Category Archives: National Artists

Sleeze Beez: Looking back 30 years later

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO & JAY KENNEY

Whether you called them glam bands or hair bands, this subgenre of heavy metal and hard rock music consists of big hair, tight pants, and nostalgic music. Glam bands played rock songs full of rage, sentiment, and electric chaos. The genre was pioneered by bands such as Mötley Crüe, Cinderella, Poison, Dokken, Ratt, and Bon Jovi and it thrived mostly in the mid-80s to early 90s until grunge came along.

Sleeze Beez is a glam metal band that formed in 1987. Originating in The Netherlands, the band’s classic lineup consisted of Chriz Van Jaarsveld, Jan Koster, Don Van Spall, Ed Jongsma, and Andrew Elt. They released four studio albums between 1987 and 1994. Their most popular being Screwed Blued & Tattooed which was released in 1990 and cracked the Billboard Top 200 albums chart on the strength of their single “Stranger Than Paradise” that was prominently featured on MTV.

Koster, one of the band’s founding members and dedicated drummer, struggled with a wrist injury for years and finally decided to give up playing in 1996. The band decided to call it quits after the release of their fourth studio album Insanity Beach, but reunited briefly in 2010 when they played two reunion shows.

On the eve of the band’s 30th anniversary in 2017, Limelight Magazine caught up with one of Sleeze Beez’s founding members and guitarist Chriz Van Jaarsveld who reflected on the band’s history.

Sleeze Beez drinking Grolsch (Dutch beer) in Panama City Beach​, Florida, in 1990. (PHOTO SUBMITTED BY CHRIZ VAN JAARSVELD)

LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE (LM): Sleeze Beez formed in 1987 and 2017 is your 30th anniversary. Although the band broke up in 1996 and reunited briefly in 2010, why do you feel that so many people are still interested in the band and your four studio albums? 

CHRIZ VAN JAARSVELD (CVJ): It’s great to see that our music is still alive at this day and age. Back in the day, we worked hard to get recognition and our input was relentless. We weren’t just a band, it was a way of life; non-stop dedication so I consider it rewarding and a compliment. It is great to know that our music lives on.

LM: Looking back on your nine years together from 1987 to 1996, what would have been the biggest highlight for the band and why? 

CVJ: I reckon that the biggest highlight for us was that we got signed by a major label (Atlantic Records) for a worldwide deal and got the opportunity to cross the Atlantic. When we started touring the U.S., “Stranger Than Paradise” was climbing the charts. The video clip was all over MTV and we easily adapted to the rockstar lifestyle. We took the stage by storm. It was great. It was what we wanted.

LM: After releasing your debut album, Sleeze Beez changed vocalists for their second album, Screwed, Blued & Tattooed. Why did you change vocalists and how did the addition of Andrew Elt provide stability and propel the band to more success? 

CVJ: It simply didn’t work out with the first singer. [There were] problems on a personal level and musical differences. The same old stuff. We brought in another singer, who filled the gap briefly but he actually couldn’t keep up with us. Round that time, I met Andrew at an “All Star” jam session organized by rock magazine Metal Hammer. Andrew and I shared the same bill. We actually didn’t gel that well because we both had similar ego’s [and] a certain attitude towards each other. (Later on, we became friends of course, brothers in arms). But, I acknowledged his qualities as a singer and performer and we unmistakably had some strong musical chemistry going on on stage, with mutual respect. So, when Sleeze Beez needed a new singer, I called Andrew up and asked him to come over to the studio. At first, he wasn’t that keen on it but when I went to a gig he did with his band and played him some of the stuff we’d been working on (I played him some tunes right there in the dressing room on a crappy cassette player under the noses of his fellow band mates who were not too pleased by that) he was instantly intrigued. When he came over to the studio, he was totally blown away by the new material. Jan, Ed, Don, and me were a solid unit already, ready to take on the world. Andrew was the last piece of the puzzle. From then on, we were ready for takeoff.

Sleeze Beez “Screwed Blued & Tattooed” charted on the Billboard Top 200 charts when it was released in 1990.

LM: In preparing for this interview, you mentioned that you listened to Screwed, Blued and Tattooed for the first time in years. That album charted in the U.S. on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. What can you objectively say about that album after so many years have passed? 

CVJ: I´m a bit of an “audiophile” and I got this great vintage amp recently. One night I listened to all kinds of music and when plowing through my CD collection I came across a copy of Screwed. For the first time in like 20 years I sat down and listened to the whole album. Objective, as if I heard it for the first time. It was quite an experience, really. I always only kept on hearing the flaws or parts that I found disturbing and could have been better (in my opinion). I’ve never been able to listen to it without analyzing (same goes for other albums we did or I’m on) but now I could really just sit down and enjoy the ride. I really enjoyed it actually, and I can imagine why it did for us what it did. There’s a great energy about it. Good tunes too. I actually played air guitar to it.

LM: You were also signed to a major label, Atlantic Records, for that album. How did you end up getting signed to them? 

CVJ: After Screwed, Blued & Tattooed was recorded, we knew we had something good. So we started “shopping” the album to get it noticed by the bigger labels. When we did, we realized that the rumor was going around already. People heard of us, talked about us, and were interested or eager even, also due to our live shows. We had several executives from big labels coming over to the Netherlands to meet up and negotiate a possible deal. When Atlantic made us an offer we couldn’t refuse, we finally closed the deal. Atlantic was a huge player in the market, of course, and had many of our own heroes under their wing so we considered it a great opportunity to sign with them.

Sleeze Beez in the studio during the recording of “Screwed, Blued & Tattooed” in 1989. (PHOTO SUBMITTED BY CHRIZ VAN JAARSVELD)

LM: On the strength of the hit single “Stranger Than Paradise,” from Screwed, Blued and Tattooed, the band did nearly 80 headline shows throughout the U.S. and Canada that year. What do you recall about that tour? Did you have any venues that stood out? 

CVJ: We actually did a bit more. We crammed a whole bunch of shows in a relatively short period of time. I recall that it was one wild ride. “Stranger Than Paradise” was climbing the charts and the video was all over MTV. (Click HERE to see the video). Good reviews in magazines and radio airplay. We got quite a decent fan base that started following us around. We lived the rockstar lifestyle to the brink and enjoyed every minute of it (and every aspect for that matter.) We crossed the US in a frenzy, and rock ‘n rolled from city to city and the names of the places and venues became a blur (just like that part in the Spinal Tap movie where the band doesn’t know where they are anymore, shouting “Hello Cleveland!” That happened to us too and a lot of the other stuff as well, by the way). Also, it’s been a while ago too, of course, we are talking the beginning of the 90’s here. We played most of the venues and clubs that were known around that time. It was a blast!

Sleeze Beez “Powertool” was their third studio album and last for Atlantic Records.

LM: According to the biography on your website, your third studio album, Powertool, took three years to complete due to continuous struggle between the band and the label. What were some of the difficulties with Atlantic Records that came about that you’re able to say after all these years? 

CVJ: We had most of the material for Powertool ready straight away, really. After Screwed, Blued and Tattooed, we continued writing and recording demos. The thing was that Atlantic felt that the music didn’t have the same output, the same vibe as Screwed had, so they tried to hook us up with other writers and a producer. They flew us to L.A. and stuck us somewhere in Hollywood to write new material but that did not work for us. Although we were willing to collaborate, we stood our ground at the same time. Eventually we ended up in England, where we finally recorded the album, with producer Gary Lyons. The sessions went really well and Powertool saw the light of day fairly quickly. The thing was, though, that the Seattle Grunge scene emerged and spread like wildfire, right around the time Powertool came out. The record companies considered grunge the next big thing so they didn’t put much effort in bands like us anymore. They signed The Stone Temple Pilots in our place and after some struggle with lawyers, we were released from further obligations. Powertool had been released too late. If it would have been released on schedule, things would have turned out different, I’m sure.

Sleeze Beez final studio album was the aggressive “Insanity Beach.”

LM: Sleeze Beez fourth studio album, Insanity Beach, is one that Limelight Magazine enjoys very much. This album is more aggressive and hard-edged than anything you did before. Why did you take this direction at the time? 

CVJ: It was just a natural course our music took. It was how we evolved. Maybe it was a sign of the times as well. There was a lot of tension in the band back then, which oozes through the music as well. Also, the production is more heavy, a fatter sound. It’s a bit more dark, compared to its predecessors but a fine album nevertheless. Glad you guys like it!

LM: Is it true that the band was planning to tour behind this album but disbanded before you could go on the road? 

CVJ: Yeah, we had a tour planned and everything. But the truth is that we weren’t the band we used to be anymore. We’d outgrown each other over time and the ranks got divided. We weren’t a unit anymore. When the mutual spark is gone, it is better to part ways. It was the best thing to do, also to the fans: it wouldn’t be sincere to continue. So, we decided to call it quits.

LM: A lot of founding band members today keep the name and add members and perform the songs they recorded with a new lineup. Was there ever any thought about putting a new band together with the name Sleeze Beez after the 1996 break up? 

CVJ: It has been asked or suggested a couple of times by managers and people out of the music biz but we’ve never considered it. It would be betrayal. Although we had our differences at the time we broke up, we came out stronger. We are like brothers. We would never do such a thing. Sleeze Beez would not be that same band without any of its original members. Replace one or leave one out and the chemistry and magic are gone. It’s the sum of the parts that make the difference.

Sleeze Beez reunited for the first time in many years in June 2010. Pictured above, they are about to enter the stage at the GelreDome in Arnhem, Netherlands. (PHOTO BY EDWIN VAN HOOF, SUBMITTED BY CHRIZ VAN JAARSVELD)

LM: Sleeze Beez reunited in 2010 & 2011 for two shows, including a slot opening for Aerosmith in the Netherlands. How did the reunion come about? 

