Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's been a few weeks since my last post and I think I promised that the next one would be the shortest ever. Let's just say that it was so short that it was invisible to the human eye! -mostly because I don't think this is going to be a short post...OK, I know it's not going to be. :P

Last Monday Sam Sparro sang a few songs downtown at an evening called Mustache Mondays. It's an alternative night at a space called La Cita on Hill between 3rd & 4th Streets. A wild, musical performance art piece is presented each week at around midnight. It's usually one of those performances that is equal parts ghastly and extraordinary! It's always a blast & usually brings me back to my 20s in New York City. When my friend Darryl posted that Sam was performing, I was in. I've always been a fan of Sam, who I've met a few times before. Darryl and I spent some time with him at the Sunset Junction in Silverlake a few years back and I met him once before that when he worked at Aroma Cafe in Studio City. I'd learned about him through a producer who did a remix for me years ago named Jesse Rogg. Jesse produced Sam's first album, the one that the hit, "Black & Gold", is on.

I was intrigued to see how the venue was going to accommodate Sam's performance. I've seen Sam, who is also a DJ, in smaller venues but this one sort of defies description. Sam was announced at midnight sharp and a larger than usual crowd quickly gathered around the dance floor. Jesse played tracks from his laptop and Sam sang his face off as usual. SOUND, however, was less than desirable. OK, it was a mess. At one point Sam's mic shorted out completely and the MC for the evening handed her/his mic to Sam mid-song. Sam was a terrific sport and his drunken fans didn't seem to care much that they couldn't actually hear him. It was Sam Sparro. -At Mustache Mondays. All was as it should be in the LA alternative music scene!

Lately, I've been pondering P!NK. I've had the pleasure of meeting her and visiting Australia to see her sold out tour through one of my best friends, Leo, who co-choreographed and danced on the tour. -And I would like to make the point that I met her once for a few moments at the tour's kick-off party where Leo introduced me to her. The next time I saw her, several months later in Australia, she greeted me warmly, remembering my name from our brief meeting before. That's how present this talented woman is. Shortly thereafter, I was blown away by her Funhouse Tour performance. As you may have heard, she sounds better live than on her albums & she is so in the moment, so personal in her performance that you feel like you're hanging out with her, having drinks together in some hole-in-the-wall dive bar. Her connected communication as an artist is a quality I search out but seldom see in popular music.

...But I digress. Today, a client came for her singing lesson, and she asked if we could work on a P!NK song. P!NK songs are great for voice lessons because they are well written & the vocal range is both high and low, a good stretch for most singers. I have songbooks from her last two albums and use them frequently.

We'd been working on "Sober", but my client asked if we could look at "Dear Mr. President", a song from her album, I'm Not Dead Yet. As we were going through the song it occurred to me that P!NK's songwriting has heavy roots in folk music. When you think of songs like "Dear Mr. President", "Stupid Girls", "I've Got Money Now" and many others, you notice that her songs oftentimes express her political & social views on the current state of affairs on this planet. If it's possible, I gained even more respect for her work in that moment.

Lastly, I wanted to share with you my experience this past Saturday when Darryl Stephens and I coordinated an informal 1st reading of our film script with original music. It was as thrilling for me as it was terrifying! We invited around 20 of our talented friends to come and help us read through the script. We played skeletally produced versions of the songs for the film as they occur in the script. As I've mentioned D and I have been working on the script regularly for a little over a year & I'd started to lose objectivity on how the project was going. -So, we purposely invited a variety of friends from different walks of life to get as many points of view for feedback as possible. Chris D'Arienzo, the talented writer of the script for the 80s rock broadway musical Rock Of Ages, read the lead character of Coyote, a 40 year old rockstar who finds himself in the middle of a comeback tour, with just the right touch of humor and bravado. A bunch of LA's most talented, working tour dancers read roles uncanny resembling their own lives...some roles written with them in mind. We BBQd, had cocktails and made a party out of it. The feedback was insightful and D and I will now dig into a rewrite, not too major but substantial. I'm also going to focus on getting the music more fully produced, with demo singers, real guitars, drums, etc. Then the hard part begins. -Getting it produced!

In other news, Skyline released a video for their single, "Not The Only One". Check it out. It's really wonderful.

Also, check out the SIZZLE REEL of a brilliantly talented production designer named Kyle Kannenberg. Perhaps you can hire this uber-talented designer before he becomes so famous that we won't be able to afford him anymore. Kyle has graciously agreed to art direct the 3rd annual Open Artists With Open Arms benefit. How lucky are we?

Long blog... Again... My sis-in-law informed me that blogs are supposed to be short. Rats. I'll do better next time. Promise. :P

Sunday, March 7, 2010


My talented friend Clifford Morts has written a play that's going up next month at the NoHo Arts Center called Praying Small. Clifford is starring in the play and the artistic director of NoHo Arts Center, James Mellon, is directing.

Clifford got me hired to do the music for the play & his concept is that there will be music throughout, not unlike a film score. I've got a LOT of work to do.

Anyway, here is my first crack of one of the covers he asked for, "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, a song I've been covering for a couple of years. I'm planning on adding an acoustic guitar and a few other elements, but it's coming out how I'd hoped. The song is an emotional roller coaster and I want to capture that. In some other versions I've heard, the lyrics are almost an afterthought. -But the lyrics of this song are among the best ever written. I recorded this yesterday and I wept on more than one occasion throughout the day.

This morning as I listen and reflect, this song is the perfect soundtrack for my own life in art. The challenge can bring you to your knees, but you just keep on singin...

GO TO www.kylepuccia.com to hear Hallelujah 1.1. I'm taking this song down tonight. So if you want to hear it again you'll have to come to PRAYING SMALL. XO Kyle