Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bobby Fingeroth

When you first hear the highly crafted, radio-friendly songwriting of Bobby Fingeroth, it’s obvious that he has a natural talent for writing contemporary, soulful rock. While his influences, such as Dave Matthews Band and Pete Yorn can be detected in his music, it’s his honest, hopeful, and personal lyrics that really draw you in. Growing up in New York City, he was surrounded by music from an early age, but it surprises most to find out that Bobby actually didn’t begin his musical and songwriting career until much later. While attending college in the mid-1990’s he began to recognize his aptitude for the nuances of writing the type of music that people wanted to hear. Upon graduating from college, he learned to play guitar, began writing songs and surrounded himself with high caliber veterans of the music industry like Kenny White (Sean Colvin), Tony Salvatore (Perry Farrell), Riley McMahon (Spottiswoode & His Enemies) and Bruce Martin (Tom Tom Club) before releasing his debut album Dilettante in 2004 to rave reviews. Dilettante quickly received airplay throughout the US and Canada. Critics admired his sound and in turn his voice has frequently been compared with the likes of Live's Ed Kowalczyk, Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas and Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows. Further, Dilettante was selected by Starbucks-owned Hear Music to be sold in its retail locations in California, as well as over 50 Starbucks locations in Seattle and Austin. Bobby has performed at top clubs and music venues throughout the Northeast as well as Colleges, Corporations and Charities. He is currently performing locally in New York, while he develops new material for his sophomore release. Read more:
Hey Bobby, thanks for chatting with me today. I love your album…it’s very unique. Kind of reminds me of Dave Mathews a bit…

Thank you for interviewing me and for the compliments. I really appreciate it. The Dave Matthews Band are pretty much my musical heroes.

You’ve said you were kind of a ‘late bloomer’ well, that’s my word actually…what I’m saying is, I read in a recent review that you’ve only been doing this for a few years. Am I right about that?

Yes, especially in terms of the kind of music I make now...folk/rock/pop (as opposed to classical). For elementary school, I went to Allen-Stevenson, which has a very strong music program and almost everyone played in the orchestra (and we were actually very good for our age). I first played clarinet and then switched to trumpet. My grandfather was also a singer so there’s a genetic component there. So I had somewhat of a musical background, but I didn’t pick-up an instrument again from around 5th or 6th grade until after college. I had also never played guitar, written songs, played in a rock band or considered pursuing music as a career until then either. I think most people who do those things in any serious way start much earlier.

What are some of your regular venues you play?

Most recently, it’s been The Local 269, where I’ll be performing on Friday, June 25th @ 9PM. I’ve had long runs at Arlene’s Grocery and The Baggot Inn (when it was around.) I’ve also played at The Mercury Lounge and Fez (again when it was around) a couple of times.

Last we spoke you said that your life isn’t just, “Music, music, music.” Does that mean that although you really love and appreciate it, you do other things?

Yes, that’s a nice way of putting it.

You’re also taking graphic art classes…I’ve always wanted to take courses at SVA. A brilliant artist, Bill Armstrong who I had the pleasure of interviewing over a year ago actually teaches there. Tell me what that experience as been like for you.

I recently finished a class at SVA. I haven’t heard of Bill Armstrong, but I’ll look him up. I really enjoyed the experience. I’m very into designing logos and creating campaigns around them. The class I just finished was in typography, but it focused on doing real life projects like you would get working for a design agency. And they were for “clients” (not in real life just for class) that a lot of graphic designers would dream of working for. I got to design an identity system for Del Posto (the Mario Batali restaurant), a poster for the US Open and a wine label for Ecco Domani to name a few.

Tell me of your journey that takes place when you write a song?

Great question. Generally speaking, there’s always some “gift” (a chord progression, guitar riff, melody, lyric or some combination of them) I get as long as I focus on music in some way. In terms of the order of getting the inspiration, it’s changed a little over time. When I first started and wasn’t open to doing it any other way, I always had the music on guitar first and would then come-up with a lyrical hook based on something I was dealing with at the time. Then I would write the lyrics to fit with the existing music and the lyrical hook. It’s mostly still like that, but at some point -I think because I took a break from writing consistently for awhile and wasn’t as attached- I started to occasionally hear a melody in my head or even a melody with a lyric that’s the start of something and then I can write the guitar part and rest of the lyrics to go with it. I’m glad it’s happened because it keeps it interesting. Regardless of the order, the music usually comes pretty easily and the lyrics are the work.

Do you ever collaborate with other people in the songwriter process?

So far, not really. A few times people I’ve worked with have added a little part or made an arrangement change that can enhance or at least be a nice variation on the original version. But I usually don’t play songs for other people until I’m confident they're finished. I’m more open to collaborating than I used to be and will probably try it more formally at some point to see if I like it. I’m sure it can be fun to experience the camaraderie and the magic that can happen similar to when people jam together and the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. But I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to have something that’s just yours. And then other people can add their stamp to it with the parts they play as opposed to co-writing the original composition.

Is there a particular singer or group that inspires you? I’m not a songwriter but I get very inspired to write whenever I listen to Fiona Apple’s recent album, or Rachael Yamagata, um, I also love ‘old-school’ Sinead O’ Connor….

Well, as I mentioned, Dave Matthews Band are huge for me. Pearl Jam and The Counting Crows are second and third, but I really love them too. Those are the three that consistently do it for me, but there are some others that are aren’t too far behind, like Pete Yorn, Matchbox Twenty (I used to hate on them but I’ve come to really admire Rob Thomas as a singer and songwriter, both with Matchbox 20 and his solo stuff), Train, David Gray and Nick Drake. There are tons of others where it might just be one song that gets me excited. There’s a really good up and coming band called My Brightest Diamond. The front woman has a very cool and unique guitar playing style I’d like to integrate into mine.

