Danny Invades Australia – Live on Purple Haze!

May 27, 2015 in Events, Happenings

—Official Press Release—
danny-faragher-invades-australia-with-dancing-with-the-moment

 

On his continuing press tour to promote his new album, Dancing with the Moment, Danny Faragher will appear live on the Purple Haze radio show with host Nick Black, 88.3 Southern FM in Melbourne, Australia.

The interview will intertwine with music selections from past and present, as Danny presents songs from his long recording career, as well as new songs from Dancing with the Moment, which is out now off The Blue Print Sound label. The interview will air Wednesday at 8pm AEST. Back in the USA, that’s 6am EST, 3am PST.

For those that prefer not to wake up or stay up to hear the program at the early hours of the morning, the show will be in podcast form shortly after the original airing on the 88.3 Southern FM website. It also will be available on Dannyfaragher.com once it is available.

Danny is expected to share stories of his time in the music industry from the hay-day of the Sunset Strip to his more recent adventures, as well as talk about the many years spent on his recent album, Dancing with the Moment, which has already been called “one of the greatest albums of the year.”

Purple Haze has recently posted an archive of Danny’s past appearance on their show on their website.

Dancing with the Moment is currently available on iTunes.

 

 

Former Peppermint Trolley Co. and Bones Member, Greg Tornquist recalls meeting B.B. King

May 18, 2015 in Events, Happenings, Thoughts

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Received an email yesterday from Greg Torquist, my former band mate in both the Peppermint Trolley Company and Bones in which he recalls our opening for B.B. King at the Whiskey a Go Go in the early seventies,  as well as a later chance meeting with the great man.

Hey Bones Brothers!

I was saddened to learn that BB passed away yesterday.  Age: 89.
We met twice.
The first was when we opened for him at the Whiskey.  Maybe 1971 or 72 ?
Shook hands with him in the dressing room.  I’ve never forgotten his catcher mitt handshake.  After our set when we were heading up the stairs and he was coming down he stopped and complimented me on my playing.  May have been the slide on ‘He Said’.  BB knew songs.  We played good ones and he couldn’t have escaped our roar because you could hear the band on stage in the dressing rooms.  I think he just dug good music.
I wore that compliment like an invisible badge of honor.  Still do.
Then we were introduced by a friend in LA about 3 or 4 years ago.  We met in an optometrist office.
Spoke for around 20 minutes.  Privately.  I explained that I had written a musical called Mississippi and asked for his advice.  He was encouraging.  Enthusiastic even.  Told me to send a copy to his bodyguard so he could actually listen and read it.  
I never did.  Writers angst that it wasn’t quite good enough.  I am rewriting even now.  Oy!
What a wonderful man.  Not just a trail blazing iconic musical hero but a great man.
Peace
gBB and Greg 2   111111

BB and Greg and Nic   11:11:11 copy

The Faragher Brothers ‘Givin’ It Up’ and Gettin’ Funky

April 3, 2015 in Events, Happenings, Thoughts

The Faragher Brothers ‘Yellow album’ is jam packed with great songs. The LP is a harmonious blend of grooves – soulful. jazzy, mellow, steppin’ – but each  one stands on its own, shining like a jewel.

The Faragher Brothers performing Live at The Roxy - Spring 1976

The Faragher Brothers performing Live at The Roxy – Spring 1976

‘Give It Up’  shows off the funkier, grittier side of the band. Recorded in 1975 at Richard Perry’s Studio 55. the players are: Danny Faragher -B3 organ, lead vocal, Tommy Faragher – clavinet, bg vocal, Davey Faragher – bass, bg vocal, Jimmy Faragher – bg vocal, Patrick McClure – electric guitar, John King – drums, Charles Crewes – talking guitar, Vini Poncia – producer.

‘C’mon! C’mon! C’mon, Baby! Give it on up!’

‘Get ready! You got to get ready!’

 

 

Watch and listen to ‘Give It Up’ video.

