“Up Close & Acoustic” 10/19 & transcript

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Wed 10/19 10pm~ my broadcast taped with Charlie Sylvestri for Up Close & Acoustic on WPAZradio.com Pottstown Pa, also Saturday 1pm Eastern on WCHE in West Chester, PA wche1520.com – a performance and interview formatted radio program. Each week, Charlie welcomes a singer/songwriter or band, to promote that artist’s music and feature songs recorded just for that appearance, in an intimate and acoustic setting~ becomes a podcast here~ Up Close & Acoustic
23 min excerpt of 1 hr show, incl 3 songs live solo!
Up Close & Acoustic w Charlie Sylvestri by Larry Saklad
~Here’s the Transcript~

  • “I’m Charlie Sylvestri and this is “Up Close and Acoustic” featuring performance-interview radio… I talk with long time Philly fixture, singer-songwriter Larry Saklad. Larry’s just recently released his album, SAKLAD… let’s listen…
  • LS: This song’s called Salt In My Coffee, it’s the 1st song off the SAKLAD album & got a lot of airplay- some WSTW radio supporting it and nominating the song for (of all things) Americana, who knew [laughing]…

~~~ Salt In My Coffee ~~~ performed solo on 12 str Guild gtr

  • CS: You’re listening to Up Close & Acoustic, I’m Charlie Sylvestri, and my guest today is Larry Saklad
  • LS: How’re ya doin’ Charlie?!
  • CS: Oh, welcome Larry, it’s been a long time comin’, I’d met you for the 1st time at Tin Angel a couple of years ago…
  • LS: that’s right
  • CS: uh, we were there for some sort of pep talk by local promoters and what not- how to help people get into the music business in Philly… I met Larry Saklad that night… it’s good to actually have you in the studio, thankyou
  • LS: thanks for having me, Charlie!
  • CS: Now you’ve played with a lot of people in the Phila area over the years; I’m not going to say give me a full list, but a short list…
  • LS: Yeah, well, I got back to the Phila area in 1975 and shortly after that, couple basement bands, I started working with a cat named Alan Mann and our 1st band in ’77 was called Alan Mann & The Free Arts Band. We had a lot of good shows goin’ on, ‘course he had some hits in the ’80s with a song called Fear Of Heights and Christmas On The Block. uh, Didn’t live past ’87 [rip ’88]… Another band about 10 years later was David Rowan & Exisdance, also this would have been late ’80s~ ’87 to ’90. Both of those bands I played keyboards which I had started at the early age of 6, led me to a performance at Carnegie Hall when I was 10… so, just a little backround on why I played piano back in those days, and all the time I’d also been playing guitar. A couple other notables- Robert Hazard I worked with for 6 months and also with Essra Mohawk, who I just saw recently down in Nashville, where she is now! So 4 notable artists from the area, and all that time I’d also been writing my own stuff.
  • CS: I’m curious as to um, keyboards at the age of 6, now was that imposed upon you by your folks or?…
  • LS: Yeah, you know [laughing]… Ya know what it was? um, they had gotten a piano, my dad’s mom had played and been in all the choral societies & stuff, and gave us a piano. so I was just 6 yrs old and my older brother 7, just bangin’ on the piano. It turns out I was sort of creating a thunderstorm on the piano, and my parents said, “let’s see what we could do,” and they started my lessons right away, so they were gonna wait on me, but they said, “send us both”… I can still remember creating the thunderstorm; the low notes for the… and the high notes for (you know) the rain. So that was like the real beginning for me. And then I wrote some songs when I was like 10, before I even came to Phila. I came to Phila at 10 yrs old.
  • CS: Where’d you come from?
