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Macy’s ‘Rudderless’ In Theaters

Rudderless, the Bill Macy-directed picture gets distribution

Rudderless, the Bill Macy-directed picture gets distribution

STAFF REPORT — Rudderless, directed by William Macy, will receive a theatrical release through Paramount Home Media Distribution and Samuel Goldwyn Films, it was announced.

The feature directorial debut of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Macy, Rudderless was produced by Keith Kjarval of Unified Pictures and Brad Greiner in association with Aaron L. Gilbert’s Bron Studios and had its world premiere as the Closing Night Film at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

The film stars Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), Anton Yelchin (Star Trek Into Darkness), Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”), Jamie Chung (“Believe”), Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers) and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix).

Samuel Goldwyn Films will handle U.S. theatrical distribution day-and-date with Paramount Home Media Distribution’s VOD release. Paramount will also handle other U.S. ancillary platforms and all distribution in Canada, the UK, Russia and certain territories in Asia.

After a man has his life torn apart when he loses his son, he is content wasting the rest of his days until he discovers a box of unpublished music. Coming from such an unexpected source, the music is a revelation. He begins obsessively learning the songs, until one day he decides to play one of them at a local bar. The song captivates a young musician in the audience and the two unlikely friends decide to form a local band that gains sudden popularity and changes both of their lives.

“After seeing such a fabulous response at Sundance, we are thrilled to be partnering with two of the most prestigious distributors in our business on my directing debut,” said director William Macy. “When I first moved to LA, many years ago, I lived just off of Melrose, and I passed those beautiful gates to Paramount almost every day. Seeing them become our partner on Rudderless and adding the storied Goldwyn Company into the mix excites me to no end.”

#WilliamMacy END #Rudderless #Theatrical Release #uploaded by Donna Balancia

Tom DiCillo and The Black and Blue Orkestre Build Bridges with New Album

Tom DiCillo Black and Blue Orkestre East Coast Rocker Interview

—Tom DiCillo: Music plays a leading role in all his work — All photos courtesy of Tom DiCillo

With Bandmates Will Crewdson and Grog Rox, Trio Collaborates on Trans-Atlantic Recording

NEW YORK CITY — It’s been a few years since we’ve spoken to Tom DiCillo, writer and director of such films as Johnny Suede, Living in Oblivion, and the compelling 2009 documentary about The Doors, When You’re Strange. But paths always cross again and we sat down for a Q and A with the director, an East Coast Rocker in his own right.

Fresh off the release of his unique album Hurt Me Tender, recorded with his band The Black and Blue Orkestre, DiCillo shares his opinion on music, film, and on life, as told by one of the few truly independent filmmakers and artists around.  This is Part One of a three-part series.

Hurt Me Tender  is a complex and reflective collection of songs DiCillo  created with his band mates Grog Rox and Will Crewdson. The threesome is known as The Black & Blue Orkestre.

DiCillo sat down to talk with ECR Editor Donna Balancia.

ECR: Tom, I’m extremely happy to catch up with you. In reviewing your work, it’s obvious that you love and respect music. You’ve written and directed films about aspiring musicians, accomplished musicians, and you’ve even collaborated with established musicians.  Now you have an album of your own. How have your Hollywood experiences influenced your music, in particular the Black and Blue Orkestre’s album Hurt Me Tender?

TD: I’ve actually had very few Hollywood experiences. But I do know this;  Hollywood is about power and the perception of power. People telling you what to do, and when you can do it. So, picking up the guitar every now and then is a salvation. It’s a direct connection to something creative.  And you can do it whenever you want to.

Black and Blue Orkestre Tom DiCillo Donna Balancia

Trans-Atlantic Trio: Will Crewdson, Grog Rox, Tom DiCillo

ECR: The Black and Blue Orkestre is a really unique ensemble — and the assembly of the music when all three partners in the band don’t live anywhere near each other is extremely compelling.  How did this happen?

