Tag Archive | "musicians"

Why Here? Musicians on the Influence of the East End: Inda Eaton

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Musician Inda Eaton. Photo by Michael Heller.

Musician Inda Eaton. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Michael Heller

Singer/songwriter Inda Eaton found her way to the East End 10 years ago after spending the majority of her life living in southern California, Arizona and Wyoming. She is a child of parents who always wanted her to be a musician — which never seemed to be a question (“I just knew,” she says.)

 

MH:  So, coming from Wyoming and the West, how did you end up here in Amagansett?

IE:  My music manager at the time was in New York, so I would come to New York quite a bit for music, and it was through friends and connections that I would come out here to visit. I went to school in Boston — I went to BU to study journalism — so I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the east; but I really didn’t know about Amagansett or East Hampton. In fact the first time I came I was completely shocked—I didn’t even tune into my “Great Gatsby” history lesson of the Hamptons; I really didn’t come here with any stars in my eyes at all, I was just coming to visit, and I was really utterly surprised in the most pleasant of ways. Growing up in the West anyway I could never have stereotyped that a place so close to New York City—which is like Gotham City—would have so much beauty.

 

MH:  The Hamptons are not the hotbed of the music industry like Los Angeles, New York or Nashville, yet after 10 years you’ve stayed here. What has kept you here, even though it may have been harder for your career?

IE:  The reason I was able to dig my heels in was because I did some voice-overs and I did some music-computer interactives for the children’s museum when it was being built, so that was the first reason to be here: “This is a project I can do.” I wasn’t even thinking that this would be my final resting spot; I’m here for this project. And then some other opportunities opened up, one after the other, and I thought to myself, “Hmmm, I think I’ll get more involved in the production side.”

There are some really great people out here. You can’t throw a rock out here without running into somebody who writes or makes music. That’s been very stimulating and interesting to me. And not only their work, but the camaraderie of it, the music community. I travel a lot; I go back and forth between the West, I do a lot of education work. I do a lot of playing. But somehow when I come back here, I feel very nurtured. The music scene, the music community…I think the landscape lends itself to some major creativity that’s probably beyond what I can even articulate. I know it’s obvious when we talk about visual art, and how that can happen through color and light and landscape, but I think it’s often overlooked when we talk about music as well. I couldn’t articulate to you right now, at the kitchen table, how I think that’s changed my writing, but I know that it has.

And I think there’s an edge, I think on Long Island, the history of rock and roll on Long Island is huge, and there’s a tremendous contribution to rock and roll in edginess from Long Island. You would think that that wouldn’t be out here because it is so calm, and everything out here is so “chill,” but having said that I think our year-round community… we give that appearance in our flip-flops, but I don’t know of anybody out here who doesn’t have to figure out some way to exist; maybe that’s the edge. We’re in our flip-flops, but we’re all clinging on to our reserves to figure out how to stay in this beauty. This is not a place where you can go work at the plant, or have abundant work, really; you really make your own existence here, and it has to be a very creative existence. And I don’t know of anybody out here—in the arts or not—who doesn’t have to think twice or three times how to pull their act together to put food on the table…maybe that’s the edge. Amidst all this beauty, we’re trying to develop our own situation.

Interestingly enough, if you ever get invited to a benefit you should go, they’re great shows. They’re great shows because different musicians come together who maybe don’t play together often, and all of a sudden this party happens. But if you looked around and said, “How are these musicians pulling this off?” you really don’t want to ask them that; the reality is that it’s scary. You wouldn’t want to look at their ledger sheets; their ledger sheets don’t balance, really. You want to talk about the leap of faith? I know that’s in every artistic community, but it’s comical, because here we’re doing the benefits, and the truth is we could be having a benefit once a month for all of the brothers and sisters in music. And I think that’s the edge, I really do. That’s the edge.

Why Here? Musicians on the Influence of the East End: Joe Delia

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By Michael Heller

Montauk resident Joe Delia–known for his band, Joe Delia and Thieves – has been a musician for most his life, having studied and performed music ever since he was 12. He was one of 12 children in an Italian family in Rockland County, New York, and at age 15 he and his siblings gained notoriety as they hit the charts in the mid-1960s with a family act called The Brothers.

“We were signed to RCA records,” he says, “Sid Bernstein was my manager when I was 15 years old, so I had a lot going on professionally as a child.” Not long after, because of his proximity to New York City, he met studio musicians in Rockland County who helped him get his foot in the door in the so-called “closed shop” of the New York City clique of studio musicians.

 

MH: So how did all of this lead you out to the East End?

JD: While I was working in the city, I studied arrangement and film scoring with Don Sebeski, who was just a great orchestrator and great educator, and that was really a good part of my training professionally. Sebeski was a real key to my professional work; I worked as an arranger and a pianist in studios. Then I met director Abel Ferrera [“King of New York,” “Bad Lieutenant”] in the late ’70s, early ’80s and scored films for him for 20 years, and that’s what really got me into the business.

In ’92 Abel was out here for a week or two, staying in Hither Hills. I came out and said, “I just want to live here,” and a year or two later bought the property and built a house. I had the house for a few years, then met PJ [his wife], ended up getting married and moving upstate. Sold the house here, and life took on another path. It’s been almost 20 years now; we had a son, Jake, and it became a whole new thing.

After not having the house in Hither Hills, the headquarters became the house in Rockland County, and as PJ and I were getting on with our lives we would come out and rent and spend basically a week or two. But we were out a lot, and maybe five years ago this rental came up for us, and so we said, “We’ve got to do it.” So we’re basically in and out of town commuting to Montauk.

 

MH: So what keeps you here, and why do you keep coming back, even though it might be considered by some to be a detriment to your career?

JD: It’s a great question. I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve had a long career that was New York City and L.A.—mostly New York City—but was really an international career; all of the films I’ve made have played all over the world and I’ve made records, etc.  I’ve had a mainstream career in that sense, so that this is another chapter. It’s not a matter of trying to break into the mainstream, obviously, it’s not about coming out here and getting a major record deal and advancing my career in that sense. I think it’s … well, not a “postscript” to my career, but another chapter.

 

MH: How would you describe that chapter?

JD:  It’s wonderful. I would characterize it as doing something that I haven’t done a lot of for 20 or 25 years, which is writing songs and performing them. I’ve been writing themes and background scenes for years and years in the studio. I’ve done some interesting touring over that period—I was with David Johansson and Buster Poindexter for five or six years, and in between I toured with Dave Edmunds—I toured the United States and Japan with them, and so that was great—So I’ve been around, but it’s been in and out of my basic career as a musician writing themes and film music. So I characterize it as really something new; writing songs and performing them. It’s thrilling, and it keeps me coming back. And I think the fact that there’s been a certain amount of acceptance and that people seem to like what we’re doing and that there are songs that people know is really wonderful too. To play, and have people out there who know the songs is really cool.

 

MH: So what keeps you going? What drives you now, to keep writing and doing this?

JD: It’s that feeling of when it does connect. I’m a terrible golfer, but I think the metaphor is the same: you can be a terrible golfer, but if you hit one good one, you get out on the golf course the next day. And I think that it’s a little bit the same with doing this: If you have a really good show and get that input back that you get from the audience. It’s really about the audience; if there’s an audience, it will really get me there. And Montauk’s a great audience. There’s really a nice, vibrant music community out here, a lot of great musicians and wonderful people.