Tag Archive | "Billy Joel"

Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel Plan to Crash Sag Harbor’s WLNG 92.1 FM

Tags: , , , ,

Jimmy Fallon pitches the idea of crashing WLNG to Billy Joel on "The Tonight Show" Thursday, March 20. NBC Universal.

Jimmy Fallon pitches the idea of crashing WLNG to Billy Joel on “The Tonight Show” Thursday. NBC Universal.

By Tessa Raebeck

Rusty Potz, Chuck Mackin and all the WLNG DJs will be on their toes this summer, as Billy Joel and Jimmy Fallon could be dropping into the station at any moment.

On “The Tonight Show” Thursday, Mr. Fallon asked Mr. Joel to join him in crashing Sag Harbor’s oldies station WLNG 92.1 and the singer, a longtime resident of Sag Harbor, enthusiastically agreed.

WLNG  president and "Morning Show" host Gary Sapiane.

WLNG president and “Morning Show” host Gary Sapiane. WLNG 92.1 FM.

“There’s this radio station out in the Hamptons, by Sag Harbor I think,” Mr. Fallon said, prompting a quick response from Mr. Joel: “WLNG.”

“WLNG,” Mr. Fallon nodded. “Plays oldies all the time, doo-wop. I was always wanting to just crash that radio station, just go in and just co-host with the guy.”

Mr. Joel, who has been a guest on the local station several times in the past, appeared on “The Tonight Show” to promote his new gig on Sirius XM. He will host the aptly named “Billy Joel Channel” for three months starting Wednesday, March 26.

“They’ve got the echo,” he said to Mr. Fallon, clearly familiar with the Sag Harbor station. “Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.”

“Fantastic,” agreed Mr. Fallon, “it’s a great station. But you’re out there? You’re out there a lot. Would you ever want to crash the radio station with me?”

“Absolutely. We’ve gotta go at night, when they least expect it,” Mr. Joel said, spoiling any hopes that the duo stop by “Swap & Shop.”

WLNG has been keeping the oldies strong on the East End for over 50 years, but rarely has it seen such widespread national recognition. The celebrities plugged the small station in front of a nationwide audience—11.3 million viewers tuned into Jimmy Fallon’s first show in February and over four million were still watching last week— resulting in a flood of listeners and website traffic for WLNG today, president Gary Sapiane told The Southampton Press.

“All right WLNG, look out,” Mr. Fallon said on the live show, “We’re going to be crashing that station, Billy Joel and I. This summer, we’re coming after you guys.”

A clip of Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel’s plan can be found on YouTube.

Forgive Us Our Daily Read

Tags: , , , ,

By Christine Bellini

It may have been the Matt Lauer cover story in Hampton’s Magazine’s season opener, uncovering his penchant for cleaning up debris from neighborhood back roads, a garbage bag in his rubber glove clad hand and pre-teen daughter in tow, that tipped the scales for me.

Kudos to Lauer for his civic duty and sense of place. He’s spent his summers in Amagansett for the better part of his life and has lived in Sag Harbor full time long enough now to garner headlines for normalcy – suffering a separated shoulder from a bicycling accident (2009) to recently winding his way through planning board approval — albeit for a 40-acre horse farm off Deerfield Road in Water Mill.

Is the celebrity news cycle so under nourished that a Huffington Post headline, flashing a ‘scruffy’ Matt attends a recent Hamptons bash, is actually newsworthy? News flash: On the ‘weekend’ Matt Lauer actually likes to unbutton his collar and, drum roll please, chillax a bit. Hurry, ink up the presses.

It’s the Johnny-come-lately celebrity reporter that does us all a huge disservice by making news out of ordinary life witnessed in arm’s reach of ordinary folk. Why, I saw Edie Falco choosing lamps and placemats at Sylvester and Co. but you don’t see me running home to post. We can’t expect her to eat by candlelight forever.

