Paul Shaffer to receive Wharton Award: Opens up to Trev about early SNL , Blues Brothers
If I could pick any five people I'd like to interview, Paul Shaffer would be on that list.
Shaffer will be honored by the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts in New Jersey with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its Together We Celebrate annual gala Thursday, March 10 at the Westmont Country Club in Woodland Park.
The Wharton Institute located in Patterson as well as Berkley Heights, and New Providence comprises the New Jersey Youth Symphony, Performing Arts School (formerly WMC), and Paterson Music Project. Wharton is an independent, nonprofit community performing arts education center that serves more than 1,500 students through its programs.
I was fortunate enough t speak with Shaffer on New Jersey 101.5 about the award and his career, which includes "Saturday Night Live", "Late Night with David Letterman," "The Late Show with David Letterman," his memories of Ronnie Spector and so much more. So much that I'm writing a series of posts on our conversation which you can hear in its entirety here starting at 1:00:00:
But this piece focuses on Shaffer's time with Saturday Night Live and his work on "The Blues Brothers"
How much fun is it being Paul Shaffer?
"I certainly had a lot of fun. I can't deny it," says Shaffer. 'I've had the time of my life and I don't know how I got here but a lot of great stuff happened and the Wharton school was lovely and they're giving me a lifetime achievement award and I will humbly accept and do a few numbers."
Shaffer talked about working with Gilda Radner, which started long before SNL in 1972 in Toronto Canada in "Godspell." They wrote "Touch Me With My Clothes On" together:
"Nicest person, cutest. She had a one-woman Broadway show at the Winter Garden Theatre and she opened with a beautiful sentimental song called, "Let's Talk Dirty to the Animals, and boy did she ever. Nobody could talk dirty to the animals as cute as Gilda."
It was Shaffer backing Bill Murray as "Nick the Lounge Singer" on "Star Wars":
"A highlight," says Shaffer. "A number of us used to put those things together with Bill every time he would do them but he always knew what songs he was going to do. He knew what would be funny" I think Carrie Fisher was even the host of that week's show."
Shaffer also reminisced about working with John Belushi in the "Blues Brothers"
"He and I put that band together one by one, almost like Danny (Ackroyd) wrote about it in the movie, one musician at a time, signing them up," says Shaffer. "Very intense. The guys John and Danny were both huge at the time from Saturday Night Live, everybody wanted to play for them because out of everybody, we really picked a really great band of R&B and Blues musicians so we really had quite a legit R and B revue going on and they did a great job," which you can see here.
For tickets to the Together We Celebrate annual gala Thursday, March 10 at the Westmont Country Club in Woodland Park, click here.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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