Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

August 31, 2013

Tommy James and the Shondells headline free benefit concert Saturday

(Continued)

He continued, “My collaborator on the book, Martin Fitzpatrick, and I at first were calling it ‘Crimson and Clover.’ We got about one-third of the way through and realized that if we didn’t tell the Roulette story, we were cheating ourselves and everyone else.”

At the time of that insight, however, James wasn’t comfortable writing openly about the shady dealings at Roulette, as many of the main players “were still walking around.”

“In 2006,” James said, “the last of the Roulette regulars – the mob-connected guys – passed away. It took us another three years to finish the book. As soon as the book came out, we started getting calls for the movie and Broadway rights.”

Legendary Hollywood producer Barbara De Fina has expressed interest in producing the film; the project is currently searching for the right screenwriter, with Universal set to distribute.

James and his band not only survived 15 years at Roulette, but in many ways, also thrived. In fact, James credited the skills he learned at Roulette and the creative freedom afforded him there with allowing him to sustain such a long career in the music business.

“I learned and developed all these skills at Roulette that I still use in my career to this day,” he said.

He also credited his decades-long success to his relationship with fans.

“I thank the good Lord and the fans for my career longevity,” he said. “It’s been an amazing ride.”

The internet allows artists to reach a global audience like never before, he added. “What I love about the technology now, is that it allows you to stay connected with fans. We’re going to start our own YouTube Channel in January, which will allow us to maintain regular communications with the fans.”

Such close interaction allows James to remain vital with his audience, a cornerstone of his approach. “It’s your audience that follows you through all the ups and downs and phases,” he said. “They make it real no matter what adventure you walk into. Our fans are almost like extended family.”

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