‘The Lost Boys’ actor Tim Cappello is the real Sexy Sax Man

Tim Cappello still believes …. Photo by Steve Dolinsky.

For decades, Tim Cappello served as a sideman and multi-instrumentalist sharing stages, recording, and acting with a laundry list of celebrities, including Tina Turner, Ringo Starr, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, Billy Crystal, Carly Simon, Gregory Hines, and more. He studied at the New England Conservatory of Music with renowned improv jazz pianist and instructor Lennie Tristano. His early ’80s shock-rock band the Ken Dolls were banned from playing Manhattan’s famed CBGB punk dive due to the softcore porno flicks he created to accompany their live shows.

Cappello’s life and musical career are the stuff of legend, yet everything he’s accomplished pales in comparison to the notoriety he gained from the mere 12 seconds of screen time that he landed in director Joel Schumacher’s 1987 teen-angst vampire classic The Lost Boys. With his pro-wrestler physique, wailing saxophone and a pelvic thrust that registers on the Richter scale, Cappello is a pop culture icon known to most as the real Sexy Sax Man.

Since releasing his 2018 debut CD, Blood on the Reed, Cappello has been touring the country as a one-man act. At 64 years old, it’s his first real endeavor taking the stage as the star of the show. Along the way, he’s encountered an overwhelming response from audiences, surpassing anything he could have possibly anticipated.

“No one seemed to care about me when I was their age,” Cappello says. “Then, no one gave a shit about me when I was their father’s age. But now that I’m their grandfather’s age, I’m meeting all of these young people that have tattoos of me,” he laughs. “Since I’ve been out on the road, I must have met 150 people who have a tattoo of me on their bodies.” Continue reading at Flagpole.

Kristen Englenz shines with ‘ingénue,’ Soul Food Cypher celebrates women in hip-hop, and more Atlanta music news

OH EVENIN’ STAR: Kristen Englenz’s debut album is out now. Photo by Leona Tryon.

Over the last three years, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Kristen Englenz has spent much of her time traveling back and forth between Nashville and Atlanta, although she still calls Atlanta home. On Friday, March 6, she returned to the Eddie’s Attic stage to play the release show for her proper debut album ingénue — and yes, that’s ingénue with a lowercase i.

“I thought it was more visually pleasing, interesting, and balanced,” Englenz says. “However, I have found that most people are capitalizing it anyways, so I may have to get over that.”

The album is the follow-up to Englenz’s 2015 The Extent of Play EP, and was recorded by Ken Coomer of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo fame at Cartoon Moon Studios in Nashville. As the story goes, Englenz had been enlisted to sing back-up on Decatur-based songwriter Mike Killeen’s album Ghost, which Coomer happened to be recording and producing. When Coomer heard Englenz’s parts, he approached her to produce ingénue. Coomer also plays drums and percussion throughout the album, and one early single, “Pray for Rain,” features the golden voices of the Blind Boys of Alabama singing as well. Continue reading at CL.

Moonstompin: Monty Neysmith tells a tale of ska, skinheads, and Symarip

ZUBABA: Monty Neysmith performing in Sidney Poitiers 1973 film A Warm December. Photo courtesy Monty Neysmith.

In the secret history of ska, rocksteady, bluebeat, and reggae music, few names carry such bedrock mystique as Monty Neysmith. In the fall of 1965, he moved from his home near Kingston, Jamaica to the U.K. to study law at Lincoln’s College London. But rather than sticking with the curriculum, he fell in with his cousin Roy Ellis and a band called the Bees, playing American soul and R&B hits by the likes of James Brown, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding. He bought a Vox organ, and what was supposed to be just a weekend gig playing with the Bees turned into an every-night affair. After a few lineup changes, and a one-off gig in a Jamaican club, everything changed.

“We used to play songs like “My Girl” and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” But for the gig at the Jamaican club we added in a couple of Skatalites songs,” Neysmtih says. “Roy blew them on the trombone, and I remember doing a few vocal songs as well. When we finished the first one the place went wild. Finished the second one: Wilder. The guy who ran the club was named Charlie, and he said, “Why don’t you guys play more ska, man?”

