Lane Steinberg has a pretty impeccable record among pop fans
who've been lucky enough to follow his career, so its a kind
of a jolt to see him taking a left turn with a late in 2009 CD release
from Cracked Latin, his new band with long time cohort, Venezuelan
singer Luis Accorsi. Described in the press as a mix of Latin
rock, American pop and soul music amplified with a heavy dose of late
60s psychedelia, Cracked Latins CD, entitled The
World Is Cracked Latin is an el grande kaleidoscopic epic
of Spanglish-ed rock and roll that is the aural equivalent of a wild
romp through Miami Beach after midnight. A musical prodigy and ace
guitarist hailing from Queens in NYC, Lanes catalog with his
early bands The Wind, Noel Cowards Ghost and Tan Sleeve harks
back to the mid 80s. For a good example of Steinbergs
solo work, give a listen to his early 2009 CD Passion And Faith,
released on the Transparency Records imprint. With Lane handling
all the instruments and vocals, save for a rare string quartet on
a collaboration of a Zolton Kodaly composition, the 13 track Passion
& Faith CD runs the range of quirky pop sung in English, Portuguese,
and Spanish including a sizable rock cover, sung in English, of the
Jobim classic How Insensitive (must be heard to be believed),
a 21 minute cover of the Grateful Dead classic Dark Star
(Lane's true to form one man full band sounding cover, Jerry Garcia
psychedelic guitar sound and all!) even topped by a way cool, bouncy
and bubbly pop collaboration with New Jerseys own R.Stevie
Moore. Lane has over the years been viewed by local area neighbors
here in the borough of beautiful Northern Queens as Forest Hills'
version of Paul McCartney. After all of the above, Lane now enters
the era of Cracked Latin, finding a unique match with Luis Accorsis
wild lyrics and vocals, mostly sung in English (with a few Spanglish
textured add-ons) that borders on Latin avant garde, and that flashes
back to Accorsis work with the Latin rockers Jainz Kapella.
Backed up by the drums of Tony Fats Musante and
a full horn section, Lanes multi-instrumentalized studio guitar
sound really stretches out in Cracked Latins global rock mix.
With so many musical twists and turns and lyrics that would make Captain
Beefheart blush, Cracked Latin is the kind of wild, world beat
rock groove that Frank Zappa could tune into. Recorded in NYC and
Caracas, Cracked Latin reaches across continents in search of its
awesome, experimental sound and in doing so, zigzags skyward with
its neo Tito Puente-produced-by-Zappa type sound. And that wild and
crazy CD cover art should be nominated for a grammy or something.
WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents CRACKED LATIN:
An Interview with LANE STEINBERG and LUIS ACCORSI
Lane Steinberg and Luis Accorsi discuss the new Cracked Latin
STEINBERG: Luis was in New York for the summer a few years ago
and we started hanging out - we're old college friends. We'd shoot
the shit, drink espresso, and listen to old salsa and early Stones'
records. One day, Luis played me some tracks he recorded in Venezuela
and I started offering up some possible directions, a sort of hybrid
of these things we'd been listening to. Luis got really excited about
this idea which inspired me further. We noticed a very similar energy
to British R&B, like the Stones, and, say, early Celia Cruz records
and we wanted to explore that relationship.
LUIS ACCORSI: ...and make it psychedelic. We tried to weave
a fabric from diametrically opposed cultural idiosyncrasies, and the
collision of these two separate musicological teachings is the foundation
of the inspiration.
LS: We started banging out songs one after another and really got
on a roll. We went back to Caracas and cut some of the new tunes we'd
written up here and re-cut a few of the ones Luis did earlier with
a new focus.
Great horn section we had, these guys who played together since they
were six, seven. Then I took the stuff and worked on it further at
my studio, Wild Feed. Michael Sheppard from the Transparency label
(Sun Ra, Rodelius, Alessandra Celletti, and my last solo CD, Passion
& Faith) heard some early roughs and flipped. He was like,
You gotta let me put this out. It was all completely unintended.
