Monthly Archives: November 2013

Gail Heidel of The Way Station!

I’ve played at The Way Station 2 times before solo and will be playing this Saturday, 11/30/13 at 7PM with Ben Kraus on bass. Gail Heidel has been kind enough to answer some questions about the establishment where she works for her brother and proprietor, Andy Heidel.

This past weekend, as you undoubtedly know, was the 50th anniversary of the launch of the popular t.v. series, Dr. Who. Your bar is The Way Station, 683 Washington Ave. Prospect Heights, Bklyn. NY.
1. How long have you been in business?

We are having our third anniversary on Feb. 20. We have Buhre Station STOMP SOCIETY booked from 9-11pm for the party.
Genre: Swing
For fans of : Great Music & Good Times

Named, “Best of the Bronx” News 12, this Swing Band not only recreates the authentic sounds of such greats as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong’s Dixieland, but also brings their unique brand of showmanship and most importantly FUN back to this timeless genre of music. If you have not had the opportunity to experience the Buhre Station STOMP SOCIETY live in action… NOW IS YOUR CHANCE at their Brooklyn premier !!!

” Keeping this sound alive. …bringing back an era that was truly timeless and fabulous!”

BUHRESTATIONSTOMPSOCIETY.COM


2. Righteous. So, dear readers, be sure to make it out if you’re in town! Did you start out with the Dr. Who theme or was that an addition?

It wasn’t in the original business plan, although the steam punk aesthetic was.*(http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=uh3_my_web_gs&va=steampunk) The tardis was a solution to a problem. *(http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=uh3_my_web_gs&sz=all&va=tardis) The bathroom was sited next to the actual bar and Andy and his former manager were wondering how to disguise it. The idea of the blue box was born.

3. Hahahaha that’s an excellent, creative solution. Who’s the bigger Dr. Who fan? You or Anders?

Anders is the fan. I’ve never watched the show. I’m in it for the music.

4. I love live music and it’s very important to me. Have you always hosted live music?

If you are asking about my career path-
No, I haven’t. I am actually a visual artist. I work part-time as The Gallery and Public Program Manager at Pelham Art Center and part-time at The Way Station. I am also an Assistant Professor of Art at Hunter College teaching one class per semester. This being said, music has also been a big part of my life. I wrote three books about the Black Crowes with a friend of mine, which led to a job work for them doing on-site promotion during the 1997 Further Festival tour. I was also a manager for a regional funk band in the late 90’s in Connecticut.

Or if you are talking about the bar.
Yes, we have always had a music series since the bar opened. Andy was originally booking a couple of bands per night by himself and then he asked me if I had the time to help with the booking and promotion. We ramped up our game and are now booking between 100-125 bands per month plus screenings, nerd cabaret, nerd karaoke, comedy and lectures.

5. I was very impressed with your professional and respectful way of booking. You promote the shows via email and on your website, stream them live and are compiling quite an impressive archive. Have you booked bands, players, shows in other places prior to The Way Station?

Thanks so much! As I mentioned above, I am also an arts administrator. My first job in the city was actually booking films and negotiating contracts at The Whitney Museum in the Film and Video Department. Part of my current position in Pelham is to organize 6 exhibitions a year, one of which I curate. I also plan and organize our Folk Art Series with live music, traditional dance and hands on art workshops along with other public events. A number of bands from The Way Station have made their way north to play at my Art Center.

6. Do you buy vinyl, CDs, and/or mp3’s?

I buy mp3’s. mostly these days and have a great collection of cds from bands that come through The Way Station. My husband, James, who is the Wednesday and Saturday night sound man, collects vinyl so it’s in the home.

7. I’m a huge fan of Record Store Day and this past weekend was also the WFMU record fair. Have you been to a Dr. Who convention or comicon or record fair? If so, which ones?

Sorry, no. I have been to a Star Trek Convention in Florida years ago with Anders and our sister to hear Diana Troy speak.

8. Do you have a favorite band?
The Black Crowes

9. Do you have a favorite author?
No. In recent years I’ve become a non-fiction reader focusing on the study of urbanism. So it’s more like I have a favorite research topic.

Favorite books include:
Jane Jacobs, Death and Life of Great American Cities
Robert Caro, Power Broker
Lewis Mumford, The City in History
Stephen Johnson, Emergence
Jarod Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel

10 Do you have a favorite drink?
Smuttynose IPA year round
This time of year I love pumpkin beers and stouts.

Thanks so much for your time!

Thanks for the interview.

Best,
Gail

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Power of The Crowd

On my birthday, a couple of weeks ago, I went to hear Built To Spill play (I try to go every time they’re here in NYC). Generally I’m not fond of crowds…I know, I know then why do you live in NYC? Well the museums, the theatre, the music, the parks, the all night everything, and the extraordinary people. Crowds, though, remind me of majority rule, how strong one voice has to be to break the walls of idiocy, and unquestioning compliance. Just because something is popular doesn’t make it good, ethical, thought-out or right. I digress…the show was sold out. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of kids there….a new generation has discovered this excellent band from the 90’s! Good for them. Slam Dunk, a band from Victoria BC, opened the show followed by The Warm Hair. Slam Dunk was fun excellent pop-punk stuff. The Warm Hair was either an ill-conceived novelty act playing on stereo-typical rocker tropes or just really not very good. For The Warm Hairs rock posing and posturing, tough guy shirtlessness, and audience provocation…they had NO searing solos! (A prerequisite for rock, real or invented, to fly). The line-up actually made me wonder whether Built to Spill put the weaker act on before they went on for an even more impressive show by contrast. In any event, Irving Plaza filled up by the time Doug Martsch and company were set to take the stage, not a comfortable moment for those of us who treasure immediate personal space as most new yorkers do. We especially recognize personal space as a commodity whether it’s a seat on the subway or a nice apartment….a better price usually trumps space though. All of that said, there were at least 3 or 4 songs where the crowd joined in! We knew all the lyrics! We were gathered in the same spot for the common joy of reveling in these awesome songs! It didn’t make me like the people I was surrounded by any more than before but I certainly garnered a feeling of community which used to be the norm at shows I attended years ago.

