The Website of Harry George Pellegrin Author, Musician, and Recording Artist

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For everything, there is a season...

 

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven --

A time to give birth, and a time to die

A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill, and a time to heal.

A time to tear down, and a time to build up.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh.

A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones, and a time to gather them.

A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.

A time to search, and a time to give up as lost.

A time to keep, and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together.

A time to be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate.

A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 - 8

 

Is Your Season Over?

I've written quite a bit on getting an ensemble or band together and how to focus in on goals and how to grow it. But, as is so eloquently written in the Bible, there will be a season of endings eventually. It can be a cause of aggravation and/or sorrow, and it can be cure for aggravation and sorrow! Regardless, there are good reasons to leave a band (in case you haven't noticed that already!)

I am just about a month and a week past leaving the band I've performed with for the past nine years. That is an eternity in the music field unless you're the Rolling Stones. So if this all comes off more blog-ish than instructional, so be it - let me have my moment. Either way you want to view it, instructional or blog, it'll be good insight for you!

The same concepts that make for good reasons to start a band also make for trouble when the band breaks up or a member leaves As I reread what I wrote on the emotional, professional and artistic loci that musicians must examine when putting together a band, I realized that these very same factors are present when the season is over.

What are the expectations of the group and the individual members? You will recall that this was discussed in Starting a Band Part One.

Everyone in the ensemble must be on the same page as far as:

1.) What the goal of the ensemble is. (I only came for the nookey, Good Bar band, Recording and touring, Being bigger than the Beatles.)

2.) How far all will go to succeed. (Two evenings a week, Every night and all weekend. "I'm quitting my job to practice 24/7.")

3.) What you all will cope with to succeed. (I don't mind missing some sleep, I don't mind spending some money, My family think I'm a bit off,. Divorce isn't too much to bear for the sake of art, I'll either succeed or die trying!)

4.) How hard we are all willing to work . ('I've got to stop, I've got a little blister on my finger'. My hand is bleeding, but I want to keep going. Who's got the crazy glue? )

So with this in mind, we find ourselves in a band a year, two (or nine) years down the road. There will always be a difference from day one to day six hundred as to what the goals were and are both personally and as an ensemble. Maybe after three years of playing in bars, some members want to move up. Maybe some want to stay in the circuit. Possibly a marriage or impending parenthood will pull a member to a place where he or she must reevaluate priorities. Most often it will be music that gets the back-burner.

In my own case, it seems that a blend of all four elements listed above led to my decision to bail. The band had become complacent as to a goal -- once the goal was to be a very tight, very professional, very anointed Contemporary Christian ensemble; it became a 'we are good, we don't need to spend time improving' and 'we can't really practice all that much as some people have other commitments.' Bringing us to point two -- life is full of commitments and decisions.  Look, we all get twenty four hours in each and every day -- no one gets more, no one gets less. For some, music will take a back seat to other life-issues.  Not to the real players. As a sidebar to points two and three, as a Christian ensemble, it was also put forth that the Spirit of God would empower us to play through a more loose, unrehearsed  approach to music. My opinion? If I'd rehearse three nights a week to play to drunks in bars, why would I only rehearse an hour or two each month to make music for the Lord?

Add to this 'ego and ambition.' Our ensemble, as part of a church ministry, had to bow to another old religious tradition. The daughter of a prominent family in the church was brought into the ensemble with very little training and put into a leadership role. She probably loves the Lord more than the microphone, but I'll bet it's a horse race! When I brought my issues to management, we could not come to a resolution. All compromise would have to be on my part. I am a professional, I refuse to become a punter. End of blog.

How does one know if their season is ending?

When you realize that your goals and those of the band do not correspond: 

*You want to concentrate on a record deal and the rest of the band is content to play mixers at the Junior High School.

*Rehearsals are cancelled because a member needs time for another (red flag here) hobby -- and the other guys are okay with this!

*Someone's cousin or kid brother is taking over a member's position not because of what they bring to the party but simply because they are someone's cousin or kid brother... This is the height of rank amateurism.

*Practice is no longer all that necessary -- the band has arrived. BUZZZZZZER!!!!! Once you no longer need to practice, the band has indeed arrived -- at its end! No more growth indicates death.

 

In simple terms, when the goals and desires of the most dedicated members are being sidelined for those of the least dedicated, then the most dedicated members need to walk.

 

Q: What does Eric Clapton sound like on a $25 dollar guitar?

A: Eric Clapton

I was replaced with a young guitar player who will one day be a very good guitar player. The band went out and bought him a duplicate of my rig-- a rig I had to buy out of pocket.  Do you think spending mega-money on gear will make him sound like me?

 

The reverse of the Q&A above works as well. What will Pee Wee Herman sound like on a $4,000 guitar?  Answer it yourself.

