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Posts Tagged ‘SOON’

Book 2 SOON .3, and Book 4. Soon 3

July 31, 2011 1 comment

Book 2. SOON .3,

 As I said, I’m trying to stay focused on “SOON”.  And as I further said, the first time I saw the RITZ Theater (where SOON would open in January of 1971) was from my room at the Forrest Hotel.

At that time I had a south-facing room on the ninth floor; I was gazing out and noticed this odd, curiously configured roof top down below. Over time I realized that it was what a theater roof looks like from above. Years later, I would gaze at the same roof from below. Reaching across time to reconnect with the me that was, once upon a then.

I certainly felt much more at ease and at home looking out the window in (or from) what the Daily News, (in recounting the details of the murder most foul of a Barnum and Bailey circus clown), described as a “cheap west side hotel”.

In reality the Forrest Hotel was straight out of Damon Runyun, because Damon Runyun lived there and wrote there for many years. This or that reality is of course the past perfect invitation to investigate (if only for a moment) the question of relative reality, or the relative question of what (rather, which) reality is the real real deal. Dig? Capeche? Were we living in a world of Rock and Roll, or Guys and Dolls the reality show? 

The truth is both and.. thirty or countless more other parallel realities all scrunched into one.

To be continued …  

Book 4. Soon 3

I am riding on a train up over and through the Allegany Mountains on my way back to the Middletown collective (MAAC) from Johnstown, PA. Where I met the young impresario who intends to stage a concert production of SOON this coming 17th, 18th, and 19th of November. I’ve spent the last two days and nights thoroughly enjoying my self with he and his family. An all American mix of Mexican/Hungarian salt of the earth folks of the first order. I like him and them (Johnstown) very much and so we will proceed with the show.

 As I referenced earlier in the Memwa? The possibility, likelihood and indeed chronic evidentiary factorama of yours truly having FAE (Fetal Alcohol Effects) is quite good, almost guaranteed.

The dear Mudder dear is no longer here to ask about her consumption of Ethel in the nine long months starting with December 1944 and ending with me birthday on the 26th of August 1945, but based on what I know as a “once upon a moment” UCLA trained “little time big time” drug and Alcoholism wazam, the referenced likelihood is almost inescapable, and more to the point the symptoms (and their side-effects across the life areas) appear to be ever-present. 

If I ever get around to publishing my book “The New Paradigm for Alcoholism Addiction and Recovery” you will see what I’m talking about.

However, if you are too wise to wait, and  know it may be best look FAE  up now, then you will know that  I don’t do too well with working on more than one thing at a time, and right now I’m working on many more than one thing at a time and it appears that I will be for the foreseeable future. The question for anyone would be “how to do it”; the question for me is HUH?

 Apparently folks with FAE are blessed (well perhaps blessed isn’t exactly the right word, but you know what I mean) with the ability to go really really deep on a subject, but have extreme difficulty “changing sets” or, trying to move, pull ourselves out of, or shift our attention, from one subject to another.

For example, that is why, when I am concentrating on anything (like writing a song.. words OR music), I long ago learned that it is better, far better, if I do not try to cross the street, or be married etc.

I do love going deep beyond deep, but good Godawmighty it would be nice to be able to move comfortably and effectively from one thing to the next. Or just effectively.

That is why my Memwa? posts have begun to slow down as our gigging has picked up.

 Interesting gigs every one, for example, Yesterday, July 30th was National Dance Day. A concept promoted by the great tv dance show “So You Think You Can Dance”  along with producer Nigel Lithgow, and the great Congress Woman Eleanor Norton Holmes. We did an event, a National Dance Day Dance Party at a sky scraper housing development for seniors and the disabled (HOY Towers) in “Steelton” an honest to God, Steel Mill town (fallen on hard times like many another) in rusty post industrial Central Pennsylvania. We and they had the greatest time.

Here’s our recording of the theme of the day “Shake A Bum” and a photo of the good folks dancing.

"Shake A Bum" at National Dance Day!  Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band

National Dance Day! 2011 Steelton PA. Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band

However in addition to steady gigging, The SOON production and the Memwa? We have a Television show in development, two upcoming albums and “The Virgin Islands Songs” making its way towards a stage production inSt. Thomas.

This is not me complaining, it’s just that I am like a cross-eyed  juggler.

We are busy and I am grateful. I just wish that I were capable of being more effective, as many too many things not mentioned, like the record company and  music publishing, distribution and promotion and editing video and so on and on are not getting done in a timely manner.

I’m grateful a thousand times over for the grace and the real blessings that I have been given, the gift and the gifts.

I just wish that I could manage it, and them all, better.

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Book 2. SOON .1

June 7, 2011 1 comment

Book 2.  SOON .1

 Not long ago (two to three months) a young man involved with a small theater Company in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, contacted me for permission to do a production of my Rock Opera “SOON”.