CVJ: We were asked by a well-known Dutch agency to open for Aerosmith. They thought it would be a great event that way; The Beez reuniting on a bill like that. We actually liked the idea so we got together just for that event. Afterwards, we liked it so much that we decided to do one more gig at the legendary Paradiso in our hometown of Amsterdam – a farewell show as a closure that never happened back in the day. For the fans and for us, it was absolutely fabulous.

LM: How do you feel both reunion shows went? 

CVJ: It was great to hit the stage again together after all this time. When we got on stage at the Gelredome Stadium, we saw that the front rows were filled with Beez fans. It was amazing.

LM: Given that 2017 is Sleeze Beez 30th anniversary year, are there any plans to do another reunion? 

CVJ: Not at the moment but never say never…

LM: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? 

CVJ: Back in 1987, when Jan (Koster) and I started this band, we had actually only one song to our name; “Girls Girls, Nasty Nasty” and the record company wanted to sign us and give us studio time to record an album just on that one song only. Problem was we didn’t really have a band but we’d told the record company we did, to get a record deal. So, when we started recording the very first (and now obscure) Look Like Hell album, it was actually just the two of us, Jan and me, together with an engineer. We lived in the studio and we worked non-stop. We wrote a song in the morning, recorded it in the afternoon, and we did the mixing at night. Besides our own instruments we played all the instruments together. In the meantime, we got hooked up with a singer and in between recordings, we were frantically looking for a second guitarist and a bass player. We held auditions in the studio. When Don (Van Spall) came in and we jammed a bit, we knew he was the right guy for the job. He brought Ed (Jongsma) along, a solid bass player. We finished the last recordings with them. When the album was done, we had a band at the same time. That’s how it started and the rest is history.

Following our interview with Chriz Van Jaarsveld, we re-listened to Sleeze Beez four studio albums and put together our 10 favorite songs. We consider this an “essential playlist” of their music. If there were ever a compilation CD, we’d hope these tracks would make the cut.

“Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don’t” (Screwed Blued & Tattooed)

“Girls Girls, Nasty Nasty” (Look Like Hell)

“Raise A Little Hell” (Powertool)

“Rock In The Western World” (Screwed Blued & Tattooed)

“Save Myself” (Insanity Beach)

“Screwed Blue ‘N Tattooed” (Screwed Blued & Tattooed)

“Stranger Than Paradise” (Screwed Blued & Tattooed)

“Tell It To The Judge” (Insanity Beach)

“Warchild” (Look Like Hell)

“Watch That Video” (Powertool)

Shaun Hague pays homage to Eric Clapton

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Shaun Hague of Journeyman - A Tribute to Eric Clapton (PHOTO BY ERIC SCHMIDT, SUBMITTED BY SHAUN HAGUE).
Shaun Hague of Journeyman – A Tribute to Eric Clapton (PHOTO BY ERIC SCHMIDT, SUBMITTED BY SHAUN HAGUE).

There are a lot of similarities between former Kenny Wayne Shepherd and John Waite guitarist Shaun Hague and the legendary Eric Clapton. Hague has recently made a name for himself as a proficient blues guitarist and has gained enormous success from his band Journeyman: A Tribute to Eric Clapton. Although Hague currently lives in Chicago, Illinois, he will be returning to southeastern Massachusetts with his band on March 30, 2017, with a gig at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass. Purchase tickets HERE.

Hague, who was originally from Somerset, Mass., started playing music at a young age. He has been inspired by some of the greats, including his top three favorites – Eric Clapton, The Beatles, and Bruce Springsteen. Hague talked about how Journeyman: A Tribute to Eric Clapton, fell together.

“Everyone has that main influence, and Eric became mine…I had every Clapton record, and I was learning all of them,” he said. “And then I became such a huge fan, and I knew all of his songs inside and out. And now with my guitar techniques that were somewhat like his and my vocals; I just happen to have a bluesy, raspy voice. So it just seemed like a good fit, and it was always something I’ve wanted to do.”

Hague attributes both his success and his passion for music to Clapton, saying that he may have never fought and worked so hard to be such an incredible guitar player if it wasn’t for Clapton. Hague also talked how he was affected by the presence of The Beatles and Springsteen when he was growing up.

“[The Beatles] really turned me onto music,” he said. “Bruce Springsteen kind of showed me what an entertainer is, songwriter, you know he’s just kind of the ultimate package of musicianship, live entertainment, and stage presence.”

Now that we know how Journeyman formed, how did the journey men come together? Hague talked about the creation of The Journeyman featuring Robert Monroe (keys/vocals), Andy Taylor (drums) and Sheldon Dukes (bass).

“After moving to Chicago a few years ago from LA, I befriended musicians,” he said. “There were a couple of guys I knew in town and then after that we just became friends and I said, ‘Hey I’ve got this idea,’ and they were totally into it.”

Hague explained that the tribute band is named after one of his favorite Clapton albums, “It has a lot of great hits and a lot of great non-hits too.”

Hague also mentioned his top three favorite Clapton songs which are “Pretending,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” and “The Core”.

Hague talked about the success he has gained from Journeyman, attracting a multitude of fans — with growing success that even Hague hadn’t expected.

“I went into this hoping for the best and it’s been more than I expected,” he said. “The first show we did was kind of hush hush. It was done here in Chicago. 130 people showed up or something and our second show was in Iowa.”

Even though the first show was low key, they had instantly caught the attention of many fans. This led to a sold out show in Iowa and many more people were turned down at the door. From there, Journeyman rocked a number of stages, attracting their largest audience to date at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, IL, on Nov. 25, 2016, in which 315 attended.

Hague was surprised at the immediate success of Journeyman and at how fast tickets for future shows are selling out.

As he tries to understand his own success, Hague has come to the conclusion that Journeyman has become a favorite out of all the Clapton tribute bands for two reasons. The first, they are willing to travel and play just about anywhere. Second, they are younger than the other bands. Hague reminds people of a young Clapton, one they might have seen before, instead of an older version.

Hague jokingly questioned if he and Clapton are related somewhere down the line, then added, “I look like him from the 70’s.”

Although Hague’s main focus nowadays is covers, he has somehow managed to make a name for himself as a blues guitarist. Hague said it all started in 2001 when he was 17. He had never performed in front of anyone before, but he was chosen to play at the House of Blues in Boston and was named “The Best Young Blues Guitarist”.

“I love the blues. Always been influenced by it,” he said. “I think everyone does at some point in their life. But I understand it and connect with it.”

Along with Hague’s passion and skills, the Narrow Center for the Arts helped kick start his career. Hague has a great relationship with The Narrows and started his career there playing open mics. He is looking forward to returning in the spring to headline the Journeyman show.

“I love The Narrows, I love [Narrows Executive Director] Patrick [Norton]. I go all the way back to the Narrows Center when it was in a different spot,” he said. “It was this little art gallery and downstairs there was this kind of makeshift music venue. There were tables and chairs and a stage that wasn’t very high off the ground [with] very minimal lighting [and] minimal sound equipment. And they had open mics. Occasionally they would book a small show.”

After winning the contest at the House of Blues, Norton called Hague and invited him to play at one of their open mics.

“So I went down and sat in with Patrick. I played the blues or something, and I kept going back every week or every other week or something. And then I was in a little cover band. So we would show up and sit in on the cover nights and play,” said Hague.

Since 2001, The Narrows and Hague have grown both separately and together. Hague has played at The Narrows many times, both at The Narrows old location and their present location. Hague will be back at the Narrows Center as a headliner on March 30th (which also happens to be Eric Clapton’s birthday). Hague talked about why this show will be better than any show he’s ever played at The Narrows before.

“The first time I played The Narrows it was all acoustic. That was just the setup that was there. Last time, I came through with my band, the band I had. It was kind of unrehearsed. It was a good show though. Everyone’s always wanted me to play guitar, play blues, and the last two times I was in there, that’s not what I was doing. So, next time around, it’s going to be all about guitar work and my vocals and stuff. The band I have now is absolutely amazing. Each guy is super proficient with his instrument.”

Since Hague grew up in Massachusetts, many of his friends and fans are anticipating his return to Fall River. Hague is also looking forward to being back, especially coming back a new, more successful man. He is proud to have done what he set out to do when he lived there, “which was do music for a living. A lot of people laughed at me when I was 16, 17, but I’m proud to go back there and headline this venue that overlooks the town I grew up in.”

Hague also talked about growing up in Massachusetts, “I remember myself as a kid, being over in Somerset, playing my guitar in my room non-stop. The neighbors called the cops on me at night. Being a kid from a small town, I didn’t have many friends. I just spent all my time playing guitar,” he said.

Hague is proud of his success. He took a risk by not going to college and playing music instead. Yet, it’s obvious, that this risk paid off for him. He has had success playing original music, but prefers to play Clapton’s songs.

“To be honest with you, I feel more freedom and I feel more comfortable playing Clapton’s music because I’ve been doing it so long,” he said. “I feel much more comfortable playing his stuff than my own original music. You know it’s a bit more naked when you’re out there…so playing his music I feel more free. I play better than I’ve played in years. I sing better than I’ve sang in years. These songs have been in my head since I was 14, 15 years old. So for twenty plus years I’ve been listening to Eric Clapton non-stop.”

Hague acknowledged that he’s also managed to be creative within his tribute band.

“The original part we’re playing, in the tribute, obviously the vocals are word for word. The main guitar riffs are note for note,” he said. “But when I go solo or my keyboard player goes to solo, it’s not always the exact solo that was there, sometimes. So we’re getting to show what we can do through his music. I get the opportunity to showcase my skills, the piano player’s skills, even my drummer gets a solo on a song, so does my bass player, he gets a solo too.”

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street. Tickets to the Journeyman show can be purchased online HERE or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Metal singer Leather Leone recording new solo album with her ‘boys from Brazil’

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO & JAY KENNEY

Leather Leone promises big things in 2017. (PHOTO BY JIM SCHUMACHER, SUBMITTED BY LEATHER LEONE)
Leather Leone promises big things in 2017. (PHOTO BY JIM SCHUMACHER, SUBMITTED BY LEATHER LEONE)

When legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio died on May 16, 2010, it sent shock waves throughout the hard rock and metal community. As sad as his death was for so many people, it motivated vocalist Leather Leone to return to the heavy metal music scene after being away from it for nearly two decades. Since then, she has released a studio album with The Sledge/Leather Project, reunited with the band she originally fronted, Chastain, for two stellar recordings (Surrender To No One and We Bleed Metal), and is currently in the process of recording her first solo album since 1989 with a stellar band in Brazil. 2017 promises to be the year of Leather!