Sometimes that's the best way. This is a departure for both of us,
really took us out of our comfort zone. Some weird stuff happened
during the making of this CD. There was a small plane crash at the
next building over where we were working. It was all over the news.
We were recording "Caracas Shakedown" and there was this
enormous boom and we were, like, 'What the hell?' Then there we all
these sirens and we turned on CNN and saw that it was all happening
next door! You know, New York after 9/11, one always fears the worst.
We went and cut the vocal track anyway. You can hear the sirens in
there. We like leaving some of that in, the city sounds. Sometimes
we record background vocals out on the terrace. Actually, though,
most of the time we were cracking up. Lots of joy and laughter. We
left that in as well. I love hearing people laugh on albums. All in
all, it's a very New York record, even though it's completely international
in flavor, which, I suppose, makes perfect sense.
LA: And it's more viral than any H1N1 strain could ever wish to be.
Is that in poor taste?
Latin: Musical Backgrounds
LANE STEINBERG: I started as a drummer, moved to guitar when
I was twelve. Luis also started as a drummer.
LUIS ACCORSI: Not exactly. I began in music as the castrato in a medieval
church until my voice broke.
LS: Right, I forgot. Then they chased him down the hill with a cleaver!
Couldn't catch him. (laughter)
LA: After the trauma of the church, I rapidly devolved until I found
myself in the ignoble position of drummer of the first Venezuelan
punk/rock band. That started the chain of troubles that brought me
to the States.
LS: Luis was the original drummer in my first band, The Wind, which
was formed when we both went to the University Of Miami together.
The Wind went on to do our Motown/Beatles thing and Luis started a
Latin punk rock band, Jainz Kapella, which was quite popular in Caracas,
though they never cut a record. They moved back here, and ended up
running from the law after there was a murder at a house they were
squatting in, in San Diego. But Jainz Kapella begat a crucial connective
point for Cracked Latin in Luis's collaborator, Joey Schutmaat, a
prodigy of sorts who died suddenly at a criminally young age. He was
one of the finest musicians I've ever had the pleasure to know. Played
anything. Stick an instrument in his hands, and he'd play it with
virtuosity. Scary talent. We'd talk a lot about him when we first
started getting together again, and he became sort of a guiding spirit,
the silent third member of Cracked Latin. The record is dedicated
LS: I met Luis in a drawing class. I took notice when he started berating
the professor for criticizing his figure drawing. We started hanging
out soon after that. Our musical roles these days are not carefully
delineated. We both play the usual one man band things to varying
degrees of proficiency. In Cracked Latin, so far, I probably play
more of the actual parts, whereas Luis contributes the sweeping gestures.
I just try to contextualize and give voice to his energy, as he's
out front. My musical default tends to be more linear, and Luis's
is more freewheeling. I do the fine line work; Luis the broad brush
LA: Lane has the wherewithal to compose, direct, and capture the essence
of what I can emit. The radical spark that ignites our assemblings
is nothing short of ecstatic, especially when you hear it taking place.
The saying goes, 'Tell me who you go with, and I'll tell you who you
are'. The sessions are all then brought back to Lane's top secret
laboratory, where he stretches time to regurgitate what was digested
and give birth to the 'songs'.
Lane Steinberg compares the new Cracked Latin CD to
his 2009 solo CD, Passion & Faith
Well, I love pop music, though I'm not a fan of the word 'pop', which
always connotates disposability to my ears. Instead of 'pop based
releases', I'd rather say 'song based releases', which actually clarifies
that there really isn't that much of a difference at the core: it's
all about the songs. I don't quite know how to categorize Cracked
Latin, which I love.
Someone said it's 'Tito Puente meets Syd Barrett'. I'll go with that.
