Chuck Negron: The Oldies Circuit's Sober Companion
A little over a year ago, former Three Dog Night vocalist Chuck Negron stood onstage at the Stafford Centre at the finale of the "Happy Together" tour stop, belting out numbers while shoulder to shoulder with The Turtles, Gary Lewis, Gary Puckett and former Paul Revere and the Raiders vocalist Mark Lindsay.
Photo courtesy of Stafford Centre Chuck Negron
Nearly three hours long, the show was an all-killer-no-filler time travel through well-known radio and chart hits of the '60s and '70s. Negron proffered signature hits like "Joy to the World," "One," "Just An Old Fashioned Love Song," and "Celebrate" to the gray-haired audience whose years melted away from their faces as they sang familiar choruses.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the "Happy Together" tour returns to the Stafford Centre tonight with Negron, the Turtles, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, and new additions Mitch Ryder the Detroit Wheels and former Grand Funk Railroad singer/guitarist Mark Farner.
So the first question to Negron, naturally, is this: Between the two Marks, who would win in a fistfight? Lindsay has the height and the reach, but Farner's got the muscle...
"Ha! I have no idea! But that's a good question!" Negron laughs. "But I think Farner's a lot younger, so he might have the edge!" (For the record, Farner is 65 and Lindsay 72.)
Negron has toured mostly as a solo act in the past few decades, having been fired from Three Dog Night twice for drug issues. And though he has been clean and sober since 1991 and has always expressed a desire to reunite, Two Dogs Danny Hutton and Cory Wells continue to tour under the band name and aren't interested in hooking back up at all.
Photo courtesy of Autonomic Media Former Grand Funk Railroader Mark Farner brings a more rock edge to this year's "Happy Together" tour.
When he spoke with Rocks Off last year, Negron was hopeful that would change, and said he had even made overtures to Hutton with an idea that a reunited Three Dog Night could open for the Beach Boys on that band's recent 50th anniversary tour.
After reaching Hutton's wife on the phone and being told that Danny was in the room, she suddenly said he wasn't there. And that was the end of that.
"It doesn't look like it's going to happen for any reason -- financial or otherwise -- and I'm fine with that," Negron notes. "I don't even know if they are up to doing it!
"They tour now, but I'm talking about a real tour where you've really got to sing and be ready every night," he continues. "I don't think that's somewhere they are right now. I think they get up and go through the paces. And Danny doesn't want to be relegated to being a backup singer again, since Cory and I sang [lead] on most of the songs. I don't know if it would be fun for me to work with them."
Instead, Negron takes much joy (to the world and otherwise) from the reception he and the rest of the Happy Together musicians have received on the tour.
"It is very rewarding to be part of something like this, because we've touched people's lives with our songs," he says, adding that this year's lineup is "more energetic and heavier" with the addition of Ryder and Farner.
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