Over time, ska became an increasingly bigger part of the Bees’ repertoire, which landed them on the road backing up the legendary Prince Buster, and an honest-to-goodness hit backing Eddy Grant of the Equals (and later of “Electric Avenue” fame) for the 1967 single, “Train Tour To Rainbow City.”

It was Grant who prompted the group to change its name to the Pyramids. Later, to work around contractual obligations, they spelled the name backwards, and gave it a twist to roll off the tongue with a little more ease — Symarip. Skinhead Moonstomp was another alias as well, which culminated in the 1969 underground classic LP that captures a day in the life of working class London.

While the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who were ascending to pop greatness in the U.K., Symarip literally brought boots to the dancefloor, as the city’s skinhead subculture rallied to the tune of Neysmith’s clarion call: “I want all you skinheads to get up on your feet. Put your braces together and your boots on your feet, and give me some of that old moonstompin.’”

It was a cultural mashup of the times — the same year that astronaut Neil Armstrong left that first dusty boot print on the moon, Neysmith and Co. were commanding audiences to scuff up dancehall floors with songs such as the oompah-laced “Skinhead Jamboree,” the breezy “Skinhead Girl,” and a swinging version of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking.”

Despite the good natured and celebratory vibe of the music, semantics in the post-Geraldo Rivera world of tabloid journalism have aligned the term “skinhead” with right-wing hooligans. But this corrupt definition of the music, scene, and culture could not be further from the ethics of the community that rallied around Symarip’s shows.

“I have to explain it to people everywhere — in America, in Jamaica — whenever they hear ‘Skinhead Girl’ or ‘Skinhead Moonstomp,’ they start asking,” Neysmith says. “I say listen, you have to understand that the skinheads you hear about are false skinheads. They are bone heads who just stole the style. Real skinheads love Jamaican culture and they love Jamaican music. It was the real skinheads — the working class — who kept Jamaican music alive for all these years. It’s just a culture and a way of life,” he goes on to say. “It’s much bigger now than it was when we made the Skinhead Moonstomp record. For example, last year and the year before I played at a concert called “The Great Skinhead Reunion” in Brighton. Skinheads from Germany, Spain, Italy, France, the UK, and all over the world came for the whole weekend. These are authentic, diehard fans. Most of them dress the part: a lot of boots, tattoos, low haircuts, the girls come out with their curls. Nobody is there to start fights. They’re there for the music — Jamaican music, Northern soul music, from Northern England and all that. I love the skins, man. They’ve kept me alive!”

Over the years, Neysmith has continued performing under various names such as Zubaba, which landed a part in Sidney Poitier’s 1973 film, titled A Warm December. More recently Neysmith has continued performing with an on-going version of the original group that’s now dubbed Symarip Pyramids featuring Neysmith along with original members Michael Thomas and Frank Pitter. Since the late ‘80s and early ‘90s Neysmith has called Atlanta home, where he continues writing and performing under the name Monty Montgomery.

On February 28, Neysmith headlines the 2020 Winter Weekender festival at the Earl. He’ll be joined on stage by a coterie of Atlanta musicians including guitar player Rob Kincheloe, drummer Michael Griffeth, and members of the Southern Ska Syndicate including bass player Jay Wallace, guitar player Lester Dragstedt, tenor saxophonist Brett Rakestraw, trombone player Andy Hawley, trumpet player, Chad Paulin, and keyboard player Billy Fields.

The group is performing the album Skinhead Moonstomp start to finish, along with a few solo numbers and a new Symarip Pyramids song, titled “War On Mars.” And when he delivers the line, “Martians are trying to steal our ska,” he pushes the music and the culture one boot print further, to the moon and beyond.

Friday, February 28. $20. 8 p.m. (doors). Monty Neysmith with members of the Southern Ska Syndicate. DJs Darren Reggae, Rico Rejoie, and Yaya Birg also perform. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E. www.badearl.com.

