Jerry Hyman Interview By Jorgen Andersson
I haven't heard much about you since you left B,S&T. I even thought that you were the same person That was working as an actor. Can you tell me something about what you have been doing?
After leaving BS&T I worked freelance, salsa bands, Broadway pit work, brassensembles, on the road with the OJays, JCSuperstar (the original road company) etc. I moved to the Pocono's in Pennsylvania and worked the hotel bands there and in the Catskills. I studied with Carmine Caruso for about two years in that time frame. He was a great teacher and motivated me to work very hard. Sometime in 1974 Mike Post called me for what was the first American Song Festival, televised from upstate New York and as a result of that gig he invited me to work the studios in Los Angeles. Mike was super busy doing Rockford Files, Mac Davis TV, The A Team, The White Knight..something or other I can't remember and Magnum PI. plus plus plus. So that got me in the door, all I had to do was play my ass off and keep my mouth shut. Sage advice from Lew McCreary. That lasted until I contracted Bell's Palsey, a facial paralysis. Not such a good thing for a brass player. I worked a variety of jobs for several years. Everything from carpenter, post hole digger, bartender and a few things I enjoyed but can't really talk about. Makes for good bar talk.
Let's talk about your time in Blood, Sweat & Tears. How did you get the opportunity to join the band? And what had you been doing before?
I met Dick Halligan in the Catskills. We were working a salsa band blowing our brains out nightly. Later on when Al Kooper left BS&T Dick called me for the bone chair, Dick moved to organ, doubling on bone and flute. You know 'they' say that if you can remember the '60's you really weren't there. Just before Dick called me to be on the band I was working as a book clerk at Doubleday on 5th Ave just south of 57th St. Red was a trumpet player who worked the show band at the same Catskills hotel that Dick and I worked. He worked a day gig as a haberdasher down the street from Doubleday. We used to brown bag it and meet for lunch in Central Park, just a few blocks away. It was just a wee bit of a contrast when, three days after having a magnificent tuna sandwich with Red on a bench, I was rehearsing with this new band AND on salary for a whole $75.00 a week. Believe it or not that was enough to get over at that time. As best as I can recall rehearsing the book was also getting ready for the second album.
What are your feelings from your time in the band?
The success of the second album was a joy to be part of. At the same time there are enough bad band memories to last a lifetime. They were opportunities for lessons to be learned. The wonderful experiences of those times greatly influence how I feel today, but do not define who I am. The good times were great, the bad sucked. I've had better and worse since.
Was it a democratic band?
In theory, yes. There were many illusions as well.
What is your best memory from your time with B,S&T?
My best memory is that I have any at all. Having been a part of anything as successful as that band, however small, allows for some form of greatness to repeat itself, in whatever endeavor and for that I am forever grateful.
Are there anything that you think could have been done better?
What could I have done better? It's interesting to consider that the origin of the word "sin' derives from missing the mark, to be off target and not so much as breaking a covenant with God. Not to do ones best in a relationship with another is cause for self-examination. I learned a lot about relationships and honesty during and after my time with the band.
Why did you leave the band?
I was the first to leave, Freddie left about six months after. The particulars for leaving were vastly different for each of us. In principle I would say that, for a constellation of reasons, the chemistry had soured enough.
Of all the songs that you've recorded which one is your favorite and why?
At this point I can't remember how I felt then. JR recently sent me a videotape of a Swedish TV broadcast from the early 70's. I can say that whenever I felt I played well enough it gave me enormous personal satisfaction, when I didn't, well that was my own torture.
Do you have any contact with other former members?
I was in contact with Dick until about five years ago. I got a letter from Jimmy with a picture of his beautiful child about two years ago. I saw Freddie last month when he was in LA. With all that went on (and from what I can tell that remains) its not really a reunion and picnic kind of crowd. But who knows.
Can you tell me something about your plans for the future?
Until just recently I have been heavily involved teaching elements of physical medicine and rehabilitation at a postgraduate level. I have published in peer-reviewed journals and texts and have traveled, again, around the world to continue my studies and teach. In particular I have returned to Prague many times to study at the Charles University with my esteemed professors. Prague is a gas, it's changing but any time you go it will be an experience that has the possibility for big things to happen. I've been involved with photography, cycling and of course music appreciation. My practice is in Los Angeles in the Silverlake area.