Roxy Live Presents: Resident Pianist Michael Garin
WHO OR WHAT HAS INSPIRED YOU RECENTLY?
The never-ending stream of artists and immigrants who come to New York City seeking to find a place on the world stage. The math is irrefutable, daunting, and discouraging. And yet, there seems to be no shortage of energy and optimism. Their courage and resolve inspires me and frankly, kicks my ass too.
WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO THESE DAYS? WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIANS?
I listen to a great Algerian/Berber singer-songwriter named Idir. I think Idir is in a class with Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. He sings in Tamazigh, which is the native language of the Berber and has almost vanished. Absolutely amazing music.
I also enjoy Lidia Borda who is Argentina’s number one singer of golden era Tangos. It seems that beyond Carlos Gardel (I play a lot of his music at Roxy) there’s a metric ton of jaw-dropping fantastic Argentinian Tangos and composers I’ve never heard of. I love that. Although it keeps me up way too late.
I also really dig a group from Israel called the Revivo Project. They specialize in what’s called Mizrachi Music. Songs from the Jewish communities of Yemen, North Africa and other Middle Eastern countries. In the 60’s and 70’s this music was derisively called Bus Station music because the cassettes were sold in the Tel Aviv bus station. Revivo has revived and breathed new life into the genre and has become a sensation. They sell out concerts all over the world and it is physically impossible not to move to their music. Interestingly, the beat is almost identical to Reggaeton. Go figure!
WHAT ALBUM OR SONG WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL SOUNDTRACK TO NYC?
Stuff from the punk/new wave/no wave era. Blondie’s Parallel Lines, Any NY Dolls, James Chance, and the Two Tone bands like Madness and The Specials. Why? ‘Cause I was young! And that leads me to what I play at the Roxy. The Roxy is where all kinds of people meet, and to underscore that, I mix genres and styles like I’m introducing friends of mine who haven’t met each other. Pais Tropical by Jorge Ben and Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba are like two old friends who I want to introduce to each other. Same with One Fine Day and Waters of March. By creating a musical cocktail party, it affects the vibe when family and friends meet up. I can’t imagine anything more fun
WHAT CAN’T YOU TRAVEL WITHOUT AND WHY?
Dramamine and my passport. Better safe…
WHEN YOU THINK OF NYC, ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR EMOTIONS OR MEMORIES THAT IMMEDIATELY COME TO MIND?
The Bouillabaisse of cultures and attitudes. Going to a Greek nightclub in Astoria at 4am to catch the last set of the headliner. Getting my first performing job from an open NY audition (song and dance man at Great Adventure) Playing at Elaine’s and having Jack Nicholson nod in approval. Playing spoons and trading counts of eight with Gregory Hines while he tap danced. Showing up for my first night playing in the VIP Room at Limelight and meeting Frank Zappa. Breaking up a fist fight at the Monkey Bar while playing and singing Night and Day. (Literally singing “Night and Day, You are the One”….grabbing a guy by the shirt, telling him to sit the fuck down…then returning to “Only you beneath the moon and under the sun”)
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN NYC?
Relaxing at home and watch sports. Then cook a meal for whoever visits. My sons and their friends are marvelous company.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE PERSON TO SHOW YOU “THEIR NEW YORK,” WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Living? Graydon Carter. Not living? Gordon Parks.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR LATE-NIGHT HANGOUTS IN NYC?
Birdland and their new space, Birdland Theater. I met my wife at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party, a Monday night classic.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NYC RESTAURANTS? WHAT DO YOU ORDER THERE? Hunt and Fish Club. The steaks are amazing and the owner, Nelson Braff is a dear friend.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SPOT IN NYC FOR DRINKS?
Beside the Roxy? Why the Soho Grand, of course.
Catch Michael Garin LIVE in Roxy Bar
Tuesday-Saturday from 6PM – 8PM.