Coming of age in The Hamptons, you get to witness a great many ordinary moments of extraordinary personalities. Truman Capote and Jim Jones in rousing debate at the old Bobby Van’s; DeNiro sitting quietly on a bench outside of Book Hampton Southampton on a late fall afternoon (circa 1975), Bill Bradlee (post Pentagon Papers) parking his car in the Reutershan lot in East Hampton Village on his way to the liquor store; Fran Lebowitz exiting a Woody Allen movie (circa 1980); Craig Claiborne picking up his order from the butcher counter at Dreesen’s  — ordinary moments nobody wrote about at a time when you were recognized for your talents and achievements, not your ability to be like the rest of us.

These days it’ll wind up on more than one celebrity page if Billy Joel parks his BSA motorcycle outside The American Hotel while stopping in for lunch. Alec Baldwin makes headlines going to yoga class with Lorne Michaels and Paul McCartney in Amagansett. If Kelly Ripa takes her kids to Bay Burger the blogosphere lights up in awe.

However, it gives me great pleasure to find John C. White, of the resolute Bridgehampton farm family, on Hamptons Magazine’s “Power List: The Hamptons 100” — the only native to make the grade, commended for doing what his family has done for generations, farm an oceanfront plot of land in Bridgehampton. Though, the heart saddens when it is for having to defend his rights to ownership in court — a genuine newsworthy battle was provocatively reported in the July 2011 issue Vanity Fair, in an installment of “Letters From The Hamptons” by Michael Shnayerson, titled “Betting the Farm.”

I think it was Russell Baker’s coining of ‘the white wine and Volvo set’ in his New York TimesObserver” column (circa 1978) which first fueled my appetite for a keen essay treatment which shines a light on our very human vulnerabilities. His was a wry and satirical grace, having the effect of walking you into a room and introducing you to the dinner guests, winking from the corner of his eye as he sits you down beside the social climber who inadvertently offers up delightfully quotable faux pas right on through cocktail hour.

It is not that The Hamptons, this year’s Fab 100, and the rest of us simple folk are not up to something newsworthy — it’s the competitive laziness of glossy page editors and reporters who serve up thinly drawn snippets of the mundane. With such a rich and fertile landscape of personality, intrigue and creativity afoot from The Crow’s Nest to Red Bar, the Montauk Bluffs to Conscience Point, this is our daily read?

Oh — did I fail to mention that I saw Jon Stewart at the dump, Angelica Houston ordering tacos at La Fondita, Jerry Seinfeld watching a Whaler’s baseball game, Donald Sultan drinking coffee and Jason Epstein out walking his dog?

A former news editor, essay writer Christine Bellini is an editorial consultant who spends a good deal of her time pondering the cultural curiosities of The Hamptons from her Sag Harbor tree house.

Billy Joel Tunes Up A New Instrument

Tags: , ,

By Robbie Vorhaus

A strong and powerful middle-aged superstar. Evocative and moving, stunning to watch, captivating to hear, and after spending time with this world renowned classic, your spirit is transported back to a time of first loves, endless summers, and a carefree life of music, friends and fun.

That’s how six-time Grammy Award winner, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Billy Joel, describes his magnificent motorcycles on display here in Sag Harbor, his home and motorcycle showcase, at the foot of Marine Park.

 Mr. Joel collects, rebuilds, redesigns and retrofits historical motorcycles, keeping them on display in two sun filled rooms at the corner of Bay and Rysam Streets.

 “I like how old things look and new things work,” Mr. Joel said

This is also the beginning of a new venture for Mr. Joel. Three years ago in 2005, Mr. Joel, an avid motorcycle buff, approached Rob Schneider of Lighthouse Harley-Davidson in Huntington Station, New York, with an idea: can you retrofit my new Harley Sportster to look like an old Harley-Davidson classic, yet run like new?

The shining new/old Harley was so remarkable they decided to try it again; this time retrofitting a 2005 Harley-Davidson Springer Classic to look exactly like a 1940’s Harley-Davidson “Knucklehead,” a nickname for the Harley Davidson V-Twin engine rocker boxes, which resemble two knuckles on the back of a closed fist.

“I wanted these bikes to be so perfect, so detailed, they would fool an old-timer,” said Mr. Joel on a recent sunny morning. “I want to pull up on my bike and if a Harley enthusiast ogles my creation and says, ‘Wow, I had one of those years ago,’ then I can say, ‘No, you didn’t, look again,’ and I know we’ve succeeded.”

