A couple of questions with Bobby La Roche of The Sighs
ALSO: The Sighs were featured in our The Best Albums You've (Probably) Never Heard feature.
Bullz-Eye: For those just learning about What Goes On now, can you give a nutshell summary of your career prior to its release?
Bobby La Roche: Before What Goes On was released in June 1992, The Sighs slogged it out for ten years on the New England college and club circuit (being from Massachusetts). During that time, we released a single (45 vinyl) and an EP, got pretty good reviews, and continued to improve as songwriters and as a live act. We started to do very well in NYC at The China Club, at that time – in early 1990 – located in the basement of the Beacon Theater, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The industry took notice, and we eventually signed with Charisma Records, who in those days were a subsidiary of Virgin Records.
BE: Do you recall any anecdotes from the recording of the album?
BL: In August 1991, the Sighs flew to Los Angeles to record their major label debut at A + M Studios in Hollywood. We recorded in Studio A, which is where the song "We Are the World" was cut. It was by far the largest studio on the lot…which seemed a bit silly to us. Recording in the other studios that made up the A + M complex at that time were Sheryl Crow, U2, Maria McKee, Patti Smyth, and several others. On our first day of recording, a representative of the studio gave us a guided tour. A + M studios were located on the former Charlie Chaplin soundstage and headquarters. The night before our arrival, Sting had his birthday party in the soundstage with a few hundred friends. We managed to get some of his leftover beer sent to Studio A…a full keg of Newcastle Brown Ale, it was. That pretty much set the tone for the sessions. We had an absolute blast…and managed to cut a pretty good album.
BE: Did you expect the record to have a better commercial reception than it did?
BL: To be honest....yes, we did. You have to realize, our record label was spending a fortune on the recording. They hired Ed Stasium to produce the sessions, and he was hot in those days, having produced Living Colour, Jeff Healey, the Smithereens, et cetera. The record was released in June 1992. The single, "Think about Soul," got solid reviews and did pretty well on what was then called the "Modern Rock" charts. While we were touring the states in September, EMI Records bought out Virgin Records, who was our parent company. This was not good news for What Goes On. Our distributor was changed, and it became increasingly difficult to find our record in stores. By the end of 1992, it had vanished from the shelves…though you can still find copies on eBay!
BE: Are you pleased to find that it still maintains enough of a following to make its way into this piece?
BL: Genuinely pleased.
BE: What are you doing now?
BL: I'm currently writing and performing with my wife, Patricia Vonne, in Austin, TX. Her third CD will be released in Spring 2007, and we have toured Europe 10 times in the past three years.