I closed out 2018 and welcomed 2019 with a completely ridiculous sinus infection (as diagnosed, although I’m not entirely sure that was correct). That was quickly followed up by a stomach bug and now a slight cold. In the few hours of decent health I’ve had so far during this newborn year, I somehow managed to write my first real song in ages. Read on for more about that, and other odds and ends…
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Just wanted to share some year-end notes and share some things I’m looking forward to in 2019…and some other odds and ends. Continue reading “BK Bulletin – December 2018: Happy Holidays”
If you search “TMC” or select the “TMC” category on this blog, you’ll find a bunch of posts about a music group I was part of back in 1988-90 called TMC + The New Generation (although, shortly before I left the group, we informally changed our name to Interläken Pröbe to reflect a shift to a more industrial hip-hop sound). The group consisted of me and my friend Christian Beach—who went on to become very talented singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist—on keyboards, samplers, sequencers and drum machines…and a rapper from Asbury Park, N.J., named Tariq Mohammed.
Christian’s father, Gorgo, also a musician, put us in touch with Tariq, who was a rapper looking to work with a band rather than using backing tracks or a DJ. Knowing that Christian and I had recently started working on electronic “new age” music together, Gorgo suggested to Tariq that the three of us should get together and see if we could combine rap with electronic music.
The full story of TMC + The New Generation can be read here, but the short story is we obviously didn’t get anywhere as a band.
Looking back, though, you could say that we were very ambitious—actually, TOO ambitious. But what we were trying to do—combine rap with electronic music AND multiple pop/rock genres—wasn’t very common in those days. And here we were, three teenagers along the Jersey Shore (and not one of us drunk or with a stupid nickname) to create this type of music with an array of electronic instruments we didn’t fully understand. As you would expect, we just were not experienced or mature enough to properly turn our musical visions into reality. But there were moments that still exist on old recordings and videos in which a glimpse of brilliance shines through. One such moment was a song that started out as something we nicknamed “Reggae Rap.” Tariq had the idea of rapping over a reggae-style song so we started playing a preset reggae rhythm pattern on Christian’s Roland R-8 drum machine and improvised some keyboard parts over it.
Eventually, we added a three-part harmony to the chorus and the song became known as “You’re That Kind of Girl.”
We performed the song a couple of times, including once at The Green Parrot—the long-gone rock club that used to be on Route 33 in Neptune, N.J. Someone videotaped that show for us so, despite the poor quality of the audio and video, it provided us with a recording of a lot of our material. Unfortunately, videotape doesn’t last forever and the quality continues to get worse over time. My copy of the tape, which I believe is the only one still around, actually broke near the beginning of “You’re That Kind of Girl” and I had to repair it to salvage a partial version of the song.
Anyway, I’m rambling so here’s the deal…after a few years of being in and out of touch with each other after our TMC days, Christian and I have been reconnected since 2005 and I have even performed and recorded with him a few times over the past few years. More recently, a virtual TMC reunion took place when Christian and I became friends with Tariq on Facebook.
Tariq and I have since exchanged messages via Facebook and an audio excerpt of the live version of “You’re That Kind of Girl” popped up unexpectedly on my iPod while driving a few days ago. It got me thinking that I should record a decent version of the song…so that’s what I did. Of course, since I never knew the lyrics rapped by Tariq in the verses (and the lone surviving recording is mostly unintelligible), I rewrote the verse lyrics while retaining the spirit and melody of the original version (and, yes, I rhymed “me” with itself at one point…I wasn’t spending THAT much time on this). I also tweaked the arrangement a bit.
But, overall, the 2012 version of “You’re That Kind of Girl” is pretty much just an updated version of the 1989/90 version…and I even included a some faux auto-tune as a nod to the song’s rap origins since I was not about to try rapping.
“You’re That Kind of Girl (2012)”
I will be playing accordion for my good friend, singer-songwriter Christian Beach, when he performs at Twisted Tree Cafe in Asbury Park, NJ, on Friday, June 19, at 9:45 p.m. The performance is part of the annual Wave Gathering Festival, which features more than 175 artists appearing at more than two dozen venues throughout Asbury Park.
Gorgo (mandolin) and Agency‘s Michael Scotto (percussion) will also be taking part in the ensemble.
So if you are in the area, please stop by and take in some great local music.
Summer is around the corner and that means it’s almost time to enjoy multi-day music festivals here in the northeastern United States, especially here in New Jersey.
The biggest summer music festival in these parts is All Points West, which returns to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., from Friday, July 31, through Sunday, August 2, 2009. The second-annual APW festival features 65 artists on three stages, including the Beastie Boys, Vampire Weekend, Tool, Neko Case, the Ting Tings, MGMT, Echo & The Bunnymen, and Coldplay. A lot of great acts will be there (although I’m not a fan of Coldplay at all), but APW is very pricey. Three-day tickets for APW cost $199 + applicable fees (for a limited time, so that rate will go higher as the date gets closer) and single-day passes are $89 plus fees (again, for a limited time). However, I did read on the APW web site that tickets can be purchased in installments. Not sure if that was the case last year, but that is a nice option if you really want to go.
