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| 12 April 2014 | Reply

Cool – what does the word mean?  It is so hard a concept to grasp, especially when discussing music, idols, and all around Americana.  What is cool today, may be uncool tomorrow; what is cool to one person may be lame to another.  That said, it is hard to argue the coolness factor The Rat Pack brought to the music and entertainment worlds, especially Dean Martin.  His legacy has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, but one of his greatest lasting points is his daughter, recording star in her own right and a classy lady I have recently come to refer to as the Queen of Croon.  I couldn’t wait to get her on the phone…

Deana Martin-Head Shot-Destination Moon

Toddstar: Hello Deana. How are you?

Deana: I am very good. How about yourself?

Toddstar: Excellent. Thank you.  First off, let me thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. We really appreciate you lending us a few minutes today.

Deana: It’s an honor for me and its fun. This is what we do.

Toddstar:  It is what you do – other than wow people with your voice.

Deana: Thank you. Thank you for saying that.

Toddstar: Let’s talk about ‘Destination Moon,’ your latest album. I’ve been spinning this thing like crazy since, ever since Hayley was kind enough to send me a copy.  This disc has been in my player non-stop.

Deana: I’m happy to hear that.

Toddstar: There’s some song’s I want to dive into a bit later, but what can you tell me about the process of recording this album that really just stands out for you and made this one even more special than your last couple albums?

Deana: Gosh, that’s a good question. For me, first of all, I started with and have been compiling this list for many years, it’s my wish list of the all the songs I’m going to record. Then we go down and we sit with the arranger and we figure out, ‘What songs would be right together for the album?’ When we put this one together and there’s a couple different songs, it’s not just The Great American Songbook but when we were able to actually put the duet with my dad on this album it was… It tied the whole thing together for me and what kind of happened that was so wonderful was when my handsome husband John found the original handwritten Nelson Riddle arrangement of “True Love,” I thought ‘Oh my gosh. I’m going to be able to record this with my dad.’  As I said, it tied the whole album together because I have wonderful songs by great arrangers, excuse me, great writers and picking out the songs that would go together. Who knew that “G.I. Jive” from Johnny Mercer, gosh, it’s from the 40’s would work with “Break It To Me Gently” on an album. We worked it out and the process for me was sitting down with the arranger, thinking about the songs that I’ve always wanted to record and trying to figure out what kind of arrangements would make this whole thing come together.  Each song one after another for me; to be able to sing “Beyond The Sea” because I love Bobby Darin and “I Love Being Here With You,” Peggy Lee wrote that song. Then my new songs, it was just … It took us, oh gosh, about a year figuring out arrangements and musicians because we handpicked everybody. Actually Big Fish Records, that’s my husband John and myself we do all of it, we produce it and it is a total labor of love. We don’t have any … It’s not synthesizers, it’s real strings, it’s real orchestra and it’s that whole process of going into the recording studio, watching it all happen and tweaking it here and there and then going in and laying down the vocal at Capitol Records in Hollywood where my dad recorded all of his, so much of his music to use his microphone.  Especially for “True Love,” I was in there holding the chart that my dad held while he sang that song. That was pretty amazing for me to be able to do that and I’m looking at “True Love” handwritten by Nelson Riddle and it says, ‘Dean’ up in the corner. Oh my gosh. What a feeling that was.

CD Destination Moon

Toddstar: It had to be surreal.

Deana: It was. I’m in Studio A where all the incredible people have recorded; I’m talking about Uncle Frank Sinatra, Uncle Sammy Davis Jr., Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, The Beatles. Everybody recorded there and as I said I’m holding that chart and it was overwhelming for me.

Toddstar: I’m sure it was.  You mentioned “True Love” and to me there was no better way to wrap up the album.  A lot of people may have lead the album with that but to me, like you said, you kind of tied the album together with “True Love” by ending on that note. For me, really helps tie the songs together; you brought your father’s classic sound together with your classy sound.  Was that intentional for you to say, “Let’s end on this high note,” or it’s something where the tracking worked right?”

