“Perhaps it’s the timbre of his voice, or the well crafted smooth sound of songs like ‘A Love Of Your Own‘ and ‘Get It Up For Love‘, that make Ned Doheny the message in the bottle you will be glad you found. Raised in Southern California in the 60’s, a member of the reputable Doheny family that lends its name to a street in West Hollywood, Ned learned and became obsessed by the guitar at an early age. He started recording by the time he reached high school and in his early 20’s was asked by Frazier Mohawk at Elektra Records to play on a Jackson Browne album. Ned and Jackson became thick as thieves. The pair went to Marin County on a pipe dream to form the Los Angeles Fantasy Orchestra, and shortly thereafter, Ned began studying classical guitar under Fred Noad. He bounced around a bit, finding himself in the UK playing with Dave Mason and “Momma” Cass Elliot, but he eventually made his way back to Los Angeles. His old friend Jackson had, by this point, also returned to LA, and the two of them were part of first wave of signees on a new label started by David Geffen called Asylum, alongside the likes of Don Henley, Glen Frey, and J.D. Souther. Ned released his first solo album, Ned Doheny, in 1973, but as his label mates received more attention and support from the label, he decided to move on. He met Average White Band’s Hamish Stuart and discovered the “marina rock” sound, a groove into which he could really sink. He then signed a deal with Columbia and released two albums: Hard Candy and Prone (Japanese Release). Though he was met by little fanfare in the states, the release of Prone caused quite a stir in Japan, where he became a major star. He was unaware of his popularity abroad until touring Japan in 1978, where he found fantastic success.
dublab had the rare treat of interviewing Ned just prior to the release party for Numero Group’s recent retrospective reissue of his work, Separate Oceans. dublab’s own Danny Holloway, a former Island Records executive who has interviewed Bob Marley, Frank Zappa and myriad other 1970’s icons, sat down with Ned to talk about his early days in Los Angeles, meeting Chaka Khan, and the monkey business that is the music industry.
- words by George Jensen
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