Tag Archive | "mtk: music to know"

Same as it Ever Was: 30 Years of the Genius of Love

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tomtomclub2 pool pic for web

By Annette Hinkle

When you think about it, there aren’t a lot of bands that manage to stick around for 30 years. Changes in artistic direction, ego clashes and the public’s fickle tastes are just a few factors that can, and often do, lead to the demise of truly great bands.

But those that survive tend to have a sound that transcends pop-culture and politics. Often the longevity of a successful group can be traced to the fact it strikes a chord with successive generations through music that settles into the psyche and stays there.

That’s certainly something Chris Frantz understands.

In March 1981, Frantz, a drummer, and his wife, bass player Tina Weymouth, flew down to the Bahamas to record under the name of a new group, Tom Tom Club. Their first, self titled disc included the songs “Genius of Love” and “Wordy Rappinghood,” both of which took on a life of their own that continues to this day.

“It’s kind of a miracle,” says Frantz. “Who knew that 30 years later we’d still be grooving to ‘Genius of love?’”

Frantz and Weymouth and the rest of the Tom Tom Club (Victoria Clamp Bruce Martin, Pablo Martin and Kid Ginseng) will be among the performers taking the stage at the MTK: Music to Know Festival at East Hampton Airport on August 13 and 14. While many of the bands on the bill are likely to be unfamilar to the “over 40” crowd, Tom Tom Club is one of those groups whose fans truly span the generations.

“A lot of young fans have heard our stuff in their parents record collections — and we have parents bringing their kids to concerts,” says Frantz. “It’s clear when we play ‘Genius of Love’ and ‘Wordy Rappinghood,’ the kids know these songs. They’ve heard them — whether it’s on MTV, VH1 or local radio.”

Part of what’s kept Tom Tom Club in the forefront of popular music all these years is the fact their songs have been sampled widely by other artists. “Genius of Love” has been used in no fewer than 47 songs — starting with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “It’s Nasty (Genius of Love),” a replay which came out soon after the original. Though Tom Tom Club continues to write and record new music to this day, it’s their earliest songs that have defined their career.

“I thought it was really cool – they’re stealing our stuff,” says Frantz. “They did it through the proper channels and as long as they do it the proper way we have no problem. In 30 years, there’s only one song we turned down a sample request for — it was during the gansta era and was too vulgar.”

Ironcially, for Frantz and Weymouth Tom Tom Club was meant to be a break from their “other” gig — as members of the Talking Heads, the mega-band of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Frantz, Weymouth and Talking Heads front man, David Byrne, met in the early 1970s when all three were students at Rhode Island School of Design. The trio moved to New York, founded Talking Heads in 1975 and cut their teeth at small venues like CBGB, the legendary club in the Bowery.

But by the early ‘80s, after five years, four albums and countless tours, the band was huge. Encouraged by Byrne and the band’s fourth member, guitarist Jerry Harrison, Weymouth and Frantz set off during a break in the schedule to record in the same Bahamian studio where the Talking Heads’ fourth album, “Remain in Light” had been recorded.

Franz recalls the goals for that first recording session were specific, if modest.

“When we did the first Tom Tom Club record, we wanted to do something that would be good for dance clubs,” explains Frantz. “We wanted the singles to be the kind that would be played in clubs and people would actually dance to them. We deliberately set out to do something different from Talking Heads – with Tina being the singer — that would be a whole different sound.”

Frantz credits then 22-year-old engineer Steven Stanley, who also recorded Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” with helping to develop the flavor the Tom Tom Club was looking for.

“Basically it’s a reggae mix, but not reggae music,” says Frantz. “It has a heavy bottom end and bright highs and not so much in the mid-range.”

“We were sort of flying by the seat of our pants,” he adds. “We recorded much the way we did ‘Remain in Light,’ which was to go in, create grooves and gradually add layers of melody and vocals.”

Though Talking Heads officially split up in 1991 when Byrne went solo, with their reggae beat and catchy repeating riffs, Tom Tom Club caught a wave it has continued to ride to this day. It may have started as a side project, but Frantz and Weymouth’s music managed to cross a racial and cultural divide by giving a nod to the emeriging rap genre while embracing the fun of the early ‘80s club scene.