It's modern music, that's for sure. I guess my work with Steve Katz
in Tan Sleeve is what passes for 'pop' in the current vernacular,
as it harkens back to 60's-70's AM radio, when popular music was in
its golden era. My solo stuff is way more eclectic. I've digested
to a lot of music and have a wide stylistic reference point from which
to adorn any given tune, but it all comes down to melody, harmony,
rhythm, and lyrics. You put a solid performance over those strong
elements, you might have a good record.
My last CD, Passion & Faith, is a varied collection, to
say the least. I'd been earlier listening a lot to Milton Nascimento's
'Clube Da Esquina', and some of the other records done around the
same time with the people from that circle, guys like Lo Borges, Beto
Guedes, and Tavinho Moura. This music had a profound effect on me.
I would say there were some major musical epiphanies in my life, and
this had been the most recent. So I cover four songs by those guys
and sing them in Portuguese. Another epiphany was the first time I
heard Dark Star by the Grateful Dead, back in 9th grade.
Still haven't recovered. I also cover that on Passion & Faith,
a 21-minute version. And, of course, there's also some great originals,
Cracked Latin: Luis and Lane on the Cracked Latin CD cover art
ACCORSI: The image is supposed to arouse an incorrect emotion, something
that pulls you from all parts and places into sharp relief the pathetic
prurient 'we are not innocent like when we were born' state of mind,
the hard journey of development from childhood to adulthood with its
uncomfortable encumbrances and augured investigations...including
LANE STEINBERG: That was our initial concept that was further developed
by Jon La Porta, who did the cover shot. We put out a casting call
and picked out the girl with the longest legs.
Cracked Latin: Guitars featured on The World Is Cracked Latin
STEINBERG: There's a ton of guitars on the CD, though you have to
really listen for half of them, as they're part of the fabric. Luis
has a great Rickenbacker 360 12 string that we both played on En
Estos Tiempos. He does the McGuinn parts. He also has this horrid
Fender with these parallelogram pickups - can't remember the name
- that's on The Expatriate. Nasty sound, that has, but
it fit perfectly. Besides that, there's a '74 Telecaster, a '52 Telecaster,
a Guild Bluesbird, a DeArmond M-77, a Jazzmaster reissue, an ESP Strat,
a Martin 00-17, a Tatay classical, and a 70's Fender Precision I bought
at a moving sale for $35 on the condition that I also buy the practice
amp for ten bucks. And then there's the usual (and not so usual) keyboard
sounds and samples. Nothing was amped, all internal sounds with plug
ins. I also use an original SansAmp and a Danelectro Leslie box. I
use flats on the Precision and D'Daddario 10's on my electric's.
ACCORSI: Unfortunately, Jagger is still a big one. Funny thing, is
that Jagger never wished he was anybody but himself. Well, maybe Muddy
LANE STEINBERG: Early Stones, Beatles, Tito Puente, Machito, Syd Barrett.
These are Cracked Latin's stylistic reference points thus far. What's
in my CD changer right now? Malipiero's - Sinfonia Del Mar.
Gorgeous music, like a great Sibelius tone poem. And on my turntable
is The Jimmy Castor Bunch's Bertha Butt Boogie record.
LA: Xavier Cugat, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Pacheco...
LS: Howlin' Wolf, Chopin, Sinatra...we're all over the map.
STEINBERG: We have a killer band we're playing with that was put together
by our music director, Charlie Zelaney. We're playing our 2nd gig
on January 14th at The Bitter End in the city, trying to getting this
band warm. We have a cartoon that we did for Caracas Shakedown
that's going to be released in a few days. It's going to be very controversial
because it pokes fun at the Chavez regime. Trust me, it's a riot.
It'll be up on You Tube and on our website in a bit.
LUIS ACCORSI: We want to follow the Beatles trajectory linearly
but backwards. Not in the respect of their relationships, but the
deviated musical tangents that mark their evolution. At the beginning
of our career we go all psychedelic, and at the end we want to play
Buddy Holly covers at 3 AM in a bar in Hamburg!
is almost done
Our myspace is:
You can contact through there for now.