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Marshall Crenshaw: Keeper of the rock ’n’ roll flame

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  • Steve Berry
    Clipped from the Marshall Crenshaw list. He s one of my favorites... -- SteveB Marshall Crenshaw: Keeper of the rock ’n’ roll flame
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 8, 2004
      Clipped from the Marshall Crenshaw list. He's one of my favorites...

      -- SteveB

      Marshall Crenshaw: Keeper of the rock �n� roll flame


      Marshall Crenshaw comes to The Outpost: Keeper of the rock 'n' roll
      flame ignites fall season
      Thursday, September 02, 2004

      of The Montclair Times

      In the liner notes for "This Is Easy: The Best of Marshall Crenshaw,"
      Rhino Records executives called the "continued under-appreciation of
      Marshall Crenshaw" an "injustice." It just might have been an
      understatement. On Friday, Sept. 10, Outpost in the Burbs will open
      its autumn season of concerts with a performance by Marshall
      Crenshaw � writer of numerous radio-friendly tunes rarely heard on
      the radio. There will be no band or set list � just an extemporaneous
      exhibition of Crenshaw's lyrically earnest and melodically
      unforgettable songs.

      "I love doing it," Crenshaw said about playing solo. "I was out this
      weekend with a band. It's fun but at the same time, a couple of times
      when the tempo of a song was screwed up or an ending of song got
      blown, I was thinking it's going to be nice to be back doing the solo
      thing again. I like the flexibility that I have, and the freedom."

      Crenshaw was a little groggy on the Monday morning he spoke with The
      Times from his Woodstock, N.Y., home. The night before, he had driven
      home from a gig in The Hamptons. He takes the merciless schedule in
      stride � as he has so many aspects of his career.

      After the release of Crenshaw's self-titled first album in 1982, the
      just-outside-of-Detroit native spent the next few years teetering on
      the brink of superstardom. He had the right r�sum� for the job: two
      years playing John Lennon in the traveling company of "Beatlemania"
      served as an apprenticeship. Gigging in New York City clubs prior to
      being signed to Warner Bros. Records made him a favorite among the
      city's music writers. "Someday, Someway," his first single, charted
      at No. 36, which was no small feat in a year marked by synth-
      saturated No. 1 singles like The Human League's "Don't You Want Me

      "I bought that record," Crenshaw said. "I liked a lot of stuff from
      the '80s. In the beginning of the decade there was this sort of�`New
      Wave,' I guess was what they called it. I have a diverse range of
      influences and I really like music in general, all eras, all genres.
      The basis, I guess, is the rock and roll stuff that I grew up on."

      Crenshaw's follow-up record, "Field Day," produced by the legendary
      Steve Lillywhite, was anything but sophomoric.

      "The lyric writing is stronger on my first album than on my second,
      but I like the noise that we made on my second one," he said. "Field
      Day's" thunderstorm drumming, courtesy of Crenshaw's brother, Robert,
      and production of the band's rhythms and backing vocals were fresh
      representations of pop music styles of the '50s and early '60s.
      Crenshaw's growing stature as a keeper of the rock and roll flame was
      nurtured by cameos in the films "Peggy Sue Got Married," and most
      notably, "La Bamba" in which he played Buddy Holly.

      "Hey Ritchie relax, man�the sky belongs to the stars," was the line
      Crenshaw delivered in the scene in the film just prior to the ill-
      fated plane crash that took the lives of Holly, Ritchie Valens, and
      J.P. Richardson aka "The Big Bopper."

      Crenshaw took a cross-country train home from Los Angeles after "La
      Bamba" wrapped, although he said it wasn't because he adopted a fear
      of flying from his role in the movie. By 1987, Crenshaw had been
      inside the musical skin of two of his greatest influences, and fans
      and critics were primed with the expectation that Crenshaw would
      finally claim his right to be one of the stars that the sky belonged
      to. It never happened, but looking at the last 22 years, Crenshaw
      sees his glass as half full.

      "I can't dwell on negative things because I want to stay sane and I
      don't want to have any stress-related ailments," Crenshaw said. "I've
      had a pretty good career. Certainly had many disappointments, but
      also I experienced the other side of it, too. I've had some success
      and longevity, too. That's the thing I really like at this point. I
      feel committed to doing what I do, and the fact that I keep finding
      outlets for my energy is something to be grateful for."

      Some of those outlets have been outside of the music business.
      Crenshaw wrote the musical score for "D�j� Vu All Over Again," a
      documentary about Montclair's own New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra.
      The HBO series "Sex and the City" featured his music cues. He's
      written a book, "Hollywood Rock: A Guide To Rock And Roll in the
      Movies," and also wrote the entry for "Buddy Holly" in the
      Encyclopedia Britannica.

      At 50, Crenshaw has a calm sense of his place in pop music. "I'm
      worthy, you know," he said. "I'm good. I'm not modest, but I'm
      humble. Modest, I guess, is when you don't know your own worth." That
      kind of wisdom has carried over to Crenshaw's songwriting on his last
      two records, which he holds as his best.

      "Television Light," from his 1999 release "#447," is about "a
      marriage that was almost breaking up, but didn't."

      "This Is Where Home Used To Be," from 2003's "What's In The Bag?" is
      a tender remembrance of a place that no longer exists, and was born
      of his feelings after Sept. 11, 2001.

      "[It's] not specifically about Sept. 11th," Crenshaw said. "But the
      mood of it, the atmosphere of it, I don't think I would have written
      a song like that at any other time. I had a sense of things that I
      never had before, very introspective. I was in a fog of sadness for
      such a long time."

      That fog has lifted and Crenshaw has even gotten politically active,
      in his own way. He spent the summer touring with the Detroit-based
      band, The MC5, who made history playing at the protests outside of
      the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. On Sunday, Oct.
      17, Crenshaw will play at a fundraiser for Sen. John Kerry's
      presidential campaign at the Maplewood Women's Club. He'll share the
      bill with Maggie and Suzzy Roche, Iris DeMent, and Greg Brown.

      Crenshaw's response to critics who say that musicians shouldn't voice
      their political perspectives is as pointed and direct as any of his
      guitar solos. "That's total bull�It's an insane thing to say," he
      said. "I've been hungry for this election ever since the last one.
      I've just had a real ache in my guts. I'm just crossing my fingers
      that the era that we're in now will come to an end, because I think
      it's the most horrible political era that I've ever lived through."

      It was the strongest downbeat he hit during the whole interview, but
      even Crenshaw's politics, like so many of his love songs, show a
      hopeful man, even when aching. "I'm optimistic at this point. I want
      to stay in that mode for now," he said, "until at least after

      Marshall Crenshaw will perform on Friday, Sept. 10, at 8:30 p.m., at
      The Outpost in the Burbs, located in the First Congregational Church,
      40 South Fullerton Ave. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in
      advance; $22 at the door. For reservations, call (973) 744-6560,or go
      online at www.outpostintheburbs.com.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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