| GOING BACK WITH THE OLDIES |
By Gary Sorkin, Editor-In-Chief
Troy Shondell, Ray Peterson, Glen Glenn – Three great Rock and Rollers from our past. Between the three of them - many hit songs - many millions of records sold (does 13 Gold records sound like a lot?) - and many happy memories. They have become preachers, writers, and most of all the ambassadors of good music and good will throughout the world. I’ll name some of their hits: You can feel free to sing along as I name them: Tell Laura I Love Her, “Corinna, Corrina”, Goodnight My Love, This Time, The Wonder Of You, Fever, Everybody’s Movin’, Missing you, and many more from our “good ol’ days.” Instead of giving you their bios, you can just click on their websites Troy Shondell Ray Peterson Glen Glenn and learn about their past, their present, and what they plan for their futures.
I’ve asked them all ten questions that I thought you might ask. Read and enjoy them.
Let’s Rock and Roll.
Editor: I’m sure you began by singing to yourself in your room or in your garage – What is your most vivid memory of being on stage in front of an audience for the first time? Was it frightening or thrilling?
Troy Shondell: I started singing to myself and playing the piano when no one was home. I first sang before an audience in my senior year in high school at a talent show. I did a medley of Elvis hits. The girls screamed so loud that I thought it was pre-planned. It was real. It was then that I decided to I wanted to become a singer. It was really thrilling. To top it off, a band manager was in the audience and we worked out plans for my first recording session.
Ray Peterson: I always get a case of the “butterflies” before I walk out onto a stage. I still do. Once I start singing, all my nervousness goes away.
Glen Glenn: The first time I was on stage in front of a live audience I was scared to death. It was in 1952 at the Squeaking’ Deacon Amateur Show. Gary Lambert played guitar for me and I sung, “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, and Loud Loud Music.” I won the contest. I was thrilled.
Editor: Who influenced your music?
Troy: My first influences were from the big band era. My father was a great trumpet player and started teaching me the horn at the age of 4. When I first heard Elvis and Buddy Holly I realized that that was the direction I wanted to go. So, to answer that I’d have to list my influences as, my dad, Franz List, Guy Lombardo, Sammy Kaye, Tommy Dorsey, and then Elvis. I believe if you listen to all types of music, you’re bound to hear someone you like and who will influence you.
Ray: I have been influenced by many people when it comes to my music. If I could choose who had the greatest influence, I’d say Jesse Belvin. I became the Godfather to his son. Jesse was tragically killed in a car accident. My other influence would have to be Roy Orbison. His sound was so special.
Glen: I grew up listening to country music, so my early influences were, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, and Ray Price. Of course, as soon as Elvis appeared on the scene I switched over to Rock-a-Billy because I liked his music so much.
Editor: As a Boomer singing the “oldies”, do you still get the same feeling that you once did?
Troy: Yes, except that the fear of acceptance is gone. I feel that the people who come to see me now are there because we all like the same kind of music.
Ray: I get the very same feeling that I always did. All my songs tell a story so it feels like I am telling it for the very first time. All my songs talk about love. Telling a story of love can never get old. It may sound corny, but everyone knows it’s true. Amen.
Glen: I still get that same feeling every time I step on the stage to perform. I don’t think that thrill will ever go away for me.
Editor: Do you still have “groupies?”
Troy: I wouldn’t call them groupies. I have made a number of friends through the years who come to see me when they can work it into their busy schedules. When they do, we exchange photos and catch up on our lives.
Ray: I’m a man of the lord, so I reject the idea of having followers. Having the same followers to me tends to lead to idolatry. As a preacher, I must dispel that concept. I have people who like my music, now that’s a different story.
Glen: I’m 66 years young now – I think my “groupie” days are behind me.
Editor: Does touring ever get tiresome? Where is your favorite place to perform?
Troy: I do not tour anymore like I used to. My days of being on a bus for several weeks are over. Most shows today I drive or fly to. I love to perform in Europe. It amazes me that so many people sing along when they really don’t understand the words. We certainly wouldn’t do that with their music.
Ray: Well, I’ve slowed down my touring schedule as I get older. I still love it – I just don’t do it as much.
