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Thread: Burleigh Drummond of Ambrosia- Interview

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Burleigh Drummond of Ambrosia- Interview

    A band that straddled the line between prog and pop better than almost any....



    For Episode #46 our guest is Ambrosia drummer Burleigh Drummond. We take a look at his early musical inspirations and dig into the history of one of the 70s greatest progressive meets pop groups. Their timeline and discography are discussed in detail. With info on the creation of each album and key tracks on each. Including Alan Parson's involvement on their first two. Their move away from prog rock into more R&B "Yacht Rock" territory is discussed too and how the Yacht term expanded their fan base into new generations. We look at choice deep cuts and hits too, like "Holdin' On To Yesterday", "Biggest Part of Me", "You're The Only Woman" and "How Much I Feel". Great stories of opening for and touring with mid 70s acts like Kansas, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, The Beach Boys and more are here. A look at Burleigh's brief time with Frank Zappa comes up too and much more!
    Last edited by Sean; 3 Weeks Ago at 06:05 AM.

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    I enjoyed the interview. Very interesting. I only have their first album. I haven't played it in many years. I should look for it and play it.

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    I love Ambrosia Sean, great interview.
    I got about half way through and had to stop to finish making lunch, but enjoyed it very much.
    I was curious about the Tin Drum stuff, but as I commented, cd baby retired their music store in March 2020(I don't think Burleigh is aware of that).
    There is only one thing missing from the Ambrosia reforming(and I do wish them the best), and that's David Pack. His leads, both guitar and vocal, songwriting are an integral part that's missing, and no one I've heard can replace his voice.

    Vic, may I also suggest Somewhere I've Never Traveled as well.
    Soundcloud page: Richard Hermans, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice Bandcamp: https://richardhermans.bandcamp.comYouTube: https://youtu.be/F34jl6fQVmA

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    ^ I have it queued up on Youtube.

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    Heard the title track, Somewhere.......

    Kinda Beach Boyee and Steely vibe. Sophisticated pop with progginess. I think Sean would call it Yacht Prog....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    Heard the title track, Somewhere.......

    Kinda Beach Boyee and Steely vibe. Sophisticated pop with progginess. I think Sean would call it Yacht Prog....
    yes all of that and more.
    Soundcloud page: Richard Hermans, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice Bandcamp: https://richardhermans.bandcamp.comYouTube: https://youtu.be/F34jl6fQVmA

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    I heard the whole album. It's light but very, very symphy,, and proggy. The Brunt, Danse With Me George are epic. Ambrosia can make a 6 minute song sound like an adventurous, 20 minute epic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    I heard the whole album. It's light but very, very symphy,, and proggy. The Brunt, Danse With Me George are epic. Ambrosia can make a 6 minute song sound like an adventurous, 20 minute epic.
    glad you liked it, now I have to go listen to it..lol Keep your head up and out of ETA's way.
    Soundcloud page: Richard Hermans, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice Bandcamp: https://richardhermans.bandcamp.comYouTube: https://youtu.be/F34jl6fQVmA

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    I am going to listen to the entire discography. Next up......Life Beyond LA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    I am going to listen to the entire discography. Next up......Life Beyond LA.
    In that album is a song called Apothecary that is very engaging. The band played that at ROSfest, as a proggy version.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

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    I'm up to Road Island. Every album is worth owning. Very good, sophisticated, classy pop/prog/r&b/rock.

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    Yeah, they set the bar really high from the get go and kept it there. And bowed out pretty early, after just five albums, so they didn't have a string of uninspired later albums like many bands do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    Yeah, they set the bar really high from the get go and kept it there. And bowed out pretty early, after just five albums, so they didn't have a string of uninspired later albums like many bands do.
    I think they bowed out early because David Pack left the band. It was a pretty big hole to fill..his songwriting and that VOICE!!
    I haven't listened to the 2nd half of the interview, so perhaps Burleigh discussed David's medical condition with his hearing as to why he left.

    I own all 5 albums, first 2 on vinyl and the other on cd purchased new when they were released.
    Life Beyond LA is really really good, and the last two are mostly very good to me, but the music began to change style to me.