“We thought Tom Tom Club would be a one shot thing,” admits Frantz. “We had no idea it would be so successful. Talking Heads is like our first child — your first is always special. It was a fantastic band with an amazing sound and such great chemistry. Who knew Tom Tom Club would last longer than Talking Heads?”

To this day, the group continues to connect with audiences of all ages. Frantz says he partiuclarly enjoys seeing young faces in the crowd when they perform.

“That’s why we like the MTK lineup — we’re delighted to get in front of more young people,” he says. “We’re mature now and our audiences tend to be mature people. So we love an all ages crowd.”

And as husband and wife, Frantz and Weymouth have staying power not unlike their music. The couple has two grown sons, Robin and Egan, and on June 18, they celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary. So for Frantz, how difficult has it been to survive all these years not only as life partners and parents, but bandmates as well?

“It’s a challenge,’ he concedes. “We’ve been through a few changes in our lives, our up and downs.”

“But I still think of Tina as my girlfriend – I think she still thinks of me as her boyfriend. It’s a romantic thing you just can’t beat.”

And that truly is the genius of love.

Top: Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth (Egan Frantz photo)

Remember the Video? See it here:

Tom Tom Club – \”Genius of Love\” 1981

MTK Concert Approved, Now Wait on FAA

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA) the MTK: Music to Know summer music festival has been approved by the East Hampton Town Board to take place at the East Hampton Airport in Wainscott this August. Final approval would move the festival away from an Amagansett farm on Montauk Highway, a location that became a source of ire for some residents of the hamlet leading to litigation against the town and festival promoters.

At the same time, the festival is also beginning to take shape from a creative standpoint. An announcement of the full slate of 20 bands set to perform August 13 and August 14 is expected sometime in the next two weeks, according to MTK: Music to Know organizer Chris Jones.

Jones, who is organizing Music to Know with fellow Sag Harbor resident Bill Collage, said that almost every band has been booked for the festival. He confirmed that among the acts slated to perform is the Los Angles-based Dawes, whose song “When My Time Comes” off the quartet’s freshman folk rock album “North Hills” became the band’s breakout single, earning regular radio play on stations across the country and appearing in the closing credits of the season finale of the HBO series, “Hung.”

“North Hills” was released in 2009, and just two months before the Music to Know festival, the band plans on releasing their sophomore effort, “Nothing is Wrong.”

Comprised of brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, Wylie Gelber and Tay Strathairn, Dawes draws influence from the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles, an area made famous by musicians like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Mamas & The Papas, Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne. Dawes recorded the aptly titled “North Hills” in Laurel Canyon live to analog tape, which Rolling Stone magazine credited with giving authenticity to “North Hills” vintage sound.

British singer songwriter Ellie Goulding is also believed to be on the roster for the Music to Know festival.

“I am a huge fan of her music,” said Jones on Monday.

Goulding is credited with having the fastest selling debut album of 2010 with the release of “Lights,” which premiered at the top of UK Album Chart.

Goulding earned critic’s choice honors at the BRIT Awards in 2010 and on May 7 will perform on Saturday Night Live, which will be hosted by seasoned SNL veteran Tina Fey.

The remainder of the line-up is still being kept under wraps, although Jones has said repeatedly that the festival is looking to highlight both adult contemporary music as well as up-and-coming independent bands. The bands will perform on two-stages, with plans for the airport site designed to direct noise to the north of the property and away from nearby residences, according to a report filed last week with the town board by assistant planning director JoAnne Pawhul.

The two-day festival will also feature local food, wine and beer, as well as an area for children, and space for retail vendors. A total of 9,500 tickets will be sold for the event, which will take place from noon to 10 p.m. on both days.

Jones and Collage have also promised a $100,000 donation to local not-for-profits and food pantries regardless of the success of the festival.

Last Thursday, the East Hampton Town Board approved a commercial mass gathering permit after two months of review to allow the festival to take place on 26-acres of town-own land at the airport, in a field just south of runway 4-22, which has been closed for take-offs and landings.