Glen: Touring as I sometimes do does get tiresome. When I do tour I enjoy the heck out of it because I pace myself and it doesn’t wear me out. My favorite place to perform would have to be "The House Of Blues” on Sunset Strip in Hollywood. They treat you like a king there. I also love to play in Spain. The crowds are always so wonderful to me.
Editor: What do you think of today’s music? What do you listen to now?
Troy: Honestly, I don’t like most of what I hear today. Every now and then a song will come out that I like, but not often enough. I don’t even listen to the oldie stations anymore because you hear the same songs over and over again. I know a number of artists who still record, but most stations wouldn’t think of playing something that’s not an established hit. I would love to hear some of the newer recordings of the artists I used to follow on the radio.
Ray: The music of today sort of reflects the times we live in, not unlike the role music has always played. For my tastes, it’s too rebellious. Thank God we live in a country with free speech. I don’t have to like the music but I defend the right for it to be heard. I mostly listen to the classics: Shubert, Mozart, Hyden, and there’s nothing like a good opera to relax me.
Glen: I’m not very fond of what I hear today (country or rock), so I mostly listen to the old stuff. The oldies but the goodies. In my opinion, the 50’s era music was the best.
Editor: It is well known that performers from the “old days” were not compensated fairly for their hit songs. Did you have this experience?
Troy: Yes I was compensated by people for a short while. However, there were songs that I wrote that I was never paid for by certain publishers.
Ray: Yes, I did have that experience. A former partner and I formed a recording company and the result was an unpleasant one. I have long gotten over it. Today, my heart is full of love for everyone. I love making people happy. I have seven children, and a bunch of grand babies. I keep busy by spreading joy. The past is the past.
Glen: My record company treated me very well. I have no complaints.
Editor: Who is not in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame that you believe belongs in there?
Troy: I really can’t answer that question. However, I believe it should be up to the fans of each era of music to decide who should be in the “Hall of Fame.” I just know that there are a number of artists that should be there that are not, and some who are there who shouldn’t be. But, life isn’t always fair, is it?
Ray: Well, Jesse Belvin was one of the true greats and one of my personal favorites. He belongs in there. Also, I’d have to say that Del Shannon belonged in the Hall of Fame. He took his life because he was not a member.
Glen: I’m really not up on who is in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. If Ritchie Valens, Del Shannon, Gene Vincent, or Bobby Darin aren’t in there yet – they sure should be.
Editor: If you did not go into the music industry, which profession would you MOST like to be in? Which profession would you LEAST like to be in?
Troy: I would have loved to be in television or radio. I would have LEAST like to have been an attorney.
Ray: I used to be in the computer industry when it was in its infancy. I would have to say that I’d MOST like to be in some sort of technology. The LEAST is easy – politics.
Glen: I think I’d have MOST liked to be a sports writer if I didn’t go into music. I’d LEAST like to be in construction work. I tried that once, and I didn’t take to it and it didn’t take to me.
Editor: Where can your fans see you perform next? Give us some upcoming dates and places.
Troy: November 12th, 2000, for the Frankie Ford Birthday Bash. I have no dates scheduled until February 2001 when I’ll be appearing in Florida at various venues. All dates will be posted on my mp3 web page, where fans can also hear some of old and newer recordings at: http://www.mp3.com/troyshondell.
Ray: November 18th – with Connie Francis in Rochester, New York. December 2nd – in Syracuse, New York, also with Connie. December 30th – Lakeland, Florida. February 2001 – I’ll be at various venues around Florida.
Glen: I’ve been playing music professionally since 1954, so I’m sort of semi-retired now. Sorry, but I don’t have any upcoming dates where my fans can see me. I do plan on being at an autograph signing event with several other 50’s artists in February or March 2001, in Las Vegas, Nevada. If anything comes up that appeals to me, I just might do it. I don’t like to plan too far in advance. I won’t do it for the money, but I will do it just to play and have a good time and see some old friends.
Thank you gentlemen. This interview has been my pleasure.
A TRIBUTE TO RAY PETERSON Ray Peterson
Ray A. Peterson (April 23, 1935 - January 25, 2005)
Ray Peterson died of cancer in 2005 in Smyrna, Tennessee and was interred in the Roselawn Memorial Gardens cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
RIP Ray, We will always remember you in our heart.