A couple of questions with Peter Hewlett of Novo Combo
ALSO: Novo Combo was featured in our The Best Albums You've (Probably) Never Heard feature.
Bullz-Eye: For those just learning about Animation Generation now, can you give a nutshell summary of your career prior to its release?
Peter Hewlett: I played in local bands in the Pittsburgh area for a number of years. Then in 1977 I worked with singer/songwriter Eric Carmen. I was later involved with a recording project with a group in Cleveland called The Euclid Beach Band. Eric Carmen produced the album. In 1979 I moved to New York to work with Carly Simon. We did one LP and a short tour. A friend in NY told me about an ad in the Village Voice, and that Michael Shrieve was forming a band and looking for a guitar player/singer. I auditioned and got the job. Along with Michael, Jack Griffith, and Stephen Dees, we played around NY and we signed a recording deal with Polygram. We did 2 LPs, Novo Combo and Animation Generation.
BE: Do you recall any anecdotes from the recording of the album?
PH: We went through a few changes. We changed producers, having Elliot Scheiner produce instead of Chris Kinsey who did our first LP. We also changed lead guitar players bringing Carlos Rios onboard.
BE: Did you expect the record to have a better commercial reception than it did?
PH: Yes, but I think the fact that we made the changes took us in a different direction than our first LP. Some of the company's execs felt that we got away from the sound we had developed on our critically acclaimed first record. But there were a few tracks on Animation that I thought would have some commercial impact.
BE: Are you pleased to find that it still maintains enough of a following to make its way into this piece?
PH: Very much so. It's great to still have people remember and still dig the record. Feels very good.
BE: What are you doing now?
PH: Currently recording and performing around the Pittsburgh area. We have a website. Check it out; it's always great to hear from old Novo fans.