Invisible Poet Kings

 

‘You've Got To Hide Your Love Away’ is a fun, upbeat crowd pleaser that is sure to get any party fired up as Invisible Poet Kings demonstrate why they are truly a force to be reckoned with.
 

Invisible Poet King’s founder Barry Keenan has definitely lived the life that many can only dream of. His experiences on and off the stage are enough to fill books, yet he likes to keep himself grounded. The songs by the band sometimes reflect on the memories of a simpler time, in stark contrast to the sometimes hectic lifestyle that stardom can bring. Perhaps he feels most comfortable when he finds a balance between the two worlds, one where he can be funloving and energetic yet also radical and intense. Reporter Lily Clark recently interviewed him to talk about one of the wildest days he ever had when shooting a video and an unforgettable concert that required the assistance of ten bouncers for him to get safely to his dressing room - as well as new details on his upcoming album ‘Mutiny in a Dream Tent.’

LILY: Let's just get this out in the open - What is the craziest thing that has happened to you in your music career?
BARRY: Invisible Poet Kings was signed to a record label called Cool Records. Our first album, self-titled ‘Invisible Poet Kings’ was doing well and picking up steam all over the United States. We were based out of Los Angeles and receiving steady airplay on a station known as The World Famous KROQ, LA’s premier rock station. Our first pressing of CD’s was distributed to stores nationwide. The CDs were distributed to Mom & Pop stores and corporate giants such as Tower Records and The Wherehouse Records. At the time, there were five other cities that were interested in picking up the album for airplay on their premier rock stations. I only remember two of the cities, St. Louis & San Francisco. This was during the time when Invisible Poet Kings was headlining both The Roxy & The Whiskey A-Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California. A little side note before I get to the “craziest thing”. Being a popular band in Los Angeles with airplay on KROQ and headlining the Roxy & Whiskey, there came a certain amount of status in that you hung at the Rainbow Bar & Grill right next door to the Roxy which charged admission to go in and “hang”. However, we never had to pay. Our whole entourage was welcomed in as long as they were with me. There was one Friday night I remember going in to Tower Records on The Strip. When I walked in, I saw our album in the store with all the greats. We had our own bin and were being promoted. A feeling of exuberance overwhelmed me and I was so happy that we had made it that far. Our first run of CDs nationwide had sold out almost immediately. But the biggest thrill came when I left Tower Records which was a block from the Whiskey and walked three blocks up to The Rainbow Bar & Grill. I was welcomed by name and let in. They were always happy to see me. Upon first glance, I saw some of Hollywood’s finest in all their glitter, pomp and circumstance. When I was ushered to my table, upon entering the restaurant, blasting out of the speakers in the entire restaurant was Invisible Poet Kings’ album. Walking to my table, I passed some of the biggest names in music who were sitting and dinning listening to my album. I thought, wow, I’ve really arrived. So with all this momentum happening, my label decided that we needed to film a video of my song, ‘Clean White Shirt’ which I co wrote with my good friend and well known Los Angeles visual artist, David Palmer. At that time there was no digital HD recording, only film, which was very costly. Neville Johnson, famed and prestigious Beverly Hills music attorney owned the label. As another side note, Neville Johnson and I morphed from me being an artist on his label to me becoming a equal partner and forming a label together called Cool Music Group LLC dba East Of Sideways Music which is the current label of Invisible Poet Kings. Neville hired on an Australian director, Karan. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in the music business at that time was age discrimination. One of the concepts behind IPK at the time was to conceal our age. So how do you conceal your identity on film? That was the questioned posed. The director for starters decided that the first step was to put all four band members in white face, beards, hair and all before we started filming. We all dressed in long, dark coats with an image of 1800’s, gloomy England. Sort of a Sherlock Holmes/Jack The Ripper kind of image. Filming began without our drummer as he was late. This was a period of time when cocaine was the very fashionable drug of choice in pop culture. Our drummer unbeknownst to us was late because he had purchased some cocaine and had ingested quite a bit of it. As it turned out, we discovered it was not cocaine after all but crystal meth, a very strong and illegal stimulant which is an amphetamine extremely more powerful than cocaine. This caused the drummer to become very paranoid with hallucinations. One question he kept asking me was “Who is that woman out there and why is she telling everybody what to do?” I told him she was the director. But she was freaking him out so much that he kept asking me to leave with him and leave the video shoot because she was making him nervous. My response was that I can’t leave, we are filming a music video. So for a couple of hours, he kept asking me to leave with him which I kept declining. At one point, the director only wanted the guitar player to film a scene on top of a hill. We were filming at Cal Arts in Valencia, CA. which has a small, grassy meadow like area surrounded by hills. Since I wasn’t needed, I decided to go back to one of the buildings where the staff had set up a dressing room for us. In order to get there, I had to walk along a paved walkway which was for foot traffic only, but wide enough for a car to drive on. As I was walking down this paved walkway, the drummer drove up behind me in his white Mercedes and asked if I wanted a lift back to the dressing room. Mind you, he was still completely paranoid and schizophrenic. I was reticent about getting in the car for that reason however, I