“The loss of Ronnie Dio changed me as much as when I had spent time with him,” said Leone in an exclusive interview with Limelight Magazine. “It took my breath away, as it did for many. I had to say and do something…the only way I knew was through song. He had always told me I had a gift. I simply gave it back to him. I think of him always when I write and record. He has always been my vocal reason. I thank him for any note that I sing.”

Leone said that her 20 year hiatus from music wasn’t planned but it just happened.

“After Chastain, the offers were comprising and uninteresting,” she admitted. “I would and will not try to be something I am not…I had other paths that called to me.”

Leather Leone is working on her first solo album since "Shock Waves" in 1989.
Leather Leone is working on her first solo album since “Shock Waves” in 1989.

While Leone’s path took her on a road away from the music industry, she is now back stronger than ever with a new solo album in the works with a lineup of musicians that includes Daemon Ross (guitar), Braulio Drummond (drums), Thiago Velasquez (bass) and Vinnie Tex (guitar).

“I call them my boys from Brazil,” Leone said. “They are a well-kept secret that I have the privilege of working with. They have done their share of working with much bigger names than me. I had met Daemon Ross on my first jaunt to Brazil in 2014. We had stayed in touch hoping it would evolve in some way. Vinnie, Braulio and Thiago I met for the first time in September. For me it was magic. We fit together very well.”

Although many years have passed, Leone feels like she’s the same rocker she has always been with the opportunity to become even better than ever.

“I can’t tell you how empowering and life changing this new project is for me,” Leone said. “The band that my promoter/manager Rodrigo Scelza had found for me is a wall of inspiration. I am basically writing with Vinnie Tex via email. I have gone through his and Daemon Ross’s ideas and chose what I think will work with my lyrical ideas…then Vinnie and I start doing demos back and forth. It is working very well. I have found a sense of sameness with them.”

Leone and her “boys from Brazil” are recording this new album in South America due to the unique opportunity she has working with these musicians.

“The guys are all situated there,” she said. “It is easier for me to go to them and it is important for me to be there with them. The energy I get from South America is indescribable.”

The new album doesn’t have a title yet but Leone did mention that it will be released sometime in 2017 “Dio willing,” she said, in commemoration of Ronnie James Dio.

While Leone is the same hard rocker she has always been, she said the music industry around her has drastically changed over the years.

“I find social media crazy,” she said. “Anyone can make music. All music can be downloaded and found for free. There are so many bands, it’s hard to find your place. That is what I’ve noticed, but I am still blessed to be able to make music so I have no complaints.”

"Mystery of Ilusion" is the debut studio album by Chastain which featured Leather Leone on vocals.
“Mystery of Illusion”(1985)  is the debut studio album by Chastain which featured Leather Leone on vocals.

Leone recorded her first album ever in 1985 with the band Chastain called Mystery of Illusion. They released music for five years before Leone departed the band in 1991. Over the past several years, Leone returned to Chastain and recorded two studio albums, Surrender To No One (2013) and We Bleed Metal (2015). [Check out the music videos for “Evil Awaits Us” and “I Am Sin” from Surrender To No One by clicking on the song title.]

“Working with Chastain is like riding a bike,” Leone explained. “You always remember and it comes back to you. Our relationship hasn’t changed. It was very cool to be back in the studio with him (David T. Chastain). At this time I see no plans for another record but weirder situations have come to be.”

Although Leone worked with Chastain in the studio again, they hadn’t shared a stage in over 25 years until they performed together on October 8, 2016, at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“The live show with Chastain was cool,” Leone said. “I had always known it would happen eventually. It made me realize how thankful I was to have come from there and how lucky I was to move forward with my boys.”

Leone hopes to play some shows in the states again, possibly even with her “boys from Brazil.”

“My world with this band is wide open,” she said. “I am starting again with a fireball of talent beside me. There is interest and possibility. I hope to play in the states again.”

As Leone cements her return to the music scene, she is now accompanied by many more female rockers than before. When Leone first started making music, she was playing with the boys and being compared to male metal singers such as Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson and Judas Priest’s Rob Halford. Although Leone is proud to have been a pioneer female vocalist and rocker, she has also struggled with this label.

“I have always said I have a hard time with the female label,” Leone explained. “I understand looking back that we were few but still that label is so boring. I feel blessed, of course, to be spoken in the same conversations as the big guns but why is gender an issue?”

Leone is thankful for everyone who has supported her throughout her career.

“Thank you to everyone who has stuck by me with love and belief,” she said. “My new band will blow your mind as they do mine every day.”

Keep up with Leone and get band updates at leatherleone.com.

Leather Leone (PHOTO BY JIM SCHUMACHER, SUBMITTED BY LEATHER LEONE)
Leather Leone (PHOTO BY JIM SCHUMACHER, SUBMITTED BY LEATHER LEONE)

Girls, Guns and Glory Record Their First Analog Album ‘Love and Protest’

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Girls, Guns and Glory (PHOTO BY ELIZABETH ELLENWOOD)
Girls, Guns and Glory (PHOTO BY ELIZABETH ELLENWOOD)

Girls, Guns and Glory is a band like no other. Their music has been compared to Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, Dwight Yoakam, Chris Isaak and many more. While the band may be compared to some of the greats, they also stand out from the rest. They are both an intellectual and soulful band that you don’t want to miss when they tour in your area.

The band consists of four talented musicians, Ward Hayden, (acoustic guitar and lead vocals), Josh Kiggans (drums), Paul Dilley (bass and vocals), Cody Nilsen (lead guitar and vocals). Check out their latest album Love and Protest where they analyze the connection between these two words. Ward Hayden explained the main concept behind the album.

“The overarching theme of the album is the exploration of what love is, what it means, what is its purpose in our lives and then the other side of that, what happens when that emotion is faced with opposition,” he explained. “To me Love and Protest are alpha and omega. It is the emotion itself and then it is the opposition of it. The songs on the album cover those feelings and there is a lot of ground to cover in between those extremes.”

The songs on Love and Protest is a combination of rock, country, and blues music. Many iconic musicians have inspired the band through the creation of this album.

“Sonically we were really inspired by Tom Petty’s Damn The Torpedoes album,” Hayden explained. “For the 10 years we’ve been a band we’ve always made music rooted in classic country and early rock ‘n’ roll and as the band has matured and progressed, we’ve worked to blend those styles into something that sounds distinctly like Girls Guns and Glory.”

One of the most unique aspects of Love and Protest, is that it was recorded in analog. With the guidance of their producer Drew Townson, Girls, Guns and Glory were able to embody the magic of classic rock and country albums recorded on tape.

“Recording an analog album was a largely positive experience,” Hayden said. “Our producer, Drew Townson, had the vision of this being an all analog album from the very beginning of this album’s creation. He was very upfront in his feelings that we were losing some of the energy the band has when we record digitally. By recording to tape, he felt it worked well with my voice and he felt that it would better capture a vibe that can get lost in the digital process. Now, that the album is complete, I have to agree with Drew that this was the best way to capture the feeling and emotion of these songs. There is something raw and honest about four people being in a room and making music together and that is what this recording was able to capture.”

Besides the different recording techniques used, Hayden explained the other ways in which Love and Protest is different from the band’s previous releases.

“I think it shows a lot of development in the band,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of stage and studio experience under our belt and this is the first time that we approached an album with songs that were really labored over.”

In the past, Hayden typically wrote songs in short bouts of creativity. For this album, he took his time and worked hard and long on each song.

“With Love and Protest, some of these songs were worked on for years,” Hayden said. “They were songs that I’d kept for myself and continued to rework and think about for a really long time. For me, it’s some of my most personal songwriting and I think it shows when you listen to the album.”

This also wasn’t the first time Girls, Guns and Glory worked with Townson. He also mixed and co-produced the band’s 2015 release A Tribute to Hank Williams Live. 

“I’ve known Drew for about nine years and we’d always wanted to do a studio album together,” Hayden said. “He and I produced the Tribute To Hank Williams album together, so I knew I liked how he worked and vice versa. What I also liked was that he was not only open to the idea of having Josh Kiggans, Paul Dilley and I sitting in the producer’s chair with him but he welcomed it with the new album. He was very open to our ideas and we were comfortable enough with him that we knew we could pitch concepts and ideas to him and know we were getting honest feedback.”

Girls, Guns and Glory are proud of all the albums they have released yet Hayden explained why he feels that they are a new band due to the release of Love and Protest.

“Right before we entered the studio we parted ways with our guitarist at the time,” he explained. “Josh, Paul and I got together with our manager and he said to us that we can’t look at this like a road block. He told us that he believed we have the songs ready to make the best album of our career and that we have the guys needed to make it. It was a vote of confidence that we really needed at that time.”

During the creation of the new album, guitarist Cody Nilsen joined the band adding a fresh, new quality to the album in addition to the solidified Guns, Girls and Glory sound.

“For us, it felt like new life had been breathed into the band and we were re-energized,” Hayden said. “When one door closes, another door opens and I think all of us felt like we were almost new again. Things felt great in the studio and they’ve felt great on stage as we’ve been touring.”

Girls, Guns and Glory have done lot of touring over the past several years and have experienced some amazing moments. One of the band’s most memorable moments was when they played two shows in France last year.