We have since exchanged a number of emails, and I have given him my permission to go forward. 

We will be meeting some time in the near future to go over the script and to discuss the specifics of the production in terms of content. He originally found (and downloaded) the Los Angeles Recordings of SOON and wondered if I had any leads on any recordings of the Broadway production. I told him that I might and would take a look.

It happens that fairly recently (with in the past two years) I had been contacted by someone from the mysterious shadow world of “Broadway Musical Collectors” who “knew someone” who “might know” someone who “knew someone” who “might know” someone who “had information’ that could lead to a copy of a bootlegged tape of SOON, illegally recorded one night in 1971, live at the RITZ Theater. 

Believe it or not, the trail ultimately led to the United States Library Of Congress, whose librarians and kind customer service people were good enough (for a substantial but not unreasonable fee) to make and send along a copy of the bootleg recording of my opera for me.

The thing arrived on two of the shiniest golden discs this side of prophecy, I gazed upon them in dazzled wonder and amazed-eye for a long while, then stuck  Act One in the player to see what I could hear.

I tore it out quickly when I heard the beginnings of  a cockamamie mishmash “overture” and realized in horror that the recording residing in The Library Of Congress, and representing SOON to the ages in perp..perp..perpetuity, had been made after I (along with my partner Joe (Jose Silvio Martinez) Kookoolis and co author and director Robert Greenwald) had been fired and barred from the theater.

Fired and barred as part of a sequence of preposterous events and changes designed by Producers Bruce Stark and Sagittarius Productions (Edgar Bronfman Sr.) along with new Director Gerald Freedman, “adapter” Martin Duberman and Musical Director Louis St. Louis to “commercialize SOON”.

 Attitudes, events and changes that in a most sublimy apex of reverberant self reverential irony, perfectly paralleled the very story that we were telling in SOON. Actually doing in the production of  SOON the exact kinds of actions that SOON had been written to illuminate and protest.

A story about how tragically and unnecessarily destructive the dollar driven establishment music business could be to artists, to their  music and to the society most affected by their music.  

I will write in much  greater detail about SOON and the super crazy reality surrounding it, in the course of this memwa? but for the moment..

 I put the CD back in and listening to the voices, was transported to a time (January 1971), and a place, (backstage at The Ritz Theater, 48th street, New York City). Peopled by young and  beautiful hopefilled faces.

We were a cast of casts, absolutely bursting with the brightest promise and potential. Marta Heflin, Peter Allen, Nell Carter, Vicki Sue Robinson, Dennis Belline, Richard Gere, Leata Galloway, Marian Ramsey, Joe Butler, Michael Jason, Pendelton Brown, Pamela Pentony, Tony Middleton, John C. Nelson and Singer Williams. I don’t think that there has ever been a cast with more promise on a Broadway Stage.

 The whole of it and us, now only young and beautiful voices floating in my head. Peter Allen, Nell Carter, Vicki Sue Robinson, Dennis Belline, and who knows how many others, gone from this world.

Listening to the recording was a seesaw tsunami of happiness and horror.

Happiness at the heart and vocal performances demonstrated by the performers as (I suspect) they realized the ship was sinking but, by God, taking full advantage of their moment to shine. 

Peter Allen doing “Soon”, Nell Carter doing “To Touch The Sky”, Marta Heflin’s rendition of  “Annie’s Thing”, Tony Middleton’s ”One More Time”, Marian Ramsey killing them with “On The Charts”, Vicki Sue Robinson all but stopping the show in her duet with Richard Gere in “What’s Gonna Happen To Me When I’m Fifty”, Leata Galloway stopping the show with “Child Of Sympathy” 

The horror at how “Music Music” “Country Store Living” “It Won’t Be Long” “In Your Hands” and the bulk of the score were misunderstood and massacred, the scaldingly embarrassing snippets of dialog, and “showbiz” restructuring of sequence and scene.

 Anyway…

Here is a copy of the note that I emailed to the young man in Johnstown yesterday.

June, 6, 2011

Dear Michael,                                                             

Here are the Broadway recordings along with the noise reduced L.A. Recordings.

I have just heard the B’way production for the first time in forty years.

As you may know, the director, Robert Greenwald and I were fired and barred from the theatre, and “entertainment” type changes were made to our script against our wishes. I have just been listening to those changes and frankly, I am extremely embarrassed by them. I am also upset by how wrong for our style of music Louis St.Louis (the Musical Director) was, our musical phrasing is very much out of synch,

I would not choose to have the Broadway recordings of SOON represent me and my work to any one any where. I am only sending them to you because they may be contextually helpful as we go forward.