  • LS: from Danbury, Ct… so it was a little closer to NY, but um, yeah my dad was at Drexel, was going back to school, and we lived just off of City Line Ave- we used to call ourselves the poorest folks on the Main Line [laughs]
  • CS: Um, there’s a lot more of them now a days
  • LS: think so… but it was a great music town, and I came back to Phila for that reason [’75]. Now I was supposed to go to Temple, to make a long story short…
  • CS: There’s no need to make any story short 🙂 just tell your story
  • LS: Ha, ha… Well, I was gonna go into the composition program, so I started working the whole year to get my Pa. residency back- this would have been ’75- ’76, applied to Temple; I got the theory- aced it, aced the interview, aced, you know, my piano, & they wanted a 2nd instrument so at the time I had an acoustic guitar, learned the song Mood For a Day by Steve Howe of Yes, and it was sort of classical oriented. And I went to go down there and pulled out my guitar at the time, I think it was just a steel string guitar, it might have even been an electric, I don’t remember but… when the instructor saw it he said, “Oh no, you have to put that away, it’s got to be a nylon string…” I said, “Wait a second, this may not be the right school for me,” mind you this is 1975- Temple Univ didn’t really have the new programs that they’ve had since, but uh, luckily I landed on my feet with Alan Mann, and we had a great band, and I never thought I’d have to go back to school or work that hard… that’s not the story [laughs]
  • CS: Ok you played with various people over the years, mainly I guess keyboards back in the day…
  • LS: Yeah, it was a lot of keyboards, um, and vocals. All the time I was playing guitar, but when you have a band, it’s like everyone kinda sticks to what they’re doing, even though I’d mention I’d love to do some more guitar work, it never seemed to work out, and who was gonna play keyboards?! So, ya know, I’m a big fan of the Doors, [if] you can see…
  • CS: You can’t see!! it’s radio
  • LS: I’m wearing an old Doors t-shirt where he’s laying on the stage~ Jim Morrison you know…
  • CS: That’s good… Well, how did the Larry Saklad solo career come about with the guitar?
  • LS: A lot of things happened from those years and I probably started, you know, buckling down, raising a family by the end of the ’80s. by the mid ’90s I wasn’t playing out live anymore, stayed behind the scenes, I’d started working at the Post Office to keep the house/ mortgage paid. And little by little it was like… a fearful question was beginning to arise in my mind about, “is this gonna just become a hobby?” So around ’94 ’95, I redid a version of Christmas On The Block- and went to a friend who I’d played with, Tom Basmajian, working down at the Art Inst of Phila. and uh, we redid it. Cyndy Drue played it on Street Beat, who at the time, this was [W]MMR’s local music show- when they supported the local music, or at least new local music instead of cover bands… ah but, yeah, Cyndy was real welcoming, she’d played an earlier demo on my 4 trak cassette machine, and then it was really great to get her this… So that was around ’95 and again it was probably the last thing that I did, it kinda fizzled out, and I was too busy coming and going, workin’ too much hrs at the PO. Things went along and that question just got worse and worse by the end of the ’90s… I hadn’t written a new song in something like 5 years at that point and I was really getting depressed, among that, other things, I just… I had kind of what they might call… I had to hit “rock bottom”… and then my oldest daughter was going to get married, and she asked me to write her a song
  • CS: You don’t look old enough to have an oldest daughter who’s old enough to get married!
  • LS: [laughing] Thanks Charlie, I appreciate that, really I’m just buying time, you guys
  • CS: haha, obviously he has a portrait in the attic that’s aged…
  • LS: Yeah, I was just lucky, if I hadn’t met… or re-met my co-writer Kim De Meo who also is my photographer, and she was able to capture some really cool shots that make me look like a kid!! um, but it’s kinda the way I look…
  • CS: It is, it is the way, trust me if you go to… why don’t you give the web page
  • LS: OK, so we’ve been working real hard on this, and it’s… I finally got my SakladMusic.com , my own website- all the most pertinent stuff, and some of the pictures, and some of the music is all there. Any time there’s gonna be a show, you can catch all the latest goings on, and a blog all at that site, so stop by.

