Power pop has been berry, berry good to Eric Carmen…

Yes, that’s the headline you never saw for my chat with former Raspberries frontman Eric Carmen…and for good reason, as it’s quite awful.

There was a brief period during the 1970s when the funniest rock-related one-liner involved a teenager asking, “Hey, did you hear that Paul McCartney used to be in a band before Wings?” It’s a joke that isn’t nearly as funny today, what with Wings having been relegated to little more than footnote status in McCartney’s career timeline, but if you lived and died by the FM dial during the ’70s, you can still see the humor in it. In turn, you might also have been really amused in the late ’80s, when kids were thrilling to Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes” and “Make Me Lose Control” without having any inkling that, a decade and a half earlier, he had been fronting one of the definitive power pop bands of all time.

Carmen and his fellow ‘Berries — Wally Bryson, Jim Bonfanti and Dave Smalley — were staples of the Billboard singles chart from 1972 to 1974, but creative struggles led to line-up changes and the band’s eventual dissolution. The 21st century, however, has found the guys getting back together and doing some live dates, one of which – a performance at L.A.’s House of Blues on Oct. 21, 2005 – has recently been released on Rykodisc as Live on the Sunset Strip. After a few scheduling conflicts and one missed opportunity (which was totally this writer’s fault), Bullz-Eye had a chance to speak with Carmen recently, and we quizzed him about the legacy of The Raspberries, his solo career and its notable difference to the sound he’d helped forge with the band, and how he can’t help but empathize with Kelly Clarkson these days.

Check out the interview here.

  

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