Here’s an excellent review, setlist and photos of the show: http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2013/11/built_to_spill_25.html

Here’s a piece on introverts (which oddly enough I think may be): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/introverts-signs-am-i-introverted_n_3721431.html

P.S. Next Appearing: Philip Lynch w/ Ben Kraus (on bass) Saturday November 30th, 2013 @ 7PM The Way Station 683 Washington Ave. Brooklyn, NYC

Goodnight dark prince.

In keeping with the last post, the notion of proprietary rights to a particular artists music and pride in either discovering them or sharing their music, my introduction to Lou Reed was via my older brother and I held tight to The Velvet Underground and Lou. The album cover for Take No Prisoners (live album) of a bald man in fishnets, heels and leather jacket made an impression on me in my sexually formative years…sexual identity could be a form of expression! Plus the notion that different things work for different people really freed me to a world of my own. Tough and cool music that was also sensitive because it was revealing a world not dealt with openly publicly. I’ve always identified with the underdog, the misunderstood and the disadvantaged not because I feel that way myself but because those who can’t stick up for themselves need somebody to stick up for them and Lou was the soundtrack. Influences are important not only for artists to help further develop and understand who they are and what they are making but also to share with audiences to give them a context for their work. Lou Reed is one of my influences. He opened a door, lyrically, for the world….you can write about what society views as undesirable, degenerate, ugly, and or disturbing and reveal a world which said society was secretly curious about all along. Those who knew him best have eloquently paid tribute below:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/laurie-andersons-farewell-to-lou-reed-a-rolling-stone-exclusive-20131106

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/28/patti-smith-lou-reed_n_4171625.html

The tracks I caught at Lincoln Center today:

I’m Waiting for The Man
Warrior King
Venus In Furs
Leave Me Alone
Caroline Says
Heroin
Waves of Fear
I’ll Be Your Mirror
Satellite of Love
White Light/White Heat
Smalltown
I Want to Boogie With You
Candy Says
Street Hassle
Vicious

(Then I had to go back to work but it went on until 4)

Holy Fanzines!!

I recently received my copy of Mole City, the band Quasi’s double album, plus a t-shirt and their fanzine (all items are excellent, most importantly the tunes). Dig that cover! http://www.killrockstars.com/molecity/ I had a notion of creating a fanzine for myself and sending it along with the CD to the various reviewers we’re sending the Philip Lynch album (I’m still keeping title to myself)… now I realize the key to having a fanzine is having fans, I’m still in the market for more of those. I like to consider myself an “artisanal” songwriter and only a select group of very special humans will enjoy what I’ve been cooking up with James Beaudreau hahahahahaha. I’m kidding of course, a ton of people can dig this stuff. So what exactly is a fanzine? Well per wikipedia (I know, I know lazy):

A fanzine (portmanteau of fan and magazine or -zine) is a nonprofessional and nonofficial publication produced by fans of a particular cultural phenomenon (such as a literary or musical genre) for the pleasure of others who share their interest. The term was coined in an October 1940 science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet and first popularized within science fiction fandom, from whom it was adopted by others.

So yeah a fanzine can apply to comic books, fiction, music and anything really. Quasi’s fanzine features praise and insights from Corin Tucker (of Sleater Kinney), Jon Raymond, Gary Jarman (The Cribs), Jon Spencer (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater Kinney, Wild Flag and the t.v. show Portlandia). There’s also an awesome piece by Sam Coomes (Quasi’s lead singer) reflecting on the band being at it for 20 years. Great photos of shows, backstage antics, life on the road, posters and a couple of reviews.
When I was a kid (said the old codger) fandom was different. We really got into what we were listening to. It didn’t have to be dance music to dance to it. There were 2 kids in my highschool so into the Ramones that they wore only torn jeans and those black leather jackets and they were inseparable. They knew the secret, their band had the best tunes and everyone else was a fool. Also a couple of friends were so into Pink Floyd that that was almost the extent of their conversation and they were really bright. (I went to that animated movie Heavy Metal with those guys and ended up riding around in a shopping cart for a little while) heh. Nicole Blackman was a die-hard Replacements fan and tried to get me into them but in my heart of hearts I was such a Beatles devotee that just the name ‘Let it Be’ (the Replacements album she was pushing) was an affront! How dare they!! Well, here it is years and years later and wow do I love The Replacements (sorry Nikki). I wonder if the kids today (quoth the codger) are devoted to their bands to a degree that they dress like them, fight over who has the better taste, try to convert other listeners and compile and circulate their own ‘zines?

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=uh3_my_web_gs&sz=all&va=fanzine

Here’s a track from Mole City! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJlUjm9fGv8

Thanks for tuning in (heh get it?) dear readers I’ll catch you soon! -p

P.S. I’ll have special post for Lou Reed next time, I was kind of devastated and needed time to digest the loss.