TOMMY SANDS INTERVIEW
the fastest interview i have ever done. the man just would not talk.
Born into a musical family in Chicago, his father was a pianist and his mother a big-band singer. While still young, he moved with his family to Shreveport, Louisiana. Sands began playing the guitar at age seven and within a year had a job performing twice weekly on a local radio station. He was only fifteen when Colonel Tom Parker heard about him and signed him to RCA Records. His initial recordings achieved little in the way of sales but in early 1957 he was given the opportunity to star in an episode of "Kraft Television Theatre". On the show, his song presentation of a Joe Allison composition called "Teenage Crush" went over big with the young audience and, released as a 45 rpm single by Capitol Records, it went to No.3 on the Billboard Hot 100 record charts.
Sands' sudden fame brought an offer to sing at the Academy Awards show and his teen idol looks landed him a motion-picture contract to star in a 1958 musical drama called Sing, Boy, Sing. In 1960, he married Nancy Sinatra and for a time they were the toast of Hollywood. Sands performed in several films including Babes in Toyland in 1961, The Longest Day in 1962, and Ensign Pulver in 1964, but both his singing and film career had faded by the 1970s.
He was divorced from Sinatra in 1965 and has a daughter, model Jessica Sands, born in 1977 from another relationship.
Sands' pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
THE FOLLOWING TOOK PLACE WEDNESDAY JUNE 27 2007 . IT WAS A TELEPHONE INTERVIEW.
JOE KREIN: CAN YOU TELL ME WHERE YOU WERE BORN AND RAISED?
TOMMY SANDS: I WAS RAISED IN THE SOUTH IN SHREVE POINT INDIANA.
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A ENTERTAINER?
ALWAYS. I STARTED SINGING WHEN I WAS FIVE AND I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE IN SHOW BUSINESS.
DID YOU MEET UP WITH ELVIS A LOT DURING YOUR TRAVELS?
ELVIS AND I WORKED TOGETHER A LOT IN THE SOUTH DURING 1954 WHEN HE HAD HIS FIRST RECORD" THAT'S ALRIGHT MAMA" WE WOULD WORK IN ARKANSAS AND LOUISIANA ,TEXAS ALL THE SOUTHERN STATES. WE WORKED TOGETHER ALL THRU 1954.
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THAT NEW SOUND?
OH I THOUGHT IT WAS FANTASTIC , AND HE MOVED LIKE NO BUDDY ELSE MOVED EVER! HE WAS JUST THE MOST EXCITING PERFORMER I HAVE EVER SEEN.
DID YOU STAY FRIENDS WITH ELVIS UP TO THE SEVENTIES?
WELL I STAYED FRIENDS WITH HIM IN THE FIFTIES BUT THEN I LOST TRACK OF HIM. HE WAS SO HUMONGOUS AND I JUST LOST TRACK OF HIM.
TOMMY WHO WAS YOUR MANAGER?
MY MANAGER WAS THE SAME AS ELVIS'S. COLONEL TOM PARKER. HE MANAGED ME AND FOUND ME WHEN I WAS A LITTLE BOY IN HOUSTON. MY MOTHER DID,NT LIKE COLONEL PARKER BECAUSE HE TOOK OVER SO MUCH OF MY LIFE FROM MY MOTHER. SHE RIPPED UP THE CONTRACT WITH PARKER.
BUT COLONEL PARKER WAS THE GUY THAT GOT ME THE JOB TO GO TO NEW YORK AND THE AUDITION FOR 'THE SINGING IDOL". THAT MADE ME A STAR OVER NIGHT . COLONEL PARKER WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT.
WHAT WAS IT THAT YOUR MOTHER DID NOT LIKE ABOUT COLONEL PARKER?
HE WAS TAKING OVER ALL MY LIFE , AND SHE WAS NOT ABLE TO CONTROL AS MUCH AS SHE HAD IN THE PAST.
YOU KNOW THEY SAY GLADYS PRESLEY DIDN'T LIKE PARKER EITHER.
IS THAT RIGHT?
THAT'S WHAT THEY SAY. MAYBE MOM DOES KNOW BEST.
WELL COLONEL PARKER WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME . MY MOM WAS WRONG THERE.
SO TOMMY WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?
IM STILL WORKING , I WORKED IN NEW YORK RECENTLY. I JUST WORKED AT THE ELVIS AND PRISCILLA HONEY MOON HOUSE. I SANG AND PLAYED MY GUITAR AT THAT SHOW. SO I,M STILL GOING.
CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT YOUR FIRST HIT WAS?
MY FIRST HIT WAS TEENAGE CRUSH. THAT WAS FROM THE SINGING IDOL.
YOU HAD A FEW MORE DID YOU NOT?
GOING STEADY AND RING A DING DING. RAN LIKE WILD.
WELL I LOVE YOUR MUSIC , I'M A BIG FAN. THANK YOU MR. TOMMY SANDS.
YOUR WELCOME JOE.