TD: Hurt Me Tender came out of a 5-year collaboration that started with me and UK guitarist Will Crewdson. We connected when my film Delirious was opening in the UK and Will sent me an email saying how much he liked the film. He mentioned his musical tastes and somehow that prompted me to send him the first song I’d ever really sung, my version of “16 Tons.” Will liked my voice and laid down some amazing guitar tracks.

This began our electronic trans-Atlantic collaboration. Eventually I sent him some songs that I had written and again Will added greatly to them with his guitar. Up until that time all the bass and drums were programmed by me. It was Will’s idea to bring in Grog, bass player and lead vocalist for her own group Die So Fluid. I would sketch out a mix with my vocal, Will’s guitar and a basic drum track and send it to Grog in LA. She composed and recorded a bass track and sent it back. Soon, this was how we were doing all our songs.

Will Crewdson was inspired by the films of Tom DiCillo - East Coast Rocker Interview

Will Crewdson

Finally, we had about 12 originals and I just said ‘Let’s see if we can at least get them out there as some sort of album.’ I didn’t have the time to try and get a label interested. But, I thought that all that work should at least be gathered together as some kind of finished product. So, the whole effort became finishing the songs we’d been working on for five years and making them sound like they’d all come from the same musical moment of inspiration. And finally, at the end of 2013, we got them all mastered and released them via Ditto Music.

As of this date we have never performed live together in the same room, city, country or continent.

Frozen Sunset Video by Tom DiCillo and Black and Blue Orkestre

Grog Rox in Frozen Sunset Video

ECR: I love “Shoe Shine Shuffle,” “Frozen Heartache,” “Whiskey Promise” and of course, “Hurt Me Tender.” There is such a sense of longing and adventure at the same time. Can you describe the storylines behind each of these great songs?  What inspired each of them?

TD: There is a vein of something personal in each of the songs. I find I can’t write music (or a film) that doesn’t have some deeper connection for me. All the songs originated out of some simple musical idea. With “Shoe Shine Shuffle” it was a guitar lick that the lyrics, “There’s a word for it,” attached themselves to. As the song developed it took on the idea that all of us have at times prostituted ourselves. It is the way of the world. Some of us do it by choice, most of us are forced into it by circumstance. But, to judge someone for this is idiotic–almost as idiotic as thinking that only “bad” people do this. In some form or another, everybody’s done it. It is especially true in the film business.

Shoe Shine Shuffle BBO East Coast Rocker

Shoe Shine Shuffle by the Black and Blue Orkestre

TD: Great songs are like really good short films to me; the music conveys something that brings both visual and emotional layers. I like words and phrases that also create a distinct emotional world. “Frozen Heartache” is about a woman who is obsessed with a man who could care less about her and she keeps telling another guy all about her torment. She’s so consumed by her obsession she never sees that this other guy is in love with her. I’ve been there. It was Grog’s idea to add her voice on the chorus, “Everybody knows” and I think it adds a spooky, kind of gothic 50’s touch.

Frozen Heartache Black and Blue Orkestre

Frozen Heartache by Black and Blue Orkestre on Soundcloud

“Hurt Me Tender” is the last song I wrote for the album. It started as a kind of latin/gypsy chord progression; something Elvis may have done in the early 60’s, like “It’s Now Or Never.” The title is actually a reference to Elvis, but bent slightly into the psychological realm approaching the masochistic. It’s about a guy who is drawn to a woman whose joy and beauty cover a fear of the world that renders her helpless–and at times exceedingly cruel. I’ve found this combination to be a powerful aphrodisiac for people, especially men.

TD: Your words “longing and adventure” about these songs are very interesting. They imply a certain say, sadness or melancholy at the same time some kind of unexpected drama. I think that’s a good description of what we tried to do with the album. The songs are about people that have come up against some of the shoves and collisions in life. And like all of us, they have the bruises to show for it. That’s one of the reasons the group is called The Black & Blue Orkestre.

ECR: You are attracted to the music of Link Wray, who has a credit on your first film, Johnny Suede.  Is Link Wray a big influence for the BBO?

