September 3, 2010

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Erich Bergen–His Upcoming Concerts & “The Vegas Sessons” CD!

September 3rd, 2010

Erich Bergen
**Please note: Erich Bergen’s September 24th San Francisco concert has been postponed due to a new project (He has been cast in Venice at the Kirk Douglas Theatre Oct. 17-Nov. 14!) Erich will be rescheduling the concert at a later date.**

It was great to catch up recently with Erich Bergen, who talked about his life in LA, his “Gossip Girl” appearances, his upcoming concerts, and his brand new CD!

JBB: Hey, Erich, great to catch up with you! How’s everything been going in LA? What have you been up to?

Erich Bergen: I love it here! LA really is fantastic. After spending all my life in New York City, I was ready for a change of scene, and I just fell in love with this place. It’s got a great theater scene, which is always nice to see, and I feel very much at home. I did a wonderful production of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum at Reprise earlier in the year, wrote some songs for a new show in Vegas called Vegas, The Show, and of course, I’ve been working on my new album.

JBB: We thought you were great in Gossip Girl! I’ve been really curious—after spending a good majority of your career thus in live theatre performances, what was it like in front of a TV camera?

EB: Haha! I’m glad you thought I was good on it, cause I sure didn’t! No, that’s not true, actually, it was just funny to see myself on that show. I had watched that show for a while (yes, I admit it), so to be on set with the actors felt like I was on some sort of Gossip Girl ride at Universal Studios or something. It was a different kind of work than theater. Everything is much smaller, more subdued. It’s hard to describe. The acting still comes from the same place, because you are portraying truth, but the energy is just very different. Also, TV, at least in the case of Gossip Girl, can be deceiving. I never felt like I did a scene straight through, because sometimes, I never did. If I screwed up a line, I’d back up a few steps but keep going. So the fact that they got a full scene out of what I was doing on set is just pure television magic.

JBB: What was it like being on the same show with pop sensation Lady Gaga?

EB: She’s something, ain’t she? It was a very cool day on set, because she was taping her performance of “Bad Romance.” At that point, the song wasn’t even out yet, so no one had any clue what this was. Little did we know that just a few months later, there would be no escaping that song. But she couldn’t have been more professional, and you could tell she knew what she was doing. As soon as she was done with a take she wanted to watch it, and she’d have notes for the director, etc… and she was right, every time. She was also very nice. We talked briefly and she couldn’t have been more down to earth.

JBB: Quite a few of your California fans have plans to go to your upcoming concerts! (on September 15 in Los Angeles at The Magic Castle and at the Rrazz Room at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco on September 24.**) Why was this the right time for the California concerts?

EB: I’m so thrilled to see everybody! I think this is perfect timing for a couple of reasons. One, when I moved to LA, I very quickly got to work as an actor, leaving very little time to even unpack. I’m still going through boxes! So now that I feel that I’ve finally settled, I’d like to ‘make my mark,; as corny as that sounds, and I think this concert will show me in a way that the fans are familiar with, but not the industry out here. Secondly, everyone kept asking me to do my act out here, so what am I gonna do, say ‘No…I’d rather stay home and watch Rachel Zoe?’

JBB: Can you give us a sneak peek into what we can expect during your upcoming live performances?

EB: About half the show will be familiar to those who saw my shows in Vegas at The Liberace Museum, but we have some brand new music as well. One of the things I’m very excited about is a piece that celebrates my hometown, put together by myself and the wonderful Steve Orich, who orchestrated Jersey Boys, and whom I also trust with my life.

JBB: Could this turn into more than a two-night concert series?

EB: I’d love it to. My whole intention behind this was to bring back the art form of a “club act.” Not a cabaret, but a true club act, in the tradition of Sammy Davis, Bobby Darin and even the early days of the New York club scene with Bette Midler, Melissa Manchester, etc… Going back to a time when the music in these small clubs was also the music on the charts. It’s exciting, it’s romantic, it’s sexy. This show is not an impersonation of those acts, nor is it in the style of Michael Buble. It’s not that I’ll be singing the Sinatra songbook or anything, it’s just that vibe.

I love what Robin Antin did years ago with the Pussycat Dolls, when it was just this hip event in LA. I’d love to do that kind of thing. Not with garter belts so much, but I’d just love to bring back this older style of entertainment, and bring a modern element to it. The whole idea of ‘getting dressed up to go to the show’ I think is something that is timeless. I mean, how much fun is that? If I can do that in an ongoing manner, and bring it to a modern day audience without it feeling ‘retro,’ I’d be thrilled.

JBB: Everyone is anxiously awaiting your CD release, “The Vegas Sessions”! Is this the first time you’ve done a recording? Why was this the right time for you to do a solo recording?

This is the first time I’ve professionally recorded my own songs. I’ve been in the recording studio a lot in my life, but never recording my own stuff, and never really recording ‘pop’ music. It’s always been theater stuff. So this was a whole new game for me. I’m still getting used to myself in the studio. I’m fine with hearing my own voice, it’s more getting used to the difference between singing theater music and singing pop music. Very different animals.

This just seemed like the right time to do it….I think mainly because I had some time free!!! Haha! I knew I had a block of time before the insanity of the fall hit, so I got to work asap.

JBB: How many songs are on the CD? Are they original recordings?

EB: The CD is made up of 10 songs. Six of them are songs that I’ve written the music & lyrics to (one of them I co -wrote with songwriter Gabriella Caspi) newly recorded in the studio, and four of them are live recordings from my concerts at the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas. It’s called ‘The Vegas Sessions’ because the songs I wrote were all written during my time in Las Vegas and of course the live tracks were recorded there. It sorta sums up my time in Sin City.

JBB: We’d love to hear about the recording process! Are you the producer? What about your band? Will other vocalists be featured on the recording?

EB: God, it was so interesting. I produced the whole thing in the general sense of the word, but the behind the board work was not done by me. Four of the studio tracks were recorded with the band in Nashville, Tennessee and me singing in a recording studio in LA. You’d hear this band playing your music, live, and you had to remind yourself that they are on the other side of the country. Truly bizarre. I never met them, and never really knew their full names. I would give them notes in the studio, they’d do another take, and it would all be perfect. But those guys are such pros. In fact, I think, after my session, a few of them were going to record some new stuff for Faith Hill, so I obviously got some of the best guys in the biz. We recorded the whole thing in four days. Up till about 4 am every day getting it done. Travis Childress, a great producer here in LA, made that all happen in such a crazy short period of time.

JBB: When will “The Vegas Sessions” CD be available and where can fans purchase it?

EB: The first place it will be available is at the September 15th show in Los Angeles, CA at the Magic Castle. After that, you can buy the physical disc at, and the Mp3 version will be available on iTunes, and numerous other digital music retailers. It’s all very exciting.

1 Comment »

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    Comment by Allied Live — September 24, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

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