“We were performing just outside of Paris when the Bataclan terrorist attack occurred,” Hayden explained. “The show that night ended with people in total distress and people were extremely worried and upset. The next night we got the call from the venue we were supposed to play that over 150 tickets had been cancelled because people were afraid to go out and the venue wanted to know if we wanted to cancel the show. We talked amongst the band and with our tour manager and ultimately decided that putting joy and music into the world was the best option. So, we told them we’d be there for the show. There were only about 100 people that wound up coming out but the connection between the band and the audience that night was the strongest I’ve ever felt from the stage. People sang along with tears in their eyes and so did we. It was one of the most memorable and moving experiences I’ve had in this band. We didn’t speak French and they only spoke a little English but we connected over music and emotion. It helped me believe that good can win over evil and I felt it was an example of the resilience of the human spirit.”

Girls, Guns and Glory have played shows with some popular acts within the music industry such as Los Lobos and George Thorogood and The Destroyers.

“Los Lobos are just some really welcoming and cool guys,” Hayden said. “They’re always good for a laugh backstage. George Thorogood and The Destroyers have told us some great stories about touring with The Rolling Stones and seeing Chuck Berry. I love rock ‘n’ roll history, so getting to share the stage and hang out with people who have been in it for so long is really inspiring and exciting. I consider myself a music fan first and foremost, so getting to hear the stories and firsthand accounts has been one of the best perks of being a musician.”

Girls, Guns and Glory is managed by Patrick Norton, Executive Director of The Narrows Center for The Arts in Fall River, Mass. Norton came in contact with the band since he was a fan and has continued to propel their career using both his venue and the connections that he has within the industry.

“Girls, Guns and Glory had started to attract a following in Boston and Patrick was one of the first people outside of the city to give us a shot,” Hayden explained. “He put us on as the opener for a few bands at the Narrows and gave us the chance to start building a following there. It took us give or six times of playing the room but we’ve been able to sell it out a few times in the last couple years and The Narrows has become one of our favorite venues to visit.”

Hayden loves his job as a musician and even had some advice for aspiring musicians today.

“I’d say to an aspiring musician to keep grinding and working hard,” he said. “This business is a roller coaster ride, plenty of ups and downs. If you can learn to ride the roller coaster then you’ll do well and enjoy what you’re doing. I’d also encourage aspiring musicians to do their best to not get discouraged. The music business has changed so dramatically in the 10 years I’ve been in it. Major label deals are a thing of the past but there are so many ways for independent artists to succeed nowadays. It’s all about finding your angle and putting in the time and hard work. If you love it, keep at it, just make sure you truly love it. If the love is there, even the bad times won’t seem so bad.”

Get your copy of Love and Protest on iTunes or Amazon. Girls, Guns and Glory will also be hosting CD release shows throughout the Northeast this winter and in the South and Mid-West this spring. Visit their website HERE to keep informed about the band.

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Girls, Guns and Glory (PHOTO BY ELIZABETH ELLENWOOD)

Joan Osborne follows her own instincts

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Joan Osborne (SUBMITTED PHOTO BY JEFF FASANO)
Joan Osborne (SUBMITTED PHOTO BY JEFF FASANO)

Joan Osborne has been pursuing music for over 20 years and she has just hit her creative climax with her newest album Love and Hate. Osborne’s story began when she moved to New York City in the late 80’s when she founded her own record label called Womanly Hips. Osborne pursed her love for singing and songwriting and gained substantial success in 1995 when she released her first major label album, Relish, featuring the hit single “One Of Us”. Although this album gained substantial attention, Osbourne made her intentions clear as stated in her website bio, “She was more interested in musical integrity and creative longevity than transient pop success.”

Osborne has always been ahead of her time. She bravely stepped out into New York alone and opened her own record label. She has also been open about both her sexual and creative freedom. With one compilation album, one holiday album, two live albums, and seven studio albums under her belt, Osborne still felt that she had creativity that needed to be let out. Osborne worked on Love and Hate for several years before perfecting and releasing her eighth studio album in 2014. This album explores many different aspects of both love and hate. Within this album, Osborne once again displays her iconic, raw lyrics and bluesy voice.

Osborne will be performing a show consisting of stripped down versions of songs from Love and Hate, as well as songs from her other studio albums, at the Spire Center for Performing Arts, located at 25 ½ Court Street in Plymouth, Mass, this Thursday, Dec. 8th. Purchase tickets HERE.

“If fans are familiar with the full band versions of the songs from the album or from seeing us live, they can expect a more intimate experience,” Osborne said “For the duo and trio shows we strip the songs down to their bare essence and the fans have told us over and over that it is a very emotionally affecting show, that they hear things in the songs that they never have heard before.”

At the show, Osborne will be bringing playing with two other talented musicians: Jack Petruzzelli and Andrew Carillo.

“I will be bringing two excellent musicians who are also old friends,” Osborne said. “Jack has been a collaborator since the early nineties, and we came up together playing in the clubs and bars of Manhattan. He and I have also coproduced the last two albums that I’ve released. Jack plays with Patti Smith, with Rufus Wainwright, and is a founding member of the Fab Faux which is the world’s premier Beatles cover band. Andrew has been working with me since the early 2000’s and he and Jack together have a great sound. They are also really fun to hang out with, and because they have known me for so long, they have lots of embarrassing stories about me!”

Osborne said it’s much different performing as a duo or trio compared to having a full band.

“Performing with the full band is a lot of fun but there is something about doing a duo or trio that is both more challenging and more satisfying for a singer,” Osborne said. “You have nowhere to hide but you can also work with a lot of subtleties that get lost in a band configuration, and the shows tend to be more emotionally intense because of that.”

Since Love and Hate’s release, the album has received many positive reviews. What makes it so much more different from Osborne’s previously released music is her focus on songwriting.

“We first started writing material for Love and Hate a full seven years before the album was released,” Osborne said. “It took us that long to find our way to what the album wanted to be. It started as an effort to create something that was stylistically in the world of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks or Pink Moon by Nick Drake but as we worked on it the themes of romantic love–in all its many variations–began rising to the surface and I realized that that was what the record wanted to be. So for that reason, we were all very busy with other projects, it took us a long time to get to the end result but I think that was a good thing. I like the fact that every song went through many versions before being fully realized. I think the writing is as strong or stronger than anything I have done.”

For Osborne, Love and Hate is one of the most personally-charged, creatively ambitious efforts of her two-decades-plus recording career.

“I think the subject matter, romantic love, is a very complicated one at this time in my life and in the life of my family and friends,” Osborne said. “Most popular songs tend to explore the territory of a new love or of kicking someone to the curb after you can’t take it anymore. There is a huge area in between those two points, an area that is very complex, and that is what I see people in my world living through; trying to negotiate and it’s both very difficult and very rewarding. I wanted to explore love in that way, to get into all the messy details of a deeper love.”

As a seasoned musician and songwriter, Osborne now feels that she is truly writing for herself and she is making up her own rules. Her dedicated fans have followed Osborne through her growth and she is grateful they are willing to evolve with her.

“I know that doing music for a living is very privileged life, even though it can be very difficult,” Osborne said. “I know that I would not be able to do this unless I had fans who came to the shows, who bought CDs and T-shirts, and who have stayed with me through all the different styles and incarnations I’ve traveled through. I honestly have no idea what I would be doing if I could not do music, so my fans have been my salvation.”

Osborne has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards; six in the 90’s and one in 2013.

“Of course it’s nice to be recognized in that way,” Osborne said. “It’s nice to feel that you are part of a larger community of music artists and going to the Grammy awards, seeing the other artists from all different genres, always makes me feel connected to this huge web of people making music around the world.”

With many years of experience as a musician, Osborne still manages to create compelling and refreshing music.

“I have jumped around from genre to genre, which can be seen as commercial suicide in a way,” Osborne said. “I can only say that I have followed my instincts more than any plan for commercial success and I don’t honestly know whether that has been a good thing but that’s been my choice.”

“I think my experience makes it easier for me to create music,” she added. “I think it allows me to cut through the noise and get to the heart of the matter more quickly. I don’t feel bored: music is like the ocean, you can dive in and swim your whole life and you will never get to the other side.”

Osborne also has a lot of memorable moments since the release of Relish in 1995.

“I have been really fortunate to be welcomed into a lot of different musical worlds,” she said. “I have sung with Lucciano Pavarotti in Italy, I have sung with Stevie Wonder at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’ve toured with The Dead, dueted with Bob Dylan and I’ve sung with Patti Smith. Those have been highlights but honestly they have not been any more wonderful than just performing with my band in front of a crowd on a normal night. There’s something about the communal emotional experience of that which transcends everyday life and elevates us all.”

While Osborne hasn’t released any new music in two years, she is currently working on a set of Bob Dylan songs that she hopes to start recording this winter.

“Our next album will be a set of Bob Dylan songs,” Osborne explained. “It’s a project I have long wanted to do and the residency we did at the Café Carlyle back in March was the springboard for this album; we did two weeks of nothing but Bob Dylan songs and it was amazing. I felt like what an actor must feel like doing Shakespeare, the material is so rich. So we’ve been in pre-production for that and will be going into the studio shortly after our show in Plymouth.”

Tickets to Osborne’s show at The Spire are $45. The venue features superior acoustics, custom state of the art lighting and sound systems and original period architectural details, offering patrons an exceptional performing arts experience.

MASS are ‘Holden on to Christmas’ and helping Toys for Tots

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

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MASS is known as a hard rock band from Revere, Mass., but they have decided to show another side of themselves with the release of a four song Christmas CD Holden on to Christmas. You may know these four musicians as the rockers that they are but they are also all fathers who believe that no child should go without presents on Christmas.

The band first decided to give to Toys for Tots in 2010 when they released their first Christmas single. They released a second Christmas single in 2014 and once again donated the proceeds to Toys for Tots. This year, MASS decided to step up their game by releasing a full, four song Christmas CD, which is limited to 500 copies and they’re already selling fast. Get your copy HERE!

Limelight Magazine spoke with MASS vocalist Louis St. August about the success of the first two Christmas releases and the band’s inspiration for expanding their Christmas tradition by releasing a Christmas CD this year. The first Christmas single they released did very well and they were able to raise around $3,000 for Toys for Tots. For the Christmas release in 2014, MASS ended up raising even more money for the charity. Since there was only a limited number of copies for both of these releases, MASS decided to put that music, remastered on a CD, with one original MASS Christmas song.

