Carl Palmer solo tour comes to the Narrows

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

FALL RIVER – Using classical music as his main vehicle, Carl Palmer, former drummer of progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), is performing instrumental rearrangements of classic ELP songs as part of a power trio for his most recent solo tour called “Pictures at an Exhibition.” On Oct. 22, he will be playing the 22-minute song of the same name, plus unique adaptations by classical composers, at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River.

“We have quite a comprehensive set list and will play for an hour and fifty minutes,” said Palmer. “We are doing a classic piece called, ‘Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends,’ and ‘Tarkus.’”

They will also perform “Fanfare for the Common Man,” by American composer Aaron Copland, as well as “Nut Rocker,” a song by the instrumental ensemble B. Bumble and the Stingers, which was inspired by “March of the Wooden Soldiers,” from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, The Nutcracker, and covered by ELP.

By exchanging the synthesizer for guitar, Palmer said he thinks the music “stands on its own,” making it difficult to compare to ELP. He also believes guitar is a much better fit for him and holds guitarists in high regards.

“I didn’t really want to work with keyboards again and I wanted it to be as original as I could make it,” he said. “At the end of the day, I think it works incredibly well. It’s all about getting the right players because techniques of the guitar have really advanced compared to keyboards. The technology of keyboards has advanced, but the players are the same as they’ve always been. Guitar players have just improved immensely. They are really the leaders in musical expression. You can have two guitar players, give them the same guitar and they will both sound completely different. If you do that with two keyboard players, they’ll sound the same. That’s just the way it is.”

Palmer said finding the right musicians to tour with is important. Guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick join him.

“Paul has been with me for seven years now and Simon has been around since June 2010,” he said. “In England, we have lots of academies and institutes, so if you’re looking for a particular style of player there are many places to find them. I’ve got quite a few friends at various colleges in England, and I called them up and asked them who they had for students that were graduating that would like to come out with me and my band. The standards are so high at the schools that I can usually narrow it down to find the musicians I need.”

Because he respects music as an art form, he agreed to be featured in “The Solo,” a 35-minute film that portrays the drum solo as a work of physical art. Acclaimed U.K. filmmaker Andrew Cross asked him to be part of the project last year.

During its run in U.K. art museums, it received rave reviews from art and film critics. It just made its U.S. premiere on Oct. 8 at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum as part of their Legends Series programming.

“Cross is a fan of mine and approached me saying, ‘Would you like to make an art film of you playing the drums, doing things you wouldn’t normally do in a concert environment?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I’d like to look at that,’” Palmer said. “I have various solos that could be filmed and mean much more on film than at an actual concert just because of the content of the solo, so we got together and made the film. It went very well.”

Additionally, he recently launched a new iTunes mobile application, Play Carl Palmer’s Drums, which was developed by Dynamic Websites. Designed for iPods, iPads and iPhones, the application allows users to download Palmer’s drum kit so they can use their fingers to play along to music through their iTunes program. It includes rare Palmer archives and instant updates from his site.

The application was originally featured on his website nearly five years ago. After it was removed, fans let him know they wanted it back.

“We had people request it so this time we released it as something you can put right on your phone, rather than having to go to my site like you did years ago to play the drums,” he said.

To further please his fans, he holds a meet-and-greet session after each show to give them a chance to introduce themselves to him. He takes pleasure in meeting them for a handshake or autograph.

“Not only do I enjoy playing concerts, I like going out and saying hi to the people,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing to do. It’s a big movement because over the years VIP tickets, golden circle tickets and general meet-and-greets have gotten more and more popular. Of course, there’s a financial aspect to it because I usually sign autographs near the merchandise but people have an opportunity to get the added bonus of me being there to sign it for them. It’s a way for me to say thank you to them. If they don’t buy anything I still sign their stuff and take pictures with everyone.”

While he believes the demand for meet-and-greets are at a high, he doesn’t feel that the progressive rock movement that ELP was a huge part of in the ’70s will ever be as popular as it once was. He enjoys the English band Porcupine Tree and the first album by Mars Volta, but thinks the genre won’t make a comeback.

“The music will always be there, but I don’t think the popularity it had in the ’70s will return now,” he said. “But, there will always be the odd breakthrough band that will exist and carry on, that’s for sure.”

After he wraps up the tour at the end of the month, Palmer will head to England to start a 10-day tour. In early 2012, he hopes to make a new album with the band Asia that also features John Wetton, Geoff Downes and Steve Howe, and tour later in the year for the bands’ 30th anniversary.