The Faragher Brothers outside Brothers Studios in Redondo Beach, preparing for the concert at the Roxy

The Faragher Brothers outside Brothers Studios in Redondo Beach, preparing for the concert at the Roxy

Faragher Brothers ‘Yellow Album’ Review. A Classic.

April 1, 2015 in Events, Happenings, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Our first LP – the eponymous ‘The Faragher Brothers’ aka ‘Yellow Album’ was the the culmination of three years of wood shedding. Countless hours (many of them spent in the The 'Yellow Album' - 1976basement of our folk’s house in Redlands) went into writing, arranging, and honing the sound that would emerge on our first release.  Although the record never gained the status it deserved, it has remained a cult classic. The Japanese Sony reissue of 2000  sold out immediately. As of this writing, a new copy ships for $300.00+.

One listen will tell you why the record has become a classic. It is timeless – artistically pristine, yet soulful and heartfelt. We were the real deal, and I am proud to have been part of it.  The fact that were able to get so much of our music down on wax makes all the sacrifices worthwhile.  

I would like to express our gratitude to our all our loyal fans who have kept the flame burning and spread the word over the years. Thank-you, thank-you. We  love you! For those of you who have expressed frustration at not being able to purchase the music there is good news. A reissue of the entire Faragher Brothers catalog is in the works. Keep your fingers crossed!

Here is a review of the album written by Beverly Paterson for the online mag, ‘SomethingElse’.

 

 

DECEMBER 28, 2014 BY BEVERLY PATERSON

The Faragher Brothers –Faragher Bros (1976): Forgotten series

Actual siblings, the Faragher Brothers starred Jimmy on vocals, Danny on vocals, keyboards, trombone and percussion, Tommy on vocals and piano, and Davey on vocals and bass. Hailing from Redlands, California, these guys had been staples of the scene for over a decade, particularly Jimmy and Danny, having acquired national fame with the Peppermint Trolley Company. 1969 saw the band score a hit single with “Baby You Come Rollin’ Across My Mind,” while their solitary album, The Peppermint Trolley Company, is a masterpiece of its era.

Although the Peppermint Trolley Company specialized in psychedelic pop a la the Left Banke and the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the boys had solid backgrounds in many different styles. Come the early 70s, they pursued their appreciation of soul music with ardent fervor, and signed a deal with ABC Records, resulting in a pair of albums. A real family affair, the band later added brother Marty and sister Pamela to the line-up, and were now employed by the Polydor label where they released two albums before dispersing.

But the album we’re currently discussing is the debut effort, Faragher Bros, which is also often referred to as “The Yellow Album.” Produced by Vini Poncia, who played in notable ’60s bands such as the Trade Winds and the Innocents, penned tunes for the likes of the Ronettes, Tommy James, and Leo Sayer, and worked with Ringo Starr, Melissa Manchester and Kiss, the disc not only perfectly captures the vibe of the hour, but further characterizes the band’s impeccable chemistry and multiple talents.

Torched by a funky undercurrent, wired with stabbing horns and sweeping choruses, “Best Years Of My Life” launches Faragher Bros off in splendid shape as the catchy track homes right in on every aspect of the band’s abilities. Beautifully breathy harmonies, compounded by smart and striking arrangements sparkle forth on “In Your Time Of Need,” fiery funk grooves encompass “Give It Up,” and “Please Hurry Up” mixes reggae beats with sweet soul sensations to satisfying effects. Set to a jazzy motif, “You Touched Me” projects a sexy feel, a version of Curtis Mayfield’s “It’s All Right” remains loyal to its springy and carefree complexion, and “Never Get Your Love Behind Me” soars to a smooth and polished finish.

Emotionally charged singing, derived straight from the gut, joined by locked-in instrumentation and pin-sharp hooks make Faragher Bros an album where each number explodes with radio-friendly qualities. Having researched their Temptations, Isley Brothers, O’Jays, Barry White, and Earth, Wind and Fire records well, and transpiring their knowledge and talent into action, these guys were the genuine article.

Upon hearing Faragher Bros, you’ll no doubt be puzzled as to why the band didn’t crack the big time. Truth be told, image has a lot to do with success, and the group’s hippy jam band look, which entailed long hair, puka shells, and jeans, just didn’t jive with the slick and classy soul sounds they so stunningly sang and performed. Marketing and promotion be darned, Faragher Bros is an outstanding collection of sincere soul music and is primed for rediscovery.'The Yellow Album' - Backside

 

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with “Stand By Me” — which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon’s version. She’s contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International’s associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else!

The ‘Dancing with the Moment’ Release Party Big Success. Thank-you!

March 9, 2015 in Events, Happenings

 

Blowin'HarpatRecordRelease

Blowin’ Up a Storm at Record Release Party. Photo by Taylor Series

Thanks to everyone who braved the rare L.A. rain to come and be a part of the ‘Dancing with the Moment’ Record Release celebration! We had us a party!  Yes, the house was rockin’, and there was delicious food, fine wine, and good vibes galore.  I was truly touched to see such a gathering of friends, family, and colleagues. Connecting once again with familiar faces and meeting new people was a treat , indeed.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank-you one and all! For me the album is a creative milestone. It is the culmination of years of intense focus and hard work.  My son, and creative partner, Bryan Faragher, and I had spent many a night burning the midnight oil, and it was a project that at times appeared to be never ending.  Knowing that we were able to cross that finish line filled me a with a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. The occasion called for a soiree and a soiree we had.

Let me give a shout of appreciation to the party guests: Bryan Faragher, Jimmy Faragher, Tommy Faragher, Rosie Bliss, Davey Faragher, Pammy Faragher, Marty M. Faragher, Anita Faragher, Tibo Cuellar,  Jeanne Harriott, Connie Catalan, Emily, Deena McClain, Nick Lane, Dave Armstrong, Alec Echevarria, Shervin Ahdout, Jordan Faragher, Tim Horrigan, Anne Horrigan, Emily Horrigan, Chris Blondal, Craig Copeland, Randy Crenshaw, Denia Bradshaw, Probyn Gregory, Steve Hauser, Michelle Hauser, Michael McClure, Jody Mortara, Ted, Bill New, Phil Elmore, Donna Duessen, Harry McNeil, Kristine Chinn, Chuck Nickerson, Babbet t Goss, Brent, Bryan Davis, Mellie, Adam, Dierdra, Willard Lewis Snow, Irene, Josh Buehler, Lauren Wong, Rick, Linda Hubbard, Annie, Lindsey.

Bryan aptly stepped into the DJ role, playing original music as he projected a visual slide show, and handled the MC duties with aplomb. His sincere introduction touched my heart.

Tibo Cuellar, who was first to air tracks off ‘Dancing with the Moment’ on his ‘Cold Cuts’ show on radio  KCSB made the trek all the way down from Santa Barbara to make his warm and personable presence felt.  Always great to see him!

Some very talented singers and musicians joined me on stage to perform, including siblings: Jimmy – guitar and vocals, Pammy – vocals, Tommy – piano, Davey – bass and vocals, and Marty – percussion,  my son, Bryan – percussion, and friends: Tim Horrigan – bass, Chris Blondal – drums, Denia Bradshaw – flute, Randy Crenshaw – spoken word, and Craig Copeland  – guitar, (Randy and Craig, along with Bill New, who was in the audience, are members of my doo wop singing group, Daddy Cool). We debuted our energetic new video of  the hard groovin’  ‘Too Much Pressure’ , and it received an enthusiastic response from the crowd.  The video was directed by Bryan,  and filmed by Shervin Ahdout, with assistance from Alec Echevaria.

We also premiered  the exciting dance mix of the same song, and the infectious and driving rhythm brought people to the dance floor. Copies of ‘too much pressure – rebel sole pressurized underground mix’  were free to all party guests.