Please do not draw upon Louis St. Louis’s musical phrasing or the cockamamie dialog Martin Duberman inserted as something to emulate or reproduce, as I have absolutely no interest in doing that

Louis St. Louis was wonderful and right for Grease, but very much wrong for SOON.

You and I will, script in hand, talk through SOON some time in the near future and absolutely arrive at the best possible iteration of SOON ever presented.

Michael Meketa’s Johnstown Production of SOON will be the best ever.

It would behoove us to make sure that it is recorded at the best quality available.  

Sincerely,

Scott Fagan

 To be continued…

 

Book 4. Virgin Islands Singer Scott Fagan to perform at The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s big “CONVERGENCE IN RED HOOK” on May 7th 2011

May 1, 2011 6 comments

 Here is The Press release for the upcoming NYC gig.. followed by the “Backstory attachment” to that press release, that folks got. It’s here because this sort of stuff is interesting, and necessary in this business.

I have added the Theme form “SOON” and The Theme From “The Virgin Islands Songs” You will find them at the very bottom of the page.

BWAC.org is a great venue and we very much enjoy our time there, come on down (or up as the case may be) if you are free.

For immediate Release:
 
Virgin Islands Singer Scott Fagan (Subject of Jasper Johns Lithograph “Scott Fagan Record”, Author and Lyricist of “SOON” the very first Rock Opera produced on Broadway, and Father of 2009 OBIE Winner and Magnetic Fields front man Stephin Merritt), is coming to New York to perform at The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s big Spring opening “CONVERGENCE IN RED HOOK” on May 7th 2011.
 
Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band, are currently promoting their LIVE Album “SHAKE A BUM” which includes selections from Scott’s new Musical “The Virgin Islands Songs”. Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band will perform three sets between 1 and 5:30 PM.
 
The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Cooperative is located at 499 Vanbrunt Street, Brooklyn, NY. For Directions please visit bwac.org 
 
Please contact  Shari Brandt  717-944-1187 at the Middletown Area Arts Collective. www.middletownarts.com or scottfagan@lilfishrecords.com  
Thank you!

SCOTT FAGAN “De Real Ting Mon”

Scott who? Scott Fagan. Here’s the 411…

 Scott Fagan is a brilliant musician born in New York City and raised in the Virgin Islands.  This talented artist has a one of a kind sound with a Caribbeankick.  Scott has been an international recording artist since leaving Charlotte Amalie High School in 1964 to sign with Columbia Records. During that time he has released nine albums and multiple singles, in addition to writing and appearing in “SOON” the very first Rock Opera produced on Broadway!

 His Caribbean consciousness is manifested throughout his work. Scott’s musical innovations underlie the “Contemporary Caribbean” or “Caribilly” genre widely popularized by Jimmy Buffet, Kenny Chesney, and others.  His very first album, “South Atlantic Blues”, released in the summer of 1968, now recognized as a classic, inspired Jasper John’s lithographic series “Scott Fagan Record” part of the permanent collections of museums all over the world, including MOMA, The National Gallery, and The Tel Aviv.

Scott’s albums: “South Atlantic Blues”1968, “Many Sunny Places”1976, “Sandy the Bluenosed Reindeer”2000, “Buried Treasures, (The V.I Songs Vol. l)”2004, “Dreams Should Never Die” The V.I. Songs Vol. ll) 2005, ”SOON”2009, “The Virgin Islands Songs, The MUSICAL”2010, ”Buckra De Paehae” ( a spoken word Calypso Comedy album)2010, and most recently his LIVE album with The MAAC Island Band “Shake A Bum”2011, Can all be found at www.thecollectedworksofscottfagan.com

 Scott Fagan has spent 40 of the past 47 years, trying to revive his career after being “blacklisted” by the “old school” Music Business for his Rock Opera “SOON”.  Scott wrote “SOON” to bring attention to the “absurdity and cruelty of the music business, and its destructive effects on artists and society”.

Here’s what Martin Brookspan had to say:
“The tide of Rock musicals reaches its high water mark in SOON… an inventive, imaginative, brilliantly realized creation.”

Emory Lewis said:
“SOON is a hallelujah blessing, glorious music easily the best score of the season… I loved every rocking minute.”

And John Schubeck:
“Staggering shots of meaning. Dynamite in so many ways.”

In spite of reviews like these, and a cast which included Peter Allen, Richard Gere, Vickie Sue Robinson, Nell Carter, Marian Ramsey, and Leata Galloway, SOON was pulled the day after it opened.  Ironically, Scott’s son, Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields, Gothic Archie’s, The 666’s, and Future Bible Heroes fame, recently won the Obie award for his first musical “Coraline”. Quite a chip off the old block…

 So, where’s Scott Fagan now? He’s busy busy, gigging with the MAAC Island Band, promoting the LIVE album “Shake a Bum” and Scott’s own Calypso Comedy album “Buckra de Paehae”, keeping an eye on two of his musicals  in pre-production.  First is “The Virgin Island Songs”, scheduled to debut inSt. Thomas,Virgin Islands, and the other?? “SOON” scheduled for November, in Johnstown,Pennsylvania.  That’s right, “SOON” is back in production!

