Monday, August 2, 2010

The Alexis P. Suter Band

Last Thursday evening I was in my living room attempting to write the previous post while doing my best at avoiding the bluesy/gospel sounding music below. (I live across the way from Wagner Park, where there are free concerts every Thursday night.) 

My technique of ignoring the music went a little like this: Jane hops on her bed to stare down at the ant like people below, she wonders how much fun they're having, she paces around on her bed, she then returns to her computer in the living room, and repeat. Yips I did that until I realized, O yeah this isn't going to work if I force it. (Note to self: Nothing ever works when you force it.) So I went downstairs with Baby, (My dog.) in bag since Wagner Park doesn't allow dogs. 

When I got to Wagner there were more people there than what the view from my window reported. I took a spot ten or so feet behind the sound table right near a pair of deserted shoes and a thrown over walker. There was some serious positive energy going on there... When the band went on to their next song, I started to move to the music. How can you not move to lyrics like: "Don't have to move your head....Don't have to move your lips, just move your hips..Do the hip shake baby." And before this was sang, Alexis P. Suter, of the Alexis P. Suter Band said into the mic, "Shake your hips cuz I'm tired, and I don't feel like breaking the stage." Ah, how glorious is that? 

When the concert was over I headed towards the stage without a plan. I knew I had to find something out. But I wasn't sure how to go about it.

While I was taking a photo of a poster that was attached to the stage, I was approached by this guy who introduced himself, and who asked if I followed the band. I told him no, that I lived close by and I couldn't fight the sound that traveled up. He then communicated that he used to play with the band. Then he asked if I would like to meet them. (! What?) 

What I learned when I met Ray Grappone (The drummer/percussionist.)  was that he was Brooklyn born and raised, that the band writes their own songs, and that, "I used to tour with  Chorus Line." When I looked Ray up I learned that he performed in over 20 off and on Broadway productions, that Ray played at places like the Lincoln Center, the New York State Opera, and Madison Square Garden. He's done more, but the reason I'm highlighting accomplishments is cuz he barely spoke about himself. There's something to that. 

When I shook hands with Alexis I noticed that she wasn't wearing any shoes. She was in her socks. She wore a button up dress shirt, and her voice.. Her voice sounded like what producers do when tweaking other person's voices when at the studio. This woman could sing opera if she chose to. But let's leave her voice in the waiting room for a sec and focus on her presence. She didn't seem like a woman. She seemed like a passion. .. I've never seen anyone so entirely drenched with what they're doing. She isn't doing, she is the music. And it isn't for the money, it's more of a -- this is how I feel alive -- thing... I met a man from Whales on my rooftop a week ago...He said, "If you do what makes you happy money will come." I hope that's true world. And moving along..(Alexis can sort of be seen here.)

When I spoke to Alexis I asked the dumbest question evah, "How did your voice get like that?" Alexis explained that she's a bass/baritone. Then she mentioned something about smoking a lot of Marlboro Reds. .. I followed that question with: "When did you start singing, have you always pursued it?" The response: Alexis started singing at three, her mother was a singer, who sang with Mahalia Jackson and Harry Belafonte. Alexis then expressed that she started out singing in choirs, and that she never stopped. 

Afterwards, I acknowledged the New York City moment, then I went up stairs and looked up the Alexis P. Suter Band. A Myspace Page came up and I listened to, "In The City." Yeah, sometimes I feel that way. But not on that day. 

The Alexis P. Suter Band will be back playing with B.B. King this month. I suggest you check her out cuz there aren't many people like her around. 

I'm still sending you good vibes!

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