The party couldn’t have  happened without the help of the following people: Anita Faragher, who got the word out; my wife Jeanne, who tirelessly shopped, and personally sewed the table covers from scratch; my daughter Deena, who planned and spent all day Saturday preparing the food platters (a feast for the eyes as well as the palette); Connie Catalan who helped to organize and lend a hand where needed, and, I might add, first came up with the suggestion of throwing a release party; Nick Lane, who helped to serve the food; Alexander, who tended the bar, Alec Echevarria, our roaming photographer, and Shervin Ahdout, who assisted Bryan with the visuals. Thank-you;  Dave Armstrong for videoing the performance, and Taylor Series, and  Michael McClure for photos.  If anyone else  has photos or video, please let us know. We would love to share it.

Love and Harmony,
Danny

'Dancing with the moment, and the moment sets me free.'

‘Dancing with the moment, and the moment sets me free.’

Dancing with the Moment Kicks off with Event Packed Party!

February 20, 2015 in Events, Happenings

———Offcial Press Release——

banner-the-moment-has-arrived

Danny Faragher’s New Album “Dancing with the Moment’ Throws Event Packed Party to Kick off Launch

Legendary Singer and Producer Danny Faragher Celebrates His New Album with Exclusive Record Release Party, New Video and Limited Edition EDM Remix

Music business veteran and pioneer Danny Faragher, (The Peppermint Trolley Co., Bones, The Faragher Brothers) has announced the release date for his new album Dancing with the Moment, as well as a special event record release party complete with live performances and the album’s first video.

CD400_outThe album titled Dancing with the Moment has been in the making since Danny’s last album A Blue Little Corner nearly 10 years ago, and will be release on his new label, The Blue Print Sound onMarch 1st.  It’s an eclectic collection of works that represent the many facets of his varied career, ranging from sixties inspired psychedelic folk tunes to California beach sounds, lush ambient piano ballads, a jazz quintet, and electronic productions of soul and classic R&B grooves.

“It is the album that takes a whole life to write.” says Danny Faragher, “There is a track on the album I first wrote in high school, before the Beatles invaded America.”

Critical reviews so far have been nothing but positive. Beverly Paterson of Something Else Reviews called it “Enchanting and electrifying. Dancing with the Moment is one of the greatest albums of the year or any year for that matter.”

To commemorate the launch of the album, a record release party has been scheduled for March 1st at The Guitar Merchant Live Music Venue. Many members from Danny’s past musical projects will be in attendance, from The Peppermint Trolley Company, Bones and The Faragher Brothers, as well as a live performance by many of the original Faragher Brothers playing one of Danny’s songs off Dancing with the Moment.

In addition, the unveiling of the music video for the song Too Much Pressure, will also be a key feature of the event. The video reportedly took 6 months to produce and features the cinematography of Shervin Ahdout.

As a promotion for the event, a limited edition release of the dance version of “Too Much Pressure” will be given out to exclusive guests. The Too Much Pressure –Rebel Sole Pressurized Dance Mix was made exclusively for the event and produced by, EDM producer and DJ, Rebel Sole.

Radio Station KCSB DJ Tibo “Tibonious Funk” Cuellar will have a booth to hand out additional promotions as well, broadcasting a recording of the event on his following show “Cold Cuts”.

 

Bring Your Dancin’ Shoes to the Party!

February 11, 2015 in Events, Happenings, Thoughts

We’d decided to make a dance mix of ‘Too Much Pressure‘, one of the tunes on my new album, ‘Dancing with the Moment’.  Withtoomuch-pressure_CD100_in its James Brown groove, and infectious energy, the track seemed  ripe and ready for some club mix fun.

My son, Bryan Faragher, is excellent at what he does, whether it’s sound engineering, graphic arts, or e-marketing. He’s been creating electronic music since he was thirteen. Just as some boys may be into building model airplanes, or tinkering with engines,  so Bryan was always creating some new electronic rave track.  I often stood in the hallway listening, as the boom of a kick drum emanated from his room, astounded by his creativity in manipulating sounds. It was a different approach to making music. The result was a kind collage in motion, a wild toad’s ride through a cacophony of sound. His structures always had a beginning, middle, and end.  Early on I recognized the artistry.

