Candy Apple Bleu performs at Island Park in Springfield on Wednesday evening.
SPRINGFIELD – Everyone was having a good time Wednesday at Springfield’s Island Park. It was the highlight event of the Concert in the Park series, featuring Candy Apple Bleu. It almost ended up being a sellout crowd after a long day at Hayward Field for the World Championships.
The temperatures may have been hot, but there was a chill to the atmosphere. People seemed to be in a celebratory mood. A steady stream of dancers sashayed back and forth toward the stage.
It was pretty clear, though, that nobody was having more fun than the band.
“This is a crazy group of veterans who all love each other but don’t take each other too seriously,” lead singer and percussionist Richard Lee Sellers said after the show. “We always have a blast when we’re playing together. And it’s even more fun when we practice. We’re like a bunch of 12-year-olds telling stupid jokes – but our jokes are better now that we’re in our 50s.”
They played mostly hits from the late 70s and early 80s, songs like “Brandy,” by Looking Glass (their only hit) and “Pretzel Logic'' by Steely Dan.
“This was the only part of the 70s that nobody touched, but it was the music that made me feel something since I was 8 years old,” Sellers said. “I didn't think anybody would get the joke. I thought it was stupid. I was like, ‘Screw it, I’m going to go soft rock.’ It was the only genre I hadn’t done – and then yacht rock came out.
“It was hilarious, and then it became a thing – soft rock sort of morphed into yacht rock. So people liked us. It was a perfect storm.”
Local residents gathered together to dance during the drum solo Saturday as theJerry Garcia BirthdayBand played at IslandPark in Springfield.
For those who missed the boat on yacht rock, the term was coined in 2005 and referred to the stereotypical yuppie yacht owner enjoying smooth music while sailing. Some of the most influential yacht rockers were The Beach Boys, Loggins & Messina, Christopher Cross, Captain & Tennille, and Steely Dan.
Sellers said his band is a soft rock tribute band.
“And I’m picky about what we play. If our guys say, ‘Let’s do this Steely Dan deep cut.’ No, that’s what you do in your living room.”
Before the show, there was at least one ad that referred to Candy Apple Bleu as a Springfield band. Not true, Sellers said.
“We’re a Eugene band, but we always want to be the other thing,” he said. “But our drummer, Jon Raden, lives here in Springfield, about a mile from here.”
That’s Candy Apple Bleu, always clowning around. They even have stage names for every band member to make themselves sound more cool. For instance, Richard Lee Sellers is always RJ Sellmore whenever he’s on stage.
“When we text and whenever we’re together we always use stage names – it’s clubhouse rules,” Sellers said. “It’s heady stuff and it’s super fun for us and we don’t give a damn and it’s my job to get us paid.”
He almost needs a steady paycheck for his wardrobe alone.
Sellers claims to have never worn the same outfit twice during 12 years of being the band’s frontman.
“Rompers are my look,” he said while wearing a baby blue romper outfit Wednesday. “I have a ridiculous wardrobe.”
Sellers and his bandmates do have their serious moments, though. “There are particular authors I love. I’m an underground lyricist, I’ve been writing lyrics for years,”
Sellers said. “If somebody inspires you to write, then that’s art. … “So when I see a talented child, I’m overcome with emotion because I want to do whatever I can to support you. I want you to take my job someday.”