TD: Yes. I’ve always been impressed by what he brought to the amplified guitar. I like anybody who is genuinely trying something. And somehow, you can always feel it when it’s real.


END TOM DiCILLO #BlackandBlueOrkestre PART ONE

‘Great Jersey Musicians’ a Work of Love for Rich Hoynes

Rich Hoynes, photo courtesy of Rich Hoynes

Author Rich Hoynes love Great Jersey Musicians and wrote a coffee table book about the people who make the music happen. A portion of every sale goes to charity.

BELMAR, N.J. — Richard Hoynes has accomplished a great deal as a corporate executive, a charitable benefactor and as photographer and writer.  Of course, we know him as Regional Photo Editor at East Coast Rocker.

Richard’s latest work, “Great Jersey Musicians,” documents some of the musicians he has come to know in The Garden State.

East Coast Rocker:  What sparked your love for music?

RH: I’ve been into music since I was born.  My mother sang and cut a 78 record back in the day, and encouraged my music passion.  She bought me my first electric guitar, a ’63 Fender Jazzmaster, when I was 14 years old.  I sang in choir all through grammar school and sang in a Christian choir in high school.  I taught myself guitar and I write songs, mostly songs about loss and love, like many musicians.

East Coast Rocker:  Why did you decide to incorporate both famous and not-so-famous Jersey musicians in your book?

RH: There are so many great musicians, many of whom are yet undiscovered.  I photographed those I heard who I liked.  To make it big in music is tough, and I think those who are both talented and have good business sense, make it. I also believe you become what you believe you will be.  Many musicians have a “starving artist” belief about themselves.  To be good, you must be hungry.  I think many musicians could benefit from some good business management help.   Though their art is amazing, some of the best artists suffer from self-sabotage in one form or another.

East Coast Rocker:  What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had in your career so far?   

RH: Probably having the honor of meeting Joan Jett and Daryl Strawberry. I started AMA Charitable Foundation in 2010 to help non-profits raise money.   We then hosted a fundraiser for autism for 5 schools for children with autism.  Joan came and brought a signed guitar, some signed records, and a Joan Jett Barbie doll.  I didn’t know there was a Barbie doll of Joan Jett!   (See the Joan Jett video here)   I gave her a guitar, that we had the children at Somerset Hills Learning Institute in Bedminster, NJ.,  sign for her.  In a spontaneous moment, someone from the crowd shouted, “Happy Birthday Joan!”   She had just turned 50.  Of course I spontaneously led the crowd in singing the Happy Birthday Song to her.  Of course, after the first verse I realized I was the only one singing.  She was gracious. I think there is a Youtube video of my embarrassing moment, but we had great fun and raised money to help some wonderful children.  (See the video here)

East Coast Rocker:  Who are your musical inspirations?

RH: There are too many to name.  I like all classic rock. The Beatles, The Stones, The Eagles, and, of course, Bruce Springsteen.  I’m actually inspired by some of the great lesser known artists that play the Jersey scene today.  Pat Guadagno, who I affectionately in my book named “The troubadour of the Jersey Shore,”  is an amazing vocal talent.  You know you really like an artist when you have their music CD in your car. I’m inspired by Emily Grove, a 22-year-old singer who I watched from the age of 18.  She has a June Carter kind of sound and is a great songwriter. I’m inspired by Marc Ribler, an amazing singer/songwriter and guitarist.  He wrote a great song for Autism for my BEDSTOCK event and performed it live.  He wrote a song for Sandy victims called, “Our Spirit is Strong” and gave all the proceeds to Sandy victims.  He’s written TV commercial jingles. I’m inspired by JT Bowen who was the lead singer for Clarence Clemons band for battling alcoholism, finding God, and turning his life around.  I’m also inspired by Clarence Clemons son Nick, who took care of his mother after his dad left and is working hard to leverage his father’s legacy and name to run charity events.  He has a great soulful voice.

