Winner of National Parenting Publications Award, 2005
Hello from NYC and welcome to (a short synopsis of) my world. Ever since I was a Charlie Chaplin/Willy Wonka obsessed little kid, growing up in Woodmere, Long Island, I've wanted to entertain people. But since I was really good at being shy, and also adept at creative writing (according to many an elementary school teacher of mine), I managed to keep a low profile for most of my life. Sure, I made a bunch of 3 minute super 8 films as a young teenager and recorded improvised parodies of radio call-in shows on cheapo cassette tapes in my room. But trust me, an appearance on Johnny Carson was hardly ever imminent.
-Then came college, Union College, in frigid Schenectady, N.Y. Having just discovered the magic possible in pop music, thanks to my best friend Doug introducing me to The Kinks, I began to crave any and all songwriting of similar wit and melody. This led me to dj a weekly radio show and absorb a whole library of new sounds and exciting discoveries; the ultimate being the brilliant British band XTC. By the time I graduated with honors in 1985, I had recorded my first 25-minute batch of silly songs, without having the ability to play a single instrument other than my mouth. And I had initiated a friendship with Andy Partridge - the primary songwriter of XTC.
Spurred on by the fun I had writing and recording, and the (mostly) positive comments I received from friends and family, I plunged ears-first into home recording. From 1985 through 1990 I completed 3 full length cassette albums: pOp cOrn (1987), Extravaganza Deluxe! (1988), and Henway - Big Hair (1990). At the same time I found myself employed as an assistant film editor, working on tv commercials in New York City. In 1991 I began taking comedy improv classes at Gotham City Improv in order to both get over my shyness and more importantly, to have an excuse to leave work early once a week. By the time my tenure ended in 1994, I had developed a taste for being an extrovert, so it was off to Greece for 2 months of socializing, and then a move to San Francisco for 3 years of fresh air.
Upon returning to the east coast, I moved to Brooklyn, where I soon stumbled upon the opportunity to attend a 5-day-long songwriting course in England, taught by my musical hero, Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks. The experience was so positive that when I arrived back home in March of 1998, I was determined to record my first ever cd. By mid-1999 "The Importance of Sauce" was done. It contained my best work to date, which included the song "Purple Burt" (a favorite of many of the children of the adults who owned a copy.) Now inspired even more, I headed into my home studio and emerged in the summer of 2002 with my second cd "FRED". In the meantime I had spent 2 years as the lead editor on Howard Stern's weekly late night tv show, and had met my then girlfriend Anne D. Bernstein (who provided the wonderful artwork for "FRED").
Because most of my songs were playful, a bit silly and seemed to be enjoyed by children, my now long time friend Andy Partridge, as well as UK songwriter/poet Martin Newell both independently suggested that I should make a kid's cd. I took their wise advice and developed my song "Purple Burt" into a full album, complete with oddball characters, songs, stories, and more adorable artwork by Anne D. Bernstein. Thanks to the contributions of Andy Partridge and Dave Gregory of XTC, and Mr. and Mrs. R. Stevie Moore of home recording fame, the results have far surpassed what I ever believed I was capable of. I hope you and your kids enjoy it.