  LOW END  By Harry George Pellegrin.  The first in the Gary Morrissey series of mysteries.  Dealing with modern subject matter in the classic style of the 1940's Mystery Noire masters--think Raymond Chandler in New York in the 1980's...  LOW END is the story of a drug addict who is murdered after he believes he has found evidence of a major government conspiracy.  Is it only drug-induced paranoia?  Might be, except his paranoia could be considered justified: he was murdered, after all.  Friend Gary Morrissey takes it upon himself to find out just what happened and lands himself in the crosshairs.
See more info...
Classic Guitar Method  Composed, written, transcribed, edited and arranged by Harry G. Pellegrin: Now in one volume, much of what the novice classical guitarist will need to know to lead him or her to the recital stage. From proper instrument care and maintenance to the necessary technical skills, musical mind-set, and the standard repertoire—all exposed and explored with enough detail and insight that the student will wish to keep this book handy years to come as a ready reference source.
See more info...
DEEP END: The Wreck of the Eddie Fitz  By Harry George Pellegrin. A mystery novel. Involving a semi-professional musician and a Kreyol death cult, DEEP END takes the reader from the bottom of Long Island Sound to the steamy streets and Blues clubs of New Orleans. Alternative spirituality does battle with the common working man.  Published by PAB Entertainment Group in association with LULU.com.
See more info...

 

 

Harry George Pellegrin is an author of mystery novels, a musician and recording artist. Primarily a guitarist, Harry's latest recordings are keyboard-driven and most easily classified as New Age, though we don't like to consider the music in a 'genre box.' Harry G. Pellegrin's first published novel, LOW END, is a murder mystery set in South Yonkers and New York City in the late 1980's. The characters, all derived from friends and acquaintances, try to investigate the death of one of their own -- not so much to solve a crime, but to keep from sharing a similar fate. LOW END has been met with great critical acclaim. The sequel, DEEP END, is being shopped by a well-known literary agent at the time of this writing.

This page is designed for a number of reasons. We'll be honest, a primary goal is to expose a larger audience to Harry's music and writing. Another goal of the webmaster is to create a repository for the knowledge that years of experience in the performing arts industry has given Harry. Creating a chronicle of life in the Bronx in the 1960's and 1970's is another goal we hope to accomplish.

 Harry George Pellegrin's first keyboard album Reflecting Pools can be auditioned here. Visit this page link to hear samples...

The second album, In That Zone, has a page where one can hear samples as well. Follow this link...

Spa Anthology -- need relaxation music for your Day Spa or Facial and Massage Facility? Click here for hassle-free music.

Do you know how to chain your effects pedals? Do you sound like a 'Wall of Oatmeal' sometimes? ALL the time? Check this out!

Can't read standard musical notation? If you can read the gas prices to the left, sure you can! Please see these articles for the help you need:

Exercise/Technique Session Number Forty: July 14, 2005 Standard Notation -- so simple even musicians can read it!

Exercise/Technique Session Number Forty Four: August 11, 2005 Back to Basics PART ONE -- teaching the new student to read above the fifth fret.

Exercise/Technique Session Forty Five: August 18, 2005 Back to Basics PART TWO -- teaching the new student to read above the fifth fret.

Exercise/Technique Session Forty Six: August 25, 2005 Back to Basics PART THREE -- teaching the new student to read above the fifth fret.

Exercise/Technique Session Forty Seven: September 1, 2005 Back to Basics PART FOUR -- teaching the new student to read above the fifth fret.

Exercise/Technique Session Forty Eight: September 8, 2005 Back to Basics PART FIVE -- teaching the new student to read above the fifth fret.

Exercise/Technique Session Forty Nine: September 15, 2005 Back to Basics PART SIX (The last in this series, but not on this topic! Teaches the new student to read above the fifth fret.  Next week a new topic.  YEAH!

What's New? The New Album!

Hey, the new album is out! That's right, finally a follow-up to the reissue of my old album from the late 1980's.

Reflecting Pools is a departure for me as it is totally keyboard. Well, the guitar did show up on one track...

Click the image to the left to learn more, hear a few tracks --even get ordering info if you want it!

 

"...Reflecting Pools is a notable first album [for Mr. Pellegrin]. A dramatic sense of tonality and mood are propelled by exemplary musicianship and exciting compositional exploits."

Available through www.BATHTUBMUSIC.com...

...And containing nine tracks that are relaxing, inspirational -- sounds like a snooze. Not really, this is great stuff to listen to on a rainy afternoon, while with your significant other (nudge, nudge, know what I mean?) Please visit the Reflecting Pools page on this site or www.bathtubmusic.comIn That Zone, is now out! Please visit www.bathtubmusic.com for details and to order.

LOW END What's new with the book that came out over a year ago? After being on back-order at Amazon.com for what seemed like a century, it is my understanding that copies are once again shipping. Barnes and Noble's website is on-again-off-again, but PAB (on Amazon as an authorized vendor) has LOW END in stock and it comes with a CD!

DEEP END, the exciting sequel, is being shopped by my literary agent even as we speak.

