitted (to each other) we were doing it primarily for the money; and, that we would continue our search for some elusive success on our own. I know that other people have spoken out and alluded to plans with Tommy for future projects, but I must say that Tommy and I had a special bond that only the two people involved could know about...I’ll always have that consolation about “what might have happened if...”

A few things have happened since the original interview took place on that snowy Sunday back in March. Stanley did relocate to Miami, but has since moved back to his home in Kansas. Apparently, things didn’t work out like he had planned. He will be resuming his work on his master’s degree in Latin American studies. On the musical side of things, The Tommy Bolin Foundation has been talking to him about participating at this year’s Tommy Bolin Music Festival in Sioux City. Stay tuned for more information on that.

One thing I’d like to mention, if anybody’s interested in Stanley’s more recent work, you may want to check out the CD by F-5, the group consisting of Stanley on bass, his cousin Tom Stephenson on keyboards, and Michael Reese on guitar, and Alex Velasquez on drums. The CD is entitled Dodging The Dream Killers. Released in 1998, the music on it is jazz fusion, and was met with much critical praise when it was released. For more information on Stanley’s diverse recording career, check out the web site listed below.

http://www.allmusic.com

My special thanks to my two “Bolin Buddies” Jim Wilson and Jim Wentz. Without their research and sincere and intelligent questions, this interview with Stanley Sheldon would not have been what it turned out to be, which was something extraordinary. Together, we pulled it off!

Special thanks also goes out to Sal Serio, editor and publisher of The Private Times, who gave me the extra time needed to complete this interview with Stanley, and gave me the encouragement to “finish it up right and proper” when I thought for a time I was running out of creative and emotional steam. I can’t put it all in words here, but you know my feelings!

And of course to Stanley Sheldon himself — I don’t even know where or how to begin to thank you! Your thoughtfulness and sincerity I’ll never forget. I’d like to think through the magic of Tommy Bolin I’ve made a lasting friend.

Art Connor RTC907@aol.com

The Stanley Sheldon Interview - Parts I & II - © 2001 by Art Connor, Jim Wentz and Jim Wilson

For Part I of the interview click here.

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