Posts Tagged ‘musicians’

h1

Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 32: ‘Prima Facie’

December 10, 2016

img_2175

…which is a legal term for ‘on the face of it.’  I thought it was a good fit for a title because a) Guest Michael Bly is a litigation attorney in addition to being a musician and b) There’s a lot more to him than his party-loving rockstar facade.  This was an episode that was originally scheduled back in November of 2014, but Mike had to cancel at the last minute due to traffic coming home from a Bills game in Michigan or something like that.

I’ve known Michael Bly since somewhere around 2005.  Recollection is hazy because I drank quite a bit back then, but I’m pretty sure longtime pal Gregg Sansone introduced me to him at The Hidden Shamrock (now shuttered) in Depew during a Night Life magazine assignment.  We just keep bumping into each other.  Mike was kind enough to do 2 hours of the Big Words Radio podcast back in its’ heyday and even circled back for the Big Words Radio Finale Roast that was supposed to be a joke but actually came true.  For those of you who want to hear the podcasts, you can click the link to the right on the page here or just search it on the Internet Archive.  Not sure if this is too much backstory, but again, I’m trying to do a bit more than just ‘Here’s the episode, please watch it.’  He’s a charming person, a talented musician and yes, he’s a really, really nice guy.  I met Co Host Jason Garra during a Buffalo News review assignment at Woody’s Pub in Lackawanna when he was with band-in-residence Helicopter Pilot.  It made for a cozy, hopefully entertaining show:

Thanks to Bly, Garra and producer Richard Wicka for another enjoyable outing.  Now that I’m don’t hit the bars anymore, it’s good to find an excuse to catch up with old friends who are still on the circuit.  For the love of God and all that’s holy, SUBSCRIBE for new shows, bonus clips and additional unlockable content!  Comedian Clayton Williams will be joining me at month’s end along with actress/comedienne/cosplayer Becca Barnum.  Don’t adjust your laptops, monitors and tablets!

Tom

Advertisements
h1

The Ballad Of Gregg Sansone (Uncut)

March 28, 2016

image

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 ?

%d bloggers like this: