To end what has been a great year for UK Four Seasons fans we are able to bring you a special audio treat. Artie Schroeck was the arranger who took over the duties of translating Bob Gaudio’s musical ideas into the hits of 1966 and 67 for Frankie and the group. Ken Charmer recently had the chance to chat with Artie re those times and ask him about his career. Artie was kind enough to allow this Skype conversation to be recorded so we could share it with you.
Below is the list of questions we posed for Artie and you can hear him and Ken ‘Talking Seasonally’ about those great times during the mid 60s plus some news of things he and Frankie have been doing recently which could be very exciting.
“You were at school with Charlie Calello and followed him into music arranging. How did this happen.?
You started working with the Four Seasons in mid 1966. What other notable work did you do before that which fans should be aware of.?
How did you get recruited as arranger before the ‘Skin’ sessions?
Bob Gaudio came up with the idea of the ‘Skin’ arrangement at a Frank Sinatra concert. He applied what is now regarded as the ‘Four Seasons’ formula to the song. Did he have it all constructed in his head? How difficult was it to develop that arrangement with him.?
By late 1966 the Beatles had made huge advances in recording and writing as had the Beach Boys. When you went into the studio to record ‘Tell It To The Rain, were you aware that there was a risk the group’s sound and style were being left behind or were Bob Crewe and the group still confident that their formula could deliver hits?
At the start of 1967 ‘Beggin’ was recorded. It seemed a departure in style by the group. Do you recall anything about this session and the song’s distinctive arrangement.?
‘The Puppet Song’ was a song you wrote and arranged. How and when did this happen.?
What was it like working with Bob Crewe on the ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ session….and generally, as a producer?
You probably don’t know it but one song you did with the group in early 1967 would become a huge UK dance floor hit in 1973 in the UK. ‘I’m Gonna Change’ was a big Northern Soul anthem and remains popular today. It was again a different approach and style/arrangement. Were you aware of this at the time and why wasn’t this approach /style of song repeated do you think?(Note 5 of the 10 tracks on the LP New Gold Hits –May 1967 - were arranged and conducted by you)
Do you think the group missed out in 1967 by not having a focus on the emerging LP market and lost their way by not developing a concept album earlier than GILG(Gazette 1969)? ‘
You went on to record some solo tracks with Valli in 1967 but seemed to have only worked with them for about a year. What happened after that and how did your career develop?”
Artie sends Christmas wishes to all fans as do we.