AMERICA May 2021 Q&A



Photo Credit: Henry Diltz
From left: Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell

The iconic multi-platinum-selling group AMERICA—co-founders GERRY BECKLEY and DEWEY BUNNELL—are excited to return to the road and will resume celebrating their 50th anniversary tour (see the extensive dates, starting this August, at BECKLEY and BUNNELL share their thoughts in a new Q&A below about how their lives were affected when their tour was interrupted in March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic.

Last August, AMERICA released a lyric video for a newly recorded song, “Remembering,” which appeared on the August 28 release of their ultimate 8-disc anniversary box set HALF CENTURY (America Records).  Watch the video here and listen to “Remembering” here. The song, written by BECKLEY, is classic AMERICA: harmony-rich rock, mixed with ringing guitars and pop smarts, with a compelling soul-searching lyric. “After 50 years together, this song is about the time spent looking back rather than looking forward…so much to be grateful for,” says BECKLEY, who produced and mixed the song with Jeff Larson. Watch the promotional film for the box set and read more about it here.

Also last year (November), AMERICA streamed their concert special “America–Live at the London Palladium” for the very first time. The concert, filmed in the fall of 2018 at the iconic London Palladium, had been commercially available as a DVD and CD. Watch the trailer here. In addition, May 2020 saw the release of the book America, the Band: An Authorized Biography by journalist Jude Warne (May, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers). She weaves original interviews with Beckley, Bunnell, and many others into a dynamic cultural history of America, the band, and America, the nation. Billy Bob Thornton wrote the foreword.

(May 2021)

By the time AMERICA returns to touring this August, the band will have been off the road for a year and a half. Has this been the longest time the group has been away from the road?

Gerry: “I have never before in my professional life had this much time “off.” A year and a half. The word “off” is misleading because I’ve remained quite busy with writing and recording, something that usually takes a back seat to our hectic travel and performing schedule.”

Dewey: “Most definitely this time between shows is unprecedented! We are now in our 51st year as a performing band with barely ever more than a month break a few times a year for holidays and vacations”

Can you talk about your mindset during the pandemic and how it upended the touring/gypsy life you had become accustomed to?

Dewey: “I think for most people it helped not knowing actually how long the safety guidelines and work stoppage would be going into the shutdown. If we knew it was going to be 14 months, it may have been harder to endure. As each month passed, my mindset changed, slowly realizing it was going to be more of a marathon than simply a long-distance run. Thoughts and projections of when touring might resume seemed to change weekly and I missed the travel/performance life more each month.”

Gerry: “At my age (68), I’ve been very grateful to have the extended time to share with friends and family.”

During this time, have you done anything unexpected or new?

Gerry: “This break has given me time to explore my photography. I’m working toward another gallery exhibit here in Sydney, Australia.”

Dewey: “I spent more time with our horse for one thing, and I dabbled in a few artistic pursuits around the house, but it was actually ‘new and unexpected’ to have the opportunity to spend such a long period of time at home with my wife and pets every day for 14 months.”

Beyond the performances and band camaraderie, is there anything you missed about touring?

Dewey: There’s a certain rhythm and pattern to life that develops over decades on the road that I treat as a challenge. I’m a creature of habit, so airports and hotels and ground transport vehicles all have certain things in common that I respond to in a similar way each day that makes the experience more comfortable for me. I become more self-sustaining in many ways…doing laundry, carrying supplies and food items like a survivalist. The day is always focused on the evening show and it’s hard to beat the satisfaction I feel getting back to the room later in the evening after a successful show, leaving a happy audience headed home. Then it all starts again the following day.”

Gerry: “I’d say that missing my band and team has been the hardest part. We are all looking forward to feeling that energy from our fans and friends again.”

What do you think you will be thinking about when you take the stage for the first time in 2021?

Gerry: “I’m sure I’ll be thinking what a long strange trip it’s been.”

Dewey: “I’m prepared to be nervous because I have never really stopped having a bit of stage fright after all these years.”

With “Remembering” released in 2020 as a lyric video, might there be more new music on the horizon?

Dewey: “I imagine there will always be some project on the back burner.”

Gerry: “There is always something on the horizon in our evolving schedule. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some new music in our future.”

AMERICA at the London Palladium; Photo credit: Christie Goodwin

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