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Pat Boon Interview

Taking a break from the exhausting heat of the First Annual Alice Cooper Celebrity Am Golf Tournament, Pat Boone spoke candidly with us about his role with Easter Seals, his new album, and a few enlightening things he's learned about heavy metal.

Chet Cooper Let's talk about your relationship with the Easter Seal Society-- what has it been, seventeen years?

Pat Boone Yes, seventeen years. The president of Easter Seals walked into my office and I knew they were coming to ask me to host a telethon and they'd had a different host every year up until then. Jack Klugman, Mike Landon, Jack Lemmon, Suzanne Summers, had all hosted one year each. I frankly didn't know that much about Easter Seals though I had a favorable impression. I was going to turn them down and I had all my excuses ready. I was already involved with the National Association of the Blind, the March of Dimes, and orphanage in Chattanooga, and I thought they would say that I was too involved with other things. I turns out that was one of the reasons they came to me: because people know that I am a man of compassion and concern and am involved with other things. Plus they wanted me to think about being a full-time spokesman for Easter Seals, this might enable me to not spread myself so thin, because they take care of and offer services to all the people I am trying to help separately. When I checked into what Easter Seals does-- addressing every disability-- I realized they were right. I had to learn more about what the Easter Seals program covered, that became my task for the next seventeen years: to help other people understand that this is a full service kind of program. We help the muscular dystrophy kids, we help people with cerebral palsy, we help the blind, we help elderly stroke victims. Whatever the ailment or disability, we try to help. They hooked me the first year, I had originally stated that I could not possibly take it on for more than one year...

CC: Have you had any criticism from Easter Seals on your heavy metal music?

PB No. In fact I had warned Jim Williams, the president of Easter Seals, that I was doing this big band album of heavy metal classics. We all knew that the idea of Pat Boond singing songs by Gun's 'N Roses, Metallica, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, and Allice Cooper, just didn't compute. I alerted them that there would be some misunderstanding for a while but to wait until people heard the music and it would be okay. Jim Williams said it sounded good to him and that I should plan on doing a song or two on the telethon.

There's a lot more to this interview in the Pat Boone Issue of Ability Magazine.