arsenic flavored cookies
Frank Bango
  by marie bertino
.& the Magic Fingers
I met Frank Bango and his band, The Magic Fingers, when they opened for Mike Doughty at North Six in March, '04. Frank Bango is a New York singer/songwriter whose 2nd and most recent CD "The Unstudied Sea" is a mix of thoughtful lyrics and Beach Boys melodies (see our "Reviews" section).

WS -
MP3 -
OTHER - album review

Frank Bango side order = popsalad = folk cake = melody
what it is
Well-written, layered melodies for the thinking man



1. How did you meet The Magic Fingers?

The magic fingers are a great collective of musicians from Hoboken. I used to live there and they have made themselves available to me and put up with many of my passing whims. They are all in other bands. We have a studio in Hoboken called the Thinktank and it serves as a place for us to work on music and drink beers.

2. What is your favorite NYC venue to play and why?

Of course I'm partial to the Mercury Lounge. We like the way we sound there and they have always been supportive. I also like the Luna Lounge. It's low key and sounds great for a small room. They too have stuck by me for a long time.

3. One of the things I like about your music is the presence of actual songs: beginning, middle, and end with a story quality. How autobiographical are your songs?

I write my songs with my songwriting partner Richy Vesecky. We go out of our way to make sure they have a beginning , middle and end. We are mostly inspired by the work ethic of Brill Building era writers. The thought of craft and using a song to convey a story. I don't really find vague songwriting does anything for me. I think mostly people use it as an excuse not to develop an idea.

4. Some of your songs, I¹m thinking specifically of Olivia 101, have a pleasing Costello feel to them. Have you ever been compared to Elvis Costello?

As long as it's pleasing....Costello is definitely an influence. I can see why people spot the influence but I think there are some others that, to me seem just as obvious. But if people hear Costello that's A OK with me. I used to get worried about that but after trying to fight it for years I just decided that he was a bona fide influence. I hope that my love for Ray Davies and Brian Wilson are also apparent but most importantly I hope that
all of these influences make enough room for Frank Bango.

5. Do you notice any similarities among bands that get signed in New York?

For the most part I find there is a lot of Jumping on stage. Many of the bands look fantastic and some of them have a few good songs. Getting signed and making music are two very different animals.

6. What singer/bands do you listen to?

I generally just listen to old song writers. Always a lot of Charlie Rich and the Kinks. Girl Groups from the 50s and 60s. I just bought a cd by a woman named Juana Molina from Argentina who I think is great. I like the new Ron Sexsmith Record

7. Can you share an experience you¹ve had at a show (either yours or someone else¹s) that has made you happy to be alive and playing?

It has struck me as quite a feeling to be on stage vibrating at different frequencies and sending sound waves to an audience. When I really take the time to think about what is going on at a show I get a little trippy. And the fact that there are sometimes hundreds of people waiting to try and get on your frequency. They are standing in front of you wanting to get in tune with what you are doing. Harmonies are good too. I like hearing the four
of us sing and have it come back through the monitors at just the right blend. I think that is also a very powerful thing to send out to an audience. Harmony it's quite simple but often overlooked.

8. The album art on "Unstudied Sea" is beautiful. How did the ideas in those photographs come about?

Those Photographs were taken by Simone White. She is a photographic genius. I'm not sure how it came about. That's my bathroom and the girl in the tub was Maria my Norwegian room-mate. Her Dad and uncle were in the next room while we shot the photo. They happened to be visiting. I had asked Maria if she would pose in the tub for us. She did it very casually in about five minutes before going out to eat with her dad and uncle.
I remember wanting to have some feeling of getting home late at night possibly a little drunk and having a nice silent comfortable moment with a loved one. We spent about 10 minutes getting it. Both Simone and Maria were great. I just sat there.

9. If your band was a kind of food, what kind of food would they be?

"a cookie full of Arsenic"....Sydney Falco The Sweet Smell Of Success

10. Do you have a favorite deli in New York?

Does Vaselka count as a Deli?? I guess that's more a Diner. I used to live right next door to Katz's I don't have many good memories of that so I'm going with Vaselka even though it's a Diner.