Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Writer's Life

Truth be told, I'm a total junkie for works that reveal glimpses into the creative process whether it be books, documentaries, etc. I'm currently reading "A Writer's Life" by Gay Talese (left). Primarily best known as author/journalist and one of the founding fathers of the "new journalism" school of reporting, Talese helped mold a style during the mid-sixties wherein the writer's almost fiction-esque, imaginative, descriptive slant became an integral part of the reporting without ever compromising the integrity of the facts.

Part autobiography, part window into the process of his craft, "A Writer's Life" finds Talese talking candidly about his hits and, interestingly much more so, about his misses - the stories that got away; the pieces that, sometimes despite Talese's strong efforts/interests, could never quite make it to print. A fascinating and refreshing approach amid the current 'American Idol' zeitgeist which seems so steadfastly focused on "winners" and one's successes.

On a totally biased note, the thing I love most about Gay Talese (aside from his obvious writer's prowess) is that he personally embodies - at least for me - the literary sensibilities that have made him famous; the quintessential, impeccably dressed, thorough, typewriter at 8, martinis at 6, dinner at Elaine's,
old-school New York, creative dandy. High on style but with all the substance to match. At 77, a precious and rarefied animal in this ephemeral age of skinny jeans and Twitter fiends.

If you'd like to read the opening chapter of "A Writer's Life" it can be found here courtesy of Random House. If you're also so inclined, check out the seminal article Talese penned for Esquire Magazine, circa 1966,
on Frank Sinatra; considered by many to be one of the first "new journalism" pieces committed to print. Enjoy but be forewarned, if you're looking for 140 character, ADD fare you won't find it here. Thankfully the man beneath the Panama hat is a master of the artfully constructed run-on sentence.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thank Yous

After being sequestered in a recording studio working on a new album for a fair amount of time you begin to slowly forget the buzz you get from playing music for a living/breathing audience. I was reminded of said buzz this week when my band and I hit the stage at Living Room Wednesday night in NYC.

To be honest it's always a little nerve-wracking mounting a live show with a fairly large band, whether you're doing it for the first time or the thousandth; lots of stuff to work out and numerous things that can go awry. Deciding to premier all the songs from my new record, "Queens English", before the album's release, to a room of folks totally unfamiliar with the material probably only served to add to the anxiety but at the same time it also seemed like a fun thing to do. Hey, let's add a horn section too!

Finally gig night arrives and as the band launches into the opening notes of "QE's" lead-off instrumental, "Who Are Yous?", all pre-show trepidations
slowly begin to melt away. Like the safety bar coming down on the roller coaster seat - we're off...might as well enjoy the ride.

And enjoy the ride we did; like any good spin on the Cyclone there were some frightening turns (Jay's amp momentarily possessed by demons), pockets of serene clarity (the generous quite that filled the room during the ballad, "Blue Suit") and a few surprise twists (audience member Delbert McClinton, aka Steven's awesomely funny, straight-faced, cowbell freak out on "Inside"). Inevitably, like every great ride the minute it's over, filled with relief and excitement, you want to jump right back on and do it all over again.

And do it again we shall but first before we do, a huge thank you must go out to my wonderful band; awesome musicians and more importantly great friends - Cheri Leone, Matty Karas, Ed Klinger, John Lee, Jay Sherman-Godfrey, Bob Byrne, Rob Jost and Jesse Neuman. Followed, of course, by a tremendous and no less sincere thank you to all the excellent folks who came out, packed the room, sent love to the stage and generously went along for the ride without really knowing where we were headed. As they say in show biz (
tipping hat & adopting cheesy Jimmy Durante voice), "There'd be no us without yous".

'Till next time.

Yours in Rock,

ps - Some photos of the evening, like the one above, can be found on my site (see 'Gallery' page) courtesy of Jason Hare.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rock Show (cont.)

As promised, I'm back to invite (pester) everyone to the gig this coming Wednesday 5/13, 7pm at The Living Room in NYC. If you're in the area please come on down, join us and free your mind of swine flues and economic blues.

I'll be premiering songs from my recently completed album, "Queens English", playing the record in its entirety plus some older tunes from albums past. If you'd like to sample some of the music from "QE" ahead of time (so you can memorize the lyrics and sing along of course), please visit my site where 5 tunes are currently streaming.

Generously lending their talents and joining me on stage Wed evening will be Cheri Leone (vocals/perc), Matty Karas (guitar/vocals), Jay Sherman-Godfrey (guitar/vocals), John Lee (bass), Bob Byrne (piano/keys), Ed Klinger (drums) and the 'Who Are Yous Horns' feat. Rob Jost (french horn) & Jesse Neuman (trumpet).

And oh yeah, I almost forgot, it's BYOC (bring your own cowbell).

Hope to see you (details below)!


Wednesday May 13, 2009 -
Cost: FREE

The Living Room

154 Ludlow St

New York, NY 10002
(212) 533-7235