“I’ve played in Asia for the last six years and we did roughly six or seven tours of North America in that time,” said Palmer. “I try to make sure I’m fit and healthy as an individual to make it as professional as we can. I prepare myself mentally and from a health point of view, as well. The art of playing encourages me because I want to go out and see if I can do it better. It’s a continuous circle and I have fun doing it. I love what I do. If you enjoy doing something, you’ll do it, but the fact that I enjoy it allows me to carry on doing it and have fun with it.”

The Narrows Center for the Arts is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River. Tickets are $48 advance and $53 day of show. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ncfta.org.

Carl Palmer
Advertisements

Dream Theater: Keeping the “Dream” alive

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

When drummer Mike Portnoy made his departure from Dream Theater more than a year ago, many diehard fans of the progressive metal band thought it was a nightmare. But, with the addition of Mike Mangini on drums in April, plus last month’s release of their 11th studio recording, “A Dramatic Turn of Events,” fans seem to be resting well, as the album opened at No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts.

After gigging throughout Europe this summer, the new lineup just began a North American tour. On Oct. 10, they will take the stage at the Orpheum Theater in Boston, Mangini’s hometown. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess, who joined the band in 1999, predicts an energetic performance.

“There will be a lot of people out there to see Mangini play so I think it’s going to be a really fun show,” Rudess said.  “It’s always great to play in Boston, especially since some of the guys went to the Berklee College of Music. We have a beautiful stage set up and new music so we’re really excited.”

Rudess said their rehearsal process was “intense,” but believes the band is as solid as always. He is pleased that fans have taken a liking to Mangini.

“They are responding to him in such a great way,” said Rudess. “He’s an awesome drummer and he’s really funny. We’re unified and working together so it’s been a good thing. What’s interesting is that at this point it feels good to know that we’ve survived that change really well. We’re feeling really strong.”

In fact, Rudess said the alteration allowed them to figure out what “makes them tick” musically. It gave them the opportunity to think about “who they are as a band” and motivated them to compose new material.

“There’s a lot of positivity and good music coming from it,” said Rudess. “We wanted to create a very melodic, harmonic, progressive album and withdraw from the angry-style metal that we did in some of the last albums. We had a vision of what we were aiming for and the reaction from fans has been awesome. We care what the fans think and we want them to be happy.”

Not only are the fans ecstatic, Rudess is thrilled the album is getting so much favorable attention. He feels “lucky” it’s a big hit.

“It’s awesome,” said Rudess. “You look at the numbers on the charts all around the world and it’s number one in many countries. We’re nothing like what’s happening in the pop music world and it’s really amazing to be able to get that kind of response from across the globe. The world generally doesn’t support musicians that aren’t doing the commercial thing. It’s an encouragement to keep on doing what we’re doing.”

In addition to their latest album earning top slots on the charts, their video for “On The Backs of Angels” is the number one most-streamed video on Yahoo! Music for the week of Oct. 1. Rudess said he doesn’t have a favorite of the nine tracks, rather, his preference changes depending upon his mood. Yet, he mentioned “Outcry,” and “Breaking All Illusions” as gems. The songs are the album’s lengthiest recordings with “Outcry” at 11-and-a-half minutes and “Breaking All Illusions” lasting a minute more.

But this should come to no surprise to fans, as the band is widely known for longer pieces of music, not to mention intricate time signatures.

“If the music is building and progressing and the ideas are flowing, the music turns into what some people would describe as epic songs,” said Rudess. “There are no time limits on our songs when we are writing. We have a lot of respect for compositional space, especially with this last album where we didn’t have a drummer in the room. We would work on something and then go from there.”

They began writing for “A Dramatic Turn of Events” in January at Cove City Sound Studios in New York. Despite rumors that Mangini’s drum parts were written for him, Rudess said that wasn’t the case. He was still able to incorporate a few ideas.

“We created something to fill in the space to be like a guide for us, but Mangini knew where the accents were and what we were thinking,” said Rudess. “He looked at what we came up with and added his own parts to make it work.”

Rudess, along with John Petrucci, Dream Theater’s guitarist, crafted a majority of the arrangements. They bounced ideas off one another, as vocalist James LaBrie and bassist John Myung collaborated.

