NAME: Dean Batstone
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Gordon Lightfoot – “Sundown.” My older cousins had been visiting from the East Coast and brought it and their guitars with them, and it seemed like they knew every song on it and especially harmonized well to Gord’s sweet melodies. When they returned home, they took it with them, and I missed it enough to go out and pick it up. I still have it [vinyl, of course…] and still spin its warm tracks from time to time. It holds up as a beautifully produced record with wonderfully understated musicianship, Gord’s vocals at their peak and, of course, strong, timeless songwriting.
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … April Wine at the Central Canada Exibition. I went with my best friend at the time, and it was particularly memorable because we met two girls in the line-up to get in and ended up dating them for a whole month!! [Well, that was a lot at the time, I think…] We sat high in the cheap seats and necked and groped to “You Won’t Dance With Me,” their big hit at the time. I could have never known then that, years later, I’d be signed to the famous Canadian label Aquarius Records that April Wine helped put on the map. I eventually recorded my first CD for them in ’92-’93 in Germantown, NY and so began my long standing love of the Hudson Valley and its dynamic music scene. And my very short tenure with Aquarius, but that’s another story….
3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … a violin. We had a borrowed piano in the house for a few years that eventually got returned, but not before three years of lessons, after which I started on violin, which was my first ‘owned’ instrument. After five years of that, I was in a high school with no string instruments, so I took up clarinet. Five years of that and I figured out it wasn’t that cool an instrument to bring to the beach or a kitchen party and so entered the guitar. I bought my first one used from a friend and still have it today. It’s done a lot of camping…:)
4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … ‘Yellow’ by Donovan. The guy I bought my guitar from was older and a good player at the time and taught me a lot of simple, memorable and ‘fun to harmonize to’ songs. My first ‘live’ appearance was a church coffee house playing alongside Wayne and the first song of the night was “Yellow.” I can still pull it out of the hat if anyone ever asks for it, but I’m sure you can understand that it doesn’t happen too often.
5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … called Oryon. Yes, spelled rong, ’cause we thought that’d be cooler. A four-piece rock cover band. I was the lead player because I had the bigger stack of speakers under my ’65 Fender Bandmaster head [I wish I still had that….] into which I plugged a ‘Mann’ imitation Les Paul. We started to write some of our own songs with this band and actually played several live shows, the best paying one being a school dance. We split $75 five ways [the fifth being our sound guy]…’bout the same as I get paid these days, now that I think about it…;) There’s some pics of this band on my Facebook page…damn, we were cool!