INSIDE THE BUMMER TENT July 4, 2002
When was the last time you raved about an art gallery opening where the walls were filled with exact copies of Van Goghs? The visual arts have that unique and obvious advantage over sonic arts - the original tends to be the final statement. Music can be transcribed and being a real-time art, it can be performed again. And, like going to a museum we tend to go to a club or concert hall and expect to see our favorite works on display. This can force the musical artist into repetition and music programmers into scheduling just the classics.
Bummer Tent is working on the music for a new video "Educating Grover," written and directed by Tade Reen and Beth Schachter, and commissioned by Muhlenberg College. "Educating Grover" is an often-humorous look at the rigors of an adolescent dealing with learning disabilities and will be made available as an instructional piece to other educational institutions. The video features several Muhlenberg theatre majors, as well as actors and actresses from the Allentown area. The soundtrack and background music will be taken from the Bummer Tent catalog of artists, including "Just To Be You" from Zen For Primates.
And, this summer, you can get a double shot of Zen For Primates as they begin their Finnish Tour on July 19 at Godfrey Daniels (www.godfreydaniels.org) and August 23 at the Delaware Water Gap's famed jazz club, the Deer Head Inn (www.deerheadinn.com). Zen's ever-changing line-up makes another violin switch as they introduce Shelagh Maloney to the Godfrey's stage.
Zen For Primates has three songs featured in the new film "Don't Ask Don't Tell." The totally weird Sci-Fi film (www.clickforflicks.com) is a redubbing of a really lousy 50's black & white feature starring a young Peter Graves, later of TV's Mission Impossible. Having already won awards and rave reviews on the film festival circuit in Brussels, London, Seattle, Wisconsin and Hoboken and top honors at the Boston Underground Film Festival, the film will show on July 4 and 5th at the International Festival of Fantastic Films in Neuchatel, Switzerland. Producer Jackie Eagan and director, Doug Miles will attend the festival.
Hanging In Hoboken
We spent a fun-filled evening in Hoboken (it can definitely be done) with Jackie Eagan last week enjoying Todd Wolfe's new touring band simply called "Wolfe" - www.toddwolfe.com. Wolfe was wowing the crowd at famed blues club, The Scotland Yard, a dark and intimate club known for the occasional impromptu appearance by touring blues legends like Eric Clapton. That's what they say .hey, I didn't see him that night.
I did see John Cree of "Cree" who has joined Wolfe on percussion. You can also see one of the best views of Manhattan (that's the big city across the river) while walking on Frank Sinatra Way. And while we're at it, I might as well mention the best Turkish food this side of Bursa, right up the road at Beyti in Union City. OK, enough about New Jersey.
The WDIY studios in Bethlehem will be utilized to record Celtic band, Devilish Merry (www.devilishmerry.com). The band, who will be performing at the Sculpture Gardens in Bethlehem on July 26, formed in Pittsburgh and had a very successful career in the late 70's and early 80's. Founding member and WDIY's station manager, Burr Beard, reunited the band for a new CD project. Band members who are now living all over the East Coast will "fly" tracks in from other studios to finalize the project.
The Shiloh Baptist Choir session at the Shiloh Church in Easton, on June 22 was a long one - and a great one. We took a 16 track feed from the well-equipped sound booth located at the back of the church. We did sound and microphone checks as the choirs rehearsed through the late afternoon and took 6 different takes of "Oh Holy Night" which took us into the early evening. The final result - a beautiful rendition featuring soloist Chereece Heyward and the magnificent voices of the Shiloh Choir. Musical Director, George Bright (grandson to the distinguished Thomas W. Bright) was on hand leading the choir, as well as playing bass on the track. Brother Bright, who was nationally known for his long-term commitment to the civil rights movement passed away earlier this year.
And then for something completely different .we are into the final mixes for a duo accordion CD by Raffaele & Freddie. Raffaele has been in the studio the last few weeks overseeing the percussion overdubs on this melodic assortment of traditional Italian songs.
And continuing the tracking for A Lehigh Valley Christmas, Roger Latzgo will be coming in to make another Slovak contribution, Eric Steckel teams up with Craig Thatcher for a bluesy rendition of "Silent Night" and Cree makes their 3rd contribution with "My Grown Up Christmas List."
Out and About
Kent Heckman and Lois Brownsey, owners of Red Rock Recording had a housewarming party last week for their brand new home, after losing their original house in a tragic fire last year. Thankfully the adjacent studio was spared and they continued operations as they spent the year domiciled in a funky little trailer.
Lots of musicians from the LV and Pocono area were hanging out and enjoying the beautiful self-designed home. We had a great converation with J.D. Walter, a sensational jazz vocalist, now living in the Easton area. (www.jdwalter.com) We were discussing the irony of the sound ordinance troubles in Austin, Texas more on that next time.
J.D. has three solo CDs to his credit and often works with saxophone-great, Dave Leibman. Be sure to check him out the next time he's at the Deer Head Inn.
Also hooked up and jammed a bit with bassist Steve Carmen at a huge party produced by Kevino in the old Lou Reda warehouse/studios in Easton. Steve has appeared on over 100 recordings over the years, with everyone from Chuck Berry and the Ronettes to Peter Frampton and David Bowie. A great mix of filmakers, artists, photographers and dancers were in attendance. Steve, by the way, will be fronting a music event at Pearly Baker's in Easton for Dave Phillips Music on Sunday, August 11.
Help to support new original music. Many working musicians write their own music and their attempts to perform it are often dictated by audience appreciation and response. That response is innately easier to elicit with a tune by Nirvana, Vivaldi, Billie Joel, Duke Ellington, Mozart, Willie Dixon, Snoop Dog, Thelonius Monk or James Taylor - which of course then translates into venue profits.
Musicians love to perform their own compositions. Trust me All artists should have that opportunity. And, when was the last time you raved at an art gallery opening about a wall filled with exact copies of Van Goghs?
Inside the Bummer Tent - check it out First Friday of every month or past articles on-line at www.bummertent.com.