“We were totally comfortable composing this album,” said Rudess. “We usually write our music together in the studio and it comes out of a few different methods. We’ll come up with something and all start playing it and say, ‘Wow. That sounds cool.’ Then, we’ll talk about the direction we are looking for with the song and just bang it out. A lot of it was John and I doing that type of process. We were going back and forth where he would play something and inspire me and then I would inspire him. A lot of times he’d say, ‘I have this cool, chunky riff. What kind of theme can you put with it? Do your Jordan thing.’ That’s how it happens.”

The album was produced by Petrucci and mixed and mastered by acclaimed studio engineer, Andy Wallace, who has worked with Paul McCartney, Prince, and Bruce Springsteen, to name just a few.

On October 18, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release “Live at Budokan,” the band’s first Blu-Ray release. Filmed at Tokyo’s Budokan Hall in April 2004 in support of their 2003 album, “Train Of Thought,” the 18-song concert is more than four hours of music, plus bonus features that include a documentary and solos from each member.

After they wrap up their North American tour at the end of the month, the band will visit South America, Oceania, Asia, and again head to Europe in 2012. Rudess said the band is optimistic about the future.

“We’re looking forward to continuing Dream Theater.”

Dream Theater

Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone teams up with brother to create Hurtsmile

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

While the Boston-based rock band Extreme is in-between touring and recording, lead vocalist Gary Cherone has been busy with his latest venture Hurtsmile. The singer, who also fronted Van Halen for three years during the late 1990s, said he is pleased he finally has the opportunity to collaborate with his brother, Mark Cherone, the guitarist for his new band.

“The project actually started in 2007, just before Extreme reunited,” Gary said. “It was a long time coming. Mark and I always talked about it over the years but never wrote together. I’ve always been a fan of his guitar playing and when we found ourselves in the same area, we wrote some music. We didn’t know it would turn into a full band, so we made some of the music available on the Internet.”

The following year, Extreme released Saudades de Rock, their fifth studio album. They went on tour in 2009, so Hurtsmile was put on hold. But, after Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt joined R&B recoding artist Rihanna on tour last year, Gary thought it was the perfect chance to pursue the project.

He and Mark recruited bassist Joe Pessia, an alumnus of Bettencourt’s band, DramaGods, as well as the guitarist for the Boston-based band, Tantric. Dana Spellman, who was once a student of Extreme’s former drummer and current Dream Theater drummer, Mike Mangini, handles drum duties.

“The time was right so Mark and I decided to pitch a record,” Gary said. “It was such an easy process. Mark and I came up with initial ideas for songs with lyrics and music and presented it to the band. Then, everyone threw in their two cents. I’m really inspired by the people I play and write with.”

The band’s self-titled debut album was recorded at Gary’s Massachusetts home and released shortly after in the United States on February 15th via the Italian-based Frontiers Record label. Pessia co-produced the album with Gary.

“He also engineered the whole thing,” Gary said of Pessia. “He has an objective opinion of the songs outside of what Mark and I think. And Spellman has an incredible memory. We can throw him three or four ideas and he remembers all the arrangements that we forget. He plays like a Manic and he’s always up for anything. You could say that about a lot of drummers but he brings a lot of passion to it. Recording with these guys was a lot of fun.”

Of the 12-tracks, Gary said “Stillborn,” “Just War Theory,” and “Love Thy Neighbor,” are among his favorites to sing at shows. He feels other songs are tougher to do live.

“I like the trilogy at the end of the album, ‘Slave’ and ‘Beyond The Garden/Kicking The Goads,’ but those are harder to perform,” he said. “It really depends on the environment you’re in.”

He said their brief tour of Japan earlier this summer helped them develop and fine-tune their music, as they performed eight shows in ten days for the tsunami and earthquake fund, Rock n’ Relief.

Additionally, Hurtsmile played a few gigs in the East Coast this summer and made a stop at Showcase Live in Foxboro, which is not too far from Gary’s hometown of Malden.

“It’s always good to play home,” Gary said. “They are always special shows.”

He said Boston gigs also tend to feel a bit nerve-wracking for him, as he lost his voice during a Van Halen show at what is now the Comcast Center in Mansfield in 1998. He sometimes feels unsettled prior to performing as a result.

“That show comes up in my mind every time I play in Boston,” he said. “The reason I lost my voice was because I didn’t have my game face on. I wasn’t prepared that night. The tour was successful and the fans were great but there were a few groups of loyal Sammy fans and Dave fans that sometimes got in my head when I was up there on stage.”