Deana: It’s a … Gosh, and I’m so glad that you said all of those things and thank you for saying my classy music, it really is a great song and it’s just part of me. I wanted … I was so thrilled to put “True Love” on this album and actually my record promoter had said, “We got to start with that. That’s got to be the opening song so that everybody will play that first,” and I said, “No.” That kind of wraps up all of it and it says it all for me and that it brings it all together and it is a true love. It’s the love of the music, it’s the love of my father and it’s the love of recording an album that people can sit and listen to over and over again and the songs don’t sound the same.  To tell you the truth, nowadays I’d buy an album and it seems like and I say, “Is this the next song or was that the last song?” Seems like they’re all sounding the same to me and this disc, the arrangements, it was so important to me to get just the right arrangements and pick different songs and it did, it just tied it up for me like a beautiful little package with the bow on top and that was that beautiful duet with my dad.

Toddstar: You mentioned that you just went to arrangement to arrangement. I’m listing to the disc now from “Break It To Me Gently” to “About A Quarter To Nine” and it’s just … it’s almost seems like it’s out of place but it works.

Deana: Yes. We were thinking, “Wait, are these going to work together?” Here you got, “I Love Being Here With You,” “Beyond The Sea,” “G.I. Jive,” “Break It To Me Gently,” and “A Quarter To Nine” and I’m going, “How is going to work?” But it was… it works beautifully. When we sat there and of course seeking out the order, to me it was almost like doing one of my shows. You have the opener and then you have the middle and then you have the end. That’s how we approach it but as … for me of course I always knew that “True Love” had to be the last song because it just says it all and boom and that’s it. I love “About A Quarter To Nine.”

Toddstar: It’s one of my favorite songs on the disc.

Deana: Yeah, it’s just fun and not many people know the song but it just has this up, it’s just an up feeling and my dad recorded it, I just love it.

Toddstar: Great. We know that your memoir, “Memories Are Made Of This” is somewhere in the film making process. What can you tell us about that project and where it is now?

Deana: Alright. It’s in the hands actually of Joe Mantegna. When he read the book, when he got the book a few years ago and he called me and he said, “Deana, I have to do this movie. I have to direct it.” Because I thought he probably wanted to play dad but he’s annoyed just have to direct it and then we were talking with Bonnie Hunt who is such a huge Dean Martin fan and I was doing her show and I said, “Bonnie, I really would like for you to write the screenplay.” I don’t know, did you ever see her movie ‘Return To Me?

Memories Are Made Of This-Dean Martin Through His Daughters Eyes-300.8x12

Toddstar: I did.

Deana: Yeah, that was so touching and she had all that stuff about Dean Martin which is so cute and she loves Dean Martin so I thought it will have the respect and the love that I will want the person to write the screenplay with. Jennifer Love-Hewitt, she … It was such a great night for me. I was doing my show in Feinstein’s in New York and I get to the part in my show where I say, “You know I’m making the book into a movie,” and I said, “I would love for Jennifer Love-Hewitt to play me in the movie,” and I hear from the audience, “Okay. I’ll do it,” I said, “What?” Jennifer was in the audience with her mom and she said, “It’s me Jennifer Love-Hewitt I’d love to play you in the movie.”  That came together and we’re now … everybody’s been quite busy and Jennifer had her baby in November so she’s getting back. Bonnie has been busy but we are now trying to figure out who could be Dean Martin and if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear it from you, that will be the hard person to cast.

Toddstar: How do you cast the King of Cool?

Deana: You’re absolutely right, I don’t know and he had such a way about him, he was tall, dark, handsome, he could sing. He was a great actor, he was funny – he was so funny – he was so cool and he had that look in his eye. He had this look in his eye that he like he knew something that we don’t know. It was like he had all figure out. We have got to find a fabulous, fabulous actor who can pull that off and they haven’t found it yet.

Toddstar: I would say looking back, he knew quite a few things none of us knew.  How many other could have had the career he did whether it be in comedy, the movies, singing.  He has a Grammy, three stars on the  Hollywood Walk of Fame stars. He knew something we didn’t.

Deana: He did know something we didn’t and did in such a sweet nice way. Nothing … Nothing seemed to bother him he was, “That’s fine,” and there was a one thing with my dad which was so cute. I’ll tell you. He was a typical Italian father, “This is my house, you live by my rules,” and we were all good kids. His thing was he wouldn’t say anything until he had it up to here and then that was it. We don’t do that anymore and that’s just the way he was in his life and he never got mad at anybody, it was just, “Okay, that’s over. Move on.” He did know … He knew a lot more than we know and when you would see him on his TV show or on stage that’s exactly who he was. He wasn’t like this mean guy who, you know, at home, he was … He was just that guy, easy, relaxed and natural.

