Songs In The Key Of Philly

David Uosikkinen, the drummer for The Hooters has launched a pretty cool, ambitious project. He’s recording the Essential Songs Of Philadelphia, songs he’s particularly fond of that were recorded in Philly or were written and performed by Philadelphians. The songs will feature the ITP (In The Pocket) band, with a revolving line up of Philly musicians. For his first song, Uosikkinen chose to cover “All My Mondays” by the 80’s band Youth Camp. The band for this session included Eric Bazilian (guitar/vocals) and Rob Hyman (keyboards/vocals) of The Hooters, vocalist Richard Bush (The A’s/Peace Creeps), Greg Davis (guitar) of Beru Revue and bassist William Wittman (Too Much Joy/Cyndi Lauper).

Youth Camp existed in Philly in the mid-80’s for about six months. The band was local “supergroup” that included Uosikkinen along with Joey Wilson, guitarist John Kuzma and bassist Rob Miller. The incredibly talented Wilson, who I saw a lot back in the day passed away on Christmas Eve at the age of 43 in 1998. He was the first artist signed by Stevie Nicks to her Modern Records label (see video below of the song “If You Don’t Want My Love”) and his debut solo album was released in 1980.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Settlement Music School and the song is available digitally here or here. You can check out the video of the session right below.

I caught up with David via e-mail about the project:

The Key: What inspired you to start this program?
David: It was my move from Southern California back to Philadelphia a year ago. I started reflecting on the music that came out of Philly that inspired me as a young musician. Bands like The Nazz, The American Dream, Edison Electric, Good God, so many great bands and that was just the 70’s! Also, the Philly International sound and David Bowie, making Philadelphia one of his main stops and even recording his break through record, “Young Americans” here at Sigma Sound. Maybe it’s a bit selfish. But, I wanted to record music that made me feel good about life.

The Key: I remember seeing Youth Camp once and I was big fan of Joey Wilson. I still have his debut album. What did you like about him as a musician?
David: Joey was Errol Flynn meets Paul McCartney. He was a prolific song writer with a voice that was one of the greatest instruments I have ever heard. He was one of the funniest people on the planet. With Youth Camp, we all liked the raucousness coming out of the Punk scene. So, it was our closest attempt at being Punk… We were in to Prince and the Beatles, and that influenced the Youth Camp songs like “All My Mondays.”

The Key: What songs or bands you’re thinking about covering moving forward?
David: “Open My Eyes” by The Nazz jumped out of the speaker on my AM radio when I first heard it in ’67. “I Ain’t Searchin'” by The American Dream, “Expressway” by the Soul Survivors, “Back Stabbers” by the O’Jay’s…all great songs. Robert Hazard, The A’s, Kenn Kweder, Johnny’s Dance Band, John Kuzma’s “Love and Indecision”. And maybe one from The Hooters early years. Something that never got recorded.

The Key: There were a lot of great clubs in Philly back in the day. JC Dobbs or the Chestnut Cabaret? Is it even fair to ask that?
David: UGH… I’d sit in with bands from time to time at JC Dobbs. But, I wasn’t a part of that scene. JC Dobbs was a very special place. I didn’t realize it at the time. It was a very unique place where a band could play their songs, make a few bucks, try out new stuff, get totally hammered and walk home. I loved the Chestnut Cabaret. But, JC Dobbs, that was Philly!