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D.C. Larue: The Man Behind the Disco Cathedral...

Updated: Jan 3

How do you start a New Year? Simply by asking a Legend to tell you his Story. That's what I did by contacting D.C. Larue! We had a chat, let's see how he's building Cathedrals...

 

1) Hello David, I'm over the moon to have you here on the Balearic Breakfast Blog! Colleen played "Cathedrals" on the 158th episode of the show. You shared in an interview that the Idea for the song was born during a party at the loft when Steve D'Acquisto said, "Ahh, Discos are the Cathedrals of now!" Yet, Instead, the lyrics seem to present, within a worried world, a somewhat sad statement of abandoned cult places. Do you remember how the lyrics came to you and what you wanted to convey through them?

Hello Artur, and thanks for having me! First of all the "CATHEDRALS" metafore included and covered more than just discos although I was at THE LOFT when it inspired me. It sounded like the perfect title for a concept album. Concept albums were the big thing in music at the time. The lyrics refer to all the various places that were part of what was considered the "disco" lifestyle at that moment ("they're in the dance halls [ie discos]"). And, at the time, I don't believe those places were abandoned. Were they ever truly abandoned? I don't think so. They still apply today from what I can see. I might add that they weren't specifically referring to gays (try to watch the "LOOKING FOR MISTER GOODBAR" film. It says it all about it being a heterosexual thing as well).

It took me a few weeks to come up with a title track for the album. The first song was "I DON'T WANT TO LOSE YOU". I wrote the melody and lyrics over those wonderful  "churchie" chords. I thought it was very appropriate considering the album title. Then came "CATHEDRALS". Aram presented a guitar riff and a chord progression and it took me about an hour to come up with a melody and lyrics. It just happened. No great story. Maybe it was just a tad autobiographical!

Then I wanted to write lyrics to a mass (album title again) and I had always loved Handel's MESSIAH so I arbitrarily chose a movement and wrote the song "I'LL STILL BE HERE FOR YOU".  The final track and the least disco of the album was "DEEP, DARK, DELICIOUS NIGHT''. It was a tune I had written around 1974. I was a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and wanted it to be very much like "BORN TO RUN''. Aram tried his best to "disco-fy'' it but it was always a little too rock and too fast. From end to end, the song chronicles a love affair from its inception to the waiting for the unfaithful lover and the realization of how hopeless searching for true love is, then accepting reality and dancing off into the night search for sex with no expectations of love!


2) Another track on that incredible album of yours, my personal favourite, is "I Don't Want to Lose You", with its whooping 14:14 minutes, allowing you, through music, silence and a swirling wind, to, once again, present a very pictural track to the listener. Of course, in hindsight, we see the "Summer Influence" there, but still, the visual capabilities are stronger. Do you believe that Disco, thanks to its intrinsic musical structure, helped musicians create a vision that freed the listener?

Correct! "LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY" was a huge influence. I had been recording since 1961 to no avail. Then I signed with KIRSHNER RECORDS in 1975, the record was produced by Wally Gold and arranged by Ron Frangipane. I felt it was the best I had made in my life. It was not successful and it was because of the music business politics and payola. At that point, I promised myself that I would never record again...

Then I met Aram Schefrin while doing the graphic design for his TEN WHEEL DRIVE album and we became great friends. And at that juncture, I started going out and dancing at the disco in my neighbourhood. One evening at 12 WEST the dj Tom Savarese played Donna's track and it blew my mind! Stopped me cold. And it did make me want to record again, if for no other reason except to make a similar recording.  So the flame had been ignited.

Then, a month or so went by and Steve came up with the "CATHEDRALS" title. I presented the concept to Aram and he loved the idea. I wrote "I DON'T WANT TO LOSE YOU" and played him "LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY" as a template. It's better and more densely musical because I feel Aram was a great arranger and producer and creatively different from Georgio Moroder.  

Do I believe that Disco, because of its intrinsic musical structure, helped musicians create a vision that freed the listener as well? Of course!!


3) An insider of the Disco Era, you saw its rise, lived its fall, and met the greatest names associated with its history. Though as we know it, people were still fighting for equity and a recognition of their freedom on many levels, it seems musically there was "something more". How do you reflect upon what you experienced back then as an artist?

Unannounced to me I was breaking a lot of the rules and making a lot of music people very unhappy. I could never get on Top 40 radios because of my lyrics and the length of my tracks. 

By 1981, I was very bitter and felt abused. I wanted nothing to do with disco for about 30 years. Fortunately, I have lived to see a total 360-degree turn in the respect and acceptance of disco. I will pass knowing I was right and courageous and innovating and, I guess, years before my time. I am thankful to have lived to see it happen again. Now I am having more top-five charting tracks with my remixes than I could have imagined. And this upcoming year of 2024, there are so many vinyl releases and new remixes scheduled for release. It Makes me very happy, indeed.

And that "something more" you refer to was just that. If you were open to new experiences, just listening to the disco from that era was a life-changing experience... with or without the drugs. But I guess, looking back, it took courage. Really. Going to a disco was nothing like hanging out at an EAGLES concert with your friends. It was an entirely different communal experience.


4) 2018 saw the release of brand new remixes of some of your tracks, including "Cathedrals", after you got your hands back on your masters! Soundwise, it's brilliant! We owe these new remixes to your dedication towards your body of work!

I have only known one thing in my life and that is to do what I love. I don't think I ever (and to this very day) thought much about the future. My dreams are of the moment. I never cared about the money, I only created for the joy of creating. And the universe has always taken care of my needs. That's about it!


5) You launched your radio show in 2020: DISCO JUICE is listened to by a Worldwide audience. Though you haven't produced any new music for quite a long time, can we expect new music from you in the future?

As you stated rightfully, my DISCO JUICE programs contain disco at its very best and are doing great with thousands of listeners around the world! I even listen to them myself!

Musically speaking, as long as these brilliant young DJs and musicians keep reaching out to rework my music, it will be there for them. In a sense, I am reproducing all my past recordings through them and making new recordings all the time. But don't expect brand-new music from me in the future, as, unfortunately, the disco muse flew away 35 years ago! Sorry!

I wish you all a Happy New Year and the best for 2024!

Cheers!

D.C.


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