GALO: Did the irony of that title, “Something’s Gonna Happen,” make you think?

MC: It wasn’t deliberate. I just did what I always do. I wrote a piece of music and then struggled to come up with the lyric idea. To try and fit a title into the spot where the title should go and “Something’s Gonna Happen” was the title that worked. I mean it’s a good song title, and it does have a good starting point as a song title for somebody to come out with as an artist.

GALO: So how soon after all this did Warner Brothers approach you?

MC: We had interest from a lot of labels. There were three or four different A&R departments that wanted to sign me. It came down to a bidding war between RCA and Warner Brothers. The funny thing was that I took Warner Brothers’ offer, which was for less money than RCA. RCA beat Warner Brothers’ offer, but I still went with Warner Brothers just because I thought the people at Warner’s were cooler by and large, and more of a fun crowd to me.

This was a sign of my lack of pragmatism back then. I would go out to lunch with Karin Berg and Steve Baker from Warner Brothers, and I just immediately really loved both of them. We’d go out to a fun restaurant, and then go back to the office, and mess around and laugh. The woman at RCA, who wanted to sign me, was really a sweetheart, but I didn’t like any of the other people. The one time I had lunch with her, in the RCA records building in a windowless room, it was just me and this woman, Nancy Jefferies is her name, and she was great. But the other people were really dull. So that’s why I signed with Warner Brothers, I just had more fun being around those people. But if I had looked at it in a pragmatic way, it would have been no contest; I should have signed with RCA. But I didn’t.

GALO: But it worked out alright?

MC: Yeah it did. It really did.

GALO: Did you have an album worth of songs before Marshall Crenshaw came out?

MC: I had a pool of maybe 20 songs that were contenders and then we narrowed it down for the album. I wanted to keep a couple in reserves for the second album [Field Day], which turned out to be really important.

GALO: Did you have a special feeling about “Someday, Someway?”

MC: When I wrote it, I really, really loved it. It was a huge breakthrough when I wrote it–what I liked about it was that it was kind of trance inducing. It had a sort of mantra thing about it. I just loved that. Also, it was the first really kind of rootsy one that I did, but this was like an urban rock-a-billy kind of thing.

When it came time to do my album, I didn’t think that I should record it because Robert Gordon had a big hit with it in New York and he almost had a national top 40 hit with it. He kind of blew that, but I just thought, ‘well people have already heard this song, they’re sick of it already.’ I was wrong about that. But I didn’t want to record it. I kind of got ordered to record it (Warner Brothers, you know) but I love the record of it that we did. It’s much different than Robert Gordon’s and I think our record of it is really beautiful. So I’m glad that I was coerced into recording it.

GALO: Your voice, in my opinion, is a real classic rock ‘n’ roll voice.

MC: Well, thanks. You know rock singers tend to have unorthodox voices or quirky voices. I sound kind of different now, my voice has dropped over the years, which I think is an improvement, but I’m glad you said that.

GALO: You mentioned before how the ad for Shake Records moved you to visit Alan Betrock’s office. Well, the cover of the first album, Marshall Crenshaw really propelled me to buy the album because I thought, since the cover is satisfying in so many visual ways, the way you are touching your shades and the way the colors mesh, then the music inside must be right up my alley. And, of course, it was.

MC: That’s really nice. See that whole thing was the brainstorm of a guy named Gary Greene and his partner at the time Christinade Lancie. On the back of the album there’s somebody else who takes credit for the art direction, but it was those two. It was their idea. They did the whole thing. I loved it when I saw it. I said, “Well this is about as good as it could get.”

GALO: How did it happen that “Someday, Someway” ended up on the soundtrack for the film Desperately Seeking Susan?

MC: I don’t exactly know, but right from the start there was a lot of that stuff going on with my songs, and that song in particular, finding its way onto movie soundtracks. I remember that there was a bit of a haggle going on with Desperately Seeking Susan because the director initially wanted to use Robert Gordon’s version and got talked into using mine instead. I was just kind of a bystander in all that, but I was really glad that it happened, and it was a huge movie.

The thing I loved about it [then] was I liked the movie a lot, but the other thing was — you could really hear the song. Because in other film placements I had, I’d see the movie and I couldn’t hear the song. I mean, you’d have to have the ears of a bat to hear the song. But in Desperately Seeking Susan they just cranked it right up. So that’s something I think [that] has given the song, and the record, longevity. It’s still a vital song. It’s on the radio; it’s on TV all the time, and it’s because of the movie placements. So I’m really thankful for that.

GALO: Speaking of the movies, how did you feel about playing Buddy Holly in Luis Valdez’s La Bamba?

MC: Well, it’s really lucky that I was able to do that. I got a call from a guy I went to high school with named Carl Bressler, and Carl at that time, had just gone out top Hollywood. He’s still there, and does some acting stuff once in a while, but he called me up and said, “I just heard a rumor that they’re going to ask you to play Buddy Holly in this movie.” This was the first I heard about it and I kind of balked, because at first, I bristled at the Buddy Holly comparisons. I thought this was just another bit of baggage that I didn’t want to carry. I did do it and I loved it. All the people in the cast were very warm and I went out to dinner one night with Taylor Hackford, the producer, who’s a serious music fan. It was really good.

Then earlier that same year, I was in this other movie, Peggy Sue Got Married. We were extras, but we were there all through the first 20 minutes of the movie. That same year, this guy named Owen Paul had a huge hit in Europe with my song “You’re My Favorite Waste of Time.” That was 1986 to 1987, a really big period right there for me.

(Article continued on next page)