THE LOST MARK STEIN SOLO ALBUM
You didn't know I did a solo album, huh? It was never released. It was on Columbia. '78, '79. After a couple of years I started getting back into the business. In the mid-seventies I was back in the business totally. I was playing in a lot of bands, writing for a lot of people. I got a solo deal on Columbia, I got a new manager. He was managing Ron Wood from the Stones, Dave Mason... I don't know if you ever heard of Les Dudek, he played most of the guitar on my album. I had a lot of people on my album.
How come it never got out?
Shit, I don't know. It was a very funny thing that happened. My manager calls me up, all excited, "Columbia loves your record idea", he was gonna call me up and tell me what the first single we were gonna release of it was gonna be. Instead, he calls me up to tell me that they're not releasing anything. In Fact, they're not even putting the album out. Because there was an awful decline in the music business in 1979. I think it was a political thing, though. I've got my own ideas about that.
What kind of sound was it?
It was real heavy, keyboard oriented Rock. It was almost southern sounding. Real soulful, bluesy. A lot of people liked that record. It was a real heartbreaker. It took me seven years to get that deal, and it was never even realized. The album cover was done and everything. It never was pressed.
What about the Mystery album?
Carmine was playing a show in New York City for UNICEF. For some reason we were all in town that night. We just got together and went up on stage and played as the Vanilla Fudge. We went up and played as the original band again. There were a lot of people in the audience, we were really good. It was amazing after all those years. We played like three or four tunes and the place went wild. And Our manager happened to be there that night, and a couple of people from Atlantic and there was this buzz, like "oh, we should get the Fudge back together. They were great". An item. Gregg Allman was in the audience that night. When it was over he comes up to me and shakes my hand. I'm like, wow, Gregg Allman! "How you doing", and he goes "Mark, I got all your albums.' He's talking to me like he's my fan. There were all these people there. Next thing you know, we started getting these phone calls, and all these offers to put the band back together. We got another deal for Atlantic.
How'd it do?
It didn't do at all. More bullshit. More politics. More hassles. Everybody had their own lawyer. By the time it was... You know, you had to get permission to blow your nose from ten people. Everybody got fed up with it... They released the album and, uh.. in the beginning there was a lot of press, but they didn't push it. It didn't do nothing. No gigs, no nothing. And then we reformed in '87, it was called "Back To The Future" Tour, leading up to this lawsuit I just won.
[Web Editor's Note, 1998: Mark won a lawsuit against Carmine & Rhino Records after a CD called The Best Of Vanilla Fudge: Live was released by Rhino with Carmine as the only original band member to play on it. It was also stipulated that Rhino was to sticker all future albums of The Best Of The Vanilla Fudge Live with a statement that Mark Stein does not appear on the recording. This in order that, in Mark's own words: "The fans do not get ripped off anymore". As part of the settlement, Mark now owns the only real "Live Vanilla Fudge" master tapes in existence.]
How were the shows?
The shows were good. We played a lot of the major cities, New York was sold out, we played the Ritz. Packed. It was a great feeling. It was like the sixties. Wall to wall people. Chicago, Houston. It was all big houses. It was all right.
What was the act?
It was like a combination of everything. It was the best of Vanilla Fudge.
Did you do the Break Song?
[laughs] No, we didn't do that. We did Golden Age Dreams, which was off the Mystery album. We did another tune off the Mystery album, and then we did a combination of all the things we did in our history.
Was Tim doing fuzz-bass solos?
Oh yeah. We were doing some solos. But they weren't as long and boring. After a while they got boring.
How did that break up?
Well, we just weren't making enough money, it just wasn't happening, so it just dissipated.
ATLANTIC 40th ANNIVERSARY
Did Vince come back for the Atlantic Records show?
No. Lanny Cordola, a friend of mine, played guitar for that one. Lanny played with the House of Lords. We were invited. It was all the acts for forty years on Atlantic/ATCO. That was a terrific week. Everybody was there.
Did you guys wear original Fudge clothes?
No. But the shirt I did wear was the kind of thing I would have worn in the Sixties. It wasn't actually from the Sixties. It was a print shirt. It had all these ruffles and shit. I had a tight black jacket on with ruffles. It looked cool.
So where did you get the clothes back then?
You know, we were the first American band that had that look. 'Cause we went over to England and nobody had that look, you know that English look, with the tapered jackets, the velvet look and all the colors. We went shopping in England and we had that mod look. You know, Carnaby Street, King's Row. We came back looking gorgeous. We came off the plane, we had all these green and red velvet suits on. Everybody did their hair with that now look. It was a whole shock. We looked English. It was that look. You know like revolutionary dudes. We had that look.
When was Danger Zone formed?
Danger Zone was after the Mystery album bombed. After that, I didn't know what the hell to do. I was like, man, what do I do now? Jesus Christ. I decided to put my own band together. Four years and we never got signed. It was a power trio, no bass. I did everything from the keyboard. We had a hell of a drummer, a couple of guitar players, and we never got signed.
Was there a concerted effort to make it sound more contemporary?
Yeah, it was. You hit it on the head. We were trying to make it sound modern. Nothing ever happened. Ronnie Dio produced the band. We, had a couple of demos, Ronnie Dio produced one of them, but nothing ever happened.
THE LAST WORD
Do you ever think about reforming Vanilla Fudge?
Anything's possible in this life. It depends on if there's a market for it. I mean, we're all businessmen now. If there isn't a market for it, you can't go out and play and lose money, right? You know what I'm saying?