Nevertheless, he enjoyed his time with Van Halen and is proud of 3, the album he wrote and recorded with them. “Josephina” and “A Year to the Day” are two songs he enjoys most.

“Those three years with Van Halen were awesome,” Gary said. “They were great to work with. A lot of people think he has a crazy persona but Eddie Van Halen is very sweet and generous. He’s one of those guys who puts a guitar on and you can’t keep up with him because he’s a genius. The ideas just keep flowing out of him. Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen were great to me, too. We had a lot of fun doing that record and being on the road.”

When asked what he thought about Mangini taking over on drums for Mike Portnoy in the progressive rock band    Dream Theater, Gary said Mangini is certainly capable. In fact, he described Mangini and Portnoy as two of the “best drummers on the planet.”

He also said Mangini is in a position he can parallel to his experience with Van Halen.

“I know what he’s getting into,” said Gary. “There are a lot of loyal fans that are going to hate him just for replacing Portnoy. But, it’s the perfect band for him because they are progressive and Mangini can bring some craziness to it. He’s one of a kind.”

Currently, Hurtsmile is working on new material. In 2012, Gary plans on picking up with the members of Extreme, including Bettencourt, bassist Pat Badger, and drummer Kevin Figueiredo. The band last performed in 2009 at the House of Blues in Boston.

“Right now, Nuno and I are writing material separately but we’ll get together when he finishes up with Rihanna and we’ll write for the next record,” he said. “We’re hoping to get music out before we tour but you’ll probably see us before you hear new material.”

Before the interview ended, Gary cleared up a humorous misunderstanding that was documented about his athletic aspirations. During a question and answer segment he had with a reporter when Extreme debuted, a reporter asked him what he wanted to do for a living when he was a child and he said he hoped to be a professional basketball player but a knee injury derailed his dreams. He didn’t think the reporter took him seriously.

“It was a joke but it’s been following me my whole career,” he said. “When you’re a kid, you want to be a sports hero but we both laughed during the interview because I’m not very tall.”

Hurtsmile

An open letter to our readers

Hello Everyone,

As all of you know by now, even though I will keep my position as Director of Marketing, I am a 50% owner of Limelight. I’ve always enjoyed marketing because it’s different than anything I’ve ever done. It’s fun, exciting and it’s not your typical office job. I especially enjoy promoting the local music scene. I know talent when I see it. I must say that just from this year’s Limelight Music Awards, there’s a lot of tremendous talent out there. In my capacity as co-owner, I would like to help all the amazing bands in New England get noticed and be heard. Just because there is a slight change in ownership doesn’t mean Limelight is totally changing, the only thing changing is that Limelight will be better than ever! We will continue to provide the same coverage that we’ve been known for and are still going to have our amazing and talented staff that includes Jessica A. Botelho (Managing Editor), Kristen Pierson (Photographer) and Gorette Sousa (Graphic Designer). Some new faces will be added to the fold in the upcoming weeks. As to the future, we hope to upgrade the Limelight website and we have some exciting events planned throughout the region to showcase local musicians. Furthermore, our five year anniversary concert will be coming up soon so make sure to keep posted for that! Thanks for reading and I appreciate all of the support I’ve received so far…you rock!!

Sincerely,

Katie Botelho

Co-Owner, Limelight Magazine & JKB Management & Booking

PHOTO BY KRISTEN PIERSON

Pre-teen guitar prodigy set to open for Buddy Guy at The Z

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

Twelve-year-old Quinn Sullivan knows how to handle a guitar. That’s why blues legend Buddy Guy has appointed him to be the opening act for his current tour.

As a New Bedford native, Sullivan said he thinks their upcoming performance at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, August 24, will be special because he’ll be back in his hometown with his loved ones.

“My whole family is going to come out for the show and it will be a big celebration,” he said. “It’s going to be awesome.”

In fact, the two guitarists met at the historic theater five years ago when Sullivan was eight. He went to see Guy perform and they were introduced after the gig.

“It was so cool because I didn’t know I was going to meet him,” said Sullivan. “It was a wonderful experience. I had a guitar with me for him to sign and from there he said, ‘Be ready when I call you.’”

Shortly after, Guy contacted Sullivan and requested that he join him for a few shows. By the third performance, Guy asked him to appear on his Grammy-nominated album, “Skin Deep,” which was released in 2008.

“I played the solo played on, ‘Who’s Gonna’ Fill Those Shoes,’” Sullivan said.