Together with Bill Blackford of Lighthouse Harley, they formed 20th Century Cycles by Billy Joel, www.20thcc.com, and began building one-of-a kind, non-production motorcycles, using bikes from the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany and Britain, including Hondas, Harley-Davidsons, Indians, BMWs, Triumphs, and Royal Enfields, one of the oldest motorcycles in the world.

“Our official slogan is, ‘A modern ride with classic pride,” said Mr. Joel. “But our joke motto is, ‘new scoots for old coots.’”

Prices for one of Mr. Joel’s 20th Century Cycles begin at $15,000 and can run as high as $60,000 or more, depending on size and detail. But for Mr. Joel, it’s not about the money.

“Motorcycles represent personal freedom to me, but not in the sense of an outlaw,” explained Mr. Joel. “I’ve always admired motorcycle aficionados, such as Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley, Jay Leno, and George Clooney. I, of course, love to ride, but I also enjoy tinkering, customizing a machine, making something that used to be old new again. For me, as an artist, it’s another means of creative expression.”

Mr. Joel has a long history with motorcycles, although not always pleasant. On April 15, 1982, Mr. Joel, riding here on Long Island, was broadsided by a car and hospitalized for a month, leaving him with multiple fractures of both hands.

Yet today at 59, quietly playing with his two pug dogs, Fionoula and Sabrina, Mr. Joel appears reflective and appreciative of his love and enthusiasm for motorcycles.

“When I bought this place on Bay Street, I was single and had a dozen motorcycles all in different places,” explained Mr. Joel. “My dream was to somehow keep my motorcycles inside with me, and my boats across the street, right outside my door.”

Now married to Katie Lee since 2004, Mr. Joel, surrounded by his motorcycles, points out the window, across Bay Street to his private marina, where his 36-foot down-easter fishing boat, the Alexa, sits.

“You see,” he said beaming, “dreams do come true.”

Mr. Joel now owns and displays up to 20 new, and as he describes them, “faux-old” motorcycles, all clearly within view from the street and sidewalk. His collection includes the Italian-made lead police Moto Guzzi, from the 1956 Grace Kelly wedding to Prince Rainier III of Monaco; a pristine 2005 Indian with sidecar; a full-bodied stock Honda Gold Wing, along with his retrofitted 20th Century Cycles. There is an open spot on the floor where Mr. Joel is waiting for delivery of his customized 2007 Harley-Davidson Road King that’s been retrofitted to look like Elvis Presley’s 1955 Harley Panhead.

“Sometimes on a nice day when I leave the door open, people will just walk in and ask, ‘Is this a museum?’ or ‘Are these motorcycles for sale?’ and I’ll just say, ‘Nope, this is my home.’”

Mr. Joel compares his motorcycle passion and collection to Steven Spielberg’s 1976 film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

“Remember when Richard Dreyfus’s character had this obsession to first build and then visit Devils Tower in northwestern Wyoming? That’s the way I feel with collecting and rebuilding motorcycles, especially from around 1949 when I was born. I really don’t know if reincarnation is real, but retrofitting a motorcycle to look old and run new feels like a rebirth.”

Walking around the two large rooms that house his motorcycles, Mr. Joel continued, saying, “I’ve created these motorcycles exactly like I’ve always written my music: with influences from my youth, while at the same time trying to recreate that special feeling of Elvis, the Beatles, James Brown, Ray Charles, but all, ultimately, with my voice. That sound, that spirit, is in both my music and these motorcycles.”

Although Mr. Joel owns other homes, including a 14-acre Centre Island estate, Roy Scheider’s former ocean-front home in Sagaponack, a townhouse in New York City’s West Village, and a winter retreat in Miami Beach, he still refers to himself as, “a son of Sag Harbor.”

“I consider myself a Sag Harbor townie,” said Mr. Joel. “And I’m proud of that. I love being here in the middle of town, I like living as a Sag Harbor local. Katie and I feel included and happy. We have great friends here and I also get involved with the baymen and farmers and forget I’m famous. That is until someone comes up to me on Main Street and makes a fuss, and then I remember, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m that guy, too.’”