“We have the three songs that we previously recorded and a brand new original Christmas song called ‘Holden on to Christmas’,” St. August explained. “We had them all remastered and we put them all together on the CD.”

The CD was just released on November 17th but already around 300 out of the limited 500 copies have been sold. Along with this impressive first week of sales, MASS is glad to be able to once again give Toys for Tots a substantial donation.

“No child should go without receiving at least one gift on Christmas,” August said. “We felt strongly about that, especially myself, so I presented the idea to the guys [Gene D’tria, Mike Palumbo, and Joey “Vee” Vadala] and they all agreed.”

Not only is this CD a grouping of four merry songs but it is also a true MASS album. With so many other Christmas albums out there, St. August talked about what makes this CD different.

“Our fans like MASS music so they like our renditions of the songs that are rock but also Christmas,” he said. “People who have written me back really appreciate the new song we wrote so I think the CD is different than other Christmas CD’s because we have a little bit of a different style and our voices are different. It’s coming from a melodic, hard rock band and it’s just showing a different side of us; a side that can do ballads and happy, Christmas tunes.”

St. August first started thinking about creating a Christmas CD in August since the band would need that much time to create Holden on to Christmas.

“I started it in August and I actually sang the Christmas song that we wrote on a hot day in September,” he said. “I had to kind of force myself into the Christmas spirit.”

Holden on to Christmas consists of three previously released songs, “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Grown Up Christmas List”, and “Where Are You Christmas”. The last song on the CD is the title track which is a original MASS Christmas song “Holden On To Christmas”. St. August explained how that last song came into fruition.

“We’re coming out with a brand new album next year, a full length album,” he explained. “It will be our ninth studio album. We wrote a couple songs when we were in the studio and one of the songs just didn’t fit with the rest. So my idea was, ‘why don’t we change it and make that into a Christmas song?’ I put Christmas lyrics on it and added some Christmas kind of atmosphere to it with sleigh bells and the choir.”

MASS hopes to continue releasing Christmas music every few years and also donate as much money as they can to Toys for Tots. MASS has even considered doing a possible MASS Christmas concert in the next couple of years.

Paul Bielatowicz: Bringing sound to the silent film ‘Nosferatu’

BY JULIA CIRINGNANO

Paul Bielatowicz & Simon Fitzpatrick (PHOTOS BY JANEL LAFOND-KILEY)
Paul Bielatowicz & Simon Fitzpatrick (PHOTOS BY JANEL LAFOND-KILEY)

Guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick will be back on the road this December by popular demand. Both are extremely talented musicians known for their work with drummer Carl Palmer, of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia. For their December run of dates, Bielatowicz and Fitzpatrick will be premiering one act from their soundtrack written for the classic silent film Nosferatu.

Bielatowicz is a sensational guitarist from Lancashire, England. He attended school at Leeds College of Music and pursued music for a while before he was offered the opportunity to play guitar for the Carl Palmer Band. Although he has only released one solo album in 2014 titled Preludes & Etudes, he has a vast history within the music industry touring the world, recording music, and playing phenomenal live shows with musicians such as Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big) and Les Paul.

For a while, Bielatowicz toyed with the idea of creating a soundtrack to a silent film. In the same out-of-the-box manner in which he approaches many of his projects, Bielatowicz chose to write a soundtrack for Nosferatu, a silent German expressionist horror film, after watching the movie a few years ago.

“I feel that music and art should connect people on an individual and personal level,” Bielatowicz said. “Sadly we live in a society that seems to be moving away from that idea, where mass media and maximum profits are the primary goals of creativity. I’m always looking for ways to rebel against this modern day trend – writing and performing a live soundtrack to a 95-year-old silent movie just seemed like the right thing to do!”

“The name I gave to the silent movie soundtrack project is The Orchestra of Lost Emotions,” Bielatowicz said. “With all the wonderful technological media innovations we have today, I feel like we miss out on a more personal experience – our physical and personal relationship with the world is becoming a lost emotion – hence the name of the project.”

Bielatowicz loves to challenge himself as a musician so creating a soundtrack for a movie such as Nosferatu that has been surrounded by so much hype has been an exciting experience for him.

“I think the history that surrounds Nosferatu makes it a very attractive movie to tackle,” Bielatowicz said. “The director’s initial plan was to make a version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula but when permission was denied by Stoker’s family, he decided to go ahead and make the film anyway, tweaking the script and changing the characters’ names – Count Dracula became Count Orlok for example – in an attempt to avoid copyright infringement. Despite their efforts, the changes were not enough to avoid a lawsuit. Shortly after its debut, a judge ruled in favor of the Stoker estate and ordered all copies of the movie to be destroyed.”

Thankfully, some copies of the film survived, and today it’s become a cult classic. The movie sprouted a wave a creativity within Bielatowicz and he knew this was the project for him.

Nosferatu has the reputation for being a creepy horror movie, which of course it is but it’s also so much more than that,” Bielatowicz explained. “F. W. Murnau was the genius director of his day and the movie is a cinematic masterpiece full of innovative camera techniques, cutting edge special effects and emotional acting performances. It’s difficult to imagine how innovative Murnau actually was in his early silent movies – you have to remember he was literally inventing the media of cinema at the time and the films he made still stand up as a benchmark for modern day movies to be measured by.”

“Not wanting to give too much away, Nosferatu doesn’t follow the standard plot norms we came to expect of Hollywood over the 100(ish) years that followed,” Bielatowicz said. “The hero turns out to be not-so heroic, while his love interest becomes the heroine in an emotional climax to the movie. That’s definitely not what audiences would have expected in the early 1920s. The way Murnau succeeds in communicating these subtleties and emotions using the medium of silent acting and camera work is nothing short of genius.”

The Orchestra of Lost Emotions is a multi-cultural soundtrack. Bielatowicz combined his English heritage and the original film’s German elements to create a masterpiece. This piece of art also incorporated Bielatowicz’s rock sound with a mixture of classical music.

“I guess my influences as a composer aren’t what you’d typically expect for a rock guitarist!” Bielatowicz said. “Classical music has always been my passion and there’s a huge classical influence in the music I’ve written for this soundtrack. As for the German connection, I think fans of classical music will recognize a huge tip of the hat to Beethoven throughout.”

Bielatowicz talked about the main characteristics that differentiate the Nosferatu soundtrack from his previous material such as his stripped back solo album Preludes & Etudes.

“The biggest difference is that I’ve written all the music to tie in very closely with onscreen action,” Bielatowicz explained. “Scoring for a silent movie allows you the freedom not only to write music which evokes the emotions of a scene but also to incorporate sound effects into the music. Elements such as footsteps, door slams etc. are all incorporated in the music as an attempt to blur the lines between soundtrack and sound effects.”

The soundtrack is split into four acts. Bielatowicz will be premiering the first act on his December tour along with the first 30 minutes of the film.

“[The first act] is a great introduction to the movie and goes right up until the dramatic moment where the main character first meets Count Orlok the vampire,” Bielatowicz explained.

Along with the premiere of Nosferatu, Bielatowicz will also be playing a variety of covers and original music.

“We’ll be playing a selection of classical showpieces, including a lot of music from my solo album Preludes & Etudes,” he said. “You can expect to hear movements from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, some Beethoven favorites, Chopin Etudes, Debussy ballads, famous opera overtures all arranged for electric guitar, bass guitar and Chapman stick, like you’ve never heard them before! Mine and Simon’s tour follows an extensive tour with Carl Palmer, where we’ve been playing tribute to the late Keith Emerson, so you can probably expect a couple of ELP [Emerson, Lake & Palmer] classics thrown in too!”

The last time Bielatowicz and Fitzpatrick played together, they received rave reviews. Both musicians always put on a dynamic instrumental performance, and this one is bound to be even better due to the premiere of the soundtrack. Bielatowicz confirms his true talent by creating an all instrumental playlist that never bores the audience and never begs for vocals.

“I think variety is the key to maintaining an audience’s interest in any musical setting,” Bielatowicz said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re solo instrumentalist, a full band with vocals or a 90 piece orchestra, if everything you play sounds the same then your audience is going to get bored pretty quickly. Obviously, the fewer elements or instruments you have in a band, the more creative you have to be about maintaining variety but as long as you remain mindful of that then it’s possible to keep an audience’s interest no matter what instruments you have at your disposal. Dynamics play a big part, as does instrumentation, the use of different sound effects and obviously having 25 minutes of your set devoted to playing a soundtrack along with a movie screening helps a lot too! Audiences can expect a carefully thought-out set, specifically designed to keep them on the edge of their seats for the entire duration of the show.”

Bielatowicz has been playing alongside Fitzpatrick for many years and is excited to embark on another tour with him.

“Not only is Simon one of my best friends but he’s also one of the most gifted musicians I’ve had the pleasure of playing with,” Bielatowicz said. “I think our musical styles compliment each other perfectly – there’s no one else I’d rather do this tour with. I guarantee audiences will see him doing things they never thought possible on the bass guitar or Chapman Stick!”

Over the years, their relationship has grown and they have pushed each other to be the best musicians they can be. Their musical chemistry is evident during their live performance and this bond has been created and solidified through their years of friendship and musical expansion.

“I definitely think we’ve inspired each other to take our instruments to new places,” Bielatowicz said. “The way we both play our instruments is quite un-guitary and un-bassy and I think it’s fair to say we’ve influenced each other on our musical journeys.”

Here’s is the complete list of tour dates for Bielatowicz and Fitzpatrick’s tour. Visit the websites of the public venues to purchase tickets.

