Originally created 07/04/97

'70s star now sings a different tune



In the mid-1970s Chuck Negron, a singer with Three Dog Night, told a radio interviewer he couldn't picture himself in his 50s and still singing One.

"The ignorance of youth," said Mr. Negron in a telephone interview from his Sherman Oaks, Calif., home. "I said a lot of stuff. At that age you think 50 is death. Now you look back and wonder how I got dressed at that age."

Twenty-something years later and 55 years old, Mr. Negron is still singing One, Just an Old Fashioned Love Song, Joy to the World, Easy to be Hard and other hits from his old group in a show called "Three Dog Night Revisited." The show will be staged at 8 p.m. Saturday at Fort Gordon's Barton Field, followed by a fireworks display.

Mr. Negron, who performs with a band that includes four backup singers, calls the show "Three Dog Night Revisited" because Cory Wells and Danny Hutton, the other two "Dogs," are still together and using the name.

A Three Dog Night reunion is not out of the question, Mr. Negron said. He recently had a call from VH-1 asking the three original lead singers to get together for an interview, and they are talking about doing that. He wants it to happen.

"You would think it would be so simple, but it's a a business thing," said Mr. Negron, who then added, slipping into a phony showbiz voice, "My people are talking to their people."

Three Dog Night had its best years from 1968 to 1975, and its music was unofficially canonized as a signpost of the 1960s in the movie The Big Chill. That movie, a vision of 1960s hippies who became 1980s yuppies, begins with a character teaching his child to sing Three Dog Night's Joy To the World.

When Mr. Negron saw the movie, he was surprised. He knew Joy to the World was going to be on the soundtrack, but he didn't know a character would sing it as well.

"I went, `Wow, this song is becoming a piece of Americana,"' Mr. Negron said. "It has nothing to do with us. It's something else now."

Since the heyday of Three Dog Night, Mr. Negron has been through a lot, including a 23-year addiction to heroin that ended in 1990. Since then he has launched a solo career and is now working on an autobiography that Renaissance will publish in 1998. It'll be a cautionary tale about a man who became a millionaire before age 30, blew it all and came back.

On stage, Mr. Negron is unafraid to wallow in the past. For every new song he plays, he does two or three oldies. At one point he used to play more new material, but he now appreciates that people hand over their money with the expectation that they'll hear the old favorites. If he wants to play a concert for himself, he said, he'll do it in his back yard.

"I'm a working musician who's earning a living for his family," he said.

Show InformationIn concert
What: Three Dog Night Revisited, featuring Chuck Negron.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, with fireworks after the show. Gates open at 6 p.m.
Where: Fort Gordon's Barton Field
How much: $8 in advance, $10 at the gate. Tickets sold at Allied Banks, Pump-n-Shops, Fort Gordon MWR facilities and the Post Exchange.
Phone: For information, call 791-6779 or 793-8552.

Sound bite
To hear Three Dog Night, call INFOLINE at 442-4444 and press 8101. You'll hear part of the song Joy to the World.