was concerned that he was driving on a pavement that cars were not suppose to be on, so I got in his car thinking we would drive the short distance to the dressing room where he could safely park his car. I was worried about him and concerned. However, when I got in the car, he immediately pulled out on to the street and said that we needed to get out of there. I told him again that we needed to stay as we were filming a video. But he refused to stop the car and proceeded to drive off the campus. When I demanded that he turn around and bring me back, he pulled a gun on me and said no, we have to get out of here. So now, I’m kidnapped at gunpoint by my own drummer in my own rock group. I’m thinking that this can’t be happening but it was. Well as fate would have it, he drove approximately five miles from the campus down the I-5 freeway but his car was completely on empty and he was afraid he was going to run out of gas. He exited the freeway and stopped at an AM/PM to get some gas. He put the gun under the seat. He told me to stay in the car as he had to go inside and pay. I told him, sure, I’ll wait, and as soon as he entered the store, I bolted out of his car and hid. I watched him come out of the store, put gas in his car as he perused the entire area with a swivel head obviously wondering where I went. When he had finished pumping his gas, he gave one last look around, got in his car and drove off. I was so relieved because I really was apprehensive about what he might do given all the circumstances. So here I am, approximately five miles from the video shoot at a busy AM/PM market off the I-5 Freeway where there is a tremendous amount of people stopping as it was a gassing up point for travelers heading up through what is called The Grapevine. The Grapevine is where the I-5 Freeway crosses a large mountain range. It consists of miles of desolate road before going into Bakersfield. My next thought was to call a cab and get back to the video shoot, however when I searched my pockets for my money, it dawned on me that because I was filming, I left all my money in the dressing room. I didn’t even have a penny on me. Not only that, but to my dismay, I had no identification or credit cards with me either. I left my wallet in the dressing room as well. My pockets were completely empty. Mind you, there were no cell phones at this time, only public pay phones which cost money to make a call. Now picture this, besides the aforementioned, when I saw a reflection of myself in the AM/PM window glass, I had completely forgotten and was reminded that I was covered in white face, hair, beard and neck. My hair looked like something out of the movie, ‘Bride From Frankenstein.’ I was dressed like Jack The Ripper, dark and scary. I looked like and had the same visual impact as Michael Keaton in ‘Beetlejuice’! So I did the only thing I could do at that point - panhandle. Let me tell you, I was scaring the crap out of people. No one wanted to come near me and when I approached anybody, they turned and went in the opposite direction. Nobody wanted anything to do with me. It was also a hot summer’s day. People were in shorts and sandals. Me, I’m dressed for cold and fog. I was asking for either a ride back to the video shoot or money for a cab but no one would accommodate me. Finally after more than an hour of begging, a man in a van who was travelling with his wife and kids on vacation pulled up. Thank God he was a tourist from out of state and I think that was the reason he allowed me to speak with him. Maybe it was naiveté. Hey they were visiting Hollywood land of the odd fellows! I think they thought, ‘What’s this?’This looks different. Whatever it was, in desperation, I apologized for my appearance. He listened as I told him that we were filming a rock video at Cal Arts. Meanwhile his wife and kids would not get out of the car. I also explained to him that regardless of my appearance, I was a devoted family man with two kids (I now have three). I told him I had no money, credit cards or I.D. I begged him to please, please, please, either drive me to Cal Arts or give me money for a cab. The man said that he had a policy, neither he nor his wife would ever pick up strangers and allow them in his car. But he gave me fifteen dollars and said good luck. I went inside the AM/PM and called a cab. When the cab arrived, I remember being so relieved to get in the cab and get out of there. Upon arriving back at Cal Arts where I had been gone for three hours, I had the cab drop me off at the hillside where the crew was still filming up at the top of the hill. Nobody had even noticed that I had been gone. When I got out of the cab, I saw everybody turn and look down the hill at me. When I got to the top of the hill, I was asked, ‘What are you doing getting out of a cab?’ Another side note: When we were done filming, we had all this footage. The problem of concealing our identity was still an obstacle that we needed to overcome. The director went to Avid, the leader in computer, video editing software in the world. She met with the head of the company and posed the dilemma of trying to make us “invisible”. He said that Avid had just developed a new computer that had 150 special effects. There was no other computer on the market at that time that could do this. He liked the idea of using the new computer with all its special effects to try to make the band ‘invisible.’ He offered to have his editing staff edit the video on the newly developed computer so that they could add the effects to conceal our identity. In return, he wanted our permission to then use the video as a promotion for what the computer was capable of doing in regards to editing and special effects. Of course we accepted the deal. To my understanding, the video was shown all over the world as Avid marketed the computer. As it turned out, the head of Avid asked the director what the heck was that red guitar I was playing. He said he’d never seen such a thing before. It was because there were only a couple of those guitars made in Italy back in 1966. Anyway, the director came up to me one day shortly thereafter and asked me if I would please autograph the IPK CD for the head of Avid. I did so happily.