So you grew up in New York City I gather, what’s a typical day like for you here? Are you into all the great sites the city has to offer? Are you a regular museum or gallery visitor?

I did grow-up in New York City. Right now, I’m studying graphic and web design as well as freelancing. (You can see some of my work at, but check back again soon because it's going to be updated with much newer stuff.) That’s how I’ve been spending most of my time. I also spend a fair amount of time doing different things for music such as practicing, performing, recording, writing, submitting songs to record labels, TV and film opportunities, and reaching-out to and following-up with other people in the business. Yoga has become a big part of my life and I try to do it at least two to three times a week.

It’s funny, someone once told me I am a terrible native New Yorker and for awhile I thought they were right. I rarely go to Broadway shows or museums unless someone else suggests it (although at least I do go...and I do go to concerts, cool stores, good restaurants and bars.) I’m not saying I couldn’t take advantage of more (and would like to), but I recently realized that’s kind of like my going to someone’s house who lives on the beach and accusing them of being a terrible beach resident because they don’t swim in the ocean very often but enjoy living by it. In addition to most of my family and friends being here, the appeal of living in New York City for me is more about the overall energy and knowing you have incredible options of the best of everything when you want it, and selectively using what you want. I also think when you are from here it’s completely different than when you move here from somewhere else. You can’t help but not take it for granted a little.

When are you playing next?

Friday, June 25th at 9 PM at The Local 269 (; A great guitarist named Tony Salvatore ( will be sitting in with me for a few songs. His playing style compliments my music really well. To get a preview, he co-produced and performed almost all the instruments on a demo of my song "Unknown Caller." You can download it from my MySpace page ( After my set, I'll be sitting-in with him and his band Pleasuredog to sing and play rhythm guitar on "Turn The Page" by Bob Seger.

Does your culture or heritage influence you in any way with your music or your other inspirations? Both my parents are from Ireland and I am proud of my heritage…the Irish struggle...I am proud of what my parents and their family members had to do to get out here. They were all so driven and have become extremely successful…they all put me to shame! (laughing).

Yes. My Jewish background has influenced two songs with references to Moses and there’s another on the way with a reference to Exodus and the Bible. I wrote “BSF” for my grandmother for her 85th birthday. I also have two LLC’s. One for music and one for design. They are each named for the business owned by the grandfather who I think I got that particular gene from. As I mentioned, one grandfather was a singer. The other was a great visual artist, but neither of them had the opportunity to fully explore their creative it’s a partly a tribute to them, but they’re also cool names.

As you know, I have a musician blog where I’ve interviewed a lot of musicians, mostly living here in the city. A typical thing they have all said to me is that writing music becomes an easier process for them when it involves the topic of heartache. On the flip side of that, love songs…especially by the more ‘serious’ artists get written and produced much less. What about you…you write more anti-love songs too? And if so, can you give me your explanation for it?

I’ve definitely written my share of heartache songs in the past. I think pain is an easier emotion for most people to access because it’s most people’s nature –especially songwriters- to focus on what’s wrong rather than what’s right in their life. And we all get a thrill out of knowing a song will resonate with people, even if it’s a little depressing. Although that’s changing for me.

What would have to happen to you for you to write a happy song or a song about love?

I think I’ve written some relatively happy songs. On Dilettante, “Dilettante" and “BSF” are pretty upbeat and even when any of my songs are dark there is always hope or a fighting spirit in them. In terms of more recent material, I have a song called “Against The Grain” that’s pretty positive and two new songs called “Movie” and “Plasticity” that are very positive. And I have written hopeful songs about love like “White Picket Fence” and “Unknown Caller.”

I cannot pronounce the title of you latest album…how do you say it?

Dill (as in the herb) + uh (like uh huh) + tante (as in détente).

What does that mean?

It means a dabbler, particularly in the arts.

So where can people hear and buy your music?

Great question. :) The best place to go is because you can download individual songs, the entire album or buy hard copies of Dilettante all in one place. You can download it on major downloading sites like iTunes, Rhapsody and Amazon (where you can also buy hard copies of the CD.) There are tons of other sites where you can download Dilettante that I’ve never even heard of until recently like Nokia and MediaNet.

The album was also selected by Starbucks/Hear Music to be sold as a hard copy CD in the Featured Emerging Artist section in their retail locations in Santa Monica and Berkeley, CA (where they also have these cool digital download stations so it can be downloaded there too). They also have the download stations at 50 Starbucks locations in Seattle and Austin.

Another musician question…you got any groupies (laughing)?

I don’t have any groupies...yet. :)

Do you think that era still exists…I’m a huge fan of Pamela De Bares…her book was great. That concept is a little outdated now I guess. Would you agree with that?

I really can’t say with much certainty because I’ve never hung around any artists/bands big enough where it could be a part of their world. But yeah, I get the sense the era you’re referring to (when it was notorious with bands like the Stones, Led Zeppelin or as recent as Motley Crue) is over for now.

Well, thank you sooo much for all this insight. Oh, and one more thing I forgot to mention. I had a few friends of mine listen to your album and they said by the second time they played it...they were already singing along. Was that your intention to make it catchy like that?

Wow. Thanks for passing that along. That actually makes my day. That was definitely my intention and I worked very hard to accomplish it. And again, thanks very much for interviewing me. I really appreciate it. It was fun to answer such great questions.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bernard Brenan lead bass guitarist of Ireland's Own Cream Carousel!!!!!!!!