So when he put forward the idea of doing a remix of ‘Pressure’, a  song that already bore his creative stamp as co writer, engineer, and drum programmer,  I immediately gave the green light. I trusted him implicitly.

Last Saturday he sent me a rough mix. I was blown away. I couldn’t sit still. Had to move my feet. There were my ideas – shouts, asides, horn lines – twisting and turning in entirely new ways. I rushed to tell my wife how overwhelmed I was. ‘I think I may like it even more than the album version.’ I said. The more I listened the more I dug it.

We are going to debut and give away free copies of  ‘too much pressure’ – the rebel sole pressurized club mix at the Record Release Party on March 1, so bring your dancin’ shoes!

 

Too Much Pressure
(Danny Faragher-Bryan Faragher- Alec Echevarria)

Too much/ Too much pressure
Too much/ Too Much Pressure

All around, all around/ All around, all aroundDanny-Faragher-TMP-Back-Cover-Gauge
All around, all around/ All around, all around

I can’t take this much
I can’t take this much…
Pressure

Now the rich and greedy keep goin’ to town
While the rest of us just movin’ on down
Empty pockets and dreams
Where’s my chance to make the scene

I can’t take this much/I can’t take this much
Pressure

Whoa, some crazy maker keep shoutin’ in my ear
Words full of hate. Words full of fear
Chill out! (Why don’t ya?) And step on back
Get yourself acquainted with all the facts (For a change)

All around, all around/ All around, all around  2x
We can’t take this much/ We can’t take this much
Pressure

Now be it fast or be it slow
This funky system has got to go
So send a message to the banker boys
That the people ’bout to make some noise

All around, all around/ All around, all around 2x
We can’t take this much/ We can’t take this much
PressureDanny-Faragher-TMP-CD-UD109-c

 

 

‘Dancing with the Moment’ to air on KCSB-FM 91.9 this New Year’s Eve

December 30, 2014 in Events, Happenings, Uncategorized

DJ Tibo ‘Tibonious Funk’ Cuellar will be airing  selected
tracks off the new Danny Faragher album, ‘Dancing CD400_outwith the Moment’, on his show – ‘Cold Cuts’ (6:00 – 8:00 am).

Start off the New Year’s Eve celebration with the eclectic sounds of this critically acclaimed LP.

 

Click here for the live stream http://www.kcsb.org/webcast/

 

 

 

 

 

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Danny-Faragher_Dancing-With-The-Moment2_CDT100_in

Dancing with the Moment – The cover art nails it!

December 15, 2014 in Events, Happenings, Uncategorized

CD400_out I originally envisioned the album as simply a vehicle to showcase some original songs.  Then in 2011, I wrote ‘Song in the Night’,a swirling, psychedelic tune with lyrics that dealt with the song’s own creation, a very circular idea. Musically, it projects a heady sense of motion and the passing of time (My mother once told me. ‘Life is a blink of an eye.’). I took a line from the chorus – ‘Dancing with the moment…’   as a theme to pull the entire LP together.  The tracks came to represent the myriad thoughts and emotions experienced through the course of day (or a life): joy, sadness, yearning, disappointment, hope, love, lust…

Having wrapped up the musical side of the project, with all the tracks mixed, mastered and ready to go, my son, Bryan and I set our focus on finding a visual image to compliment the sonic. I racked my brain to come up with  a few ideas.  Alas, I am no painter. My ideas were too literal, too representational .  A dancer precariously  perched atop a shaky pedestal, was one example. When I suggested them to Bryan, he gave me a ‘Come on… Really?’ look. ‘How would you actually do that?’ he asked. He thought it should be more abstract. Going through his original photos, he found a shot taken through the windshield  of a moving car on a rainy night. I then sat and watched with amazement as he manipulated the image into its glorious eye-popping result. I love it! It perfectly fits my idea of motion and time, and it’s beautiful. Check it out.

