Studio, live shows keep Three Dog Night in the hunt
BY TRICIA DESPRES April 17, 2013 2:44PM
THREE DOG NIGHT
♦ 8 p.m., April 20
♦ Blue Chip Casino, 777 Blue Chip Drive, Michigan City, Ind.
♦ Tickets, $30-$50
♦ (219) 879-7711;
As a founding member of classic rock band Three Dog Night, Danny Hutton could easily sit back and bask in the fame and successes of yesteryear — surround himself with four decades of accolades and line the walls of his recording studio with gold records.
“Nope, there is nothing on the walls having to do with Three Dog Night in here,” he laughs. “This house used to be Alice Cooper’s, and my sons were the ones who went in and really did the studio up right. It’s their studio. They don’t want anything to do with the old man’s stuff. They are busy doing their own thing.”
The musical gene that has always been apparent within Hutton’s vocal range seems to have been successfully passed down to his children. Dash Hutton is a well-known L.A. drummer who is touring overseas with the girl group Haim. Tim Hutton is busy producing the first record of season two of “The Voice” contestant Jordis Unga.
“Being in that studio keeps me young,” says Hutton. “It may be cliche, but I always tell them that you are only new once. No matter how big you get, there is nothing like being in Amsterdam or London for the first time, in your 20s, playing your music. It will never be that beautiful or innocent again.”
Indeed, the early ’70s were a beautiful time for Three Dog Night. Propelled into musical stardom with hits such as “Mama Told Me (Not to Come),” “Joy to the World” and “One,” Three Dog Night achieved more top 10 hits, moved more records or sold more concert tickets than any other group between the 1969 and 1974. “We had 21 hits in a row, which is crazy when you think about it,” he says.
Making a stop at Blue Chip Casino on April 20, alongside Hutton, is founding member Cory Wells, original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon, guitarist Michael Allsup, bass player Paul Kingery and drummer Pat Bautz. And as a cohesive unit, Three Dog Night remains vital and mildly eager to make new music for a new generation.
“We will get it done when we get it done,” Hutton says with a laugh about the new album in progress, which currently includes the cuts “Prayer of the Children” and a remake of Jude Cole’s “Heart of Blues.”
The band’s continued popularity is evident looking at the charts. “The Best of Three Dog Night: 20th Century Masters” marked its 114th week on the Billboard Top Catalog album chart and recently made a repeat showing on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.
“Put our music on the radio today, and I think a lot of our songs would be considered modern country thanks to the melodic nature of our songs,” says Hutton, who points to Chicago as one of Three Dog Night’s first major breakout areas in the 1970s. “We did a lot of hard rock and blues songs, too, but they weren’t the ones that the public picked as singles. People just hear your singles on the radio and they get the concept what the band is like or what they are capable of. Heck, for us to get on the R&B charts on the ’70s was hard, but we did it.”
Sounds like stories for a book just waiting to be written.
“No book for me,” Hutton says, taking a deep breath. “I mean, it’s so cliche. Young guy starts a band, then the band stops, and then the band starts again? And all of the name dropping? Nope. Not for me. But I’ll tell you what — I do have some great stories.”
Tricia Despres is a local freelance writer.