Bernard Brennan is one of Ireland's finest bass guitar players who currently performs all over the country with his band Cream Carousel. The band also features singer/songwriter Audrey Fey, guitarist Enda Duffy, and drummer Cy Mutch. Bewley's Theater and the Sugar Club are just two of their recent stomping grounds. Their chilled out diddy 'Bring Me To My Knees' is a jazz-tinged number in the vein of Duffy, but with a darker edge and something you might expect to find in the next Quentin Tarantino sound track. 'King of Cool' another highlight is a breezy twang that showcases the bands' undeniable talents. Fay's Nora Jones-meets-Amy Winehouse vocals particularly shine. 'Mama' is another slower and more sensitive offering. And lastly, 'Emptied Out' changes speed rapidly and the closing track 'Losin' swings in an almost punk direction, with elements of The Strokes and Ireland's own, Mary Black amongst its ingredients. To check this band out, you might want to book a flight to Ireland, get a nice B & B in Dublin and arrive at one of the above mentioned venues or you could just Log onto creamcarousel for more info;)
Your sound is very unique, how do others classify it and would you agree with them?

When we read reviews or when people come up to us after gigs they either tell us that our sound had groove or is really old school. I guess that is about right. As a bass player my main inspirations have been James Jamerson (bass player on countless Motown hits) and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. In fact a lot of music of the 60s and 70s has a slight swing to their playing, be it Rock Soul Funk or Jazz. These days I personally feel that music has been kind of sterilized of groove and everything is played in a very rigid straight fashion.

That’s very true Bernard.

Enda and I are big fans of Django Reinhardt, a genius Jazz guitarist who pioneered and early form of jazz call Gypsy Jazz in the 30s and 40s. Audrey has written many songs that are heavily influenced by this music. Audrey is also a big fan of Ray Charles as well as other singers like Edith Piaf…

What an amazing movie they just had on her!

…It was good…um, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie is impossible not be influenced by bands that exist today and the mixture of this with old school and very old school I would say describes us pretty well.

Nice. The title of your band is catchy. Are there any subliminal messages? Oh, and who came up with it?

Audrey came up with it and I'm still not sure what is means but knowing her I'm sure it's something sick.

(laughing) Whoa! Not to get all Irish or anything but I only just saw that indie, "Once," it was brilliant for an indie and the music was inspirational, any thoughts on it yourself? Could you see you and your band creating something creatively like this one day? (i.e long music video/movie combo).

I was blown away by the movie and music.

Me too…

…I am really happy for Glen Hansard. I met him once and he is a very approachable guy.

My friend Jim Hoover got to meet him at one of his recent concerts right here in NYC and he said the exact same thing!

Really? I think Ireland is a hard place to break out of and to have received an Oscar is beyond my comprehension. I was delighted for them both. Of course I wouldn't mind creating music for a hit Oscar winning film but knowing some of our creations we would probably end up doing soundtracks for porno. (laughing)

You've been married to your beautiful wife for many years, what are some secrets of success to a long lasting marriage?

It's a good question and I'm not sure if I have any answers for you. I guess she knew she was marrying a musician so maybe her expectations were pretty low. Its hard been married to a musician, just ask John Lennon’s ex wife. I don't think that there is any danger of me hooking up with a Japanese conceptual artist but nonetheless I spend a large part of my existence on the road, so it is hard and I miss her very much at those times.

You’re hysterical…so is she spellbound by your music or...

Well that is probably the number one reason our marriage has lasted a few years, Lorraine is very supportive but has no interest in that part of my life. Our apartment is like a foster home for guitars and I think she sees music as just my job.

I see you're very influenced musically by Hendrix. What are some reasons for this?

If there was one person that I could go back in time and meet it would be Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix for me was the most natural electric guitarist of all time. What is often overlooked however is the fact that he was an amazing songwriter as well, heavily influenced by Bob Dylan and the soul bands he played in like Ike and Tina Turner, Little Richard, the Isley Brother etc. I read that he saw music in colors.

Wow! That’s so cool.

These is no way that great man like this should be dead. I actually visited his grave in Seattle. Considering what a giant he was in terms of music and American culture I judge the small flat head stone to be rather unfitting.

Well said…Gimme some venues you and your band have performed?

We have played most venues in Ireland including The Red Box, Whelan’s in Dublin. Just recently we have recorded in Belfast and have played many venues there.

Your sister Annette is also musically talented (piano) and you and her actually had a band back in the day. Does she ever strike up a cord with Cream Carousal now?

Annette has always been a great inspiration to me not only as a musician.

Hmmm hmmm…

My sister is very goal oriented and that is a quality that is very important for a musician. She may add some keys in the future. She is very talented.

Ahh, that is sweet! What are some thoughts that go through your mind when you're up on stage?

The worst part of playing any venue is waiting to go up. As a musician, once you’re on a stage you inhabit your natural environment. It's a cliché but it's true. A musician's personal life is usually a complex disaster area but once up on stage life begins to make sense.

That is very enlightening and I believe a lot of musicians would agree with…that very beautiful statement. How much do you and your band meet up?

As a band we practice eight hours a day, six days a week. The only deviation to that schedule is where we are traveling to a venue. Music becomes an obsession and completely saturates your life and yet the amount of time actually on stage is for a very short duration.

Your band has developed a unique sound and solid following. Do you all collaborate on writing lyrics? Have you ever written songs solo?

Audrey is the songwriter in the band. Enda and I do contribute to arrangement and instrumentation although we are beginning to write some things now.

Any aspirations on a European tour or has that already happened?

That will be happening this summer in Germany. We have played in France. When we have more details we will be posting it on our My Space.

What musician would you like to have a pint of Guinness with?

Well maybe Shane Mc Gowan of the Pogues but quite frankly I don't think I would be ready for that.

Oh my god! I met him in Rory Dolan’s!

Really? Wow…when was this?

He was there for his appearance with his new band the Popes but when he arrived very late and very intoxicated it was too late…the band was already packing up to leave!