LILY: Your song ‘You've Got To Hide Your Love Away’ is receiving a positive listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard your song playing on radio?
BARRY: I’m happy to say that this is not the only time I/we’ve been on radio, or TV or motion pictures for that matter. However, it is always pleasing and gives me a sense of accomplishment especially when the public responds favorably. For this band to be successful, there is no doubt in my mind that what we need to do is to reach larger numbers of people than we have been reaching in order to obtain the success we desire. Radio play obviously is the best way to achieve that. It is extremely important. I also whole heartedly believe that the timing is right for this band and this kind of music. This music can be successful not only provisionally but worldwide as the test marketing we’ve done proves.

LILY: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
BARRY: Lennon’s lyric, ‘I can see them laugh at me and I hear them say, Hey you’ve got to hide your love away’ to me is pure brilliance and a timeless message that certainly is as apropos today as it was fifty years ago, maybe even more so. I have always loved and related to those words, which is why I arranged IPKs version to repeat those lines in a sort of frantic build to accentuate the point. This is the only song I’ve ever covered in my entire career. The concept came to me as I was walking late at night in the mountains of Southern California in the Los Angeles area where I live. I am not a fan of ‘copycat’ covers where the artist covers the song and does it identical to the original. Frankly, it bores me and I’d rather listen to the original. I believe that if you are going to cover somebody’s song, you have to arrange it differently to make it you own even at the risk of people not liking it because it is different.

LILY: It is often said that great art arises from difficult experience. Is there something in your life experience thus far that you would describe as the ‘catalyst’ or ‘fuel’ for your desire to create music?
BARRY: I have always been obsessed with right and wrong, why people do terrible things to other people for their own self gratification. This happens on a micro level and a macro level so I relate strongly to psychology and sociology. This theme is prevalent in many of my songs, but certainly not all. Almost every review I’ve read regarding my songwriting will bear the phrase ‘thought provoking.’ I am a thinker, a lover of people, and a lover of life. I believe in God. The world in my opinion is in a terrible state. The human psyche has become twisted, making it difficult to live day to day on many levels. Economics and the lack of money, the rising costs of living, and the struggle to simply provide for your family in order to exist and live decently has been eroded, at least it has for me. This has been a tremendous struggle for me personally. My entire career has been a question of where the money is going to come from or if it will be there at all. Neither do I ever know how much. There is no security or regularity which makes it a very difficult to exist. However, I have tremendous faith and as long as I put my trust there, it always works out. An artist’s first job is to entertain. So too, and just as important as stated previously, is to write songs that are simple and positive. Also in this category are humorous songs found in my catalog. ‘Love’ is an important theme for me. The people on planet earth are burdened with problems. They need to escape if only for three minutes. As a writer, writing those types of songs as well as writing the ‘thought provoking’ songs are an escape deep within me which relieves much of the stress. I feel that if I am entertained and relieved, so too will the listener be. So struggle is a constant theme that is related to in my songs in different ways. I always knew even as a kid that I was blessed with a tremendous amount of wisdom. Imparting this wisdom in my songs as a guide to relieving the pain and struggle has created a fan base of followers who remain faithful from the first listen. I’m talking about those that get it. Those that don’t, don’t. But they can relate to the simpler themes. That’s why they are in the catalog. But I should point out that neither type of song is ever contrived.

