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.
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?
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?
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.