Toddstar: Very cool. You mentioned moving on. Moving on from this album, again the book is on its way to a movie process, you just close to 40th anniversary of the last episode of your father’s variety show. What’s next for Deana, I mean are you going to take this thing on the road and hit hopefully Detroit?

Deana: You know what, I am coming back to Detroit and in fact I’m on the road 280 days out of the year. I will … If people come on to and click on tours and events you’ll see where I’m going to be and I think … Actually I might be coming on to Andiamo there. I love Detroit and … Are you in Detroit?

Toddstar:  I am.

Deana: You are? All right, great, well you’ve got to see my show. I’m traveling all over. We continue to … And it’s all different venues. In Nashville I’ll be at the Symphony with the Nashville Symphony which is 88 Musicians, unbelievable, my arrangements. Then I will be in North Carolina or Hilton Head, Carolina at the Jazz Corner with my quintet. We travel all over the place and I would love for people to come to the show. I am continuing to record. I have a country album that I will be recording. Just spoke to Mickey Gilley today, he wants to do a duet with me and we will be doing that.  I’m going to have the album I think after that when it’s just going to be more jazz with say piano, bass, drum, guitar and probably one horn, sax or something. That will be a little different. We just keep going and keep moving on. I’ll tell you what they’re going to have to get the hook for me, I’m going to have to out kicking and screaming.

Deana with husband John Griffeth

Toddstar: You mentioned in the front end of this the interview that you have a long list of songs. What’s at the top of that list still that you want to record, Deana?

Deana: Oh gosh, now that’s a good … Gosh, there’s so many. Let me see. What is my…  I would like to do… my dad recorded it. Oh, I just drawn a blank but it’s so beautiful and it’s … “La Vie En Rose,” now I would love … It’s such a fabulous song but when I hear my dad sing it, it’s so beautiful. That’s one of them that’s on my list and there’s more contemporary songs that of course that I want to do and country songs. I’m still trying to figure out the one with Mickey Gilley and maybe Steve Holy but there’s a lot … There’s a lot that I still have to do.

Toddstar: I’d love to hear you take on “Go Go Go Go,” that’s one of favorites of your father’s.

Deana: Really?

Toddstar: Yes, I love that song.

Deana: Sing a little bit of it for me.

Toddstar: No, not a chance. I’m an accountant not a vocalist.

Deana: He had so many songs. When I hear him sing, I mean it was just beautiful and it was just… Just to hear his voice and the way he just sang so naturally it’s a … He knew it was a God given gift and he used it very well.

Toddstar: Yes, he did and so do you. I don’t want to make this piece only about your father because your album is just phenomenal. I think you used your previous releases as a starting point and took everything up a notch and you are to be commended for that for sure.

Deana: Thank you. I think we did too. I think that if you’re not getting better you’re going backwards.  Yeah, so we keep… We keep trying to improve with as I say great musicians, great arrangements, wonderful songs, and really putting our heart and soul into it and that’s what we do and I think it’s important.

Toddstar: I know you’re busy. I got one more for you.  You got so much going on.  You have the new album ‘Destination Moon,’ you got your tour, you got the movie on its way, just everything is going on and moving upward for you. At this point Deana what is the meaning of life?

Deana: What is the meaning of life?  For me, first I’m living the dream and for me to be able to spread… I know personally this is a God given gift that I was given and also to be named Deana Martin which has opened many, many doors. The love and the respect and the joy that Dean Martin brought to the world is so treasured and precious that for me to be able to continue this and to sing my music, to bring that kind of joy to people and it is happening. Because when I talk to people after my show, they come up to me and they say, “Oh my gosh, fabulous show. I love your music,” and it’s a joy that they are getting. I think that’s what I was meant to do. For me that’s the meaning … Also in fact I have a fabulous husband, a son and grandkids, all of that is so especial and I’ve been truly blessed with that. I think bringing beautiful music to the world is really, really important  for me.

Toddstar: Excellent. On that, I would love to thank you for launching ‘Destination Moon’ on the public.  Myself, I’d love to thank you for the “Frim Fram Sauce…”

Deana: You got it with some shafafa on the side.

Toddstar: Exactly. Thank you so much for your time Deana and I will talk to you soon.

Deana: All right, great and thank you for doing all your homework. This was a fun interview. Thank you.

Toddstar: Thank you.

Deana: All right, bye-bye.

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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