To repay the favor, Guy performed on one of Sullivan’s songs, “Buddy’s Blues,” which is featured on his 12-track debut blues-rock album, “Cyclone.” It was released in early spring of this year and produced by Tom Hambridge in Nashville, Tennessee.

“The album is number seven on the blues tracks right now,” said Sullivan. “I’ve written songs with Hambridge and have been learning a lot from him. Recording was a really cool experience because he’s a great producer. He’s written for so many artists and is really a cool guy. Being in the studio was awesome.”

Another thing that Sullivan thinks is “awesome” is the fact that he finished sixth grade just a few months ago and is now on tour with Guy. This summer, he said he is enjoying the opportunity to travel the United States and visit venues he’s never been before.

In particular, Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado and Hollywood Bowl in California were the biggest highlights of his journey so far. He also liked a few clubs in Chicago.

“The best part is definitely playing at cool places with him,” Sullivan said. “I’ve been all over the country. It has been awesome to travel with a legend.”

During the last four years, Sullivan and Guy have played together more than 30 times. On this tour, he’ll open for Guy at about 20 concerts and will also play a handful of solo shows.

But, Guy isn’t the only well-known blues guitarist Sullivan has rubbed shoulders with. In February of 2009, he performed with B.B. King at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

“It was incredible,” said Sullivan. “I’m going to be doing another show with B.B. King and Buddy in upstate New York soon.”

Someday, he hopes to expand his already incredible resume. He hopes to play a show with Eric Clapton.

“I’ve loved him since I was five or six,” said Sullivan. “I’ve always looked up to him as a guitar player, an artist, and a person, so that’s why I want to meet him. He’s just a cool musician.”

In addition to Guy, King, and Clapton, Sullivan has been heavily inspired by other blues and rock musicians such as the Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks, and Pink Floyd. The Beatles are among his favorites, too.

“They would have to be the band that I would say influenced me the most over the years,” he said. “I’ve listened to them since I was three. I was a Beatle fanatic and that’s all I listened to for five years. My mom and dad always had their music in the house and I loved them right from the start.”

Immersing himself in his parents’ music collection is what sparked his interest in guitar. He said the instrument, “just kind of stuck out over everything else.”

“My parents bought me one when I was three and I started playing around with it,” Sullivan said. “I began taking lessons when I was five. From then on, I kept at it.”

He can also play the drums, some keyboard, and a little bass. But, when he’s not busy being a young celebrity, as he has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show; The Ellen DeGeneres Show; and Jimmy Kimmel Live, Sullivan said he likes hanging out with friends and playing tennis and basketball.

“And I love scary movies,” he said. “I like ‘The Exorcist,’ ‘Paranormal Activity,’ and ‘Halloween.’ But, I don’t think of myself as this big star. I just think of myself as a regular kid.”

Sullivan will continue to tour with Guy for the remainder of the summer, through the spring. In that time, he plans to finish up his second album.

“We already have some tracks written,” he said. “We’ll probably start that in December or January.”

Tickets for the show are on-sale now by phone (508-994-2900), online, or in person at the box office. The Zeiterion’s box office is located at 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA 02740. Box Office Hours: M-F 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and one hour before each performance. For more information, visit http://www.zeiterion.org.

YORK ready to ‘shine like a star’

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

With a few new members added to the mix, the North Attleboro-based band, YORK, just celebrated their CD release party at The Ruins at the Colosseum in Providence on June 3. After putting together their first full-length album, “Box Full Of Memories,” they said their group is as solid and fresh as ever.

“The new members have made everything feel more complete and whole,” said Emily Rickard, who plays keyboard and shares vocal duties with bassist Dan Pawlowsli. “Before, we were going through any musician we could grab to call ourselves a full band. Musically, our compositions have been evolving constantly. In one of the songs, ‘Shine,’ we have a pretty intense solo that I would have never guessed to be in a YORK song.”

Pawlowski agreed, saying they have “evolved a lot musically.” He also said their live shows are much stronger, as they added a second guitarist and incorporated a new drummer.

“Mike Taub, our guitarist, and Erick Cifuentes, our drummer, bring a lot of energy to our live performances, something I would say we were slightly lacking,” he said.

John Shay, the original guitarist, said each member impacts every song “immensely” when writing.

“There are a lot of different emotions that come with the task and everyone tends to put their own into the songs we decide to track,” said Shay. “If we were to break it down, usually [Rickard] and [Pawlowski] mainly influence melody and structure; [Taub] and [Cifuentes] tend to influence a lot when it comes to the composition of music; and I influence the lyrical content.”

