• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

Richard

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scottb

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I saw an interesting post on the Ice Magazine forum and thought I would copy it below. I had asked the person who posted if he was a relative of Richards because he had Christmas dinner with him. He isn't but his 1st and 2nd posting are below.

Scott B

I actually sat next to Richard Carpenter at a
Christmas dinner a few years back, as he was
putting together that rarities set. We had a long
chat about what he was up to, and at one point he
actually mentioned wanting to "set the record
straight" about the band via a new compilation
from across their whole career after he finished
the rarities releases. That, plus his well-known
fussiness about sound / recording / mixing would
lead me to believe that this box set will take full
advantage of recent advances in mastering -
though I don't have specific info.

It's a little surprising that they've decided to
basically update a box set (it's not much different
at all, just expanded), so it seems unlikely that
there wouldn't be a lot of big improvements -
though the first box wasn't bad.

2nd Post

Oh no, not at all, it was a Christmas dinner for
Almo / Irving / Rondor songwriters put on by
Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. I've bumped into
Richard a few times, and I've always sort of
laughed at what a genuinely nice fellow he seems
to be - somewhat awkward and a little nervous,
but way enthusiastic about talking about his music
(or music in general). It's very much the opposite
of what I've heard about him (that he was difficult
and mean), though I can imagine he could be
pretty tyrannical in the studio getting the sounds
right and all. Based on my meetings with him, I
consider him a real visionary who had an intensely
precise idea of what he wanted, but didn't get the
respect other visionaries might have simply
because the Carpenters' music was considered kind
of weak or lame or soppy or what have you. I've
met musicians who worked with him and don't
talk about him in any less glowing a manner than
they would about Brian Wilson or someone.

Another interesting thing was that I asked him
why, when he was obviously (from our
conversation) still so involved in music, did he not
engage in higher profile activities? He said
although he did a lot of things, but was still
waiting for the right kind of foil to come along to
do something really big - the obvious implication
being that he hasn't found as unique as his sister
to work with yet.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
scottb said:
"I've bumped into
Richard a few times, and I've always sort of
laughed at what a genuinely nice fellow he seems
to be - somewhat awkward and a little nervous,
but way enthusiastic about talking about his music
(or music in general). It's very much the opposite
of what I've heard about him (that he was difficult
and mean), though I can imagine he could be
pretty tyrannical in the studio getting the sounds
right and all. "

That's exactly how I would imagine him to be! In fact, if I ever did get into a conversation with him, I'd probably end up discussing more of the music he liked (and currently likes) to listen to, rather than Carpenters music. Or I'd be curious about the technical aspects of his recordings--stuff I'm really interested in.

-= N =-
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
What a great post! I have been fortunate in my life to have met Richard on several occasions (a dozen or more), although I haven't seen him in almost a decade. He is just as discribed by Scott's friend.

When he lived in Downey, I would occasionally just knock on his door to see what was up in the Carpenter world. Although I don't recommend this, it was a time when there was no "internet" with discussions sans maybe America On-Line. No good way to get Carpenter info at the time(this was in the late 80's and early 90's).

One instance in particular, I was looking for a copy of "Canta" which I had heard existed but could not locate. I even took a trip to Mexico to see if I could find it! Having no luck, I decided to go "right to the source." A friend and I knocked on his door, asked if he could help me locate a copy and low and behold he invited us in, took us into his music room, pulled out a vinal copy, made a tape of it for me and gave us a "mini-tour" of his pictures and gold albums. My friend was in shock. If any of you are familiar with a local LA TV program called "Two on the Town," they did a spot with Richard. My personal tour was almost ver-batim, word for word. He talked about how the gold single of Top of the World from Japan fell off the matting when shipped and that while repairing it, he put the gold record on the turn-table to see if it was actally "Top of the World" and it was! He got a kick out of it.

What always sticks in my mind is the fact that when you are talking to Richard, you can almost see that squirril running on the wheel in his head; he's taking to you, but you know he's got a lot more upstairs than what he shows. Very intellegent man.

Anyway, that is just ONE example. He is a heck of a guy and when I read a lot of posts where fans blame him for everything from a bad re-mix to Karen's death, I really feel bad. It just is not true.

Lastly, may I add that Agnes and Harold were really nice people too. I have been "blessed" to get no less than three tours of the Newville house when they were alive. Harold was a nice and funny man. And Agnes was not at all the way they made her seem on the "Karen Carpenter Story." I miss those days and them.

And finally, I wish I knew the satatus of Evelyn Wallace. She was a neat lady too. She use to write me while I was away in graduate school. I recently found a letter from her when I was moving back here to California last month. It brought back some great memories. I heard she retired and moved to Utah, but am not certain.

The Carpenters were (are?) truely a "family" organization that genuinely included thier fans in that circle. I think their lack of "Hollywood" egos and values really made them stand out and what has endured them to so many fans.

There..I said my peace.
 
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