    Ambrosia is one of those bands that made it through playing shows constantly. I think they would've played to a storage room if they had to.
    Remember they were a California based band, and the competition out there was really hard to break out and separate themselves from all the other bands trying to make it big.
    But their hard work and determination and talent helped them get signed.
    Soundcloud page: Richard Hermans, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice Bandcamp: https://richardhermans.bandcamp.comYouTube: https://youtu.be/F34jl6fQVmA

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    How many original members are still with the band?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    How many original members are still with the band?
    I'll let Sean be the final word on this, but I believe Joe Pureta(Bass/vocals) and Burleigh(Drums/vocals) are the only 2 remaining members active in Ambrosia.

    David Pack(Lead Vocals&Guitar) has continued as a solo artist. And he appeared on Alan Parsons' Try Anything Once album. He had 3 songs on that album and performed vocals as well.
    Soundcloud page: Richard Hermans, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice Bandcamp: https://richardhermans.bandcamp.comYouTube: https://youtu.be/F34jl6fQVmA

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    Christopher North is still playing with them. Here's one of the great Prog songs Ice Age off their last album Road Island. Awesome drums by Burleigh Drummond!
    It starts with a sabertooth tiger roar and ends with a glacier crash. Pretty amazing.

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    Current members
    Joe Puerta - bass, backing and lead vocals, guitar (1970-1982, 1989Ėpresent)
    Burleigh Drummond - drums, backing vocals, percussion, bassoon (1970-1982, 1989Ėpresent)
    Christopher North - keyboards (1970-1977, 1978-1982, 1989-present)
    Doug Jackson - guitars, backing vocals (2000Ėpresent)
    Mary Harris - keyboards, backing vocals (2012Ėpresent)
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    I'll let Sean be the final word on this, but I believe Joe Pureta(Bass/vocals) and Burleigh(Drums/vocals) are the only 2 remaining members active in Ambrosia.

    David Pack(Lead Vocals&Guitar) has continued as a solo artist. And he appeared on Alan Parsons' Try Anything Once album. He had 3 songs on that album and performed vocals as well.
    Alan Parsonsí engineering and production skills rubbed off on David Pack. After Ambrosia and Parsons, Dave had a very good career as such.

    If you can get the recording, the proggy Ambrosia performance at ROSfest was sublime. Joe kicked ass. Especially the song Apothecary.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  19. #19
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    Revisiting Life Beyond LA.

    Damn I like it. I remember reading here on PE many years ago how the proggers would recommend the first 2 albums and crap on the 3rd thru 5th albums. Well, better late than never.
    Last edited by Vic2012; 3 Weeks Ago at 02:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    Revisiting Life Beyond LA.

    Damn I like it. I remember reading here on PE many years ago how the proggers would recommend the first 2 albums and crap on the 3rd thru 5th albums. Well, better late than never.
    Prejudice against Yacht rock songs by David Pack is rampant. I stumbled into Dr Hook accidentally on YouTube after watching the SOAL thing. Dr Hook is pure Yacht, and I hate it not just because itís vocals and soft. I donít view soft Ambrosia as Yacht, to me itís blue eyed soul which is different.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  21. #21
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    I donít view soft Ambrosia as Yacht, to me itís blue eyed soul which is different.
    They kinda remind me of Steely Dan. LBLA is very polished. Kind of an Aja feel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    They kinda remind me of Steely Dan. LBLA is very polished. Kind of an Aja feel.
    For sure, and itís that time. But Ambrosia has incredible production thanks to Alan Parsons from the beginning. Itís just that the content started getting influenced by rhythm and blues as Burleigh said because they played that music by request while they were still recording. There is still much more to Ambrosia than slick production on LBLA. And as he said there was a backlash which resulted in the harder stuff in the 80s, still produced very well, but angry.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  23. #23
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    I am fortunate to have seen a show with all 4 members in northern VA in 99. Although around those years, Pack often couldnít make shows and Mike Keneally subbed for Pack. That was straight up mostly Prog Ambrosia and the sound was fantastic. Seen shows since then, with the ROSfest being the best, but the others are good but not extraordinary like the 99 show. Also most of their shows were in CA, and that was huge change for them to begin touring across the country. I just read that Joe Puerta was a founding member of Bruce Hornsby and the Range, and that Hornsby played with Ambrosia in years before he went big.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

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    Ambrosia with Bruce Hornsby

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    All the Ambrosia records are worth having. Don't resist! It's good stuff!

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