For the third consecutive year, I plan on attending WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park on the waterfront in Camden, N.J. This year’s XPN festival takes place Friday, July 24, through Sunday, July 26, and features headlining acts like They Might Be Giants, Aimee Mann, Peter Bjorn & John, Robert Cray, Shemekia Copeland, Guster, and Steve Forbert on the main River Stage. In addition, many local and up-and-coming acts like Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles, Hoots & Hellmouth, John Gorka, and Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby will be showcased on the Marina Stage.
And because WXPN is the home to the weeknight kids program, Kids Corner, there is also a Kids Corner stage away from the main festival area that will include family-friendly acts like Skip Dennenberg and Miss Amy on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.
What’s especially nice about the XPN festival is that, if you buy your tickets before July 11, you get nearly three days of music for just $40. And if you are a member of the station (based at the University of Pennsylvania), the cost is just $30 for the three-day pass…PLUS, you get access to the ever-popular “members only” area where you can get free water, iced tea and lemonade AND meet the artists performing at the festival. After July 11, the three-day ticket prices go up to $40 for XPN members and $60 for the general public. Still a bargain for such a great music festival, but there is no reason not to buy your passes at the early-bird rate.
If you are more into the club-hopping type of festival, Asbury Park, N.J., offers the fourth-annual Wave Gathering Festival from June 19-21. Although the schedule and artists have not yet been announced for this year’s Wave Gathering Festival, last year’s event featured more than 180 artists at 23 venues throughout the city…so that should give you an idea of what to expect. The Wave Gathering Festival has been a big part of Asbury Park’s recent rebirth as both a city and a local music scene, and has featured the likes of Ingrid Michaelson, Ben Arnold, Val Emmich and Nicole Atkins & The Sea.
Three-day passes for the Wave Gathering Festival are also a very affordable $40.00, while single-day passes are $25. You may also purchase admission to individual shows at prices set by the venue (and many of those are typically just $5 or $10).
There are many other music festivals going on in New Jersey during the coming months, but these should be a good starting point before you go looking for others.
As mentioned earlier on this blog, I will be part of the backing band for my good friend, singer-songwriter Christian Beach, when he takes to the stage at The Saint (601 Main St.) in Asbury Park, NJ, this Friday night as he celebrates the recent release of his self-titled, solo CD.
Joining in the festivities will be Arlan Feiles and The Lone Howdys, as well as The Sunday Blues. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are just $10.
Christian’s band this time out includes John Pfeiffer (Well of Souls, In Between Dreams) on electric guitars, Michael Scotto (Agency) on drums and percussion, Gorgo (Private Sector) on mandolin and bass, Keith McCarthy (The Works, The Sunday Blues) on bass, and yours truly on organ, accordion and tambourine.
If you are in the area and are available that night, please feel free to come to the show. If you want to get a taste of Christian’s music, visit his new web site at ChristianBeach.net, or visit him on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/christianbeach. Plus, he is now on Facebook and Twitter.
Mark your calendars for April 10…not only is it my wonderful girlfriend’s birthday, but my friend Christian Beach will be celebrating the recent release of his self-titled CD with a show at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ.
I will once again be part of Christian’s backing band, helping out on organ and accordion, as he performs the entire 12-song CD in tracklist order. Christian will be hitting the stage around 10 p.m. and tickets are just $10.
If you are in the area and are available that night, please feel free to come to the show. If you want to get a taste of Christian’s music, visit his new web site at ChristianBeach.net, or visit him on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/christianbeach.
601 Main St.
Asbury Park, NJ
Christian Beach – The Finest Day
Above is video of Christian Beach performing “The Finest Day” at The Brickwall Annex in Asbury Park, NJ, on June 21, 2008. Accompanied — in the darkness — by Gorgo on mandolin, John Pfeiffer on dobro and Brian Kelley on accordion.
A couple of notes:
1) It was obviously very dark in the venue so I tried lightening up this video the best I could without turning it into a grainy mess.
2) The pause button was hit about 21 seconds into the song, but recording resumed a few seconds later…to fill the gap, I spliced in some of the studio version of the song.
Video shot by Alison Litecky, who also unplugged the jukebox that was blasting away during the night.
“The Finest Day” © 2008 C.J. Beach
Christian Beach – “Way Back Home” [Live, 6/21/2008]
Here is dark and grainy, but decent sounding, video of Christian Beach performing “Way Back Home” at The Brickwall Annex in Asbury Park, NJ, on June 21, 2008…accompanied by Gorgo on mandolin, John Pfeiffer on “mouth percussion” and yours truly on accordion.
“Way Back Home” © 2007 C.J. Beach
New Jersey singer-songwriter Christian Beach will be performing with his backing band at The Saint (601 Main St.) in Asbury Park, N.J., on Tuesday, July 1, 2008. He will be going on at around 8 p.m. as an opening act for Colie Brice & Friends.
Spread the word with the web graphic below, or download it as a PDF for printing out as a flyer to post where you can.