LILY: How would you characterize yourself as an artist/musician? (Ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving...)
BARRY: Easily all the above. An example of ‘down-to earth’ can be verified in a critique of one of my songs by a reviewer. He wrote: ‘Just really down to earth good.’ I really like this song (‘Everything’s Going To Be Fine’). It evokes memories of a simpler time. The songwriting is strong and the melody is pleasant. I also take certain aspects of life very seriously, in a convivial manner, in an entertaining giving back kind of way. I am fun loving as well. I used to perform as a solo act bouncing back and forth between Cape Code and Nashua, NH. I worked for four brothers who owned both clubs. The clubs were called Brothers Four. At the time, I used to do a one man show. They stage was filled with musical instruments as if a rock band was going to perform. I would bounce from instrument to instrument and sing with each particular instrument as my backing. For example, I would play piano and sing or bass guitar and sing. I would do a three hour show and although it was filled with music, I always thought of myself more as a camp councilor for fun loving adults over the age of 21.

 

LILY: What has your experience been like working with the other people on your team?
BARRY: I was fortunate enough to land a publishing deal in NY as a young kid. I had become disinterested in college and just recovered from a year and a half lay off due to knee surgery from an injury I sustained while playing college soccer. I went to NY with $40.00 in my pocket and two 7” reel to reel tapes which each had about a half a dozen songs on them. They were guitar/vocal demos of my songs which I recorded at Rik Tinory’s recording studio outside of Boston made famous by Aerosmith’s documentary, ‘The Making Of Pump’. I knew no one in NY. My plan was simple…go to Port Authority, New York’s bus terminal, go to a phone booth, thumb through the yellow pages, find the listings of all the record labels in the city and call them. That’s exactly what I did. Call after call was rejection after rejection. No one would see an unknown, unsolicited young kid with dreams of having a recording career…except one guy. His name was Bob Cobb. He ran a publishing company, Shada Music for Billy Davis, most famous for having co-written : ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’. Billy was Vice President of McCann Erickson, one of the largest advertising companies in the world. Their clients included, Coca Cola, Heinz and Miller Beer. Bob Cobb’s office was in the infamous Brill Building, famous for housing the companies of some of the greatest songwriter’s in history of modern music. When I telephoned, much to my surprise Bob Cobb answered the telephone. I explained who I was and what I was looking for…someone to listen to my songs and that I was worthy of a record deal. Synchronicity is certainly a big component for success. It just so happened, that Bob Cobb was up to the ceiling in boxes and packing up his office to move to another floor in the Brill Building. He told me that he was sick of packing up these boxes and that he needed a break and would love to listen to my songs if I would consent to coming right over. I said I will be there in the time it takes me to drive from Port Authority to the Brill Building. I had my own car. When I arrived, there were boxes upon boxes piled high to the ceiling creating little, neat paths forming a maze. I could see no one as my view was obstructed by all the boxes. I called out and yelled ‘hello’ and heard a hello back. I saw Bob Cobb pop his head out from behind a pile of boxes and he very warmly said come in. Behind a bunch of boxes there was a desk and on the desk were two Revox reel to reel tape recorders with an amplifier and a set of speakers. He said he wasn’t taking his listening station apart until he was in the other office as he wanted to be able to listen to new writers. He put the first tape on the machine and hit play. I was very, very nervous but hopeful and confident. The whole tape played. He listened to every song in its entirety, saying nothing as the songs passed by. When the first tape finished, he said, ‘Very interesting’, then he put on the second tape which he listened to in its entirety, saying nothing as he listened intently. When the second tape finished he looked at me and said, ‘This is really good music. The songs are strong and well written….AND… I hear you as a recording artist.’ Wow, was I stoked. Within the next couple of months, I had an apartment on the upper West Side, was working with Billy Davis as my producer, recording at Mayfair Recording Studio with the best musicians in NY, and co-writing with Bill Backer a co-writer of ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’, President of McCann Erikson and other staff writers in Billy’s publishing company. I’m writing this because this first experience with Bob Cobb taught me much about how to develop a team of people around myself. The bottom line lesson…that you can build a team as long as you have the material to do so…plain and simple. I knew before leaving home that I had the goods. I was a good songwriter. I’ve followed that process throughout the years. Without a good song, you’ve got nothing. With the advent of the internet, as you know, you had to be somewhat of a visionary to see the future of music. My first album was released by Cool Records which was owned by Beverly Hills attorney, Neville Johnson. Neville was hired by my band mates in their negotiations with me. After negotiations were finished, Neville