INTERVIEW WITH THE CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE FROM TheCelebrityCafe.com ARCHIVES
The Captain and Tennille talk about the different styles of music that they come from and their different personalities. Even further, they describe how a marriage is work and describe things that they did that helped their relationship last over 30 years.
DM) I understand that you released a solo record recently.
TT) I have one out called, “Incurably Romantic”.
DM) Can I ask, why solo and not as the Captain and Tennille?
TT) Because that’s the music that I was raised on. My dad was a big band singer and he raised me on Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and all of the big bands… the classic music of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s and that was always my first love. And when Darryl and I got together he said, “What kind of music do you want to do? I don’t do Jazz.” DD) To this day I don’t do jazz.
DM) Have you gotten a lot of requests to work together again?TT) We always do, but in the last few years, we started winding down. Two or three years ago I did the national tour of, “Victor, Victoria” for a year and I was out for almost a solid year around the country. And when I got home Daryl and I expected to go out and tour quite a bit because it was the year 2000 which was our 25th wedding anniversary and the 25th anniversary of our first hit, “Love Will Keep Us Together”. I got home and I couldn’t face going out anymore.
DD) She didn’t want to eat hotel food anymore.
TT) (Laughs) I didn’t want to pack and unpack and sit in airports… I didn’t want to do it. Now what Daryl does is sing with symphony orchestras about 6 or 8 times a year… the kind of music that’s on my latest CD, and now lately, if it’s a really good place, like Hawaii recently, I’ll do about 75 minutes of my show and then we do some Captain and Tennille at the end. That’s what we’ve been doing when we go out and perform.
DM) Do you enjoy touring?TT) We love performing, but we don’t like touring. We don’t like getting on planes, unpacking and packing, worrying about my dogs and cats, worrying about the house… if they could beam us over like they did on Star Trek, that would be perfect.
DD) It reminds me of when I worked with the Beach Boys. When I first started out it was unbelievably exciting. I’ve never been in front of crowds like that when I started… they’re still doing that, still out there touring and after 6 years with them I was fried. I couldn’t believe they would do two shows a day… it was mindset. To me that’s not music, to me music is always evolving and doing something fresh with your career. That’s not the case with the Beach Boys anymore because Brian isn’t as active, and with us it’s because we don’t have a record deal at the present time. TT) There really isn’t an outlet for us anymore, not much of a current outlet for pop music that is anymore… there’s not many people like Elton who can transcend 70s and 80’s into 2000. Most pop artists have a decade if they’re lucky and that’s it. We always knew that would happen eventually, that’s just the way pop music is.
DM) Do you still write Captain and Tennille material?
TT) Well, I don’t because there’s no outlet for it. If there were, I would. I’m the kind of writer that doesn’t write just for fun. Writing is hard.
DD) It’s like when you turn on the radio and hear a James Taylor song. You think, “Maybe I could write something like that”. And Toni did just that. But today, there’s nothing I hear that I would like to try and sound like. Not that it’s not valid; it’s just nothing that touches my heart.
TT) I don’t hear anything that I would make me want to jump into that genre. That’s why I always go back to the classic standards because that’s music I love and they’re beautifully written songs and great lyrics. Of course, I’m the woman who wrote, “Do it to me one more time”, but that suited my era. Today you don’t write lyrics like the standards any more. I don’t want to sound like an old fogey but that’s the way I feel.
DM) For 25 years you’ve been together, musically and as a married couple.
TT) Actually we moved in together a few years before and dated before that. So almost over 30 years.
DM) Many people in the entertainment industry don’t even last a few months to a year.
TT) I was thinking about that and there’s one couple at least that I know of, that’s still married and that’s Marilyn McCoo and Billie Davis Junior. I think they’ve been married at least as long as we have. And from a former generation, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme who we recently saw in Reno. And that’s about all I can think of.
DM) What’s made it work so long for you both?TT) One of the things is that we don’t live in Hollywood where all of that goes on.
DD) A lot of people in entertainment and other industries have a competitive edge… say both people are actors, when they’re up for a part, it almost becomes a competition. With us, while we were both in music, I didn’t sing, Toni was the front man, I was in the back doing the technical stuff and doing the arranging, Toni was writing the stuff and singing. We agreed on the aesthetics and the type of instrumentation… although at times, I’d go a bit overboard… but we really agreed on everything of artistic value. I think that’s what It comes down to is having that base that you agree on. If you have that base, if you both like James Taylor, that just solidifies the values between us.TT) I think what Daryl is saying is that in our particular relationship, there is no competition because he doesn’t do what I do and I don’t do what he does. And the other thing we have is that we consider our marriage a partnership in which we are equal in it. Instead of, this is the dominant person.
DD) I wonder about people in the middle east having twenty wives… I couldn’t imagine such a thing where one wife is a serious commitment! (Laughs)TT) Yes, Daryl, you will only be having one wife in this life… (pauses, laughs) That’s because it’s not a partnership for them, as far as I know… As Daryl says, we are quite different in our personalities, Daryl is usually not as talkative as he is today and I jump right into things and I’m a lot more outgoing then he is but the basic values are the same.
DD) I always thought that if you had a well devised database with all of a person’s values, 4,000 questions making it up, you could find the right partner.
TT) It’s very hard to put it into words. Every marriage is different, every marriage works differently. Ours works as a partnership where we encourage each other to be the best that we can be at whatever it is. Daryl never has felt threatened by me doing show tunes, that has just been fine for him.
DM) Has it always been a storybook romance for you guys?TT) I don’t know, we work very hard at our relationship. It took the first two years that we lived together to open up lines of communication.
DM) What do you mean by that?
TT) Well, Daryl comes from a family that is very closed in their emotions and their ability to talk to each other. Whenever something goes wrong they pull into themselves and don’t talk about it. I come from a big gregarious family, they’re all like me, and when Daryl and I first got married, when things would go wrong, his tendency was to go into a room and shut the door and not talk about it. So, I decided that I would let it stew for an hour or so, I would go in there, and we would start talking. And that’s what happened, we would work at talking.
DM) Was it rougher in the first few years where you were learning to work together.TT) Oh yeah, and I think that’s where a lot of marriages will give up. If they’re not willing to work at it and they don’t know that you never stop. You go threw it through your whole marriage, fine-tuning and working at it. When I did, “Victor, Victoria” we had to really work to keep the marriage alive and fresh.