The Guitar Sessions: Weekly tech tips and exercises to help the guitarist improve. This feature has really taken off. Each week a new page is posted with either an exercise to get the left and right hands moving more efficiently and effectively or an interesting piece from the standard repertoire , demonstrating a necessary technical ability. Judging by the hits these pages receive, you guitar players love this feature!

The page is updated every Thursday. Visit the 2004 Archive as well!

 

My Mission, My Policy

In my opinion, the murder mystery genre reached its zenith in the 1930's and 1940's. The novels penned in those decades were taut, no-nonsense stories of people in life and death crises, people who did not flinch when confronted with overwhelming odds or overwhelming emotion. Some of these tales could be hard-edged and hard-boiled, but the heroes invariably had a soft side as well.

I believe that over the years, in an attempt to mimic real life, the writers of murder mysteries--and most other literature, for that matter--have lowered the standards of excellence set by such authors as the gritty Raymond Chandler and the sophisticated Dorothy Sayers. Many authors misinterpret smut for romance and brutality for strength.

My novels aspire to the standards set by the 1940's mystery writers. My tales are as real and grimy as the mean streets that spawned them. Even so, and though they deal with modern issues, you will not find gratuitous sex in my characters' relationships. Sex may be alluded to, but it is never allowed out from behind closed doors. You will find that my books are entertaining to a broad audience--I have had positive comments from teens to grandmothers. One reader was surprised when I told him that there were no obscenities in the book he'd just finished. He hadn't missed them! A good story doesn't need such unnecessary 'embellishment.'

I have conducted book signings at churches, country clubs, libraries and even a street corner (don't ask!) and I've never been called to task for, or ashamed of, my work. Pick up a copy of my latest novel and see if it isn't a good read!

Harry Pellegrin

 

 

 

 

 

As a native New Yorker and an American, I am still angered by the cowardly attacks of 9/11. Unless we restore New York City's skyline to its condition prior to September 11th, 2001, the miserable scum who attacked us will have won! Visit www.makeNYNYagain.com and rebuild America!

 

 

About My Site:

This site is a way for me to commemorate and celebrate a life and lifestyle that is now extinct. Why extinct? Is it that Thomas Wolfe " You-can't-go-home-again " thing? Is it because life is so much different now that what we experienced in the Bronx in the 60's and 70's is no longer relevant? Yes. No. Yes and no? Definitely maybe ! Why do I always start these little essays with questions?

At first, the main thrust of this site was to promote my book. It is a worthy goal; the book tells a good tale and everyone who has read it finds it entertaining and thought-provoking. With that sole goal, I went live with this site back in August of 2003. What happened next is what makes this site truly valuable.

There are people I grew up with, attended school and with whom I played in bands -- neighbors, friends, good family -- who I hadn't seen since I moved from the Bronx in 1986. Divorce had forced me into exile, time and distance conspired to seemingly turn this into a life sentence. Thank the muses for the internet! This site wasn't live for more than two months before I was reunited with Paul Silvestro , a childhood friend whom I hadn't seen in seventeen years. His brother Larry , the guy who had turned me on to playing guitar and taught me the things about music that matter the most, now with him I had no contact since 1983. Twenty years! Too long. I felt as if a part of my soul had been restored -- a part that had been missing for ages and had long ago been written off. But more was to come.

Anthony Pernice, Art Clement , Mike Moretti -- all reunited to me.

The 1960's weren't good to a number of us -- many of us had our personal demons to exorcise, be it substance abuse or the insidious hedonism of the times. but through it all, we were instilled with a vibe, cast in an artistic mold--call it what you will--but unless these same environmental stimuli are exactly reproduced, there will never be another crop of people quite the same.

This page delves into what we experienced and how we incorporated these experiences into art, music, literature and life . I've paid tribute to my neighborhood, the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The Discords -- Larry Silvestro and Artie Clemente's first band in the early mid-sixties-- they're here with their matching outfits, Fender, Hagstrom and Gretsch guitars plus those impeccably precise five part harmonies.

And speaking of the Bronx, I can't talk about Wakefield without mentioning Mount Saint Michael Academy on Murdock Avenue. The Mount was my Junior and High School and although I was not a happy camper while there, I made a few really good friends and consider the education received to be a fine one.

Of course, there is an homage to Leo Fender and his magnificent designs, the Telecaster © and the Stratocaster ©. I officially declare C.L. Fender an honorary Bronxite. These instruments have literally changed my life and the way we all hear music. Check out this page on my site.

Rory Gallagher, whom I saw play in 1973 and who has influenced me ever since--he has a page here as well. He has gone on now, but the impact he made is still rippling outwards, changing how we interpret the blues.

Untermyer Park in Yonkers and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx are included on this site. We were kids interested in a good ghost story and both these places were terrific for providing a few innocent and fun goosebumps.

...and of course, my book!

Please enjoy this site. Nose around. Anyone can find something here to read and get a chuckle.

Thanks!

 

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