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10 Sept 2011

The Eltonites' Day With Jody Towles!!!

Hello Dear Eltonites, welcome to the new season, the 28th this time. Long time ago I began recollecting newspapers, magazines, pictures, cards, everything related to Elton. As a fan of music charts list, I created my own only about Elton. But I was alone, people I knew were not fans of Elton, just like some songs and so on. But Internet changes everything. I've been so much lucky meeting other people, Eltonites I call them. Good people, good friends, with a lot of things to depart and share. As a way to say thank you to Eltonites, lately I've been starting the season with one of them, as I do this time. I take this opportunity to introduce someone very special, a passionate, so welcome Jody, so nice to have you here.

Could you tell us, please more, who are you and where are you from?

Hey, My name is Jody Towles and I am from Tampa, Florida.

Ok! When did you became an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton's music and what moves you to buy his music?

I can remember Elton as far back as memory allows. My earliest memory of hearing EJ was of hearing the song Little Jeannie playing on radio stations growing up. I also remember the Lion King coming out and I think that for my generation, that's where we really started to know who Elton John Was. The first time I remember clearly seeing Elton Play on TV was probably at the Funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales. I had always knew about Elton John, but when I was in my last year of college, I remember going to a local retailer, I was just getting into music heavily at the time and I saw Elton's compilation Greatest Hits 1970-2002 on the sale rack, so on a whim I picked it up. I didn't quite get it at first, but I listened to it over and over and over and finally one day, it clicked for me. I realized that so many of the lyrics fit my life. The first EJ song i truly connected with was Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me. Little did I know that from buying that one album, my life would change.

And what was it like seeing Elton for the first time and how many concerts have you been?

I’ll never forget my first show. It was Birmingham Alabama in 2007, a few weeks after the MSG 60 show. He sang almost the exact set that he sang in NYC a few weeks prior. I remember that I wanted to see him, so the closest show that he was currently playing to me was in Alabama, I went on ebay and bought 2 tickets, row 13 floor and i talked my mother into taking a 10 hour road trip with me. It was not my first concert but It was my first EJ show, I can still remember it clearly today. Recently I got the bootleg of that show from another Eltonite. Fast forward almost 5 years later and by the end of this year, I will have seen EJ in concert 33 times.

What would you do if you meet Elton sometime? What would you talk about and which question would you like to ask him?

This is a question that I have thought long and hard about. When I first started Seeing EJ, All i wanted to do was meet him, now at this time I no longer pursue that, I figure that If It is meant to happen then It will happen. I've long thought about what I would say, but honestly, I think a simple hello and introduction is enough, I believe that Elton would lead the conversation.

How should be your dreamt concert? Which could be a great set list, for example? Or the best Elton’s band? And which one of Elton's live shows you thought you should be there, if you could, even back in time?

Those who know me, know that As far as albums go, Peachtree Road is by far my most favorite album, so any show where he could add any song from that record in, I would be happy. I don't have any specific requirements for any show, as I am truly blessed any time that I am able to hear him live. Too many fans climb on the soapbox about EJ not changing the set list, so what? At least he still plays live, i’ll take anything as long as he's still out doing what he does.

I have always said that I was born in the wrong decade, If I could go back to one show, it would October 26th 1975 at Dodger stadium in LA. EJ was god to people then, he was at the height of his stardom, I can only imagine what It would have been like on that day.

Elton said in 2008 he was “too old for sequins and skintight clothes”. Let’s talk about Elton’s stage oufits. What’s the most extravagant fancy dress costume of Elton you could remember? And do you like the jackets he uses now on stage?

I would say that my earliest recollection is of EJ in the Donald Duck costume, He was such a showman in those days, he still is of course, just in a different way. In the case of his current wardrobe, I love it. Part of the excitement for me is when im in the audience waiting for him to come out to see what he is wearing that particular night, On my facebook page I have an EJ's jackets album that I compiled for reference purposes. I still get a huge thrill when he wears something that we have not seen yet.

So great!!! Looking back to Elton’s catalogue. Which are your favourite albums and the most underrated songs? And your favourite “B” sides?

I would say that my Top 3 albums in order are Peachtree Road, Captain Fantastic, and Don’t Shoot Me. I have always said that PTR was seriously underrated. Each one of these 3 albums have songs that are very personal to me. In addition, Captain Fantastic includes We All Fall In Love Sometimes, quite possibly one of the most underrated and best songs ever written in my opinion. As far as B-sides go, my favorites are; So Sad The Renegade, Things only get Better With Love and The Retreat.

What could we expect from the new album Elton and Bernie are preparing, due to record next January 2012? Only two albums have to release Elton to fullfill his contract. Which could be a better end?

With Elton, I have no expectations as far as what he puts out, If It's one thing we've learned the last 40 years, its that EJ keeps us guessing. I Loved The Union, and it took me a while to understand it, but I think It's great. I loved the organic and simple feel of the record, so I would say that they found something that worked and absolutely keep it going and continue that feel into the next album.

What kind of place do you see for Elton John in the History of Rock Music?

I think EJ has firmly planted himself into the top Ranks of the Rock Music Hierarchy. He is truly rock royalty. Seldom do you go out in public and not hear Elton John, Seldom do you not meet someone who does not know who Elton John is. His influence is far reaching and is truly global, places that I've seen him in still roll out the red carpet when he comes to town. I think History will remember him as an incredible entertainer and most importantly an amazing human being through his gift of his music and his charitable works.

Which is your Elton´s item that you really appreciate, for being hard to get or for the happiness you´ve got to have it?

My most valued EJ possession is my LATW poster I got signed by him and the band in Tallahassee and Gainesville Florida at the very first shows where I ever set first row. It was also the very first time that we met the band.

Fantastic! Well, you know I am a fan of Ben Babylon too, and he has a record ready to be released, and a single coming out in September/October. We eltonites really appreciate him. Which would be your advice to him, about music, about life, about the starting of his career?

I'm not sure that I am really qualified to answer this but i’m gonna try anyway. I would say to never give up, set goals, and don't let anybody stand in your way. Life will throw a lot at you, you just have to learn to manage it the best you can. In the end its the journey not the destination. I believe its best to be good to people and treat them right, and most importantly as EJ said in Letters To a 16 Year Old Me: Stay away from Drugs.

Thanks. Apart from music, which are your interests? What you like to do with your off time?

Music is my primary passion, I also enjoy reading, and I am a huge stand up comedy and movie buff. Other than my passion of music, I also love photography. My perfect day off is spent in the company of friends or searching for that one album in a vintage vinyl store.

And finally, could you tell me your five favorite Elton's songs in running order, for my AllSongsList?

Its hard to choose only 5 but here they are...

Freaks in Love
We all fall in Love Sometimes
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
High Flying Bird
Sixty Years On

Thank you. Would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to other eltonites?

The last 5 years of my life have been some of the Highest and the lowest, but the journey has been amazing. I've met the most fantastic people and have been to the most fantastic places. I have seen the best and worst people, Its most important I think to treat each other with respect. Share the fun, there's plenty to go around.

I can say that 5 years ago Elton changed my life, seeing him made me truly realize who and what I was. When in times of darkness, it has been he who has pulled us out. In times of great Joy, his music has been there to lift us up even higher, It is he who brings us together and makes us feel like one big family. Thanks to all the fellow Eltonites who have shared this journey with me.

Thanks so so much for sharin' your time with us, Jody, and for your collaboration. Really a worth experience for me this interview. Take care and good luck.

Pictures courtesy by Jody Towles

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