The Big Shoot

September 8, 2014 in Events, Happenings, Thoughts

 

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On August 6, 2014, Danny Faragher and son Bryan, along with  Shervin Ahdout, and Alex Echevaria shot video footage for  ‘Too Much Pressure’, a song featured on the soon to be released album – ‘Dancing with the Moment’. Here are Danny’s impressions of the experience.

2014-08-03 23.19.15

Shervin, Bryan, and Alec

I woke up earlier than I’d planned. Had I even slept?  I lay in bed  while my mind scrolled through the day’s  agenda. It was Sunday, the one day that I allow myself the luxury of sleeping in, and my body was tired.  It would have been wise to try to catch a few more winks, but I had a video to shoot, and my brain was just too active. I could feel  the clock ticking. I swung my legs off the bed  and rose to my feet. Owe! I felt a pain. Glancing down, I was shocked to see that the little toe on my right foot was purplish in color and swollen as a sausage. The night before, In my haste to get things ready,  I had stubbed it badly, perhaps even dislocating it. Canceling the shoot, however, was out of the question. It had been difficult enough to set a window of time that worked for everyone involved, and we’d already rescheduled twice. I’d just have to bite the bullet and deal with it.

After a shave, shower, coffee,  and breakfast – I learned long ago not to jump into the day on an empty stomach – I dashed off to pick up my son, Bryan. He and I had been creative partners for the last seven years, working together  in the studio on my now completed album, Dancing with the Moment. The two of us had already shot a couple of videos for two of the original songs – The Sad Man, and Song in the Night. Now we were focusing on Too Much Pressure, a funky tune with a soulful vocal and a message in the lyric. We both felt that the track was an important one and wanted to create a video that captured its excitement.  We’d  brainstormed and come up with a bold idea. As I had played most of the instruments on the recording, Bryan thought it would be cool to have me visually make up the band by combining individual shots into a composite. We could also feature close-ups of each character. To assure a professional look, we’d approached a videographer  friend of his, Shervin Ahdout. who  had a lot of experience both as a cameraman, and as a lighting tech. Shervin’s input had already been invaluable, and the three of us had mapped out a basic course to follow. Also coming to the shoot to offer his help was Alec Echevaria, a piano student of mine. Alec, too, was a videographer,  and had, along with Bryan, had a hand in the writing of the song, so it was fitting that he be involved.

Upon arriving back at my place, Bryan and I began loading the truck, checking off each item on the list: musical instruments, amps ,mic and stand, props, costumes, hats, etc. It was a lot of stuff, and a lot of things to keep track of. I always have a nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something. it was a good thing the location was nearby. For our film site I had chosen the concert room at West Valley Music Center in West Hills, where I teach music five days a week. The owner, Jeff Gold, was more than cool. When I’d asked him  if I could rent the space, he’d waved me off, saying – ‘Nah, Don’t worry about it.  I don’t need anything for it. Knock yourself out!’

Me, wearing Faragher Brothers shirt and channeling my brother, Davey, on bass.

Me, wearing Faragher Brothers shirt and doing my best to emulate my brother, Davey, on bass.

The store is in a little strip mall that lies at the foot of a wooded hill. Just beyond is the kick off point for a hiking trail that winds into the Santa Monica Mountains. The August sky above was unusually dark, and as we unloaded the gear, a few big drops began to fall to the asphalt . Although it would shower off and on throughout the day, luckily for us the threatened downpour was never to materialize.

After a few minutes, Shervin arrived with camera and lighting equipment. He and my son greeted one another as they always had – ‘homey to ‘homey’ – with a ritual that included bumping  fists. ‘Hey, Bryan.’ he said.

Looking respectfully my way, he extended a hand. ‘Hello, Mr. Faragher.’  he said, addressing  me with an old world courtesy and formality. Shervin and Bryan had met as sixth graders not long  after the former’s family had emigrated from Iran. Shervin is intelligent, soft spoken, and to the point. When he speaks, it’s because he has something definite to say. I respected his opinion and had a lot of confidence in his ability.