said to my band mates, ok I negotiated your deal, now let me hear the music. That night I received a phone call from Neville saying how much he like the album and that he would like to release it. The result was as I explained earlier on one of the other questions..KROQ, The Roxy, The Whiskey etc. When the internet arrived, I knew that the dynamic of releasing recorded music was going to change. The word ‘independent’ was everywhere. I knew the only way to make my career continue was to build a team of people. And the only way to build a team was to create songs that would pull people together, to want to work together, and to make the music happen commercially. Having learned from experience of watching other people put together teams on my behalf, and knowing as a kid going into NY with my songs to make that happen, I knew that I had to adhere to that same process in order to develop an ‘independent team’ in the new millennia. Neville Johnson and I decided that the only way to promote and sell music in the future would be to set up an internet presence. We teamed up with Jeff Hirschtick and formed the company, Cool Music Group LLC dba East Of Sideways Music. Neville is one of the top entertainment lawyers in Los Angeles. He has been voted in the ‘Top 100 Lawyers’ by the Hollywood Reporter seven years in a row. Just recently, he was the lead, featured article on the front page of the LA Times Business Section discussing both his law practice and musical endeavors. Jeff Hirschtick was a college roommate of Neville’s and hadn’t been in touch with Neville for 20 years. However, Neville invited Jeff to a recording session which I was engineering. Jeff said the moment he walked in and saw me behind the console, he knew we were going to be friends for life, and we are. Jeff became very interested in my songs and decided he wanted to help. We set up distribution with The Orchard and publishing administration with The Royalty network, both with their main offices in NY. We signed other writers to publishing deals as well as signing other recording artists to record deals. The philosophy being, there is strength in numbers. Also, I knew that because I don’t fit the demographic of what the major labels are looking for, I would have to carve my own trail. I became the staff producer and recorded in my home studio putting out product. This was the first step in developing a team. Now I had to focus on my personal team since the label and distribution were in place. I became friends with Colorado music publisher Rob Case. I had recorded about 14 songs of guitar/vocal, piano/vocal demos of new material following much the same procedure as when I was a kid leaving Boston for NY. Rob listened and suggested that I bring various business people into my studio to listen to the new songs. I was apprehensive because I thought that these music executives would not come out to my studio to listen to songs. Rob Case was right, I was wrong. They did come and listened and have become part of the team. At this point I do not want to divulge their names or to have their names put into print but I would be happy to do so in private. I was asked by team member, Dan Warren from Warren Media & Marketing who also is one of the principle administrators of the Hot Zone at the Namm Show if I’d be interested in working with him on setting up a panel. The Hot Zone brings in guest speakers to discuss the music business. For example Ken Scott, Beatles engineer comes to mind and gave a presentation. Stuart Copeland, drummer for the Police gave a presentation. There are many others with similar reputations that are brought in each year to speak. One of them is Matt Forger, who worked in the studio with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones for fifteen years starting with Thriller, and one of the most important people on my team. The best way to describe my team members is by the Namm panel I was asked to speak on two years ago. The panel’s focus was ‘making it as an independent artist in the new millennia’. When I was asked the question by an audience member, how does an independent artist go about being successful in the new age, my response was as follows: ‘The way you do this is to bring together people around your music who have strengths in areas that you are not strong in, areas in which they compliment the other in their own particular strengths and weaknesses. No one can do it all. You have to build a team. As I sit here on this panel, on one side of me is my partner in my record label/publishing company. On the other side of me is my producer. The moderator of the panel is from a legendary rock band who sits in on piano and does cameo appearances at my live shows. The guy who put on this Namm event handles my PR & promotion. At the far end of the panel is a music publisher from Colorado who gives me business advice. Next to him is an ex record label president responsible for some of the best music in history. Sitting in front of me in the audience is my art director, my web designer, my webmaster, my videographer, my drummer, my bass player & my guitar player. Why are they here? Because they are all part of the team that has come together around my music, all contributing strengths that neither of us have on our own, working together to make this music happen.’ Everybody to date on ‘my team’ is dedicated to making this happen. They are all great people and have all become very good friends. I consider it a blessing to have all these people in my life. I am very thankful. Each of us is committed to success, each of us believers in the songs.