December 8, 2016 – Pawnee, IL (Private Concert)
December 9, 2016 – Milwaukee, WI (Private Concert)
December 10, 2016 – Chicago, IL (Private Concert)
December 11, 2016 – Gibsonia, PA (Private Concert)
December 12, 2016 – Blend of Seven Winery, Delaware, OH
December 15, 2016 – Tupelo Music Hall, Londonderry, NH
December 17, 2016 – Hollis, NH (Private Concert)
December 18, 2016 – Hartford Road Cafe, Hartford, CT
December 20, 2016 – Schwenksville, PA (Private Concert)
December 21, 2016 – Triad Theatre, New York, NY
December 22, 2016 – Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA

Trevor Rabin ‘talks’ about his newly formed ‘union’ with Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

After 25 years apart, Trevor Rabin has reunited with former YES members Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman for a fall tour of the United States.
After 25 years apart, Trevor Rabin has reunited with former YES members Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman for a fall tour of the United States.

Trevor Rabin is a musician, singer/songwriter, producer and film composer most famous for his time as the guitarist and vocalist for YES. He was with the band from 1982-1995 and was responsible for some of their biggest hits including “Owner of a Lonely Heart” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 singles chart. He was also responsible for their most successful selling album 90125, along with three others: Big Generator, Union, and Talk.

Rabin is currently planning a tour with two former members of YES, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. The tour, appropriately called “Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman: An Evening of YES Music & More,” launches tonight in Orlando, FL, and will come to Boston on October 19th at the Citi Wang Theatre.

It’s been 25 years since Rabin performed on stage with Anderson and Wakeman on the Union tour. In an interview with Limelight Magazine, Rabin talked about how this reunion came about.

According to Rabin, he and Wakeman had always planned and hoped to tour together, but it never happened until now. With busy lives full of thriving careers, both Rabin and Wakeman spent years making excuses and putting off their work together.

“I think the catalyst was our very good friend [YES founder and bassist] Chris Squire dying,” he said. “This led us to discipline ourselves and say ‘you know what, now we really really got to’.”

The two finally decided to clear their schedules and make this project happen with their mutual friend Anderson who previously performed a successful series of concerts with Wakeman in the U.K. in 2010 and the U.S. in 2011. These three musicians work great together and flourish in the mist of each other’s company and creative energy.

“What’s really great is that it really came from the heart of the musicians, opposed to some promotion company or record company getting involved,” said Rabin.

Rabin and Wakeman are currently rehearsing and also recording music together. Rabin said that they have had a great time working together recently and are both inspired and excited for the upcoming tour.

Although they will not be playing any of their new music on this tour, Rabin explained the setlist they are working on.

“So what we’ve done is we’ve really taken the catalog that we’ve all been involved with in the past, and really found, I think, exciting new ways of doing it,” he said. “We’re pretty excited about it.”

“We’re still going through it,” he continued. “We’ve rehearsed way more than we need and we still haven’t reconciled what we are going to play. I mean obviously we’re going to play “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and things that you kind of have to play. It’s kind of prerequisite for doing the tour, almost.”

Rabin explained how the tour came about and his current work with Wakeman.

“We do have some new stuff, but I guess just because of the passion we have for this and how we approached it, it isn’t done yet,” he said. “This music and tour wasn’t put together by a bunch of promoters and managers and record companies. It’s really just happening in it’s own good time. The intention was to possibly do an album or at least a bunch of songs and go on tour after, but it was taking a long time once we started to get the stuff done.”

Due to their lack of time and eagerness to go on tour together, Rabin and Wakeman have set up two different tours. After this series of dates, they plan on finishing their collection of music and then plan a separate tour where they will be playing new music.

Rabin has many things to look forward to in the future, but he also spoke a little about his time with YES and his reasons for leaving the band in 1995 at the conclusion of the Talk tour.

“It was very satisfying when 90125 came out and was the biggest YES album ever. It kind of legitimized this band,” he said.

But eventually, Rabin did outgrow the band and moved onto a new project.

“I had done close to a thousand shows with YES and I just didn’t feel like playing ‘Roundabout’ and ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ for a little while,” he said. “I wanted to get into film and I’ve been famed as a conductor, arranger, orchestrator, so I thought, ‘well, what’s the natural place to do this?’ I thought, ‘well, film, maybe film.’”

During Rabin’s time with YES, he worked closely with Anderson writing songs in the past particularly on the highly underrated Talk album, but he has done less work with Wakeman. Because of this, Rabin was truly excited to work with him.

“The most important thing about this for me was working with Rick,” said Rabin. “Obviously working with Jon is great. We’ve always wanted to do this again. But Rick, I haven’t worked with as closely as this before. Although, when we were doing the [Union] tour, we worked very closely. There were nights when it felt like it was just him and I on stage.”

Rabin said fans who purchase tickets to his upcoming shows with Anderson and Wakemen will enjoy a night of old time classics with a new twist and be able to witness the flourishing musical relationship these three men have.

“I hope people enjoy it as much as we’re enjoying it,” said Rabin.

The Citi Wang Theatre is located at 270 Tremont Street in Boston, Mass. Tickets to the show can be purchased online by clicking HERE, at the Citi Center Box Office, or by calling 800-982-2787. VIP packages are also available through ARW-TOUR.COM.

Robert Reed finds his ‘Sanctuary’ in paying homage to Mike Oldfield

Robert Reed (Submitted Photo)
Robert Reed is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who released two back-to-back solo albums that pay homage to Mike Oldfield (Submitted Photo)

BY J. KENNEY

Although he may not be a household name in the United States, Robert Reed is a man of diverse musical talent. A multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, Reed is best known throughout Europe as the founder of the Welch progressive rock band Magenta. Before that, he was creating equally compelling music with his band Cyan and side project Trippa. A self-proclaimed fan of 70s progressive rock music, Reed recently decided to salute his music hero, Mike Oldfield, by recording a solo album, called Sanctuary, in the style of Oldfield’s 1973 masterpiece Tubular Bells. Like Oldfield, Reed played every single instrument on Sanctuary and structured it exactly like Tubular Bells with two movement instrumental pieces. He was even aided by Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth who were members of the Tubular Bells production team.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Reed immediately followed up his debut solo album with Sanctuary II. While he once again played almost every single instrument, this time he was joined by drummer Simon Phillips (Toto/Hiromi), who previously worked with Oldfield on four of his solo albums. The album was released this past June to critical acclaim.

Currently, Reed is rehearsing with a 10 piece band for a special Sanctuary Live performance on October 8th at the Big Room at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios. The performance will be recorded for a future CD and DVD release. Despite his busy schedule, Reed was gracious to grant us an interview where he offered in-depth and insightful answers to our questions.

LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE (LM): In order to put the following questions in context for our readers, could you briefly explain the impact legendary multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield has had on you as a musician, particularly in your formative years?

RORBERT REED (REED): Tubular Bells was the first album I had bought for me at the age of 7. I had heard a funky version of it on an album of horror film themes. I was captivated by it and played it to death. I then discovered the rest of M.O. (Mike Oldfield’s) catalogue. I just became inspired to learn to play all the various instruments, like my hero. I found in M.O. music a deep emotional content. The ability to move you with music without lyrics. There is something very special in M.O. guitar playing. It’s almost like a vocal connecting with you. I then became a massive fan of all his work and went to see him many times.

LM: Now moving ahead to 2014, you released your critically acclaimed solo album, Sanctuary, which pays homage to Oldfield in a big way. You structured the album exactly like Oldfield’s masterpiece, Tubular Bells, with two-movement instrumental pieces and played every single instrument. Why did you decide to tackle a solo project of this magnitude at this point in your music career?

REED: Alongside my career in music with my various bands Magenta/Komepndium, I have done lots of TV and film music. But I’ve always had a yearning to do a long form album like Tub(ular) Bells. Lots of people knew my influence which shows itself in my other projects and always asked when I would do the album. Then, at the beginning of 2013, on the first day of the New Year, I sat in the studio and asked myself what I really wanted to do, and started what became Sanctuary. The music just flowed for the following months. It was the most enjoyable album I have ever made, as it came from the heart. I knew I wanted it all to be played by hand, real instruments and using the long form template of classical music and Tub(ular) Bells. I also knew that I wanted vocals, but not lyrics. So I had to find singers who understood this. I was lucky to work with Synergy Vocals, a vocal group who work with Philip Glass and Steve Reich, so they knew exactly what I wanted.

LM: Sanctuary was co-produced by Tom Newman and mastered by Simon Heyworth who were both part of Oldfield’s 1973 Tubular Bells production team. How did you get them to assist you with this project?

REED: When I finished the first Sanctuary album, I really liked it, but wasn’t confident that it worked as a standalone album. It had been a labour of love, but wanted to check that it was NOT just a “clone” album that couldn’t be taken seriously.

So I thought I needed to put it to the test, musically, and who better than Tom Newman, who had made the original album.  I know he is a very straight talking man and would say the truth. So I sent him a copy and asked his opinion. He replied and gave it his blessing and was really complimentary. There are loads of fan versions of M.O. material, and people who do YouTube demos in their bedrooms of M.O. music. Tom said that he is sent loads of these, but Sanctuary was different. It was actually NEW music, written in a similar style, but had managed to capture the spirit of what M.O. had done on those first four albums of his.

I also sent a copy to Simon Heyworth to ask a similar question of the music. He also replied and said the same, but also that he could close his eyes when listening to Sanctuary and he was back in the Manor Studios in 1973, and offered to master it. I was so pleased and had the confidence to go forward.

Robert Reed released Sanctuary in 2014.
Robert Reed released Sanctuary in 2014.

LM: What was it like working with them, especially since they come from a different era of recording, and how much input did they have on the finished album?

REED: Tom was such a help, he lives in Ireland so we had to do the collaboration via the internet. I had done a lot of the work already, so I sent him the individual tracks of the music, so he could extend, change the order and sound of each part. He had loads of suggestions. On the first album, he said that I was putting too much into the music, cramming too many themes. This is because these days I worry that people haven’t got the attention span, to listen to things and want everything changing and exciting all the time. Tom is the opposite and kept telling me to let the music breath. Also, I was going to add shorter tracks to the first album, to make the album longer, and to have “single” type songs to help promote it. Tom hatted this idea and just said that it spoilt the atmosphere created by the two long pieces… He was of course right.