A few minutes later Alec pulled up. The young man, in his mid twenties had been studying with me since he was  about seventeen.   He’s smart, talented, and artistically curious. I admire him. I introduced him to Shervin, and the two of them  were soon conversing in film speak. This was a relief. One never knows if two people are going to or hit it off or rub the wrong way.

There was a lot to do before we could begin. Dozens of rental instruments,  a few pieces of furniture, and a wall of hanging pictures had to be removed before we could open a space to set up. The fact that there was so much grunt work to do was a good thing. Keeping busy helped to calm my pre-performance jitters, and keep my mind clear of doubting, and second guessing.

I was to play eight different characters, and that meant eight complete and separate costumes , including shoes and hats. My wife, Jeanne Harriott, is a professional set costumer. When I’d run my ideas past her she had given her stamp of approval.  ‘Sounds like you’ve got it under control.’ she’d said,  This did wonders for my confidence. I’d always loved wearing costumes (After a third grade Thanksgiving play, I was loath to stop wearing my Pilgrim attire), so it was going to be fun.  At the same time, I knew that the process had to be quick and smooth. Having observed Jeannie working on projects, I knew how important it was to be organized. She’d  gotten me a clothes rack, which I set up in the office. It would help immensely.

As for make-up, I couldn’t afford a professional, so I was on my own. I’d learned the basics of applying make-up when I was acting in a theater production, so I wasn’t completely at sea. If I had it to do over again, however, I would be sure to bring a good sized magnifying mirror with built in lighting.  As it was,  I had only a little traveling kit shaving mirror, and the light in the room was far too dim to see properly. I told myself  I’d just  have to do my best, and pray I didn’t come out looking  like Bozo.

Shervin Ahdoot

Shervin Ahdout

Meanwhile, Shervin and Alec were setting up for the first shot -an intro scene which occurs before the song kicks off. This was chosen not for chronological reasons, but because they wanted to take advantage of the sunlight coming through the blinds. In this scene I am dressed as a janitor  sweeping the floor dressed in coveralls – an older man forced by circumstance to take on menial work.  Bryan is playing a roadie who is busy winding  a cable. He accidentally bumps the table and causes a drum machine to begin playing a funky groove. The two characters look at each other for a moment, then smile and start moving to the beat until the track kicks in. We are then transported to a parallel world in which the janitor becomes each member of the band, and the roadie turns into a D.J.  creating the drum and percussion tracks.  At the end of the song the carriage turns back into a pumpkin and the two characters return to their chores. We were going to shoot both the intro and the outro.

Bryan and I both spent long stretches of time standing in place as Shervin and Alec  tweaked the lighting and camera angle of each shot.

‘Now you know why there are stand-ins.’ Shervin remarked. ‘If you were big stars, you’d be back in your trailers with your groupies.’

We all laughed.  It brought to mind the old adage about the experience of shooting a film – Hurry up and wait!  Indeed we did a lot of standing and waiting as Shervin and Alec did the hurrying. Ultimately, though,  in between those tedious periods would come the moment of truth  –  the instant when the clapper snaps,  ‘Speeding!’  is shouted, and one has to summon the actor inside. This rapid tandem from left brain to right brain can come as a shock to the uninitiated. It’s suddenness can leave a person feeling like the proverbial deer in the headlights. It took a few times to begin to feel comfortable.

‘This time I’d like you to wait two beats before you react.’ Shervin directed.

Ah, yes… react naturally, as you would in life. Such a simple thing, but so difficult to achieve. Just as in music or any other art, you don’t think about what you’re doing, you just do it.  We did multiple takes on a number  of shots – Bryan and I together, the two of us separately, long shots, close-ups, over the shoulder, etc.  – until we reached the point where Shervin felt he had the right footage in the can.

Cowboy Dan

Cowboy Dan

After this experience, the four of us were exhausted and hungry. Time for lunch break. I looked at the clock. God, had it really taken that long? We hadn’t even started to film the actual song sequences yet. This was going to be a race against the clock. I could feel  the time beating with each throb of my toe.

After a lunch of foot long sandwiches, we were ready to roll, starting with the lead singer. I changed into a nice shirt with vertical strips and black jeans. Simple but slick.. My toe smarted  a bit when I crammed  my right foot into the pointed shoe.

About a week prior I had bought a high quality camera with the intention of using it on the shoot. A lot of time could be saved by shooting with two cameras simultaneously. Shervin removed it from the box, inserted a battery and a card. and attached it to the shoulder mount. When he turned on the camera, however, it refused to go into video mode. He handed it to Alec, who gave it a college try, but It was no dice. The camera stubbornly refused to cooperate..

‘Mr. Murphy makes his entrance.’ Shervin said, referring to Murphy’s Law. ‘Were’ going to have to  continue without it.’

My heart sank. I knew that the stationary camera could not be moved until every character was shot, otherwise a composite would not work. That meant  we would have to film all the characters in the full body shot, then remove the camera from the sticks to film the close ups.  I would have to put on and take off each costume twice, more than doubling the time.

While we were processing this unwanted detour, Bryan suddenly announced – ‘ I got it to work!

‘Wow, no kidding? How did you do it?’

‘I just kept trying things. Shutting it off and restarting.’

‘Bryan saves  the day!’ I shouted.

I felt a sudden rush of elation. I was ready to sing. ‘Okay,’ I exclaimed. ‘ Let’s do it!’

We ran through the song.

‘I’m just getting warmed up. I said. ‘ Let’s run it again.

Dressed in Eighties hipster suit.

Dressed in Eighties hipster suit.

On the second take I began to settle into my element, grabbing the mic for effect,  gesturing , and most importantly,  feeling and believing the words I was singing…

Too much. Too much pressure
All around, all around ,
All around, all around…

Now the rich and greedy keep goin’ to town
While the rest of us – just movin’ on down
Empty pockets and empty dreams
Where’s my chance to make the scene?

When we got to the section where the harmonica solos, I started moving my feet.  Dancing for me has always meant liberation and expression. Now, some folks  may believe that men of a certain age shouldn’t dance, they should play golf. But all my life I’ve loved to move, and I’m not ready to stop, yet.  Just give me fifteen minutes,  and a four by four area of hardwood floor  where I can kick off my shoes and slide my feet, and I’m in seventh heaven.

As I came out of the break down and into the last verse, I braved a pivot spin and pulled it off. Lord, I was feeling good, truly dancing with the moment, and  I let myself really get down as the piano took over.

‘Those J.B. moves are great’ Alec said, ‘but it would be cool to see you come out from behind the mic stand so we can get a better view of your  feet.’

‘Okay,’ I agreed. ‘Let’s take another one  from the breakdown.’

I jumped into the shot. By the end I felt as if I’d sprinted a 440. Tired, but energized. The lead was by far the most important shot. It was satisfying to know I had a good performance in the can.  I  was just starting to hit my stride, and wished I could do another half dozen takes, but I knew that  time was flying by and we had to press on. Over the next five hours or so we filmed another eight characters: the harmonica player, Bryan’s ultra cool DJ, the  guitarist, bassist, pianist, trombonist, sax player, and cornetist.

In Peppermint Trolley jacket

In Peppermint Trolley jacket

By the time we’d filmed the last shot (me with silver cornet, wearing my Peppermint Trolley band jacket), packed the equipment,  and returned objects to their place, we were into the wee hours. We’d worked a fourteen hour day. I knew that the next day I would be useless, a zombie, and that I would have to deal with the injured toe. Right then I just wanted to savor the moment. The four of us hugged. We had worked well as a team. For me it had been a demanding but gratifying experience. Now it would be up to Bryan to work his magic in the editing room.  I had every confidence in his ability to do just that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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