At this point, approval from the FAA is the last permission festival organizers need before they can move forward with their plans.

The town board’s approval follows a review of the proposed festival by the town’s planning department, which found the event would not pose a significant adverse environmental impact to the area.

In order to accommodate a fire lane requested by the town fire marshal, organizers will have to remove about 2,000 square feet of native woodlands and vegetation, according to Pawhul’s report. The town’s natural resources director Larry Penny suggested the area be replanted with native vegetation after the festival is over.

According to Jones, festival organizers have been through several rounds of review with the FAA. He believed the town’s support for the festival will aid in obtaining final approval from the FAA.

“We are hoping to hear from them any day now,” he said.

Incumbents Will Seek Re-Election This June

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Incumbent Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride will seek a second term at the helm, along with incumbent trustees Ed Gregory and Tim Culver and appointed Sag Harbor Village Justice Andrea Schiavoni. All four will vie to keep their seats under the Sag Harbor Party, which has dominated village government throughout several administrations.

With the deadline to submit petitions to run for village office just a month away, no contenders have yet to pick up a packet from the Municipal Building, according to village administrator Beth Kamper. Interested parties have until May 5 to collect 50 resident signatures to run in the election, which will be held June 21.

For Gilbride, the decision to run for a second term — something the mayor said he would not likely do when elected two years ago — comes from a desire to see several projects, and a lawsuit, to the end before he takes his leave of public service.

The lawsuit is a $30 million one filed by East End Ventures that claimed the village intentionally re-zoned the firm’s Ferry Road parcels in order to prevent a condominium project to move forward.

While the case was dismissed earlier this winter, a judge has allowed East End Ventures attorney to re-plead one aspect of the case — that the condominium project proposed was similar to the village-approved condominium project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory. The case is still pending.

“I would also like to see as much of the Havens Beach remediation completed,” said Gilbride.

The village recently received a proposal by its environmental planning consultant Rich Warren to remediate the drainage ditch at the popular bathing beach, which has shown unsafe levels of bacterial contamination.

Gilbride said if re-elected, he would also like to see drainage improvements on Latham, Rogers and Henry streets completed in his next term. That neighborhood bore the brunt of flooding as a result of massive rain storms last March.

Gilbride said he was thrilled the incumbent slate was running together as a team, and praised appointed village justice Andrea Schiavoni for running the village’s newly installed justice court throughout the winter.

“I have heard nothing but good responses about Andrea’s leadership and the convenience of having a court in Sag Harbor,” said Gilbride.

Incumbent trustee Ed Gregory, who brings over 20 years of experience to the board, having served as a member for close to 15 years in the 1980s and returning to the board in 2003, said like Gilbride there are projects he would like to see finished during his tenure on the board.

“We have been talking about Havens Beach for so many years now, and a plan is finally coming to fruition,” said Gregory, who added he would like to see the village through its purchase of Long Wharf from Suffolk County as well.

“I would also like to see what is going to become of Bulova,” he said. “It has been sitting there for so long and I would like the building inspector to investigate the condition of the building after this very harsh winter and see if it can still be renovated. It’s a safety concern. I am worried about bricks falling off that building.”

Culver, who for weeks now has said he would not seek a second term citing his bustling law practice and family commitments, changed his mind this week.

He said his goal is to ensure the village continues to keep its spending under control, and that the current board is on the right track, tackling issues like Havens Beach and the creation of the justice court.

“I want to continue what we have done, which is keep costs down, but address important issues like Havens Beach and preserving access to our waterfront,” said Culver.

Former mayor Pierce Hance, who was rumored to be seeking office this year, said on Monday that while anything is possible his candidacy “is not probable.”

Music Festival & Radio Station Announce Partnership

The MTK: Music to Know Festival announced a partnership this week with WEHM-FM 92.9 and 96.9, which will have exclusive broadcast rights to the summer music festival, scheduled for August 12 through August 14.

The location of the festival has yet to be finalized, as Sag Harbor residents Chris Jones and Bill Collage attempt to secure a commercial mass gathering permit to use land at the East Hampton Airport for the festival, which is expected to draw 9,500 concert goers and feature 20 bands over the two-day period.