To record the album, YORK hooked up with producer/engineer David Adam Monroe of Time Bomb Studios based in Somerville, Mass. Monroe heard their music on MySpace and contacted the band. He let them know he was interested in working with them.

“We looked into him and we thought that he seemed pretty legit,” Pawlowski said. “It turns out that he was. [He] is one of the reasons YORK sounds the way it does today. He showed us a different way to take on the writing process and helps us get the best out of every song when we record.”

Shay said teaming up with Monroe was the best decision the band has made in their three-year career. He thinks of Monroe as a father figure, but also a friend and mentor.

“He tells us when our lyrics are just there to fill space, when a certain section of a song just doesn’t sit well in the song, and tells us when to shut up or get out of the room when we’re going delirious in the studio,” said Shay. “He is always giving us advice and direction. It is always the best times of our lives when we head into the studio with [him.]”

Now that the album is complete, they said they are relieved and feel accomplished.

“This was, in my opinion, the main bridge we had to cross to start pushing us and getting the sound of YORK to peoples’ ears,” said Pawlowski. “Yet, this is just the start to where we want to be with our music.”

Rickard also said it’s odd not going to the studio anymore, as they visited Time Bomb Studios three months straight when they were recording. But, overall she is excited about their new material.

“It took two years, but it seems like we just finished it all so quickly,” she said. “The songs we recorded are perfect for where we are in our lives. For me, it showcases what people can expect from us [and] what we’re growing into because it has songs that we recorded two years ago and songs we recorded two months ago.”

While Rickard and Pawlowski typically both provide vocals for all songs, their album includes two tracks they sing on their own. These songs are “Shine” and “Digging My Own Grave.”

“We wanted to have two songs on the CD that were different from the others,” Pawlowsli said. “This also lets us show that there isn’t one main singer in this band. [Rickard] and I both take on the same goals.”

In May, the band co-hosted The Cheap Seats, a weekly two-hour radio show on COOL 102 in Hyannis, Mass., with Cat Wilson. The show features local bands and artists as co-hosts.  Wilson encourages them to share their personal stories and they suggest music for her to broadcast.

“It was awesome being on the radio with Cat,” Cifuentes said. “She seemed really supportive and my Spanish-speaking skills actual came into use to promote for a Cinco-de-Mayo celebration.”

Taub agreed and said since it was their radio debut, “it was a bit nerve-racking at first, but ended up being a lot of fun. Cat seems to love our sound and she genuinely believes we can make big things happen and it feels good to know there are supporters like her out there.”

In addition to having their music played on COOL 102, two of the album’s singles, “Let Me In,” and “Reservoir,” have recently received airplay on several FM stations, including WHJY, WBRU, and Pixy 103. The band hopes to sign with a booking agency in the near future and start extensive touring.

“We want to do all that we can to make our passion possible,” said Cifuentes. “We all know that this is what we are. I’m a drummer, not a waiter.”

Shay said they want “to find a way where we can support our dream and ourselves while enjoying the experience with our best friends.”

For Rickard and Taub, they can’t wait to return to the studio.

“I think we’re already eager to record another album,” Rickard said.

Taub agreed and said, “writing and playing music is addicting, so I think I speak for all of YORK when I say we can’t wait to get back into the studio. A lot of music nowadays is played and recorded just for the sake of being played and recorded. It lacks the unique feel that every band should have. I feel that YORK is bringing back something that’s been lost for years.”

For more information about YORK, visit their newly designed website at www.thisisyorkmusic.com.

Photo by Kristen Pierson

New Bedford Festival Theatre is ready to ‘rock the house’

By GEORGE AUSTIN

Armand Marchand remembers when the government was trying to draft him for the Vietnam conflict back in the 1960s. He was about 25 years old and working as an English and drama teacher in the New Bedford Public Schools. At the time, teachers were exempted from the draft. It was around the year 1968 when civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy had been shot. People in the U.S. were conflicted about what was going on.

“It was a very turbulent time,” Marchand said. “It was very difficult for a young person, like myself, to assess what was going on. There was so much going on.”

But along came a show that addressed some of the issues of the day and did so in a different way that young people could relate to. “Hair” was the first rock musical. Mr.Marchand went to see the original production and said he found it to be “extremely energizing and deeply moving.” He said he felt a personal connection to “Hair” that he still does today.