Wow, that sounds like him alright. Um, so, I have already stated my admiration for Jimi Hendrix and Django Reinhardt so as long as they were buying that would be OK. (laughing) The type of musicians I would like to have a Guinness with would be the ones who could tell you a few wars stories like Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Ozzy Osborne or Angus Young of AC/DC or any of the Stones.

Good choices! So far, many musicians I conversed with over the past several months repeatedly say they tend to create anti-love songs. They say love songs are too difficult. What's this about and is it the same for you?

It’s a cynical world we live in these days. You mentioned the indie movie “Once” which involves a love story and some of the music in the film could be placed in the love song category. I certainly wouldn't put that music in the anti love song category. I guess it depends on your personal definition of love. The Disney version of ‘happily ever after’ or the other version where there are ups and downs, where love is attended by loss and other complex human emotions, where love doesn’t necessary mean happily every after and getting everything you want. More often that not love hurts so in that context I think there is a lot of songs written that reflect that. I have to admit that it has been a very long time since I heard a really well written positive love song; we just might be living in the wrong time.
Bernard, thank you so much for discussing your love of music with me. Your passion is contagious and makes me wish I knew how to play the guitar...
You're very welcome Phil.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dave Wrendom, Musician

Less than a year ago, Dave Wrendon, a NYC businessman lost his job. Like thousands of other Americans, his life suddenly turned upside down during the worst part of the recession. Without hesitating, he picked up his guitar and began to play to audiences big and small. Turning his hobby into a job has since become his passion. And although he plays plenty of covers, he has since written enough originals to make his first you need to get your hands on right now. His music is timely and catchy. His song, Stars and Stripes (a dedication to those who perished 9/11) has became my favorite song and I can already sing every word. I spoke with him about his new life, what music means to him and where it's suddenly taken him. Check him out...

When did you start?
I’ve been playing the guitar since I was ten and I’ve been playing professionally for about four…about five years, semi professionally.
And what did you do before this?
I was a banker…
Really? How was that? What was that like?
It was exciting… I got a lot of experience with global culture, finance…and how to deal with greedy people (laughing) so it was interesting.
I see…and before banking?
I used to design Yachts before that…I was a naval architect…before that I was a male gigolo…
Whoa! You’re kidding, right?
What was your first gig like?
Um…I don’t know if I can recall my first gig but I can recall my most memorable gig which was when I performed in front of about a million people at an outdoor festival in Detroit, Michigan about three years ago.
Wow! How did you get that gig?
Through a connection with General Motors…they sponsored us to come out and play at their festival….for the Chevrolet company.
I absolutely loved your performance during your recent gig! Talk about it a bit with me!
It was an acoustic gig with thee wonderful singer, Jennifer Groves on the Lower East
Side of Manhattan in a place called Recoup.
It was amazing…I love how you too are both original. On a typical night, how do you go about connecting with your audience?
I make eye contact, I smile and I make the audience feel like they’re hanging out in my living room at my house.
Who are your musical inspirations?
I have guitar inspirations and singer inspirations and I think lately it’s people who sing and play like Billy Joel, John Mayer, and Eric Clapton. For guitar inspirations that would be Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, Jimmy Hendrix…
What about the females? Don’t leave us out!
I like Blondie, I respect her a lot…and Pat Benatard, Stevie Nicks…
Love her!
…also Gwen Stephanie….
Good choices! What do you think of Lady Gaga? She’s everywhere now…she is one rich musician!
Nah, she can basically piss off. I mean she does put a lot of effort into her shows though…I think performance is important, so she’s a performer but I don’t think she’s so unique.
She’s doing what Madonna’s done for years and making it eccentric but with music dance is always a good thing…
Who’s your favorite performer on stage?
It might be Bruce Springsteen but I don’t know. I’d really have to rack my brain. My favorite performers to watch? Red Hot Chili Peppers….they’re all theatrical and animated…could be the drugs, who knows?
Ever have any negative situations arise while performing?
The worst that has happened is breaking a string but I just continued playing and switched guitars at the end of the song.
How many albums you got out there?
I got one, my first, Stars and Stripes Fly….that’s one of the original songs, available on ITunes and Amazon.
What is your goal venue?
Well, my ultimate goal…my goal venue would be um…Webster Hall, New York City...or like Hammerstein Ball Room or something like that…I think Madison Square Garden is too generic…I mean who wouldn’t want to play at Madison Square Garden? My ultimate goal is to have my music in a Karaoke Book.
Really? Why is that?
You only make it into a Karaoke book when your song has been somewhat of a hit. It also means it’s recognizable universally.
What the significance of the title of your hit song Stars and Stripes?
I wrote this song a few years after 9/11, um, as a response to a lot of the political debate going on in the country as Obama was coming into popularity and how the county was so divided as opposed to the commonality of how closely the country united during 9/11. I wrote homage to our county…so it’s mostly just a homage to the freedoms we have in the United States that make our country stronger than other countries and I have a website that further discusses this on I also have a song called All Fired Up, which is a bluesy-rock kind of tune…it’s about my own life and um…keeping calm actually…throughout my day, staying sort of in control of my emotions. But the music makes you all fired up…it’s kind of a…almost an opposite meaning or energetic exciting kind of a meaning…
Speaking of websites, you also have an invention in the works?
Yeah, it’s called Barracuda Grip; it’s a foldable and portable handle for disposable beverage cups, hot and/or cold and anything that you don’t want to touch…
Nice! What made you come up with this?
It came to me in a dream and I’ve been spending the last two years in research and development…
Any others?
I have another one that involves…music...I don’t have a patent for that one yet….
How has the recession affected musicians? Or, has it?
It hasn’t because musicians haven’t really ever made money doing what they do and people are downloading songs as much as they ever were.
I read recently about people getting caught downloading music. These fines can be astronomical!
I think it’s up to the digital distribution companies and they’re obligation to distribute the way they’re contracted to….if someone wants to distribute for personal gain…I think that’s wrong…but someone who’s selling/ profiting off of discounted downloads should be fined and punished. Someone downloading for their own enjoyment got lucky but the person who’s getting ads on their websites and all that should definitely be fined.
Compare how the drug scene with music has changed throughout the years. I don’t have a lot of experience with drugs in my community but there’s definitely a lot of alcoho
l consumption…I really don’t know, I’m not there yet…on tours and all that but right now that’s just not my scene.
Do you have a current Favorite venue?
It would probably be Crash Mansion that’s on Bowery Street, Why? It has a really nice stage and great light and sound system and a comfortable space for fans.
When is your next gig?
Go to
What are your ambitions?
To play in Boston, LA, Atlanta, Detroit…
What about internationally?
I have some connections in Ireland and I might possibly be going to Asia with this new group I’ve hooked up with.
Have you ever to Ireland?
I was there for my friend’s wedding in September. His now wives’ brother is well connected in different bars in Dublin…I just have to get myself over there.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Say It Out Loud! Speaking with Singer/Songwriter, (thee) Jennifer Groves of UWS, NYC!

