70's-80's Group Ambrosia to Play Seneca Niagara Casino
BY: Melanie Hulick | April 17, 2013
70�s-80�s Group Ambrosia to play
Seneca Niagara Casino
By Melanie Hulick
The popular group Ambrosia has added a performance at Seneca Niagara Casino on April 19th in the Bears Den.
Ambrosia is most known for the hit songs �That�s How Much�, �Biggest Part of Me� and �You�re the Only Woman�, but also have quite a fan base that revolves around their �progressive music� works.
Known as a sub-genre of rock music, prog music (as it is known), originated in the United Kingdom during the mid to late 1960�s and continued throughout the 1970�s, which was Ambrosia�s most popular decade to pop fans around the world.
I caught up with original drummer, Burleigh Drummond, to talk about their long career, the musical influences that led them forward, new material that is a work in progress and retiring.
For ticket information visit: www.senecacasinos.com and click on Seneca Niagara.
A Conversation With
Burleigh Drummond of Ambrosia
By Melanie Hulick
HULICK: Thanks for taking time to talk to me today. You were one of my favorite bands growing up and in high school.
DRUMMOND: Well that means you didn�t grow up.
HULICK: (laughs) I was just sitting here thinking back and reminiscing how I danced to a couple of your songs at my prom. Did you ever think when you started out that over four decades later you�d still be performing and recording?
DRUMMOND: Well, I never ruled it out� let�s put it this way�of course back in those days we didn�t think rock and roll lasted this long. Our generation refuses to give it up I guess. (laughs)
HULICK: (laughs) Yes, we�re stubborn that way.
DRUMMOND: (laughs) There�s more to it because Ambrosia�s a part of life now, but it�s not the all and sum total of our music. What�s good about it is we do enough dates that we�re still a kind of well oiled machine, but we are away form each other enough and we�re all involved in so many other projects that we keep bringing new stuff to the band. Every time we get together it�s a reunion but it�s fueled by some new experience, which is really good.
HULICK: Your songs aren�t really dated. �You�re The Only Woman� and �How Much I Feel� are timeless songs you don�t look silly singing today.
DRUMMOND: Wow! Thanks! Those hits are definitely a part of what we do and we�re proud of them. It�s funny� we just got off a couple cruises and the last one was a �prog� cruise, which stands for �progressive music�. Other acts that were part of it included YES and Carl Palmer. We were just supposed to perform the progressive material, which does not include the hits. So here we are with all these hardcore musicians and we asked towards the end of our show if they want to hear a hit. They all start screaming yes� (laughs)� well I think it was all their wives that were screaming. (laughs) So we do �Biggest Part Of Me� for all these people that wear the fact that they are into progressive music as a badge of honor. They would never be into commercial music, yet here they all are losing it over �Biggest Part Of Me�!
HULICK: (laughs) Did you kind of breathe a sigh of relief when that happened?
DRUMMOND: (laughs) Yes, it was kind of like� OK, I think we can all admit to each other that we like pop music.
HULICK: Of course they can like it� they were out there on the open sea and where no one�s going to know.
DRUMMOND: (laughs) Right! No one�s going to know you were screaming out for a pop hit.
HULICK: So you are heading this way to play Seneca Niagara Casino April 18th. Have you played there before?
DRUMMOND: You know, we played at Artpark before. That�s been six or seven years ago. I don�t think we�ve played the casino though.
HULICK: Well you are going to love it! You�re playing in the Bears Den, which is about 440 seats and it�s like the audience is sitting in your living room. It�s very intimate. People get really wound up in there sometimes.
DRUMMOND: Now you wouldn�t be one of those people would you?
HULICK: No, not me. I have to be professional.
DRUMMOND: (laughs) OK� I�ll be looking for that.
HULICK: I read that you are going to be recording new material for 2013.
DRUMMOND: Yes, we have been recording and we�re hoping to have a new album out by the end of the year. We are trying to reinvigorate that whole side of us.
HULICK: Who are the writers of the group?
DRUMMOND: Typically in the past it�s been three of us- David Pack, Joe Puerta and myself. Joe and I are still there. The only one from the original group that isn�t with us anymore is David Pack. So we are three of the original four members.
HULICK: Now you have Rick Cowling and Doug Jackson who round out the current group.
DRUMMOND: Yes. Rick and Doug are with us and they are both excellent musicians and writers.
HULICK: Do you have a favorite in music today� someone you think has what it takes to keep going in the business?
DRUMMOND: Bruno Mars. Man� he�s incredible!
HULICK: I love him! He is so talented.
DRUMMOND: He is so talented it�s ridiculous.
HULICK: You�ve collaborated with some big names over the years. People like Alan Parsons of The Alan Parsons Project, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Leonard Bernstein- which surprised me.
DRUMMOND: Yes. Well I used to date his daughter, Jamie. She�ll deny it though. (laughs) It was very brief. We were around Leonard a lot and he became our immediate close friend. He turned us on to all the great conductors like Georg Solti and Zubin Mehta. We�d visit him frequently and share a lot of things with him about what we�d been doing with our music and of course some of our songs showed that influence as we went on. A perfect example of that is on our first album with a song called �Time Waits For No One�.
HULICK: You have a lot of music history.
DRUMMOND: We do. Our first song on our first album was co-written with Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
HULICK: Has there been any talk of retirement in the group?
DRUMMOND: It�s a whimsical fantasy maybe. You know� it�s really not a fantasy. It would be nice to take some time off every year and do whatever adventures come to mind, but I don�t dream of the day where I don�t have to work anymore. I�m so anxious to work that I can�t imagine not wanting to work.
HULICK: That�s a great feeling isn�t it? Doing something that you really love� like the feeling I get writing and doing these features on artists from the entertainment world.
DRUMMOND: It is a great feeling! Everyday is an inspiration.