Monday, 13 February 2017

August 1966 Hit Parade Iterview

August 1966 “Hit Parade” Interview

Jan & Dean have introduced teens to the swingingest cities in America today. First there was Surf City where the surfboard reigned supreme. This was followed by Drag City (home of King Hot Rod), Soul City (where all worship the 12-string guitar). Now the boys bring a new city into national prominence, Gotham City. Yes, Gotham City, the home of that fearless crusader against evil, Batman.
Such is the case with Jan & Dean. Each of their tunes has heralded a new trend in music...from love of surfing to love of adventure. Riding into popularity on the crest of the surfing craze, Jan & Dean have consistently turned out hit upon hit. To sound a bit corny, it couldn’t happen to two nicer young men.

Recently, Jan & Dean visited Chicago for a concert. The boys had not as yet arrived at the theatre. Members of the supporting acts scurried around the stage, testing guitars and microphones for just the “right” balance. Suddenly the dressing room door backstage burst open and in came Dean on his skateboard! Jan followed in hot pursuit. It seems that a scuffle with fans at the stage entrance caused the duo to make a hasty retreat to their dressing room.

The boys did not pay attention to where they were going. With a thud, Dean “skateboarded” head first into an over-stuffed sofa which stood in a far corner of the room. Jan, who was running at full-pace, could not stop himself and landed, with appropriate accompanying groans, on top of Dean.


After the boys “untangled” themselves and regained their composure, we were formally introduced. And that’s the way we met our idols!

Dean carried a large red satin-covered box of Valentine candy. “A gift from a fan?”

“Of course not,” Dean replied with a twinkle of mischief in his eye. “Jan gave it to me. He’s sooooooo thoughtful, especially at Valentine’s Day.”

At this point, Dean hopped on his skateboard and was last seen skating toward the stage with Jan following.

For more than an hour, strains of Sidewalk Surfing, Little Old Lady From Pasadena, and Dead Man’s Curve filled the theatre, as Jan rehearsed the fifteen piece band which backed the boys. At first the songs were a bit crude, but Jan quickly achieved musical perfection.

“A little more bass.” “Too much drum.” “Cut it there,” Jan commanded, waving his arms high in the air, appearing much like Leonard Bernstein in surfer slacks. When a song was thought to be mastered, Dean would sing along with the band as Jan listened for the correct musical balance.

Finally, the boys and the band were ready for the show. Rehearsal was over. Most performers would now go to their dressing room to rest for the show.

But Jan & Dean are not like most performers. Local bands had set their equipment on the stage. Now, upon seeing two drums together, Jan & Dean could not resist the urge to try their hand at drumming.

With the impromptu help of local musicians, Jan & Dean shook the room with solos and a swinging medley of the latest big beat songs. To Jan & Dean, this was a manner of relaxing, although to many it would represent a good night’s work!

The boys soon returned to their dressing room. They are zany, having developed their own unique brand of dry humor. They work untiringly, finding fun in all the work they do. They seemingly take each day as it comes, accepting it as a new and exciting challenge.

Now, interviews are usually serious affairs. Questions are asked; answers are given; and the reporter and performer part company. Not so with Jan & Dean.

Let us illustrate. An apparently serious question was asked of the boys. “Dean do you have a fan club? If so, where?”

“Yes,” Dean replied, speaking in a slow-paced thoughtful manner, pausing after eah word. “We have a fan club. It is in the United States.”

“Fine, but could you narrow down the territory a bit?”
“Well, it’s on the West Coast,” helped Jan.

“That’s a bit better,” but we pressed for more information.


Finally we managed to find that the fan club was located in Los Angeles, California. A simple question, yes, but it had taken ten minutes to acquire an answer.

At this time the famous Jan & Dean brand of humor was revealed. The boys “led on” their “victim” giving short, incomplete answers to questions, usually with comical connotations. Surprisingly enough, however, the “victim” has as much fun as Jan & Dean.

The room gradually grew quiet as the afternoon passed on. In one corner, Dean sat signing pieces of paper with a signature of Jan & Dean. (He didn’t know why...he just felt like doing it). Jan was curled in a corner of the overstuffed sofa, seemingly drifting off into a soft sleep. Casual conversation was exchanged. All was peaceful.

Jan Berry, 25, born in Los Angeles on April 3. Tall (6'2") with a thick crop of dark blonde hair and flashing blue eyes, Jan attends U.C.L.A., where he is the school’s most famous premed student. (As he explains, “There must be something to fall back on after show biz”). One of the most eligible bachelors in Hollywood (along with Dean, of course) Jan prefers natural girls and digs the latest “wholesome” look inspired by the British. His preference can easily be understood, as Jan enjoys sail boating, karate, among other sports. A girl, would have to be athletic “unaffected”, and have a well developed sense of humour to appeal to Jan.

Dean Torrence (whose long silver-blonde hair gives him the appearance of a lost Beatle) first saw the light of day in Los Angeles 26 (the article says 23) years ago. Dean is 6' 3/4" tall, with pale blue eyes, and has been nicknamed “King of Falsetto.”

Dean has a great desire to be an architect and has been attending the Art School of U.S.C., one of the finest in the country.

Things were proceeding quite smoothly. The soft afternoon sun filtered through the window of the room and cast shadows on the dressing room floor. The questions slowly dwindled off. It was a rare quiet moment.

The silence was sharply broken as Dean dropped his notepad, let off with a large yell (which would have rivalled Tarzan’s) and flung himself onto the slumbering Jan.

Dean and Jan tumbled onto the floor. They then went into a hilarious judo sketch, mainly for the benefit of visitors in the dressing room. We roared with laughter. Several members of supporting acts came into the room to see what was happening.

The boys soon “settled down” and things again grew quiet. Jan & Dean left the dressing room and headed toward the backstage area.



There was much nail-biting and many anxious moments as Jan & Dean disappeared. The entire theatre was searched, but Jan & Dean could not be found. Now the question was asked, “Where would to good looking rock and roll stars, dressed in surfer slacks and sports shirts, easily recognisable go in Chicago?”

No one knew. The show went on. Supporting acts added extra tunes to their schedules, to fill in time. Watches were anxiously checked. The hour flew, Still no Jan & Dean.

Suddenly, the boys quickly rushed into their dressing room to change for their act. Later, we learned that the boys had gone to find a hotel, only to learn that conventions had booked every hotel in the city. After they finally found a room, they had stopped for dinner. Time flew and they had no idea that half the cast had been searching for them.

As they walked onto the stage, the screams and cheers of the thousand fans shook the auditorium. Jan & Dean commanded the audience. They joked. They sang. They even went into the audience to meet their fans.

Obviously, this is why Jan & Dean have remained one of America’s top recording duos. They remain themselves, should they be on stage, meeting a reporter, or recording. They do not try to be anyone but Jan & Dean. They are unaffected by the tremendous success that has befallen them. They are, quite simply, nice guys who record good music.

The concert ended. Fans flooded onto the backstage area. Patiently, Jan & Dean signed autographs, on notebooks, programs, scrap paper and even on one fan’s arm!

It’s a sad truth, but all good things must end. Jan & Dean left the auditorium and got into their car. Jan called to us, “Thanks for everything. Hope to see you when we’re back in Chicago,” as he winked and broke into a wide smile.

2 comments: