Archive for the ‘night life’ Category

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 39: ‘Agrarian’

June 22, 2017

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To be completely honest, this was an episode where I was relieved when it was over and done with.  It’s no fault of the band’s, but the Big Words Poltergeist reared it’s ugly head, we got off to a really rough start on the episode and the chemistry was all wrong.  The two main cameras that I rely on during the show were set on Demo Mode right out of the gate.  My co-host (who had a calm demeanor and would have been terrific paired with anyone else) didn’t really mesh with West Of The Mark.  West Of The Mark didn’t really mesh with me.  I’d rather not dissect and extrapolate what and how many things went wrong, but just about everything went wrong.  At the very least, we got some laughs in and nobody died.  See for yourself:

Thanks to West Of The Mark, Joe and producer Richard Wicka for getting me through this.  There’s a new episode rolling out next week and even by accident, it’s bound to go smoother than the one that preceded it.

Tom

 

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Big Words Video 39.1: ‘My Church’ & 39.2: ‘Wagon Wheel’ w/West Of The Mark

June 8, 2017

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After a lot of misunderstandings, miscommunications and technical difficulties, we filmed the Big Words Video Bonus clips with country supergroup West Of The Mark before the episode of the show as opposed to afterward.  The less said, the better.  They’re a great band and a great group of guys with amazing talent, so please don’t try to read between the lines here.  This is one of those cases where I feel as if the Bonus clips will hold up better over time than the episode itself, though.  Their harmonies are incredible, their timing as a band is really impressive, and to think that they’ve been playing together in one iteration or another for as long as I’ve been a professional writer is miraculous.

Their cover of ‘My Church’ was their pick.  ‘Wagon Wheel’ was a request for my son Benjamin, who loves the Darius Rucker version as well as the original recording by Old Crow Medicine Show.  I was shocked to find out that Bob Dylan co-wrote the song, and that I didn’t know that until I was crediting the clips.  You learn something new every year.  Please enjoy:

 

A big thanks goes out to West Of The Mark for lugging their equipment into the studio, lugging it out and then lugging it in again.  Thanks also to producer Richard Wicka for being patient with the show’s production in the summer when our friendship is strained and we only see each other on the way in and on the way out of each show.  Rich has a strict ‘No Drums, No Bass’ rule that I wasn’t aware of.  I’ll have to remember that the next time I’m crazy enough to shoehorn an entire band into a shoebox.

Do me a favor and SUBSCRIBE to the Channel already, will ya?  Nobody gets paid, we do this for Views.

#BigWordsVideo shall return this month….

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 35: “Virtuoso”

March 3, 2017

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John Valby really is a living legend.  More specifically, he’s a Clarence legend.  Growing up in Clarence, everyone either knew him, knew of him, or knew about him.  With over 40 albums and 40 years of wildly offensive songs, limericks and ditties, he’s not only talented and funny, but he perserveres.  I was a little worried about him last year when he came on the show, but this year, he had a spring in his step.  It sounds like his career and his life have hit a new crescendo.  As the only guest on the show who gets a return ticket every season, it was good to see him again, and the same goes for my old editor from Night Life magazine Ed Honeck.  There’s a lot of history with those two.  That sort of comfortable dynamic between the three of us made for another (I hope) entertaining episode.  See for yourself:

Thanks as always to producer Richard Wicka for being the glue that holds the show together, Ed for popping in with less than a week before he’s being pulled in 100 different directions for the Night Life Music & Club Awards, and last but not least Mr. Valby.  May your career reach dizzier heights in the next year, and may your health continue to stymy a host who’s no stranger to the dangers of excess.

#BigWordsVideo will return in a month with young adult author and molecular biologist (you read that right) Gaia Amman.  Do yourself a favor and SUBSCRIBE for bonus clips, alerts for new episodes and other additional content.

Tom

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Big Words Video 34.1: Greg Lamberson-‘Fun Bags’

January 28, 2017

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Coming hot off the heels of the runaway success of ‘Killer Rack’ and toiling away at post-production on ‘Johnny Gruesome’, I wasn’t sure what kind of Bonus clip guest Greg Lamberson cooked up.  He didn’t disappoint.  What follows is the musical sequence for the song ‘Fun Bags’ from the aforementioned ‘Killer Rack’ featuring Troma legend Lloyd Kauffman.  Fun fact: I interviewed Kauffman while he was on location in Buffalo for the movie ‘Poultrygeist’ for Night Life magazine way, way back in 2004 or 2005.  I’m pretty sure he’s still got the print interview on his web site, and if you can’t find it there, it’s still ricocheting around on Acid Logic.  At any rate, ROLL THAT CLIP!

Thanks again to Lamberson, Co Host Henry Gale and the frequently delightful Richard Wicka for producing our episode.  Oh yeah, and SUBSCRIBE to my channel on YouTube for more bonus clips, more bonus content and a lot of delectable secrets you won’t find any way else.

#BigWordsVideo shall return.  In two weeks.  With Taylor Made Jazz musician Van Taylor!

Seeya soon,

Tom

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The Ballad Of Gregg Sansone (Uncut)

March 28, 2016

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Author’s Note: This interview has been on a wild ride in the last ten years.  A shorter edit originally appeared in Buffalo Spree magazine, the longer format ran on Acid Logic and the version you’re about to read finally found its way into my fourth book If They Can’t Take A Joke (Authorhouse, 2007).  Gregg’s been a dear friend of mine for more than 15 years and with his 55th birthday approaching, I thought I’d revisit this interview.  

If you’ve participated in (or just enjoyed) the Buffalo music scene for the last six years, Gregg Sansone is a pervasive, melodic, keyboard-driven entity. The two-time Buffalo Music Award Winning Solo Artist Of The Year plays out at clubs, bars and other venues over 300 nights a year (when he’s in peak physical condition), and his cover shows run the gamut of Steve Winwood to Elton John to Stevie Wonder. Dabbling in rock, jazz, blues and classical standards, Sansone has become a local icon and a national underground phenomenon. I saw Gregg play (or channel, to be more accurate) Elton John covers at Route 66 in downtown Buffalo four years ago, and I’ve been a Sansonite ever since. His two and three hour shows are lousy with fans, electric in their intensity and craftsmanship, and brilliant to witness. I had the opportunity to sit down with Greg at my apartment in Lancaster while he was recovering from major back surgery (he had a disc removed).

TW: You haven’t had a drink since you were 15. Why is that, and do you find it surreal to play out at clubs and bars for the majority of the year in the company of people who are soused out of their minds?

GS: No. Alcoholism runs in my family. I’ve got a huge family. Eight boys and one girl. Some people put down meat and become vegetarians. I had the hindsight as a fifteen year old to say ‘You know, I’m addictive as hell. I have a real addictive personality. I’m just not going to do this. Otherwise, I think it could be a problem, and it just stuck through college and everything else. Like anything, I stuck with it and it developed and it’s been years and years. I have a blast (at the shows). People come up to me and say ‘Man, you were hammered because you were dancing on the bars!’ and I say, ‘No, but awesome, thanks man.’

TW: How does your strongly held belief in Buddhism inform your singing and songwriting?

GS: Songwriting and instrumental writing are different. They’re along a spiritual line, but my performances are an extension of what I believe in anyway about myself. Buddhism isn’t a religion as much as it is a philosophy. They didn’t invent being honest and they didn’t invent being good people, they just do it well. So you can apply it to any faith that you have and for me, it just helps me to not want to kill everybody. Or when someone is drunk and they fall into my keyboards and everything, now I don’t want to drag them into the parking lot. Before (Buddhism) I did.

TW: Do you think the era of disposable pop/porn performers like Britney Spears and Ricky Martin is nearing its end, or is it more of a popular music cycle?

GS: I think human nature is human nature, and within music, I’m no expert on anything. I’m just an Italian from Buffalo. Before them when Madonna got really popular, they produced people like Jody Watley, and-

TW: Rick Astley.

GS: People like that, that’s exactly right, but specifically female singers to sound like her (Madonna). Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, so it does go in cycles. I think the American people, we’re a disposable society. There’s a huge portion of the population that buys into that, and they just go into whatever’s popular. But there’s this undercurrent of people like us that-

TW: Observe?

GS: Observe and evaluate and say, ‘This is good, this doesn’t work for me, that’s kinda bullshit. I know that you love Elton John for instance, as do I. People like Elton John, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and even Madonna, and I’m not a Madonna fan, but she’s stood the test of time. They’re not a flash in the pan, and for good reason. If we didn’t have those people, it would be a sad, sad world with the boy bands, although Justin Timberlake has broken from that and has really made a name for himself. I mean, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

TW: And Mark Wahlberg-

GS: Mark Wahlberg is kinda cool in the movies, though! When he was Marky Mark it was a different story.

TW: Your best one night stand story after a show:

GS: Um, my best one night stand story after a show-because I have one night stand stories during a show.

TW: That sounds like the better story.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Big Words Video @The 2014 Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards!

January 24, 2015

On Wednesday this week (January 21st), Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck celebrated his birthday.  The Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards also took place at The Cove in Depew, having been rescheduled due to the Winter Blast or whatever the hell you want to call it that took place last November.  Thanks entirely to Ed (and our long, long, very long history together), Big Words Video had the exclusive rights to the Music & Club Awards.  I was less than happy with the results.

The ceremony and the shows were fantastic.  The artists, performers and bands who volunteered their time so that we could interview them were great.  My co-host Timmy C. was on point as I expected him to be.  The lighting was deplorable, though.  This month I upgraded to a new camera for the new and improved Big Words One Man Mobile Unit (a term you might remember from the podcasting days of yore).  I didn’t get familiar or comfortable with the camera before we started shooting with it.  So in the final analysis, the blame rests on my shoulders.  What we’re left with here is a shoddy end product.  Clips 1-3 are passable by amateur video standards and 4 and 5 are just downright awful where lighting is concerned.

I spent the better part of a day uploading, tagging and scripting the clips and grappled with whether or not I should post them for the public at all and the decision I came to was this: post the videos warts and all.  Big Words Radio went through the same growing pains in 2008 so it shouldn’t have come as any surprise that I went through the same thing again.  I didn’t learn from history so I was doomed to repeat it, end of story.  I’ll do better next time, sound good?

Here’s your breakdown for the clips which were uploaded in chronological order:

Clip 1: Lana from Black Widow

Clip 2: Jack McArdle from 12 Pack Jack

Clip 3: Vid from Nerds Gone Wild

Clip 4: Busted Stuff

Clip 5: Tommy Z. & Damone Johnson

I owe a huge debt of thanks to Ed Honeck, all of the artists who participated and the staff and proprietors of The Cove for giving us free reign throughout the building.  If there’s one thing I realized at the awards it was that I’ve been out of the game for so long that I don’t recognize most (if any) of the newer players in the Buffalo music industry.  Black Widow is an institution.  Tommy Z. is an institution.  Busted Stuff just took home their 6th award in a row and I’ve loved 12 Pack Jack since the first time I saw them at Double D’s Queen City Grill some 7 years ago.  Get the picture?

Big Words Video will be back for the next ceremony for more clips, more guests and a better battle plan.  As for these five videos, please take the time to Like & Share as always.  If you really want to be my best friend, ‘Subscribe’ and keep yourself up to date with all things #BigWordsVideo.  And yes, we came for the buffet.

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Big Words Video 5.5: Serenade

December 19, 2014

This was a really phenomenal Big Words Video Bonus compliments of Dave and Cynthia from Busted Stuff.  It’s no accident that they’ve won Best Rock Duo at the Buffalo Music & Club Awards for five years running.  They performed a live rendition of their original song ‘Pray To Rain’ from their album Bitter Cold that gave me goosebumps.

This is the first time I shot the bonus using YouTube’s Capture app. It allowed me to shoot in widescreen in 1080p and the upload time was much faster than what I’ve been accustomed to with iMovie.  Please take the time to Watch, Like and Share on YouTube.  A big thanks goes out to Busted Stuff for such a powerful performance!  Enjoy!

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