LILY: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
BARRY: We had a piano in our house all the time I was growing up. We also had an accordion that was passed down from my Grandfather. My dad used to sit at the piano and sing ‘Baby Face.’ It was about the only song I think he knew. My mom was musically trained and had sheet music in the piano bench but oddly enough, I don’t ever remember her playing the piano. But the piano was a player piano. We had rolls and rolls of popular songs that you put into the piano mechanism. I would sit at the piano for hours pumping the foot pedals as the piano rolls played. The piano was played by pumping the foot pedals, producing air that went through the holes in the piano roll made of paper which made the piano keys play. Not only did the keys move, but the lyric scrolled on the roll as I pumped the pedals. I was able to read the lyrics and sing the songs for each of the hundred or so songs that we had in our piano roll library. This gave me an understanding at a very early age of how the pop song was constructed and started me on my singing career. It was kind of a piano roll karaoke.

LILY: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
BARRY: The most rewarding thing about being an artist is self expression, not following anybody else’s rules and making your own identity regardless of what others think or how you are perceived by popular culture or the establishment for that matter. The most challenging thing is trying to make that expression accessible to others in a marketing world that does not like to deviate from its current norm, where the cover is more important than the content That being said however, we would not have had Dylan or Joni had somebody not recognized that they were different from the norm at the time.

LILY: Who are your role models in music?
BARRY: The number one role model for me of course is The Beatles, but not only in their song writing, arranging, singing and performing which I was completely enraptured by as a kid, but also George Martin’s production, bringing in classical music to pop culture as well as Norman’ Smith’s and Geoff Emerick’s engineering techniques. I would then add all those other bands that became known at the time like The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Searchers, The Yardbirds, Cream, The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, The Dave Clark Five and on to The Monkees to Queen, to Radiohead, to Muse. Bob Dylan was a major influence lyrically and certainly his musical stylings were an influence as well. Cat Steven’s songs had a tremendous impact on me because of his spiritual nature, his social commentary and inner journey reflected in his songs. James Taylor’s acoustic guitar style and his melancholy nature had a great impact as well as Hendrix’s aggressive, wild nature and guitar playing. Joni Mitchell’s piano playing with her descriptive lyrical content was a guiding force as well.

LILY: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
BARRY: My very last performance at the Brothers Four in Nashua New Hampshire has to be one of the greatest thrills of my life. I had been traveling from Los Angeles to The Brothers Four in Nashua and Cape Cod, Falmouth to be more specific, Cape Code in the summer, Nashua in the winter. I had built up quite a following and fan base in New England. One of my songs was being played on one of Boston’s premier radio stations. I was adored by the fans. There were many nights that I left the stage and went to my dressing room and I would hear the crowd chanting out my name so that I would return for an encore. I just remember strumming my last chord on my last performance and everybody in the place knew I was leaving for good. The reason being is that one of the brothers was opening a club in San Francisco and he was building that club entirely around me. I was offered a partnership as the entertainer for the club which I accepted. So I strummed my last chord, as I was trying to leave the stage, a line of about ten bouncers made a barricade between me and the audience so I could safely get back to the dressing room. There was always this type of frenzy and it was dubbed ‘Barrymania’ at the club. But this night was out control. When I made it back to the dressing room, I remember sitting and listening to the people chanting, ‘Barry, Barry Barry.’ They were stomping so hard on the floor that the building was actually shaking I couldn’t believe that I was so well liked by this audience and it was the most gratifying feeling I’ve ever had on a stage.

