Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Danny Klein Stone Crazy article written in August, 2005

STONE CRAZY for Arts Media Magazine
(60,000 issue bi-monthly; largest arts mag in New

The story of the musical group Stonecrazy and the
creation of their album, "Stone Crazy", is a snapshot
of just how hard it is to record and market important
art as the new millennium rambles on. One would think
the pairing of blues guitarist Kenny Pino - sideman to
the legendary Johnny Copeland - and J. Geils bassist
Danny Klein - would be the kind of combination major
record companies would snap at. You've got two
players who toured Europe with Debbie Davies, giving
these professionals time to find their own groove,
along with seven to eight years to carefully put the
pieces of Stonecrazy together.

Factoring in the collective longevity and ability
to track solid music efficiently and effectively,
signing the group to one of the J. Geils Band's old
homes - EMI or Atlantic - should have been elementary.
But we are talking about the nuttiest business in the
history of the universe, and important art doesn't
always get its due.

With a torturously slow incubation, the initial
Stonecrazy tapes - much like J. Geils starts and stops
when Jon Landau was producing the early 1969 or so
sides that never made their way to vinyl, Danny Klein,
Ken Pino, harp-playing brother Babe Pino and drummer
Steve Shaheen put some music together in the studio.
With Shaheen's drumming they had a good, laid-back
style, a live show in Chelsea caught on video back in
the late 1990s documenting that part of their
evolution. The first CDR of studio material had a
special charm in a world where the blues market is
just glutted with material. No label picked it up,
and though it got aired along with a Danny Klein
interview on Mark Snyder's AM radio show on WMSX, and
with college radio play recognizing there was
something here, the early Stonecrazy demos became
casualties of record label indifference, and sought
after collector's items by hardcore Geils fanatics.

Enter Mark Hylander of the groups Sass and Duke
and The Drivers. Hylander phoned this writer up and
asked if there was a band looking for his talents.
Knowing Shaheen was about to leave Stonecrazy, the
thought of Geils' bassist playing alongside Duke and
The Driver's drummer made perfect sense - "Duke",
after all, was a band that idolized the Geils attitude
and mystique. The union worked, and despite an
interruption when Geils got back together to tour in
1999, the group has stayed intact with Babe Pino,
Ken Pino, Danny Klein and Mark Hylander.

A little background on the concept's development:

Danny Klein is a Boston rock & roll pioneer and
legend. When Peter Wolf and Stephen Jo Bladd were in
a 1960s band called "The Hallucinations", Danny, John
"J" Geils and Magic Dick were taking classes at
Worcester Poly Tech and playing in their ensemble -The
J. Geils Blues Band. When they all joined forces and
signed to Atlantic, their unique brand of blues/pop
fusion started taking hold, especially with the
classic "Homework". The band eventually recorded with
the great duo Buddy Guy and Junior Wells on Atlantic
in 1972. A decade later Buddy Guy went on to release
an album on Alligator entitled "Stone Crazy".

Circa 2002 John "J" Geils produced the band at
Wellspring Sound in Acton, and recorded some guitar
on tracks with Stonecrazy, as did keyboardist Seth
Justman. It's actually the first time three members of
J.Geils' band are back together in the studio. The
group was offered a contract with Gerry Beaudoin's
Francesca Records around this time, a label that
issues John Geils own material, and four of the
tracks, "Fooled Myself", "Buttercup", "Mr. Blue"
and "Woulda Coulda" made the rounds on radio and
cable tv.

Come 2005 the band finds their music released on
Al Cocorochio's Black Rose Records - a label that
boasts Sal Baglio's Stompers, Tom Hambridge, Boston
Rockabilly Music Conspiracy and others. That it took
over eight years for the fourteen tracks to finally
see the light of day is a good indicator of how tough
it is to get the formula just right when major labels
are too busy buying each other up to get behind the
work of musicians who have already paid their dues.
Musicians who are the real deal.

joe viglione
1995-2005 Our Tenth Year on Television!

Creating Content since 1995!
featuring Joe Viglione - host of TV EYE, established in 1979.


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