June 01, 2005

STORYTIME: THE CHURCHILLS

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Scoring a song placement and an appearance on Spin City was a big deal for New York's The Churchills, remembers singer/guitarist Ron Haney. The appreciation was reciprocal, as series star Michael J. Fox made it clear to the band that the tune was important to him.

Haney recently recalled the experience on the outdoor set, what Fox said to him about the band's song "Everybody Gets What They Deserve" and the belated meaning of Fox's words.

Ron Haney: "With the windchill [factor], it was about 6 degrees -- maybe a little less than that. We were on the corner of 23rd Street [in New York], at the Flatiron Building . . . we set up our instruments, freezing . . . in between takes, everyone's putting big parkas on, taking care of themselves the way they should. And we just wore our little 1960s suits with the high buttons. We were just so happy to be there and so happy to be doing it.

"In between one of the takes, Michael came walking over to [singer/bassist] Bart [Schoudel] and me [and said], 'Who wrote this song?' And we were like, 'We did.' He said, 'Let me just tell you now: This might not make sense to you now, but this song means a lot to me. It is so important to me.' He was just really laying the superlatives on.

"The chorus of 'Everybody Gets What They Deserve' is 'This disease brings me to my knees/This disease kills me by degrees.' And then he came out with the announcement just a few months later [that he had Parkinson's disease]. The whole song is about drug addiction, but it could be about anything that's bringing you down, and that's how he interpreted it, which is the wonderful thing about lyrics.

"He also used the song in his farewell episode; we actually got two more placements out of that song. And then at the wrap party -- after he was all done; he had shot his final episode -- we got invited to it. We were there and we were talking to him. At that point, having divulged what he had divulged, you could see some of the signs of deterioration. He is one of the sweetest, most amazing people that we ever met. He was wonderful to work with and just a gentleman through and through.

"But to talk to him at that wrap party and to understand at that moment what part of the song spoke to him was almost like an epiphany for me. It was like a revolutionary moment. I was living in New Jersey at the time [I wrote that song], which was eventually [heard] by 32 million people on that one episode . . . the power of music and the spirituality of it speaks in waves that you can never imagine sometimes."

The Odds of Winning, the latest Churchills album, is due June 14 on Near Records (distributed by Red Eye). The official Churchills Web site is www.thechurchills.net. The band will perform a record release show June 8 at Arlene's Grocery in New York.

-- By Chris M. Junior

Posted by medleyville at June 1, 2005 09:42 PM
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