Jennifer Groves has recently finished her solo CD with Moogy Klingman- former member/keyboardist of the band Utopia with the help of the infamous Jim Satten- an excellent guitar player, ex- band leader for Bo Diddley, and a great guy for lending his talents to this album. She says "It took a long time and it was quite a difficult process to get through, but the songs are still strong, and I still love them even after a few years have gone by..... You can listen for yourself I'm writing more songs- the most recent words fueled by a break up. But that's ok whatever works, as far as the material goes!!! " This writer/song writer divides her time between singing in two bands, managing Recoup, oh, and working a "job." She is an amazing singer who challenges herself at her gigs by always singing her own stuff and staying true to herself as an artist.
How long you been in the biz Jenny?

Ten years. Oh, I don’t wanna say my age! I hooked up with one of my customers from a bar I worked at and I started writing and playing my songs with him.

All your songs on your new album are original…were you the only writer?

Pretty much…well, ninety percent. Moogy was ten percent writer, and the musical arranger and the producer…

Musical arranger?

Producer. Just put ‘producer.’

What are your songs mostly about?

My life…my new album deals mostly with my parents death and it’s funny cuz they don’t really have anything to do with…not all of the songs are about my family but there is a direct relation….they both died within two weeks of each other…

I’m sorry about that. Tell me about a specific song where you pay homage to your parents?

Wow, um…”Strong Girl.” It was about me…ah, you know everyone called me a “strong person’ because of all the legal, financial, and emotional ramifications. It was like a ‘blanket statement.’ People didn’t know what to say to me so they just said, “You’re such a strong girl.”

Is singing and writing for you then usually an emotional release and form of a cathartic…or, I mean, therapy?

All of the above. I don’t know what I would do without….I don’t know how I would get through my life…I don’t know how people get things out if they can't express it in some way.

What would you suggest then to a non artist?

Anyway to get the feelings out…but I think it depends how conscious you wanna be. Some people drink, some people exercise, some spend tons of money,….but I think it’s important to look at it on paper. I would suggest they start a journal…

Who are some of your singer/song-writer influences? And/or have you ever been compared to another solo artist?
I think I’ve been compared to Janis Joplin. My influences…would be like…Aretha Franklin. Etta James. Patsy Cline. Sheryl Crow. And I like Pat Benatar and I’m not afraid to say it.

How many bands do you currently play with?

My own band, “J 4 Jennifer” and “Jenn and Dave.” Now I’m also booking acoustic bands…trying to incorporate all music genres so that my club doesn’t have only one type of music ie. Seattle coffee house acts…

You got a problem with Seattle?

Never been but the music makes me suicidal.

You’re driving to your favorite destination and you got control of the music…a mix…what are the five songs?

Oh my god…ah, Led Zeplin “Whole Lotta Love,” “Take it or Leave it” by Jennifer Groves (laughing) cuz I LOVE that song! Gaetano and his last name is spelled V-E-L-O-S-O.

Okay,,,who’s he? Never heard of him.

He’s a Brazilian…very famous Bossa Nova singer. He’s like a rock star in Brazil, he is a rock star.

Okay, who else?

(Pause). Black Sabbath “Heaven and Hell”

And last one?

Let’s see. Trying not to make this a big deal. Maybe…What’s her name? “Steppin Stone” by what’s her name? Duffy? I think the woman’s name is Duffy. I think it’s Duffy.

Tell me more about your booking gigs?

More about what? Oh, okay, so…I’m a hustler. I hustle people to play at my club. My club is Recoup Lounge on the Lower east side 210 Rivington Street at Pitt Street-by the F train feels like the end of the world over there...I book Friday nights :)

What are your favorite bands to book?

I like to book bands with brass instruments…meaning sax, trumpet. What am I saying? I don’t even know what I’m saying. I like R and B. I recently books Miles, you saw him! He was basically rapping a track. Andy, oh god, what’s his band’s name? Andy Miller and Box Car Abandon, that band had a guitarist, flutist, and a washboard player!

What rap artists do you listen to?

Mase…it’s actually MA$E (laughing), Big E Smalls, and Tribe Called Quest. Put, ‘all the classics…’

You are a go getter type of person…what are your literary books of success that may have led you to be such a person?

Oh boy. I’ve read almost every ‘Self-help book’ on the planet. But for right now I would say Eckerd Tolle, “A New Earth” and The Secret…who ever wrote THAT book.

Think it was Burns, I can’t remember her first name. Anyway some very cool things happened to me right after I read “The Secret.” Can you recall what happened to you?