On the new album Sanctuary II, Tom had even more of an input. I had finished the album and was about to send it be mastered. I thought I had better send Tom the finished mixes, for one last check, as I hadn’t spoken to him for a few months whilst doing the final mixes. I had a reply, where he said I had made the most perfect album in history BUT I had taken out all of the soul of the demos! I was devastated, but went back and checked some of the guide mixes Tom had done and he was right. Computers allow you to repair every mistake, everything in time, make everything sound perfect…but it’s not what we should be trying to achieve in music. It should be about soul and emotion and sometimes the little mistakes are what make it human. So I spent the next four weeks, mixing from a different perspective. To Tom, I owe a lot and am so grateful to have his input.

From left, legendary producer Tom Newman and Robert Reed. Newman co-produced Mike Oldfield's masterpiece Tubular Bells. He also worked with Reed on both Sanctuary albums.
From left, legendary producer Tom Newman and Robert Reed. Newman produced Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. He worked with Reed on both Sanctuary albums. (Submitted Photo)

LM: After Sanctuary was released, you wasted no time and spent most of 2015 recording Sanctuary II. Was it your plan from the start to structure this follow-up album the same way as the first, which is also what Oldfield did on his second studio album Hergest Ridge?

REED: As I said, the first album was such a joy to make, also the reaction to it was so positive, that I really wanted to make a second album as soon as I could. There was no need to change the song format as it had worked so well on the first. I was also a lot more confident, so I could be more bold. I had also learnt lessons from Tom that I could bring to the new album, though he still would complain that I was squeezing too many ideas into the music.

Sanctuary II is Robert Reed's follow-up solo album to Sanctuary that was released this past June.
Sanctuary II is Robert Reed’s follow-up solo album to Sanctuary. It was released this past June.

LM: Unlike Sanctuary, you were aided by legendary drummer Simon Phillips on Sanctuary II who worked with Oldfield on four of his studio albums (Crisis, Discovery, Islands, and Heaven’s Open). Why did you decide to use a drummer this time around? Was it always your plan to work with Phillips? Were other drummers considered?

REED: With Sanctuary II, I wanted to add something new. I had avoided drums on the first album, as it really changes the atmosphere of the music, but thought it would be a challenge to use them on the second album, but tastefully. I had a wish list of drummers I thought who would understand the music. Simon was at the top, but I never dreamt that I would get him. I tracked him down and sent him an email, explaining what I had done and working with Tom and Simon and asked if he would listen to the demos. This he did, and he was really complimentary about how nobody was making this type of music anymore, so he agreed to play. He lives in America, so I sent him the backing tracks and he sent me his drums. The moment I played them against the music, I knew I had something special. Simon is also an amazing engineer and producer, so the drums sounded amazing and what he played was perfect. I never thought, back in 1984 watching Simon play drums at Wembley with Mike Oldfield, that years later he would be playing on my album. That was special.

LM: I’ve been listening to Sanctuary II non-stop since I ordered it online. While this album again pay tribute to Oldfield’s early works, the influence of some of his later releases shines through, particularly Platinum and Five Miles Out. Did this naturally progress this way or was this what you were aiming for when you started writing and recording the album?

REED: Yes, there are definitely more of the Platinum era. That’s because of the drums and how they make the music move. For me, there is a lot more influence of David Bedford the composer who M.O. worked with a lot in the 1970’s. David’s albums like The Odyssey was a huge influence. But again, there is a lot of me. The whole “influence v. plagiarism” debate is a weird one. When I released the first album, I split the M.O. fans down the middle. Half saying that they loved that I was bringing new music in a style they liked; the other half were very of protective of M.O. and hatted what I was doing. I remember M.O. saying how disappointed he was that after Tub(ular) Bells nobody else was inspired to make long form instrumental music. This is exactly what I am doing. Also, EVERYBODY has influences and brings them into their music. M.O. music is very stylized because of the instruments used, but so is classical music. Beethoven sounds like Bach, sounds like Mozart, because they all use the same instruments. It’s the melodies that set them apart. ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) sound like The Beatles. Steve Wilson [sounds like] King Crimson. Genesis took their sound from King Crimson, Marillion and Genesis….we all have influences. In the end it comes to this. IS THE MUSIC well written and performed and does it move you emotionally????? If it does then I have succeeded.

LM: Do you know if Oldfield has heard either of the Sanctuary albums?

REED: I’m not sure he has heard it. He must be aware of it, as it’s all over Facebook and YouTube. I’m not sure if M.O. is interested in anybody else’s music. I just hope he appreciates the spirit in which I made it, and the reason why I made these albums.

LM: Now that the album is out, you’ve been busy rehearsing for your Sanctuary Live shows on October 8th at the Big Room at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios. How are rehearsals going?

REED: I always wanted to play these albums live, but knew it would be a challenge, for obvious reasons. So, after the new album, I just put a date in the book, and forced myself to make it happen. We are in the middle of rehearsals, and it’s sounding fantastic, a little different than the record. It’s very had to play, as everybody has to play the right thing at all times for it to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

LM: You’re going to be performing with a 10-piece band. Since you performed almost every instrument yourself on both Sanctuary albums, how did you select these musicians to bring these albums to life?

REED: I had to find people who I could trust to be able to bring the right style of playing to each part. I also wanted people who I can get on with and feel comfortable around. We have two guitarists, two keyboard players, bass play, drummer, percussionist playing tub bells, times, marimba, etc., and three singers. It would have been very easy for me to play piano through it all, as that’s my main instrument, but I thought people would expect to see playing various instruments, so currently I’m playing a lot of guitar, some bass, and various percussion instruments…Its’ a real challenge, but fun.

Robert Reed is currently rehearsing with a 10-piece band to perform Sanctuary Live on October 8, 2016.
Robert Reed is currently rehearsing with a 10-piece band to perform Sanctuary Live on October 8, 2016, at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios. (Submitted Photo)

LM: You’re recording the concerts for a future CD and DVD release. When do you expect them to be released?

REED: Not sure really, hopefully mid-2017. The concert is going to be very intimate, as Real World Studios is not really a venue. We can get 75 people in for each of the two shows, so I hope it’s going to be great for the audience to be surrounded by the band, visually and sonically. The plan is them to play more shows in more traditional venues, possibly with the same band or smaller, with different line ups. It’s weird I remember seeing M.O. perform Tub(ular) Bells II at Edinburgh He had a massive band and it was perfect, but it was a little too safe and boring. Then I saw him with a five-piece band and the music was completely different to the albums, but was so much more exciting. So you have to strike a balance when playing live.

LM: Speaking of the future, Oldfield concluded his two-movement trilogy of albums with Ommadawn in 1975. Are there plans for a third and final Sanctuary III album?

REED: I’d love to do a third album, but I need to find a sound in my head, and have a few ideas of what new to bring to it. At the moment, I’m completely consumed with the live shows. Though, I am planning a special E.P. for early 2017 that is the early stages of recording.

 

 

Phoebe Legere bringing Cajun music and more to Orleans, Mass.

Phoebe Legere (Submitted Photo)

By JAY KENNEY

If there’s anyone who could be classified as a “Renaissance Woman,” it’s Phoebe Legere. The Maine native who is of Acadian and Abenaki (First Nations) descent, sings, plays a number of instruments (piano, accordion, cello, Native American flute, organ, buffalo drum, synthesizer, guitar and cavaquinho), stared in several films (Mondo New York and Toxic Avenger 2 & 3), paints, draws, sculpts, and writes movies and musicals. She also founded the New York Underground Museum in 2006 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2000. She’s released over 15 CDs of original music and will be appearing at Brick Hill House Concerts on Sunday, Aug. 30th, in Orleans, MA. We recently caught up with Legere who didn’t hold back in her answers to our questions.

Limelight Magazine (LM): You’re going to be performing at Brick Hill House Concerts on Aug. 30th in Orleans, MA. For anyone who has not seen you perform live before, what can they expect at this show?
Phoebe Legere: This is an excellent and fair question, but it is impossible for me to answer. I cannot see myself when I am performing, nor can I predict how I will be perceived by others. I can only tell you what I feel when I play music. I go on a journey inside myself into a cosmos of memory, desire and ideal beauty. There are spirits there, spirits of my ancestors and of animals. These spirits seem to hover near! They are very interested in the music. Spirit voices suggest things to me, ideas about color, pitch, timbre, re-harmonization and expression. My eyes may appear to be seeing the audience, but in fact, I am looking into a place beyond space and time. I feel deep love and compassion for my audience. I read them with my heart as I play.

I play rhythms and notes and what I feel will soften hard places in their hearts and heal sad places in their minds. My job is to bring the music medicine to the people. That is why my native name is Phoebe Songbundle. I can be very photogenic, but cameras do not see very well. In person, I hover between pretty and ugly, male and female, young and old, white and Native. That is a good place to be. People soon forget how I look and they begin to go on the journey with me.

Music is a magic canoe that can take you down the river of your own dreams. In that journey you will find your own ancestors and spirits of animals who can guide you to heal yourself. I channel the music of my ancestors – French Acadians, Abenaki Native Americans, Wampanoag ancestors who ran to Maine and Canada and joined the Abenaki during the Massachusetts holocaust, and yes, my Mayflower Puritan ancestors too. I’m descended from a few of the travelers including Bradford and a young woman named Remember Allerton. They named her Remember so we would never forget how the Puritans were treated by the English.

I have to heal the pain of those ancestors who are still grieving because of the territorial and linguistic incursions of Imperialist England into North America at that time. You will also hear elements of church music in my note choices. I grew up in a small colonial town in Massachusetts where I sang in the choir and played the organ in the church.

LM: Will you be performing solo or with a band and do you have a preference for one over the other?
Legere: I have invited musical friends from the area to play with me. Notably, my friend singer-songwriter George Leonard, a 2015 inductee into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, will play fiddle with me. I love to be part of a team. When we play together we are than the sum of our parts – music is prayer – everyone knows it’s easier to get the Lord’s attention if there’s a crowd praying the same song.