The Fictive Five (Less One Live): Forget Reality, Larry Ochs talks composition and structured improvisation

The Fictive Five photo by Petra Cvelbar

In the fall of 1969, Larry Ochs was bouncing between majors at the University of Pennsylvania, while working as a college radio DJ at 88.5 FM/WXPN. “I was a rock guy back then, I liked Jimi Hendrix,” he says. “The station had an incredible jazz collection but at the time I didn’t know much about jazz.”

One afternoon, word spread that a ‘pretty far out band’ was playing in a decommissioned church not far from WXPN’s studio. As Ochs recalls, most of the staff was going to the show, so he went too.

What he encountered there was none other than the Sun Ra Arkestra. The ceiling was so low, he remembers, that the performers couldn’t stand all the way up without bumping their heads.

“All that power was happening in this tiny church basement,” he says. “Being there, witnessing that performance really changed my life. I didn’t get what the hell was going on, but I sure wanted to go back. There were dancers running through the crowd because there was no room for them on stage,” he adds. “The whole experience made the world move under my feet.” Read the full feature story at The Chattanooga Pulse.

The Fictive Five plays three shows on its current run through the Southeast: On Tuesday, March 4 at Timucua Arts Foundation Orlando, Florida, at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Barking Legs Theatre on Thursday, March 5, and at Hendershots in Athens, Georgia on Friday, March 6.

Classic City Wax compilation captures a moment in Athens hip-hop

One of the more popular numbers from Athens rapper Squalle’s repertoire is a song called “Til We Fall.” For the artist born Torrance Wilcher, and raised in the Rolling Ridge and Pauldoe neighborhoods, the song is a hardcore statement of purpose.

“I’ve been on my mission from my birth,” Squalle rhymes. “My ambition I would like to give to the Earth/ And since you’re Mother Earth, you can share it with the world/ I wanna be the truth that our boys and our girls see/ I learned I was created from the dirt, so I gotta show these trees where they started from first.”

Squalle’s words are a community rallying cry—a decree to set an example by always remembering where you came from and never forgetting where you want to go. “Til We Fall” is one of 12 songs featured on a new compilation LP titled Classic City Wax, Vol. 1. The record is a survey of Athens’ brightest hip-hop artists, from Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Linqua Franqa to rising artists LG, Motorhead 2x, Son Zoo, LB, Kxng Blanco, DK, Cassie Chantel, The YOD, Caulfield and elder statesman Ishues. Continue reading at Flagpole Magazine.

Kronos Quartet violinist David Harrington discusses the power, mystery of music in ‘Penn State News’

Kronos Quartet photo by Jay Blakesberg

“The very last thing the great Polish composer Henryk Górecki said to me was, “I hope one day I will understand how music works.” And that’s been inscribed in my inner being. If Henryk — one of the most incredibly musical people on the planet — didn’t understand how it works, I don’t think anybody could. He had the presence of mind and the humility to say he didn’t understand it. And he confirmed what I feel. How does it work? It’s a mystery that I love to explore every day of my life.” — David Harrington

Read the full Q&A at Penn State News.

Atlanta Music News: Soul Food Cypher turns 8 + new music from Upchuck, Arbor Labor Union, DKA, and more in the February issue of CL

THE CREW: Soul Food Cypher is calling on 100 emcees to join their ranks. Photo courtesy Soul Food Cypher

Since 2012, Soul Food Cypher has convened on the fourth Sunday of each month to showcase the positive and constructive role that rap music can play in shaping daily life. By concentrating on expanding consciousness through the craft and ingenuity of freestyle rap and spoken language, SFC builds structure by facilitating regular cyphers (a group of freestyle rappers rhyming in a cyclical motion, following each other’s lead) that foster creativity and a sense of camaraderie within the city’s underground hip-hop scene.

“Our aim is to provide Atlanta’s lyricist community with a safe and nurturing environment where their voices and artistry can grow,” says SFC’s executive director Alexander Acosta. “We look to solidify the art of freestyling as a genuine aesthetic to the wider artistic community and carry this rich tradition to the next generation.” Continue reading at Creative Loafing.