April 3, 2009

The Man Behind the Music–Bob Gaudio

April 3rd, 2009

Bob Gaudio (J.T. MacMillan photography/Dancap)

Rod Stafford Hagwood of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has another terrific piece in today’s edition–a chat with Bob Gaudio about his life in music, the early days, Frankie Valli’s unique voice, his piano teacher as a kid, and more. Below is a sneak peek of the interview:

Frankie Valli’s falsetto: His falsetto is equal to his full voice. Like when you listen to Smokey Robinson or Marvin Gaye, their falsetto is soft. Frankie is unique.

The early days: His [Valli's] voice is so powerful. They thought he was black. Radio was very divided then. There’s a line in the show when Frankie and I were going door to door at the Brill Building and at 1650 Broadway and we’re getting nothing but slammed doors. So … we get a demo and we play it for them and one guy takes a long look at us and says, ‘Great. Come back when you’re black.’ Of course, there were no photos on the record. The sound fit the format. So a song like Sherry, it went No. 1 on the r&b charts.

The beat: I’ve always considered myself a frustrated drummer. If I had my druthers I’d have had a set of drums when I was a kid, but my father would have killed me. That’s a bit of our [the Four Seasons] signature, the drum lick. I’ve said it before: The difference between us and the Beach Boys is the drum lick.

On doing business with Valli with a handshake, no contracts: We didn’t think it was such a big thing. Maybe it’s a Jersey thing, I don’t know, but your word is your bond. Frankie and I still talk frequently.

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