The promoters already have approval to host the concert at Ocean View Farm in Amagansett, although a group of residents recently filed suit against the town to prevent the concert from moving forward at that location.

According to a release issued this week by public relations coordinator Michelle Fox, WEHM-FM will broadcast live during the two-day event, interviewing bands and spotlighting local charities. As a part of their permit application, Jones and Collage have agreed to make a $100,000 donation to local charities and food pantries.

In addition, WEHM-FM will promote the festival, offering a series of contests for VIP and General Admission tickets.

“We are very excited about our collaboration with MTK for the music festival this August,” said station manager Harry Wareing. “Our focus has always been ‘about the music’ and this is fantastic opportunity to share ‘EHM’s great sound with a partner who is equally enthusiastic.”

While the promoters have remained mum on who will headline the festival and what additional acts will perform, Fox said the line-up will be announced in coming weeks. Tickets are also expected to go one sale in mid-April.

Thiele Fights to Keep Saltwater Fishing License Enjoined

In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last week, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. requested the state drop its appeal of a December 2010 decision to enjoin the implementation of the State Saltwater Fishing License in the waters of seven Long Island Towns including all town waters on the East End.

Last week the State Legislature included Thiele’s proposal to repeal the license and fee and replaced it with a free registry to meet the requirements of federal law as part of the 2011 State Budget.

“I strongly opposed this law from the outset as an unwarranted infringement of the right to fish and the local home rule powers of our towns under the colonial patents,” said Thiele in a release issued last week. “A State Supreme Court Judge issued an injunction and now the State Legislature has repealed the law and enacted a free registry which is consistent with federal law, the Judge’s decision and the right to fish bestowed by the colonial patents. It would be silly for the state to now appeal this decision. First, it is moot. Second it would be a waste of state and local tax dollars to continue to litigate the legality of a repealed law. The Governor should direct the DEC and the Attorney-General to drop the appeal.”

Government Briefs: 1-20-11

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Burke Building Almost Legal
By Kathryn G. Menu

A historic Division Street, Sag Harbor residence owned by Edward Burke, Jr. and his family will likely be converted into five legal office spaces next month following a straw poll Tuesday by members of the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Burke building, as it has come to be known, is located at 39 Division Street, and for over a year now has housed five office spaces after the Burke family restored the residence’s historic exterior and converted rooms into several office spaces. The work, however, was done prior to the Burke’s gaining approval for the change through the village planning board and zoning board of appeals.

This fall, the planning board indicated it was comfortable with the change of use, as the village’s new code zones the parcel in the newly created office district. That left the matter in the hands of the zoning board, which had several variances it had to rule on before that change could become official.

On Tuesday night, the Burke’s attorney Brian Desesa presented the zoning board with a reconfigured parking plan, as well as information on the other four parcels in the village’s office district, noting ultimately there are only three buildings within that district that can take advantage of the new district. The fourth parcel is the village parking lot off Division Street.

Also at issue was the size of each office, which was one of the variances needed for the change to become legal. While village code requires each office to be 800 square feet or larger, all of the office spaces in the Burke building fall far below that. Desesa argued that was in keeping with the integrity of the historic residence’s floor plan, which the Burke family maintained when it constructed the renovation.

Village attorney Anthony Tohill added that the office uses within the building, currently for a part-time Sag Harbor attorney and a healthcare agency, are passive uses, with many tenants keeping part time hours.

At next month’s meeting, Tohill is expected to present the board with a resolution for approval. The Burke building will then come before the village planning board once more for final approval on the change of use.

In other zoning board news, Michael and Joan Brosnan of 53 Franklin Avenue were approved for a 290 square foot, one-bedroom addition to their 712 square-foot home.

Michael Brosnan said he and his wife moved their twins to Sag Harbor from Montauk to take advantage of the Sag Harbor School District, but that the twins had outgrown their small bedroom.

He added the couple loved the Sag Harbor look of their home and tried to design the addition in keeping with the small Cape-style cottage.

“If we don’t become pregnant again, I won’t come before this board again,” he joked.