No. (laughing). Absolutely….I don’t think ANYTHING happened to me, truthfully. I can’t think of anything specific, Phil, but I don’t know how to say it…what you project, WILL manifest itself in the physical world.

Oh, I absolutely agree with that girl. I mean if I’m in a bad mood, things are gonna fall apart. Crumble.

(Laughing) 'Wheels are gonna fall off,' that’s one of my favorite statements.

People say the ‘music world’ is a difficult place to be these days financially…do you think that’s a harsh statement?

No, I think that’s the truth. I don’t think you could do it for the money…I don’t do it for the money. If I make money…great, but if I don’t then that’s great too. So, I make money other ways.

Being in the music world on a constant basis, you are surrounded by New York’s best underground artists/ and musicians. What solo artist, band or group do you see ‘making it’?

Dave Wrendon, Bobby Fingeroth…I’d like to put a band down. Put ‘Daliblu’ for starters, yeah.

Tell me a story about one of your love songs?

Just write that I’m a better ‘Anti-love’ song writer. They make for better love songs….

So, you don’t have ‘happily-ever…’

Not yet. Don’t you think break up songs make much better material? I equate love songs for pop songs and I’m not a ‘pop artist.’ Well, there’s two songs. There one, “Double Dealing Man” from the “J 4 Jennifer” album…the story is that um….it was about a guy who I met on the subway and he moved in with me (laughing) for two months. He was from Israel. He stayed at a Youth Hostel just up the street from here. So, we met on the subway…he moved in with me. I thought he was gonna stay and he had no intention of staying and he left for Israel and we were gonna meet in Israel for the New Year. Oh, this is just way too long…when I called him, there was a girl in the background and he told me he couldn’t come to meet me.

Were you already there?

Where? In Portugal. No! (laughing)


I called him before and then I heard the girl….

I think every woman and man has been down ‘that road.’ You’re also an artist?

Yeah. Um. I’m a painter. And right now I do paper collages. Predominantly from scenes from the bible.

Why? Are you very religious?

No but I love religious iconography and medieval illuminated manuscripts.

That’s way over my head. Next question. Um, my brain is burning. I haven’t done this in a LONG time. Um…..well, what do you think I should ask next?

(Pause) You could ask me if I consider myself more of a musician or a visual artist.

Ok, let’s pretend…I just asked you that question.

I would have to say…NO! Ah, being an artist can encompass um…all kinds of things, visual, musical, dance, like you know…play. I think an artist can manifest. You know anyone who can manifest an idea and bring it to life! And I think most artists can create using more than one medium and I personally like to say that if I can’t write, if I have ‘writers’ block’ than I can just paint or if I can’t sing, I’ll write a song….

Friday, May 22, 2009

Milton Hardcastle: Singer, Song Writer and Irish Radio DJ

MaryRose and Milton on the cover of his album
The Virginian and Hardcastle
Ireland's Own, Big Tom visits MC at his radio station

another tragedy hits home...

hail to the chief
the good old days

the world mourns its most famous goat...

mc hardcastle in his element

MC Hardhastle and his Country Western Comedic Radio station isn't your typical pirate radio. For starters, his usual friend/confidant on the air isn't a person but rather a goat. This unique combination has enticed listeners to return year after year for good music, thoughtful interviews and all the other, BAAA in between: Listen Live @ 107.9 Tuesdays and Fridays 8:30-10:00PM.

How long you been in the biz?

Since the 80s. I started out in 1984 with my first goat, McCormick on LCR radio which was Noel Cassidy's Radio Station in Ballinamuck at the time. I am also a TV correspondent for several TV stations in the country.

I'm sorry...did you say goat?

Yes and he was my main presenter, his name was McCormick. He lived to be 22 years of age.

You're not serious!

He lived to be double the life span of an average goat's age. His son, Buck Cannon aka the Chief lived to be over 19 years old. They were both very well looked after.

What were the initial reactions of radio listeners?

It was something unique and different...that being said, it's a comedy show so it makes sense. We were and still are the only radio station with a goat presenter...check it yourself, Google it and see!

Ok! How do you come up with his name?

All my goats were named after 60s and 70s TV characters. McCormick's name was inspired by the 1979 TV Series, Hardcastle and McCormick. It was an interesting story; Hardcastle (Brian Keith) was a Supreme Court Judge in the LA Superior Court and McCormick (Daniel Hugh Kelly) was an ex convict who was placed in his care for 12 months...they later became friends and fought crime together. I also had my name legally changed to Hardcastle.

What was it like looking after the most sought after goat?

He had the run of the house. He would climb stairs, wear hats, drive his custom made car...goats are pretty brainy.


He knew the difference between a salt and vinegar crisp to a cheese and onion (crisps are very popular potato chips in the country of Ireland).

So many journalists have written about him!

Yes and his son... featured in The Longford News, The Longford Leader, The Leitrim Post, The Leitrim Guardian, The Anglo Sect (magazine), Irish Vintage Scene (magazine)...

His son?

When McCormick passed away on Saint Patrick's Day in 1995, his only son, Buck Cannon took over the radio show on a different frequency and different name, 107.9 FM, known as Radio Chapparral (MC's pirate radio station). The passing of McCormick and Buck caused a big stir here in Ireland. Joe Finnegan from Shannonside Radio paid McCormick a very fine tribute and shared with me later that meeting him was the high point of his career! I named Buck after Buck Cannon from the Western TV Series, The High Chapparral (Cameron Mitchell). Buck was the only animal ever featured in the magazine, Irish Vintage Scene. Sadly, he passed away just after he was photographed for the article.

How does one go about appearing on your show?

When musicians have new albums out, they come on after contacting me. It's most essential for for us to promote the local entertainers here....

What famous guests have you interviewed for your radio show?