LILY: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists out there who are unsure and need guidance?
BARRY: Only you know. You know the extent of your belief in yourself and your abilities. I am not on top of the world and never have reached my goal. However, I am still trying. Why? Because I believe in myself and my talent. There is no talent on planet earth like me and Invisible Poet Kings. Although I always listen to and take criticism, I only use it to my advantage in order to make myself better. I never allow the criticisms or the people who don’t like me or don’t respond to me to detour me from my goal. The rejections are all subjective for a whole host of reasons which you can never second guess or you will go crazy. Nobody in this business has all the insight to the golden ticket. Build a good reputation. Gain the respect of others. Never doubt if you truly believe. Be prepared to sacrifice much of what normal people in ‘normal lifestyles’ attain in day to day living. Be prepared to do without. There’s an old cliché: ‘You’ve got to suffer if you want to sing the blues.’ Be prepared to suffer. Be prepared to not be treated equally when it comes to banks, insurance, renting apartments, buying cars and the like. Be prepared to go without money. Be prepared to have no financial security. Be prepared to be disliked. Be prepared to be loved. Be confident as to who you are. Do not be like everybody else or anybody else. Be your own person, your own artist regardless of comparisons. People always compare. We are all influenced by someone or something. Focus on your goal and do not veer from it. Know your positioning in relationship to where the world’s psyche is. Are you in stride with the general populace’s thinking or out of stride? If out of stride, be prepared for rejection or submit to them for the sake of survival but be prepared to surrender your convictions. I can’t do that, never could. Then when all is said and done, you need to have good luck. Good luck comes from building good relationships with others, finding like minded individuals who see the same journey towards success. Never give up. You can never fail as long as you continue to try. You fail when you stop trying. Never stop trying if this is truly what you want in life. It is a tough, difficult, and many times, a thankless existence. Is it worth it to you? It is to me.

LILY: What's next for you as an artist? Is there a new single in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
BARRY: I have been working in the studio with Matt Forger now for almost two years. Besides working in the studio with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones for 15 years, Matt has a very impressive resume working with many of the best artists and film makers. Matt and I mapped out a plan and a procedure at which we focused our goal at success. This entailed recording a new album titled, ‘Mutiny in the Dream Tent.’ We decide that we did not want to follow the old format of recording a whole album and then releasing it and trying to promote it. Rather we made the decision to record one song at a time with video, each song to be included in the final album. These singles would be released as a collection of songs when we had approximately 14 songs/videos finished. Our thinking is that by releasing one song/video at a time, we can build a fan base that will embrace the release of the whole album. This coincides with the fact that we are in a singles market, however, we feel that the song writing and artistic talent from Invisible Poet Kings is so strong in its depth and accessibility that it will deliver a totally coherent and cohesive album even though the songs are from different genres. The Beatles had a tremendous amount of success with this concept. For example, there may be a folk type of song mixed with a rock type song, mixed with a vaudeville type song yet produced in such a way that all the songs work together as a whole and sonically sound similar causing variety in one album not sameness as has been the practice for years. This we believe allows us to offer more to the listener in an album that what has been displayed in music over the course of the last couple of decades. This we believe will build a following and a fan base in order to prepare the way for the album’s release. Needless to say, this plan is taking time. We have recorded approximately eight or nine songs so far. Four are finished. Three are nearly finished. Two have finished videos and three have videos in the works. Our schedule is to try to release one song and video about every three to four months until the album is finished.

LILY: Thank you Barry for taking the time to discuss your amazing musical career and life experiences! You are a very talented artist and we are eagerly looking forward to your next big hit!

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