The only places where “Hair” will be performed this summer is on Broadway and at the Zeiteiron Theatre in New Bedford, Mass., where it is being produced by the New Bedford Festival Theatre that Mr. Marchand founded. The show will run from July 8 to July 17 at the Zeiterion Theatre. Mr. Marchand said “Hair” has never been performed in Bristol County or on the Southcoast, so many people in the area may not have seen it. They may not have seen the show, but he said they will recognize songs, like “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Easy to be Hard” and the title song.

“Hair” tells the story of the “tribe”, a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the “Age of Aquarius” living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War. Claude, his good friend Berger, their roommate Sheila and their friends struggle to balance their young lives, loves and the sexual revolution with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents and society. Ultimately, Claude must decide whether to resist the draft as his friends have done, or to succumb to the pressures of his parents (and conservative America) to serve in Vietnam, compromising his pacifistic principles and risking his life.

The show, a product of the hippie counter culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, was controversial with its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, profanities and nude scene as its songs became anthems for the peace movement of that time.

“This is an opportunity to see a landmark musical,” Marchand said.

When Marchand hears the song “Aquarius,” he thinks of the dawning of an age and a pivotal point in contemporary history. He says the theater reflects what is going on at the time. He remembers the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and said that pushed the American landscape in a different direction. When “Hair,” was made, he said it was a time of political upheaval. He notes the wars in the Middle East and said people still wonder if the wars will ever end.

“I think it’s extremely relevant to today,” Marchand said. “This was to the Vietnam era probably a very significant musical. It was anti-Vietnam war, but it was vastly entertaining.”

While “Hair” may have been made because of issues that people were dealing with back in the 1960s, Marchand said the show is appropriate for people ages 18 to 80. Marchand said the energy that comes from both movement and voices in the show is a trademark of “Hair.”

Auditions for “Hair” were done in New Bedford, Boston and New York. Members of the cast come from as far away as Olympia, Washington, with others from the Midwest, New York and a strong contingent from the Boston and Providence, R.I. areas.

“The show expresses to me the ideas of youth,” Marchand said. “It’s very youth oriented and just by sheer coincidence, nobody in this cast is over the age of 30.”

Marchand said rock works well with a musical. He said shows that are chosen for the New Bedford Festival Theatre have to have excellent music. The Theatre has produced “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” with music from the 1950s, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which features rock music and the soft rock of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Alex Tirrell, who has done a lot of rock musicals in the past, will be the music director for “Hair.” Marchand said the show will get people to tap their toes and they will want to jump up and dance. Michael Susko will be director/choreographer for the show.

“We’re telling everybody we’re going to rock the house here in New Bedford,” Marchand said as he sat in his office. Marchand said the audience will be invited up on stage at the end of the show for the performance of “Let the Sun Shine In” which he says will leave people uplifted.

“Hair” was recently revived for Broadway and Marchand said he does not know of any changes made to the show for that revival. He said there was extremely high interest in the show when it came back to Broadway and it won a Tony Award for best musical revival. He said the revival did such good business, that it is being brought back to Broadway against this summer.

“Which tells you that ‘Hair’ has stood the test of time,” Marchand said.

This summer, the New Bedford Festival Theatre is also producing another landmark show in “A Chorus Line” which won both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award in 1975.

“A Chorus Line today is cited as being the best Broadway musical ever,” Marchand said.

Marchand said the show, which features the songs “What I Did for Love,” “One Singular Sensation” and “At the Ballet,” appeals to a lot of women who have taken ballet lessons, but also expresses what young performers go through as they audition for parts in shows.

While not everyone goes to such a Broadway audition, Marchand said the show has a universal message because everyone has to prove themselves at one time or another to advance their lives. He said the show deals with human hopes and ideals and is usually dedicated to everyone who has to stand in line.

“It’s a musical about unvarnished optimism and enthusiasm,” Marchand said. “They saw in it a story that goes beyond what it’s about.”

The New Bedford Festival Theatre, which won the 2008 best professional production in the six states in the region from the New England Theatre Conference, is entering its 22nd season, but has never produced “A Chorus Line.” Marchand said the mission of the Theatre is to preserve the legacy of the American music theater which is a relatively new art form at about 150 years old. The New Bedford Festival Theatre attempts to take significant musicals from Broadway so that people can see them again.

The Theatre’s slogan is “bringing the best of Broadway to Southern New England.”

Hair

Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!