Virginia and Kenneth Ludacer were also granted variances to construct a two-and-a-half story addition on their home at 132 Jermain Avenue. According to architect Meryl Kramer, the home will be rehabilitated, as it is currently in poor shape, its foundation literally falling apart. In addition a back bedroom and deck will be added, while a shed in the backyard will be removed.

The village’s historic preservation and architectural review board has already supported the addition.

Jean Held also received a variance from the village pyramid law to expand her Franklin Avenue home by 832 square-feet, an expansion supported by all of Held’s neighbors.

Lastly, the application to legalize the Larry Rivers “Legs” sculpture at Ruth Vered and Janet Lehr’s Madison Street home was tabled at the request of Clayton Munsey. Munsey has represented the couple in their quest to keep the “Legs” despite it being considered an accessory structure, and illegal, under the village code. He said he was unaware it would be on the board’s January calendar.

The board granted the stay, but board chairwoman Gayle Pickering said she did not want to see adjournment as a “stalling tactic” in this case. She asked the building department to inform Munsey the matter would be heard at the board’s February 15 meeting.

Ialacci’s Benefits Restored

After having his village health insurance dropped in December, former village police chief Joseph Ialacci and his wife Nancy had their benefits restored last week by the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees.

The board dropped Ialacci’s village insurance on December 30 after they said he racked up over $70,000 in healthcare costs to the plan when Ialacci’s Medicare coverage should have been used as his primary insurance.

Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride said several attempts to work out a payment schedule with Ialacci failed, resulting in the termination, although Ialacci’s attorney, John Bracken said his client was working with the Social Security Administration, hospitals and doctors to reimburse the monies to the village.

According to Bracken, the insurance coverage was restored retroactively to the December 30 date it was rescinded. Last week, Bracken informed the board that if the insurance was not reinstated by January 14, the village could be looking at a lawsuit.

On Monday, Gilbride said the village was doing its due diligence in restoring the coverage, but that village attorneys were still looking into the matter. One issue they are exploring is whether or not the current board must legally uphold Ialacci’s personnel contract, which guarantees him coverage after retirement and was drafted by a previous board of trustees.

Concert Debate Rages On

In East Hampton Town, some Amagansett residents continue to fuel a debate over town board approval for a two-and-a-half day concert at Ocean View Farms in Amagansett, August 12 through 14.

On December 21, Sag Harbor residents Chris Jones and Bill Collage were approved by the East Hampton Town Board for a mass gathering permit to allow the MTK: Music to Know Summer Music Festival at the farm, located on Route 27 just outside downtown Amagansett.

The concert is proposed to feature two stages, 20 bands and vending areas for local businesses and restaurants. Jones and Collage said they hope to sell a maximum of 9,500 tickets to the weekend event.

Since then, a group of Amagansett residents, including members of that hamlet’s citizens advisory committee and BookHampton owner Charline Spektor have criticized the board’s decision and mounted a campaign to get the concert’s mass gathering permit rescinded.

This week, Spektor sent members of BookHampton’s e-mail list serve a letter expressing her concerns and urging residents to send letters to the town board, as well as attend a meeting tonight, Thursday, January 20.

In the letter she noted Collage and Jones have no prior experience in production or festival management, and questioned the charitable donation Collage and Jones have promised local food pantries and not-for-profits. Further, she questioned the “dangerous aspect” of a potential 20,000 concert attendees coming to Amagansett without any place to stay, or accommodations for “food, sanitary, emergency and other related issues.”

“The allegations made by Charline Spektor and distributed under her Bookhampton banner, questioning MTK festival’s commitment to donating $100,000 to local charities are completely baseless, disingenuous and frankly, mean-spirited,” replied Jones in a statement. “MTK has employed an Outreach Director who has already met with several local charities to discuss details of their inclusion and this process continues with scores of other groups, as we identify those to include. Representatives from these charities are excited and appreciative of these efforts. There never has been, nor will be any question of reneging these commitments. Further allegations from Ms Spektor concerning details of the festival, from the number of attendees to the level of professionalism and experience of the event production are also without merit. We encourage everyone who supports music and this two-day event which celebrates music, to attend a meeting this Thursday at 7 p.m. at East Hampton Town Hall.”