NAME: Dan Andersen
BAND AFFILIATION: Diazepam
INSTRUMENT: Bass guitar/vocals
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … a compilation of great classical music. I don’t remember what the title was but, it had “In the Hall of the Mountain King” (Grieg) and the “Hungarian Rhapsody” (Liszt) on the track-list and I was blown away for the first time hearing music with themes, emotion, arrangement and dynamics. The epic nature of classical music had a huge impact on what my idea of music has developed into.
NAME: Kevin Gadani
BAND AFFILIATION: Mod Fiction
INSTRUMENT: Guitarist/Singer/Song Writer
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … If memory serves me correct, I think I bought Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and “Bleach” on cassette on the same day back around ’92-’93 with some allowance money. Before that I would just tape songs off the radio.
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The first major act I remember seeing live was Deep Purple at SPAC, but I’d definitely been to some forgettable local punk shows before that.
3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … I played the baritone in middle school but quickly lost interest when I picked up guitar playing around seventh grade.
4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Hmmm, probably some Beatles or Bob Dylan tune at an open mic.
5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Well, the first band I was in that made it out of the garage or basement was the Wild Mountain Underground. We recorded a few tunes and played a few gigs, but members changed quite often, so the band morphed into other names and disbanded after a couple years.
In support of their recently released album “Come Back Down,” Kevin Gadani straps on his guitar to lead the alt-rock trio Mod Fiction into Pauly’s Hotel in Albany on Saturday (February 9). Motorhome is scheduled to open the show at 9pm. Admission is $5.
The RPM Challenge, in case you don’t know, is an annual, non-competitive nationwide challenge for musicians to record an original album of music from scratch during the 28 days of the month of February.
BAND AFFILIATION: Doctor Magnum
INSTRUMENT: Electric Bass
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … I think it was Lateralus by Tool. I had gotten into Tool through a friend, and it was one of the best things that happened to me. I was only 14 years old at the time, and it was the first album that really made me think about music in a bigger picture. I owe a lot of my own personal evolution to that album.
THE CHARLIE SMITH BLUES BAND Steppin’ Down Blues Lane
As you may know, Greater Nippertown guitarslinger Charlie Smith was inducted into the New York State Blues Hall of Fame a couple of months ago. What you don’t know is that Smith could have used his new release Steppin’ Down Blues Lane for his résumé tape. Don’t worry, though: This isn’t a “Greatest Hits” package. The lion’s share of Steppin’ comes from live recordings made at various venues over a 10-year period. Cruising through these righteous slices of club life (which is the only way to experience the blues, to my mind), you see the kind of full-throated, unvarnished havoc Smith has been wreaking on the Empire State during this century.
The opening title track is one of four tunes recorded at the late, lamented Savannah’s in downtown Albany. It’s a mid-tempo cruiser that’s got Smith howling off-mic right from the jump, with Robert Aronstein’s organ comping sweet & hot underneath Smith’s gritty vocal. “I got the blues,” Smith tells the crowd, “But I was so young, I was just a kid!” When Smith lets loose his first solo, it goes straight for your throat, and after a semi-joking scat solo, he lets his axe attack the crowd again. You want pretty guitar? Go find an old Pat Metheny Group album. This is down-and-dirty blues, subtle as a flying mallet, and it makes your teeth curl back into a big wide smile. Aronstein’s pumping follow-up solo goes right down that same mean street, and “mean” never felt this fun!
The band – which originates from the Pittsfield area and the Berkshires – includes Arthur Holmes on vocals and lead guitar, John Worth on bass, Gary Smith on Hammond organ and Bridget Wnukowski on drums. Inspired by blues artists such as Elmore James, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King among others, the band plays many originals along with covers.
Holmes writes most of music, crediting who he calls the “original gunslingers” as the foundation of most music today. “They wrote about their experiences, about their hard-luck places and their life. It’s music written from the soul,” says Holmes. “Much of the music I have written comes from a dark time in my life, and how far I have come from that point.”
Holmes is modest about his guitar playing, which started at an early age, as he listened for hours and played along with records of musicians he admired. He and Worth have played together for years, and their energetic sound is complimented by Smith’s soaring keys and Wnukowski’s powerhouse backbeat.
Albany’s own Ambassador of the Blues, the late Ernie Williams, is slated to be among the first Capital Region musicians inducted into the New York State Blues Hall of Fame on Sunday (November). Williams – who died in March at the age of 87 – and his band members (Rocky Petrocelli, Charlie Vatalaro, Mark Emanatian, Mike Kelley and Steve Aldi) are scheduled to be among the nearly two dozen inductees who will be honored at the awards ceremony at Pauly’s Hotel in Albany on Sunday afternoon.
In addition to Williams, the New York State Blues Hall of Fame – an affiliate of the national Blues Hall of Fame – will also bestow posthumous honors to Steve Katz.
Slated to kick off at 1pm on Sunday, the ceremonies will honor many of Nippertown’s finest blues musicians, including Charlie Smith, George Boone, Mark McKay, Michael Tremante, Luke McNamee, George A. Fletcher, Trish Anderson, Mark Tolstrup, Tom Healey, Scotty Mac and Ted Hennessy.
In addition, several individuals and organizations who have helped keep the blues alive and thriving in the Local 518 will also be inducted, including Troy radio station WRPI-FM and Steve Daub (the station’s “Stormy Monday” radio show host), photographer-writer Robin Murray, concert promoter Jim Anderson and Last Vestige Record Shop in Albany.
There are a pair of very notable Local 518 band reunions on tap for this weekend:
9pm tonight (Friday, October 19), $10
at Daisy Baker’s, Troy
Led by the mindboggling guitar work of Graham Tichy and the hot-wired antics of frontman Ian Carlton, one of Nippertown’s finest and most beloved rockabilly combos step back into the spotlight for their only show of 2012. NOTE: The theme for the Rocky Velvet reunion bash is Tiki so wear your best Hawaiian outfit. And be prepared to party and dance…
9pm on Saturday (October 20), $5
at Pauly’s Hotel, Albany Diva & the Dirty Boys are headlining the evening, but you’ll want to get there early to catch the openers, a very special reunion of Urban Gumbo. As drummer Bob Girouard (also a regular writer for Modern Drummer) notes, “The original five of us (Gary Butts, Joe Quandt, BJ French, Rob Piorkowski and myself) haven’t been on-stage together for about a decade. But even more so, the gig takes on a special meaning primarily because both BJ and I have undergone multiple brain surgeries, mine as recent as September.” It certainly will be great to see Girouard back in the saddle again… NOTE:Metroland founder Peter Iselin will be sitting in at the keyboards with Diva & the Dirty Boys. ALSO NOTE: The show wraps up a busy weekend for Dirty Boys’ bassist Nick Bisanz, who is also playing with the Last Conspirators tonight (October 18) at Valentine’s Music Hall, as well as with the classic British rock band Mods & Rockers at Pauly’s Hotel on Friday.
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