Rose McConnon from Shercock band, Rose and Solid Gold . She wrote a great Christmas song and recorded it here one night. I've also spoke with Big Tom...he's a big-time country western singer here in Ireland. Also, James Drury, the actor from the 70s series, The Virginian (longest running western series, 62-71)


I met him twice during his one and only visit to Ireland.

What did you and Big Tom talk about?

He is a personal friend of mine...I've visited his home in Castleblayney in County Monahan on several occasions. He doesn't do many interviews. We discussed music mostly: how he's been on the road since the 60s, his first release-Gentle Mother to his second-Four Country Roads to his recent hit-You're Going Out the Same Way You Came In. We talked about dance people met years ago, it's not like that now...we talked about his marriage...

That's nice.

Yes but the funny part was when I asked him when he got married he said, "sometime in the 60s." I got a kick out of that. We talked about our common interest in vintage tractors.

Is there a set routine? Are you live?

We are live. I always ask how long the guest has been in the business and their favorite song and then the rest just flows. We may talk about future venues, how the music scene has changed... the no smoking in pubs, stuff like that...

No censoring? That's risky.

I have never had a problem in all my thirty years. I am always careful of what I say and my guests are too. You must be mindful of topics such as laws, specific people, events...anything to do with the general public really...anything controversial or offensive and you're off the air...

You've produced and recored two albums?

Yes, the first, Say You Love Me was recorded in J&J Studios in Lanesboro County Longford in 2000. The album is a collection of well known songs I dedicated to my wife and favorite person...and your amazing godmother, MaryRose! The other, Galway Girl was recorded in my own establishment in 2006.

All original songs?

Mostly cover songs: You're Going Out the Same Way You Came In, Galway Girl, Say You Love Me, Ring of Fire, Folsom Prison Blues, Forty Shades of Green. I have written four songs...

Is writing songs a tedious process?

You have to find a rhythm for writing your songs.

What's your favorite?

Hec's about a hit 70s TV character played by Richard Boone...

What will your audience expect upon your return to radio?

I am still grieving over McCormick son, Buck as are hundreds of listeners young and old. Last February I shared with writer, Leon Duigan of The Longford Leader my plans to bring on a new goat, Marshall Teaspoon Hunter (Anthony Zerbe) named after the character from the TV Series, The Young Riders.

And you've also been interviewed about your love of vintage automobiles.

Andrew Pollock spoke with me about the restoration of my first tractor (1979)'s a Mark 1/65 Massey Ferguson Original.

What was involved in its restoration?

The engine was stripped down and rebuilt top to bottom. There are new brakes, a new clutch, two original mud guards and a complete friend James Sheridan aka JS Technology of Moyne, County Longford and I performed the operation.

Last but definitely not least, your band...

I have been an entertainer since 1973 (as well as a professional dart player and vintage car collector-one car is almost 60) playing in various four and five piece bands and currently I am the singer, keyboard player and accordion for my own band, Harry O (70s show which stars David Jansson as Private Investigator, Harry Orwell). I work closely with Edmund Dolan who assists with equipment, etc

Thursday, October 9, 2008

EGB's Front Man Evan Goodrow Makes This Blog Because he Frequently Plays in the Village!!!!!

Evan in NYC!!!!

I got a chain email the other day from this band--a fan letter of some sort announcing dates for shows and all that and I was so happy to get it because I was actually thinking about interviewing Evan and presto! Wow, the mind is a powerful tool: if you think it, it will come. Anyway, so I did a phone interview with Evan and in the middle of the conversation he actually started to remember me. I went to two of his shows: one in Springfield, MA and one in Boston, MA. This guy's got thousands of fans and knows thousands of people. I feel so special that he actually (very vaguely) recalls speaking with me for 1.2 seconds...what can I say, I'm so cool.