“Look, I picked a very good job, maybe the best job in the world. But it’s still only a job, a hat I wear, and it’s not who I really am, just a part I play. When I get up in the morning to brush my teeth and I look in the mirror, I see a pizza baker, or a plumber, just a regular guy, certainly not a rock-star musician, who still, by the way, does the dishes and takes out the trash. The moment you start believing all the money, attention and fame is rightly yours, you know you’re in deep trouble.”

Mr. Joel slowly runs his hands over the leather seat of his Harley-Davidson retrofitted Knucklehead.

“I pinch myself every time I go on stage, and it’s funny, I feel the same way about my motorcycles; I still can’t believe I’ve collected this many bikes and get to keep them here in Sag Harbor,” Mr. Joel said. “I’m right in the heart of Sag Harbor, the best town on the East End, and I love it.”



Save Sag Harbor Benefit Sold Out

Tags: , , , ,

Like many bored teenagers, when Samanthe Lobosco, was in high school she and her friends would entertain themselves by driving around Main Street, Sag Harbor.

Despite the standard jaded, teenage feelings about small-town life, Lobosco says she would never want to see the small village she grew up in morph into another Village of East Hampton where one is more likely to track down a Gucci bag than a spool of thread.

So earlier this summer, Lobosco, a North Haven resident, reached out to Save Sag Harbor board member April Gornik with her plan to draw in a younger generation of supporters for the Save Sag Harbor movement with the help of her friend musician Alexa Ray Joel.

Joel is no stranger to the Save Sag Harbor cause, having performed last summer at a benefit that drew hundreds and raised thousands for the then fledgling not-for-profit, buoying the organization’s support system and bank balance. Daughter of famed musician Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley — both who have called Sag Harbor home — Joel considers Sag Harbor her hometown, and saving its Main Street from formula business stores, a personal cause she can get behind.

“This is our village too,” explained Lobosco on Tuesday. “Of course we want to help preserve it.”

On Saturday, August 30 Lobosco has organized a benefit concert featuring Alexa Ray Joel at the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum from 7 to 9 p.m. The event, designed to be for the whole family, is priced at $30 — a price Lobosco picked in an effort to make the evening affordable for a younger generation of Save Sag Harbor supporters, who like her, are recent college graduates or current students looking to get involved in their community.

The event will also feature artwork by local painter Cuca Romley in a silent auction, cheeses donated by Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop, wine from the Wolffer Estate Vineyards and baked goods from the newest Sag Harbor business, Amber Bakery on Long Island Avenue. Urban Zen was another business that chipped in, noted Lobosco, providing the tent for the benefit.

Save Sag Harbor, an incorporated not-for-profit, was originally conceived as a community-based group dedicated to preventing what they saw as the destruction of a mom-and-pop centric business district in Sag Harbor. It was formed last summer after pharmacy giant CVS announced they intended to set up shop in the Long Island Avenue building that now houses more than half-a-dozen businesses, including 7-Eleven.

For the last year, the organization has been focused on a Shop Locally campaign, as well as the village’s new zoning code, which in part is meant to preserve the small, historic and unique feel of Sag Harbor’s Main Street.

On Wednesday, Save Sag Harbor President Mia Grosjean said the organization was thrilled to have the support of Lobosco and Alexa Ray Joel, who she noted have planned virtually every aspect of Saturday’s benefit, giving the Save Sag Harbor board a much needed break.

“We need many hands on deck right now,” said Grosjean of the state of Sag Harbor and her organization’s concerns. “So much is happening in the village right now and we need more brains, we need more energy, we need more hands.”

Grosjean said this fundraiser was dedicated towards inspiring the next generation, but that the organization would push to find new members this year interested in taking an active role in the village. Currently, she added, the group’s main focuses are the proposed code and the condominium proposal at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road, which a number of Save Sag Harbor members have expressed reservations about.

As of Friday, August 29 the Save Sag Harbor benefit is SOLD OUT.