I worked with Nick to do a fundraiser for Clarence’s birthday at Lance Larson’s Wonderbar in Asbury Park.  We raised money for two schools at the Jersey shore whose musical instruments were destroyed during super storm Sandy. Tom Doyle, master luthier and guitar player, played with Les Paul and took care of his instruments.  Tom worked with Les for more than 40 years.  I took his luthier class in North West Jersey for about a year and refinished my ’63 Fender Jazzmaster. I could go on.  I’m inspired by the music.  I’m inspired by the kindness.  I’m inspired by the charity of so many of these artists who play fundraisers for free when they can barely pay their own rent.

East Coast Rocker:  What did you enjoy the most about producing this book?

RH: Probably the smiles on the artists’ faces when they see themselves in it and the admiration of those fans who once they pick it up, can’t put it down. I also enjoyed making something that people can enjoy in their living rooms and that benefits the musicians, their fans, and charity.  $5 of every book sale goes to charity.  I’ve donated almost 100 books to charities for their fundraising events.  The musicians get the book wholesale so they can make additional revenue from doing book signings and selling them to their fans. East Coast Rocker:  What characteristics draw you to a band or solo artist?

RH: I’m drawn to great musicians who are also gracious and generous with themselves and their time.  I like songs with meaning.  In addition to those I mentioned, I appreciate the music of folk singer George Wirth, and the blues music of Kelley Dewkett.  They tell stories that make me think.

East Coast Rocker: What’s in the future for you after this book?

RH: I have a passion for leaving the planet better.  I spend the largest share of my life working as a business executive for large corporations, IBM, Warner-Lambert, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and others.  I’d like to spend the next chapter thinking of ways to help address the social and health issues of our times. There are many small non-profits all across America started by people who are passionate about a particular cause who have limited business experience, limited financial means and weak fundraising ability.  There are also a large number of well-funded foundations who work hard to focus their resources on meaningful efforts across the world. Rather than spending large amounts of time trying to raise a few thousand here and a few thousand there for charities, I would like to help the larger well-funded non-profit foundations focus their resources on addressing the social and health issues affecting us today. The top 10 charitable foundations have more than $100 billion in assets.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has over $34 billion in assets and donates more than $3 billion a year to help causes.  I met Bill Gates and Steve Balmer when I worked as CIO for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.  They do great work.  The Ford Foundation has almost $11 billion in assets.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has about $9 billion.  I’m thinking I would like to help them invest some of that. I think we should create a TV show that is a cross between the Jerry Lewis telethon and “Shark Tank” for non-profits.  We could bring together some of the top foundations with non-profits needing money to help fund and support specific efforts, and non-profit innovations in technology and new capabilities.  Do it live.  Allow people to donate live online and show the results in real time.  Film the results and share successes live, building a greater sense of community, volunteerism, and support for philanthropy.  If anyone knows how to make that happen, I’m in!

East Coast Rocker:  How do you manage to capture such great shots of the artists?

RH: Thank you for the compliment.  Nikon makes a great camera.  Can I say that?  I also use some great software products from Abobe Systems, Photoshop and Lightroom.

East Coast Rocker:  When meeting a band or singer have you ever been nervous?

RH: Yes. I would say I’ve been a bit nervous around many great musicians, until I got to know them.  I’m sure he doesn’t remember, but I met Bruce Springsteen when I was 19 in a bar called Key Largo in Belmar, New Jersey.  I said hello and introduced myself.  He was great.  I was also nervous when I met Joan Jett, though her warm and relaxed interpersonal style put me right at ease. Richard’s book, Great Jersey Musicians is available on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Great-Jersey-Musicians-Photographic-Artworks/dp/0988814803/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369163179&sr=8-1&keywords=great+jersey+musicians

The Original Wailers Put Time to the Test

Al Anderson of The Original Wailers EAST COAST ROCKER

Al Anderson of The Original Wailers during a show at Milliken’s Reef, Florida – PHOTO © DONNA BALANCIA

ORLANDO  — When your friends say “Let’s go see some reggae,” a great choice is the group The Original Wailers.

