Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Michael Hochanadel
It’s damned difficult to describe the art of David Greenberger, but I’m reminded of something that I was told some 30 or so years ago: “I don’t know what it is that he does, but he’s very good at it.”
Greenberger is a monologuist (for lack of a better description) who draws his material from a vast archive of his conversations with the elderly at assisted living or nursing homes, meal sites and community centers. It all began in 1979 with his marvelous (in the true sense of the word) handcrafted zine, The Duplex Planet, which featured transcriptions of his interviews, but over the years he’s also branched out into readings and recordings, often accompanied by live music.
A Strong Dog, his latest combo of musical cohorts, is a band of exceedingly versatile Local 518 veterans – guitarist-lap steel player Kevin Maul, drummer-guitarist Mitch Throop and drummer-banjo player-keyboardist Matthew Loiacono – and together with Greenberger they celebrated the release of their new CD, So Tough, with packed-to-the-max show at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs last week.
“I remember seeing a steam-driven steam-roller when I was four years old. That’s all I remember. Another thing I remember, too, is I ate some plaster or some plaster flour or sizing compound, and it made me awful sick. That’s all I remember when I was four years old. I can tell you more of what happened when I was five years old. My father, Louis Turner, made me a toy wooden robot figurine. And I had a girlfriend, Joyce Viola, and a wooden playhouse in the back yard. That’s all. I can tell you more from other ages, but that’s all I wanna tell you right now.”
– from “A Robot, a Girlfriend, and a Playhouse”