What do you do?
I write music, I do everything around that, record music, play music, play instruments, book gigs, promote, manage, do interviews (laughing)...
Speak about your music.
Modern Soul...
Any style of music that has soul in the traditional sense: blues, Jazz, Motown, Funk brothers...
So, aside from playing with BB King himself, what other well-known musicians you play with?
Um, well, Jimmy Buffet, Buddy Guy, Peter Frampton, Susan Tedeshi.
Who is she? I never heard of her.
A pop blues singer from Cap Cod, she won a bunch of Grammies, she's the wife of Derrick Truck from the Derrick Truck Band and they're a huge Jam band.
Anyone else?
GE Smith from the old Saturday Night Live band (1980-1990), those are the big ones.
Very cool, I heard a lot about Buddy Guy and Peter Frampton lately...what were your early influences?
Pretty broad spectrum, just a lot of genres, a big one would be Ray Charles or Jon McLaughlin, there's also Hendrix, Oddis Redding, Donny Hathoway...
Where did you get your roots and begin to play?
Big band music like Duke Ellington, Count Bassie from listening to my grandfathers' music when I was four.
And when did you learn to play?
When I was eight, I learned how to play the piano...and now guitar, piano, bass and I sing.
What are some places EGB has taken you?
England, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France...
And of all those places you've been in the world, New York's still the best, right?
Absolutely, but I think Japan would be cool, I really want to go there, I hear it's crazy.
When did your band get started?
Back in 2001, when I was in another band I decided to start my own and went to different gigs to hear different musicians play and well, the rest is history...
When do you play?
Every morning.
That's awesome, um, I meant when do you perform? Sorry I make this up as I go along.
It gets busy and it gets slow, could be 7 days a week or only twice a week, really depends.
Ever do weddings?
We did some for our fans.
For free?
(laughing) No, not free, that really all depends...we don't really have a standard price.
Do you currently have an agent?
I have a few I work with but I'm not exclusive with anyone.
Got a lot of groupies? I've read "I'm with the Band" by Pamela Des Bares, good book by the way.
Yeah, about two million, I never read that book, I did see "Almost Famous" though, about another famous groupie.
Ever been with a famous groupie?
No, never and I don't have any groupies either, I was just joking around.
Sure...I believe you. Oh, I saw a UTUBE clip of you and your band recently where a fan got up and proposed, it was so sweet!!! You guys are great.
That couple meet at that same venue and became our fans two years prior. The guy just called me up one day and we planned the whole thing, she never suspected a thing.
She was totally freaked out, started crying, she was in such shock.
That's so sweet, I love that stuff, that's so romantic.
Yeah, it was great.
So, Sony contacted you?
There's been interest but everything is just's just talk for now. The shape of the music business is so dyer, they're not really signing bands...
I don't want to criticize...the shape is different from the old model to continue the way it was..all the channels of money are different and it's changing the way music gets done, even the everyday person is seeing this.
Tell me a little about your audience.
We have a great fan base, I'm not waiting for anyone to sign us, we're fine either way.
Is there a typical EGB fan?
No, age demographics is just too wide. We cator to all age groups, our music appeals to a very vast population, the spectrum is just huge, our music is very unique.
Any cons you face with such a range?
The only con is having it marketed. Every musician, every group out there has a category or a fan base; Christiana has the younger girl population, etc, with us the audience is too wide, it's hard to market that.
I wanted to ask you about the hat?
Oh yeah, I love these hat questions. The hat is made by Designer New York. I wore it once back in 2003 at a gig and never took it off...
I found when I wore it, it was something that changed my personality.
Kind of like an actor, there's a difference when I'm wearing it and when I'm not wearing it.
So, when the hat does come off?
Look out!
What's the pay split with your band?
All my guys work on a standard rate, it's not fickle, whatever's more gets put back in the band.
Ever play for a festival like a Guniss Fleah?
Not yet, looking forward to it though.
How many records?
Upcoming shows?
There's just too many to list.
Favorite place you love to play?
Well, Boston is my home base, I love playing at the club Tommy Doyle's, the old house blues, it's a very cool vibe.
You a Red Sox fan?
Yeah, well no, I'm not really a fan, I'm just not really that into that stuff.
So, besides music, what are your other interests?
That's it.
No, seriously.
That's bad, I know, I'm just very focused. I write movies, wrote a movie for Maramax but it hasn't been released and I can't really talk about it, signed papers.
Just tell a little of the plot then.
Just a love story about a couple who keep coming back to each other and are always getting separated and this goes back and forth...
How sweet, when was the last time you wrote something other then music/songs?
Last night...working on a music business plan for a friend of mine, I do a lot of other things but ultimately it always comes back to my music.
Who you voting for?
Can't say, I never mix music with politics...but I can tell you I've had enough of the Republicans.
Been effected by the recession?
Oh sure, everyone has, I think it's all across the board.
Well, Evan, thanks a lot and hopefully I will see you in New York soon.
Power to the People!

Recent Article on Evan Goodrow:
By CLARA ROSE THORNTON Herald Correspondent - Published: April 2, 2009

Although southern Vermont has a vibrant music scene, by percentage it can be somewhat limited to similar, Eurocentric genres: folk, roots rock, hard rock. And of course, there are classic evenings of contra and New England fiddlers. It is rare that down-home, messy, slinky soul music finds its way to this trickle of the Appalachian Range.

Though Vermont is statistically both the second least populous and second least ethnically diverse state in the Union, musical energy does not have to suffer proportionately. Through fresh circulation of and open ears toward global sounds — as well as those of American pop music's back porch — Vermont can creep toward the wild diversity needed in entertainment to maintain that distinct hum of bluesy deference.

A way to begin with good marks on a "Vermont dirty soul music" report card is with the Evan Goodrow Band (EGB) this Saturday at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro. Evan Goodrow and his trio of bluesy, funky, old-soul aficionados answered a call to bring a little "shake" to the hills.

Hailed by blues-circuit partner B.B. King as "exceptional," young Boston-based guitarist and vocalist Evan Goodrow is not exactly from the Delta, but his sense of the rawness of expression at the root of soul is evident.

"I would have to say that the essence of blues and soul music is specifically about feeling," said Goodrow in an early-morning interview from his hotel room in Miami. "I think there's something genuine about it, a certain honesty in expression that makes blues and soul good. I don't always see that honesty in pop music."

As a child Goodrow was steeped in the sounds of Ray Charles and Solomon Burke, then integrated a passion for Jimi Hendrix's electric mayhem into his burgeoning style. He pursued formal jazz training in Boston, though quickly took to the streets of the college town's underground cafés and clubs instead, honing an unidentified hybrid sound that would aptly become described, simply, as modern soul.

"If you're playing to jazz or blues purists that means you're recreating," Goodrow said. "And once you're recreating, you can't be creating and recreating at the same time. When you play something that's resurfacing a style or a genre — something that's already happened — you're actually making it worse. Because you can't necessarily make it better than it was. So the only way to make it relevant is to do something else with it — try to bring it to the next step. I think you pay homage to the musicians who come before you not by recreating their work but by creating new pieces that are inspired by them."

While opening for legend Buddy Guy in Lowell, Mass., last year, EGB was "discovered" by Gail Nunziata of the Brattleboro Arts Initiative and Latchis Theater, who decided that bringing him to southern Vermont was an imperative. Currently EGB is touring as a trio with drummer Phil Antoniades and keyboardist John Cooke, downsized from their previously robust four-piece.

Goodrow feels that the stripped-down aesthetic allows for less of a veil, less cushion for extravagance. There's "an honesty. It's that thing again about blues, soul and jazz. There's something so honest in it that I love. And I think that's what makes music timeless."

Saturday, September 27, 2008