The Original Wailers put on a lively show Thursday night at Milliken’s Reef and will likely continue to satisfy fans during their tour of the East Coast and this Memorial Day weekend in Florida.  The band was scheduled to play Captain Jax Friday night in Ft. Pierce; Higgs Beach Saturday night in Key West; and Abacoa Park on Sunday night in Jupiter.

The Original Wailers guitarist Al Anderson is still looking as good as he did in 1978 when we saw him side-by-side with Bob Marley performing in front of 30,000 strong at Madison Square Garden.  In 1978, the audience was 99 percent African-American/Islands/Jamaican-based families — all of whom were dressed in Sunday Best, including men wearing ties, women in cotton dresses and little girls and boys in patent leather shoes.

At Milliken’s Reef, the stage is in a scenic beach setting in Port Canaveral and it is particularly beautiful at sunset. We estimated roughly 400 attendees at Milliken’s Reef Thursday night, as barefooted, bikini, and flip flop-clad reggae fans danced, drank and even Hoola-Hooped during the night.

Hoola Hoop lady at Milliken's Reef in Port Canaveral during The Original Wailers show.

Hoola Hoop lady at Milliken’s Reef in Port Canaveral during The Original Wailers show.

The Original Wailers were a hit with the audience, but a few people were overheard asking questions related to the history of the band and the band’s name. With an ongoing rift between the former members of Marley’s backup band from days of yore, there was a split between those who had at one point or another been dubbed Wailers, and Anderson took the helm of The Original Wailers. A few artists have joined and departed The Original Wailers, but the core group has stayed together.

Desi Hyson, the lead vocalist for The Original Wailers, gets the crowd up and dancing with his jovial appearance and trademark sneakers. His gravelly voice carries the subtle deep tones that conjure up images of the Caribbean Isle of Dominica, his homeland. And on behalf of music fans, we are fortunate his career in soccer was shelved in favor of pursuing music the moment he first saw Bob Marley perform in Central Park in NYC.

Desi Hyson: A reluctant but undeniably talented keyboardist

Desi Hyson: A reluctant but undeniably talented keyboardist

You might say Florida has a special significance for fans of The Original Wailers.  Hyson, who was a guitarist for the band previously, took on the keyboard duties because it was in Florida a while back, the then-keyboardist quit and rather than conducting  a search, Hyson took over. He has said he does indeed want to find a keyboardist so he can go back to guitar.

The show was worth the cost of admission and fans got their money’s worth on a relatively inexpensive ticket.

Highlights from the evening included some oldies but goodies including “No Woman, No Cry”  and “Three Little Birds” (“Every little thing’s gonna be all right”) as well as tunes from Miracle, The Original Wailers’ Grammy-nominated EP, for which Hyson wrote most of the songs.

Relationships fracture. Clothing styles evolve. Certainly, a lot of things change in 30 years. But The Original Wailers show that talent and quality will always withstand the test of time.

The 16th Bobfest Brings Together Musicians for a Cause

BOBFEST is an annual celebration of the music of Bob Dylan, held on his birthday.

BOBFEST is an annual celebration of the music of Bob Dylan, held on his birthday.
— Photo by Richard Hoynes

By RICHARD HOYNES, East Coast Rocker

RED BANK, N.J. — Bob Dylan, who turned 72 years old on May 24, is one of the greatest singer-songwriter-poets in the world. There’s a story running around that Bob was picked up by the police during his visit to Long Branch at the Jersey shore a few years ago because they thought he was homeless person and had no ID.  How could you not know who Bob Dylan is?

In its 16th year, BOBFEST filled the Count Basie Theater with the wonderful lyrics and songs of Bob Dylan.   The show was led by Pat Guadagno and his band, Tired Horses, and included many special guests.  I respect Pat to such a degree, I featured him in my new coffee table book, Great Jersey Musicians.

BOBFEST was hosted by Big Joe Henry of New Jersey 101.5 FM. Pat and his band were joined by some very special guests including, Steve Delopoulos, Rob Paparozzi, Marc Muller, Jeff Levine, Steve Reilly, and Mary McCrink.

The harmonies of the combined voices of Pat, Steve and Mary brought the audience to their feet with cheers.  When Mary sings, it’s like the heavens open and the light shines through.

In the lobby were some sales and auction items, a portion of whose proceeds went to a scholarship charity in the name of Pat’s late brother, Anthony Guadagno.  Some of the items included CD’s, a giclee painting of Bob Dylan, and copies of Great Jersey Musicians signed by musicians including Clarence Clemons III, the eldest son of Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band; singer songwriter Kelley Dewkett; and Arne Wendt, the keyboard player for Jon Bon Jovi’s second band, The Kings of Suburbia.

Mary McCrink and Pat Guadagno make beautiful music together at Bobfest

Mary McCrink and Pat Guadagno make beautiful music together at Bobfest
— Photo by Richard Hoynes

We had the pleasure of interviewing Pat after the show.

RH:  What sparked your passion for music?

PG:   We are all born with a passion for music. Entertainers just deal with it differently (and constantly)

RH:  How did you get started?

PG:   As soon as I could reach the record player on top of the TV I started playing 45s.  Pat Boone’s “Love Letters in the Sand” and Jimmie Rodgers’ “Kisses Sweeter than Wine” were the two that I recall playing over and over again.

RH:  What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had in your career so far?

PG:   Singing the National Anthem at Giants Stadium before the Giants-Cowboys game was BIG, as was performing for Navy Troops on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. But Holiday Express has allowed me the biggest ROI by far. Performing is circular.  What you put out comes back to you if you’re lucky. On any given night I can reach out and grab someone’s soul, and at the same time annoy the guy trying to watch the hockey game, but nothing can compare to watching an autistic child feel live music or a forgotten soul receiving the only gift he will get this year.

A portion of the proceeds from Bobfest goes to charity.

A portion of the proceeds from Bobfest goes to charity.
— Photo by Richard Hoynes

RH:  I saw you give a portion of the money to charity.  What charity and why?

PG:  A portion of the proceeds from BOBFEST goes to the Rock and Roll Music Fund which is a 501(C)3 non-profit that helps out those less fortunate through music.  We started the Tony Guadagno Scholarship Fund, which every year will help a bass player from NJ attend Berkley College of Music where my brother studied.

RH:  Have you met Bob Dylan?

PG:  I’ve never met Bob Dylan.

RH:  If you had to live your life over again, what career would you choose and why?

PG:  Without sounding evangelical I think that you don’t choose a musical career.  It chooses you.  Given the chance to do something different, I would do nothing different.   I do wish I had studied music harder, but my aversion to studying music began when piano lessons got in the way of playing guitar. I don’t ever want to understand music or how it works or why it touches people differently, or why I was chosen to be one of the instruments through which it travels.  It’s magic. I believe in magic.

Pat can be seen playing all over the Jersey shore.  For more information, visit http://www.magombo.com and www.GreatJerseyMusic.com .

Patti Smith, Renaissance Rockers make Resurgence in Summer 2013

Donna Balancia with Patti Smith - photo by BALANCIA

Patti Smith is on tour with Banga – photo by DONNA BALANCIA

NEW YORK CITY — The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Patti Smith … seems everyone is on tour.

Come to think of it, maybe everyone is — it’s a resurgence of Renaissance Rockers during this ’70s Summer.

Here’s to all the 70s rockers who are either on tour or have just come out with an album.  Oh and BTW that’s “nineteen” 70s (1970s) — not a reference to anyone’s age.

And while the 1970s were great years for music, opinions differ on other aspects of hip pop culture.

Here’s what’s happening with the musical artists who came to fame during the decade responsible for clogs, “Ultra-Suede,” and “Members Only” jackets:


Rolling Stones – 50 and Counting Tour

Paul McCartney – Out There Tour

Rod Stewart – Tour to promote his new album, Time

Todd Rundgren – Tour to promote new album, State

David Bowie The Next Day

Stooges – Tour to promote new album, Ready to Die

Patti Smith – Tour to promote new album, Banga

Peter Frampton is on tour

UB40 – Tour to promote Getting Over The Storm