In accession to confined in Joel’s bandage for the aftermost 32 years, and as agreeable administrator for Starr’s All Starr Band, for the aftermost 19, Rivera — a multi-instrumentalist and accompanist — has recorded or performed alive with a star-studded account of artists including Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennett, Don Henley, and Sam & Dave.
The Brooklyn built-in assuredly absitively it was time to sing his own song, and appear his aboriginal abandoned album, “Common Bond,” in February. A aggregate of bar-band rockers, aerial ballads, and a few covers that acquisition Rivera’s soulful carol advanced and center, “Bond” offers Starr and Joel — who jams out on Hammond B-3 on a ripping booty of Jimi Hendrix’s “Spanish Castle Magic” — a adventitious to be sidemen, alongside added accompany including guitarists extraordinaire Steve Lukather, Nils Lofgren of the E Street Band, and Robert Randolph.
When we accomplished out to Starr for comment, he winkingly responded: “As a conga player, a sax player, a piano player, and a guitar amateur — he’s a abundant dancer!” He added, “Mark is our baby acquaintance and a abundant musician.”
We bent up with Rivera at home in New York, area he’s been arena Joel’s address at Madison Square Garden, and he still gets a little Starr-struck talking about that gig. “It’s an amazing friendship,” he says of the Beatle. “I’m actual blessed. He’s aloof a funny, funny man. I adulation him so much.”
Rivera hits Fenway Park with Joel for a sold-out appearance Thursday, and will assurance copies of “Common Bond” Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble at the Prudential Center. Naturally, he’s additionally convening a bandage to comedy a few originals and covers.
Q. How has the address with Billy been going?
A. Tremendously. Billy is aloof absent to accumulate things fresh. Since we started this, we’ve done about 58 songs. He’s singing bigger than he has in 15 years.
Q. Aloof like the artisan at centermost stage, sidemen additionally accept to comedy the aforementioned songs over and over. Which songs do you still adulation playing?
A. The songs I adulation the best are the abstruse tunes — you mentioned afore “Close to the Borderline,” “Laura,” “All for Leyna.” “New York State of Mind” is great, but the songs that we don’t get to do that generally are the ones that I adulation the most.
Q. You’ve commonly juggled Billy and Ringo after a lot of overlap, but I apperceive you had to opt out of a few shows across with Billy to comedy with Ringo, and now you’re missing Ringo’s summer bout to comedy with Billy. You’re a active man.
A. Nils Lofgren said to me, “Mark, you had to adjudge amid Ringo Starr and Billy Joel, that’s what we alarm a albino problem. Which canteen do you accessible up?” [Laughs.]
Q. Tell me about your addition to “Sledgehammer.”
A. We were [in the studio] . . . myself, [trumpeter] Wayne Jackson, and [trombonist] Don Mikkelsen, and there was some guitar, synth, and bass [on the track]. And Peter Gabriel said, “All right, guys, accept to the clue and comedy the aboriginal affair that comes to your head.” And I affirm the aboriginal affair I played was [he sings the aperture horn line] “ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-da, da-ba-da.” That band started the accomplished thing. There’s not a distinct agenda that was accounting for that chart; it was all arch charts. I came up with something. Wayne came up with something. It was affectionate of like “Show me what you’ve got,” and the actual aboriginal affair I played was that aperture lick. I’m actual appreciative of that one. The aforementioned affair happened with [the non-solo sax genitalia on Foreigner’s] “Urgent.” The aboriginal affair that I played aback I came to the flat was absolutely what you hear.
Q. You’ve been arena with anybody abroad for years. What took so continued to accomplish a almanac of your own?
A. The actuality of what you aloof said: I was adored to accept a career that was putting my two sons through academy and befitting me in my house, which is a actual acceptable thing. It assuredly hit me a little over two years ago, I had these abundant tracks. Getting Billy to comedy B-3 on it is a coup. It’s funny. I apperceive aback from aback we were all adolescent he was in [rock bands] the Hassles and Attila, and that’s his aboriginal love, Hammond B-3. Aback I explained what I hoped he ability do for me, he fabricated all these duke gestures and he’s all activated [talking about organists] Lee Michaels and Jon Lord [of Deep Purple]. And that’s absolutely what I wanted. I didn’t appetite him to appear in and comedy piano or sing accomplishments vocals; I capital him to rip that B-3. So I got absolutely lucky.
Q. Did you accept any agitation about allurement Ringo and Billy to bedfellow on it?
A. My announcement is you don’t use a trump agenda adjoin a 4. You delay until you’re up adjoin a king. I’ve formed with Billy for 32 years and Ringo advancing on 19. Aback I asked Ringo “Would you do me the account of arena drums on one of my songs?” his acknowledgment was, [adopting a Liverpudlian accent] “Oh you anticipate I can?” [Laughs.] And I said, “Yeah, I anticipate you absolutely can.” For this I accept to accord complete acclaim to [co-writer-producer] Jimmy Bralower. He was the one who said, “Hey, man, aloof ask ’em.” If you’ve apparent any of my performances, I accord all of myself, be it to a allowance of 30,000 bodies or a allowance of 16 bodies at a club, because absolutely bluntly if you amusement it any added way again abashment on you. Integrity will consistently rise. I asked these bodies alive that I’ve accustomed every ounce of me on any appearance that I’ve anytime done for them. And it was about affectionate of sneaky, because they affectionate of knew they couldn’t say no, because I’ve been so acceptable to them. [Laughs.]
Mark Rivera will comedy with Billy Joel at Fenway Park on Thursday. The appearance is awash out. Rivera will accomplish and assurance copies of his new album, “Common Bond,” at the Barnes and Noble at the Prudential Centermost at 800 Boylston St. Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Interview has been edited and condensed. Sarah Rodman can be accomplished at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman.
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