Singer Cory Wells on Three Dog Night's new platinum record; just saying no: interview

wtatangelo@bradenton.comJune 28, 2012 

Three Dog Night's amazing six-year run of hit singles finally dried up in 1975 but the songs recorded during that period endure.

"Mama Told Me (Not to Come)," "Joy to the World" and "One" are just several of the rock/pop classics found on "The Best of Three Dog Night: 20th Century Masters."

Released more a decade ago, the album reached No. 11 earlier this year on Billboard's Top Pop Catalog chart and recently earned certification for a million sales.

That means a fresh platinum record for the original band members.

"I need it," said founding singer Cory Wells when he called from his Los Angeles home. "Most of my stuff got burned in the Malibu fire of 1993."

The 70-year-old has no idea why his band's greatest hits compilation has become a best-seller.

"If I knew that secret, I would put out a lot more (records)," he said. "Maybe it's just because we are working, people are seeing us, seeing that we still breathe."

Three Dog Night takes the stage around 7 p.m. Wednesday to headline Palmetto's free Independence Day party.

Founding members Wells and Danny Hutton will be sharing lead vocals just as they have done since 1968.

Original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and guitarist Michael Allsup, with Paul Kingery (bass and vocals) and Pat Bautz (drums), complete the lineup.

The other original singer, Chuck Negron, was let go from the band in the 1980s while battling a drug addiction hat left him broke and on the streets. Sober since the early 1990s, Negron has maintained a solo career.

"He's set and we're set," Wells said. "I'm never going to go back to those days again."

Hutton also famously partied during the 1970s before cleaning up.

"One thing is I wish I wouldn't have been so high so I could remember more," Hutton told the Bradenton Heraldd in 2004.

"I never got into smack (heroin) at the time, just the stuff everybody else was doing that we didn't think was addictive ... Let's put it this way, I was a bachelor then in a big, famous rock 'n' roll band and I made the most of it."

Family man Wells never fell victim to the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

"My mother was solid, with grounded, good values and I listened to her," he said. "I kept those values and was very determined in what I wanted to do."

Wells maintained he wasn't driven by fame or money.

"I absolutely love music," he said. "I would sing and do music for $10,000 or a dollar."

Wade Tatangelo, features writer, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.

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