But wait, there’s more! You can catch Scott Fagan and the MAAC Island Band  live in New York on May 7th, 2011 (from 1-5:30 PM) at The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s big spring show “Convergence in Red Hookwww.bwac.org 

At The United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York’s Citywide Music Festival (Make Music New York) on June 21 st at 4:00PM, 

Or at Scott and the band’s stateside home base the Middletown Area Arts Collective (MAAC) (www.middletownarts.com) at 3 South Union Street in Middletown, PA.  (Contact Shari Brandt at 717-944-1187).Thank You!

The Theme from “SOON”

The Theme from “The Virgin Islands Songs”

Book 4. “LIVE” Captain Creole, With Mighty Whitey Dedication

January 23, 2011 1 comment

Book 4. “LIVE” Captain Creole, With Mighty Whitey Dedication…

I’ve  loved Nicky ever since he showed up as an eager, inquisitive,  freckle faced  kid in an Anglican school uniform, some time in the early sixties. He had a great spirit and a great big heart even then. Nicky, aka Mighty Whitey,  offered me the sincerest sort of complement  through the years by doing many of my original songs, including La Biega Carousel/Tutsie, Lord Cherrigo Sad, Archipelago Man, and Captain Creole.

I will always miss his laughing eyes and his sense of adventure, but most of all, his camaraderie. We  were comrades in a very select fraternity.

The dedication verse is now part of Captain Creole, and touches me  with the kind of  hopeful joy that Nicky embodied, each and every time I sing the song. My wish that it may have a similar effect on those of you that feel the way I do, about our friend “The Mighty Whitey” Nicky Russel.

CAPTAIN CREOLE

  

(Words And Music, Scott Fagan, ASCAP)

 The word spread through The Virgins, the Old Creole was dead  He died in the night of the full moon light, in a sword fight, in his bed, Some say he was crazy, he had a rum dream in his head But I will tell you, in his words, what Captain Creole said…

 He said “Old Pirates never die dry your eyes we don’t ever die, Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

 The Dancing Senoritas, the Ghosts of Buried Gold, The German and The African,that battled in his soul,The Jolly Jolly Rodger, The Treasure Ships of Spain, Called out to him and bid him come… back to The Spanish Main

 Because “Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes they don’t ever die, Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

 The word spread through The Virgins, Like the ringing of an old ships bell, The Preacher turned to Heaven, but most folks bet on Hell. The Old Creole was sinking, the Old Creole was gone, And we cried in the light of the full moon night, Whispering his song

 He said “Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes they don’t ever die, Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

 RECITATION: THIS ONE IS DEDICATED NOT ONLY TO CAPTAIN CREOLE HIMSELF, THE LATE GREAT CALWIN MARTIN MOOLINAR, BUT  TO OUR BEAUTIFUL FRIEND THE MIGHTY WHITEY, NICKY RUSSEL, WHO SANG THIS SONG SOO WELL AND  CALLED IT HIS FAVORITE OF THEM ALL. GOOD WINDS, GOOD FRIENDS, AND GOD SPEED …FOREVER MORE”

 Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes we don’t ever die, Old Pirates never die, they just sail awayyyyyy”

 The recording is from the current “Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band” LIVE CD “Shake a Bum” found through the link below.  www.thecollectedworksofscottfagan.com

Book 4 Concert In NYC

August 5, 2010 1 comment

Book 4 Aug 8th, Concert In NYC

Just back from The islands, I am getting ready for my next gig. We (me and the MAAC ISLAND BAND) are doing a concert  version of my new musical ‘THE VIRGIN ISLANDS SONGS” on Aug 8th at 3:00 pm at The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (www,bwac.org)  49 Vanbrunt Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn.

It’s odd to think that II haven’t done a gig in New York for over 28 years. I love New York City. Most recently, my little one Holiday and I took a bus  from  up from our pad in Pennsylvania and spent the day there.

We walked around the theater district looking at the markees and visited  The Ritz Theater (Now the Walter Kerr)  on 48th street, where my Rock Opera SOON played. We also took a ride on the Staten Island ferry, and ended our day by visiting Ground Zero.

I have much history in New York and am excited to do this gig.

A gaggle of characters from the collective will be coming along and I promise you that they (we) are as odd an assortment  of people as has ever met the eye, ear, nose, or imagination. It will be fun…and  friends, it’s looking like after all is said and done love and fun may be close to what it’s all, after all, all about.

Come see us in New York if you can, I’ll be looking for you!