LM: You’ve released 15 CDs of original music. How do you go about deciding on a set list for your shows?
Legere: I use my intuition in everything I do. On the Cape I will play more of my maritime songs: “Big Sperm Whale,” (click on song title) “Heart of the Summer,” (click on song title) and “Sailing on the Sound.” When I am in French Canada, I do mostly French, but this far south I’ll sing mostly English.

LM: In some of your promotional materials, it says you “reinvented Cajun music in your own image, mixing New York City jazz funk with New Orleans blues, down-home Acadian bluegrass, story-telling and melody.” How would you describe your music to someone else?
Legere: I play North American music. An oyster makes a pearl from the pain of a grain of sand. Similarly, my music grows from the pain of forced human migration. What do I mean? Well, in 1755 the Acadians were deported to Louisiana – that’s how we get Cajun music at the same time Africans were being moved, forcefully, in chains, from beautiful Africa to places where they were treated like animals. The Cajuns (Acadians) were an underclass everywhere they went, since social status is all about territory and having a big house and an established business. The English had burned our houses and took our land. All we had was family and music. The Cajuns intermarried with the Africans and that’s when the music started to get really interesting. It’s called jazz. This is the vein I am working. Where Acadian music meets Black music. I like it and I feel right at home in this type of groove. To this Jambalya, I add plenty of Native American, French and classical elements. Yes, I went to Juilliard. Yes, I sing at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Yes, I write for and conduct Symphony Orchestras. Yes, I was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. But when I play folk music at a house concert, I am just that. I am a woman of the people, a down to earth, real person born on the 4th of July.

LM: You sing, play several instruments including the piano, accordion, cello, Native American flute, organ, buffalo drum, synthesizer, guitar and cavaquinho, as well as write memorable songs. When did you take an interest in music?
Legere: I started playing the piano before age three. I reached up and could feel the keys. That is when I started. I began composing at six and I’ve been professional since age nine.

LM: What was the first instrument you learned how to play and why did you decide to pursue other instruments?
Legere: In those days there was a strict division of instruments into “male” and “female.” The piano was feminine, a nice thing for a little girl to learn. My mother forbid me to play guitar. They directed me instead, to the cello, which was my main instrument for many years. My sister wanted to play drums and vibes. She was forced to play the flute. My other sisters played violin and viola so naturally I picked those up and started playing them. My grandfather played accordion. The accordion had fallen out of favor by the time I reached adolescence, but I found one in the attic. The minute I squeezed it I was hooked. The expressiveness of the reeds is like the sighting of the sun, the cries of immigrant populations! The accordion is the true instrument of the people! And what’s more, you can move while you play it. I love to hear the sound waves swirling around me as I stroll with my accordion.

When I got involved with performance art many of the galleries and museums where I played did not have a piano. The accordion was perfect.

I was signed to Epic records at 16. They said “Phoebe, don’t let anyone see you carrying THAT THING!” (the accordion was that thing). Now, as with so many of my visionary ideas, everyone realizes I was right all along. The whole world now knows the accordion is the hippest instrument. I have much more to say about the accordion and music as a mind control tool of government BTW

LM: You have a very impressive biography. Of all of your accomplishments, what was your proudest moment so far?
Legere: Singing my poem, The Waterclown, with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 2000. (Pulitzer Nomination 2000). The topic, water, the privatization of water and the importance of water in climate change has become one of the hottest topics in enviro-politics now. You can listen free to the mp3 on my website: http://www.phoebelegere.com/waterclown.html. Also hear me conducting and singing my classical chamber trio called STARS on the same page.

LM: Outside of music, you’ve also appeared in several cult films including Mondo New York and Toxic Avenger 2 & 3. Did you like your experience working on these films? Are you still actively pursuing film projects?
Legere: I write movies and I make my living writing music for movies. I have a degree in film scoring from NYU. As my late friend Roger Vadim once said, “Film is a perfect synthesis of sound and image.”

I direct and produce all of my music videos. My movie The Shamancycle Story, (about my 15 person rideable eagle sculpture made from up cycled and re-purposed junk), had a limited run in art houses last year. It could be viewed as a 20 minute extended music video for my song “Love is Your Power,” but you can also hear me singing the traditional, 10,000 year old Creation Hymn in there too.

My early music videos, “Marilyn” and “Trust Me,” were collaborations with Nile Southern, Terry Southern’s son. I was very influenced by Terry Southern. Terry wrote Easy Rider, Doctor Strangelove, Candy, The Magic Christian, and most of Barbarella. He was an important writer until Nixon put him on the Enemies List after which he could not work in Hollywood.

Nile and I lived with Terry in an old farmhouse in Connecticut. Terry’s ideas about movies and writings were a profound influence.

LM: You’re also a painter who founded the New York Underground Museum in 2006 to preserve the works of artists whose works are not held by major institutions. Why is preserving these works so important to you?
Legere: NYUM presents, preserves and curates the work of visionary artists whose work is not held by major institutions. In 2006 there was a show called the East Village show. I could not help but notice that women, artists of color, handicapped artists, ethic artists and Native Americans were not represented in this show. However, Madonna and Debbie Harry were in the show. This showed me how corporate culture not so subtly invades the world of high art. I wanted to create a zone of beauty and vision that was protected from the dominant money culture.

LM: What artists do you currently listen to?
Legere: Daniel Lavoie, Congolese hip hop such as Baloji but also the hip hop made by 12 year old soldiers in the Congo.

I listen CDs made by families who sing the old Acadian songs, like “C’est d’même que ça commencé” by La famille Doiron who sang with me on my Canadian tour 2015, I listen to George Leonard and Ray Legere my cousin.

I listen to CD’s I made from Brown Wax cylinders created at the turn of the century by someone who went in and recorded the oldest Abenaki/Penobscot elders singing the old medicine songs, (the cylinders were in a flood so they were covered with mildew, hard to listen to, but I was (able to extract some basic Abenaki medicine motifs later, when I went to visit the Maliseet, who speak a very similar language to us, they had the same songs and we understood each other, you can hear me singing in this (language on “Blue Canoe Blues” (click on song title) on Soundcloud.)

I listen to the very old gospel recorded before it all became a business, I listen to the Smithsonian Folkways recordings.

I listen to the radio just to see how bad it is. Yes. I listen to Top 40 and I realize with horror that somebody has now created computer program to determine the words and images from the top three songs in each year for the past 30 years and that is how the music is being made now. You think a song was written by an inspired artist songwriter? No. Music is now ghost written by teams of writers who market test the lyrics on subject fitted with electrodes. I was on a major label for three years. Epic/Sony. I know how these people operate and they are beyond scared shitless. They leave nothing to chance. How about that song “Shut Up and Dance.” Yes consumers listen closely.

I listen closely to the top 10 songs to hear the subliminal messages embedded behind the lyrics. I listen to the machines used in the productions. Your consent is engineered.

I listen to RFI the French global internet radio station. They play a lot of African music that interests me. I play with an African drummer named Joachim Lartey. He knows 2000 West African shamanic drum beats. It’s kind of cool and sad that the Zulus are now doing house music. It sounds better than the crap I have to listen wherever I go in America, but African rhythms are one of the cultural treasures of the worlds and it’s tragic to see the Zulus handing their power to a machine. Africans used to say: “The drum is the voice of God!”

How do I know so much about Africa? I went to Africa in 1987 with Nile. We lived at Peter Beard’s Hog Ranch. We visited the Masai Mara. We lived with the Kikuyu tribesmen who had lived with Karen Blixen. I learned many things [such as] creativity, music, dance and costume.

That is how I got the idea for Hello Mrs. President, [which was] my musical about the first black woman President of the USA starring Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer LaVerne Baker and me as (the First Partner).

I listen to early early blues artists like Howling Wolf, Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson, Son House, John Lee Hooker, Sunnyland Slim…you want me to go on? I was the Blues DJ on Sirius Radio for two years.’

I had a friend named Boris Rose who recorded all the radio broadcasts of the 40’s. That was when radio had good music. The major labels were still signing musical geniuses.

Boris made me cassettes of the broadcasts from the Royal Roost and the big ballrooms. He made tapes of the great boogie boogie and blues pianists who came through New York City and that’s how I developed my blues piano style, as well as spending a great deal of time in Louisiana with my grandmother. We are connected to all the Legere’s and Trahans in Eunice and Lafayette, LA. I listen to early New Orleans R&B. I love the period just after World War 2 when jazz was just morphing into rock ‘n roll. I love it.

I can’t get enough music. I never tire of it. I studied jazz piano with John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet but I have also hung out with and played with the best modern piano players from Nola’s great blind Henry Butler to my friend Billy Joel. Do I listen to Frank Sinatra, Billy Holiday, Big Joe Turner, Charles Trenet and Jacques Brel? You bet I do. I am an ear person. I listen to poetry being read by poets too. It is amazing what is available on YouTube.

My best listening time is when I am not listening. In the silence I hear my own symphonies, melodies, ideas and songs.

LM: Is there anything else you’d like to add for those reading this?
Legere: I like music, I like musicians and I like people who like music. I like to listen in a group. Music is more important than people think. Music is the vibration that is creating the illusion of reality and music is the telescope that lets you see through the illusion. That is why, in the old days, before industrial music and machine music, music was the glue that held families together. That’s why they call it music harmony. I have created a free art and music camp for the high poverty at risk children of New York City. This is my passion. I am a natural teacher and that my greatest love is nurturing the visionary artists and musicians of the future.

Did you see the drums I made – White Eagle Drum and Golden Wolf Drum with Abenaki symbols? I’ll be playing them at Brick Hill House.

For more information about Legere, please visit www.phoebelegere.com.

Phoebe Legere
Phoebe Legere will be playing the custom drums she created at the Brick Hill House Concerts in Orleans, Mass., on Sunday, Aug. 30th.