~~~ Up On The Bluffs ~~~ ©’11 De Meo, Saklad performed on 12 str gtr

  • CS: You’re a very hard worker when it comes to promotion, you work a lot of the different sites, at least up til now, you’re telling me you’re gonna be steering everybody to SakladMusic, but up til now, I know that you’ve been using a lot of the other sites for promotion…
  • LS: Absolutely…
  • CS: and I know you’re the kind of guy who calls and follows up and e-mails and what not, how much of your time is spent doing that, you know, in relation to how much time is spent on music?
  • LS: I guess that question relates to the whole cycle of what a songwriter does, and um, I had an album come out- the reason I put the web site together was I’d produced an album called SAKLAD, low and behold, and it came out Sept of last year… My name had gone through a number of changes, when I first put… I put a 1st album out in 2006 called Yet2B, and that was kind of confusing, but [also] kind of cool, ya know- Yet with the #2 and letter ‘B’, and it was the way I saw myself: yeah, a work in progress, I guess you might call it. But eventually that couldn’t be used because I was doing way too much solo work, and Yet2B was just like, too much of a “band” name. So I kinda pulled it back and said well, let me just get back to my name, and so why not, I never put out… you know my 1st album wasn’t called Saklad so let me try this one. It was a lot of, you know, some of the closest new songs, some of the closest ones to my heart, and one song from my 1st album called Forgiveness, which I just love the new, the newer mix. Um, same recording, just better, better mix. So yeh, 11 songs on that album, and it’s still available. You’ll find it at CdBaby.com …
  • CS: Like I said, he’s always marketing and promoting…
  • LS: [laughs]
  • CS: which is no bad thing, but I mean, when it comes down to it, you spend a lot of time. I mean I know this, you’re one of the guys I really wanted to ask this because I know you promote constantly. How much of your day, if you don’t mind me asking, or how much of your week, however you want to break it down, you know is promoting and how much is music?…
  • LS: There’s definitely more time spent researching, keeping communications open, writing blogs, looking for gigs, [etc] so the business does take longer than the actual process of playing, I gotta say. I mean… I get to as many open mics as I can, but then I’m writing, and right now speaking of the cycle, I’m getting ready to, I’m putting down some new songs now and writing them. So I do kinda pull it back a little bit because I don’t want to saturate everybody’s ears with… you know, I hate just like talking about myself, so…
  • CS: [joking] Yeah, I can tell, it’s terrible…
  • LS: haha, it’s like there’s only so much you can say, and really, I’d like to tell everybody, “Just listen!” because that’s where my story is. Ya know, I write about my life pretty much, and how I got through it, and hopefully, some other people… or how I got through the hard times and how I celebrate the good times. It’s like, hopefully that links up to something, to other people’s experiences, I want to join… part of the reason I like “folk” is it seems to relate to people more.
  • CS: I want to ask a personal question, not about your life, but about your music in that your delivery, your voice seems to be different to me than your speaking voice- is very deep…
  • LS: Yeah [laughing]
  • CS: …and very 2 pack a day kind of voice, where-as you sort of elevate, you know, your voice when you sing and I was wondering if you ever play up the low smokey voice at all…
  • LS: I have actually, on the first album I did, I dropped it down an octave, and uh… the thing is, when you’re live and you have the energy and the adrenalin on stage, it’s very hard to hit those deepest notes, even though I can do it in like the softest of surroundings, intimate space or something… So I have 2 kinds of voices & one’s more the theatrical… one of these days I’ll do some voice-overs, you know 🙂
  • CS: I mean you got the pipes for it, it struck me… I keep going back to the 1st night but your voice made a big impression on me that night.
  • LS: yeh
  • CS: And the first thing I noticed was, “it doesn’t sound like him, he was talkin’ like Leonard Cohen, but he’s sounding like some sort of popster” so I was wondering if you ever just like, “this next thing I’m gonna record is me, my guitar and my smokey voice” [said as deep as could go]
  • LS: laughing
  • CS: I mean did you ever lay anything down like that?
  • LS: There’s a song I could actually play that goes way down there…
  • CS: I’d love that, love to hear it…
  • LS: It was from the 1st album, it was a good feed-in song to Forgiveness, it was the song that came right before Forgiveness on the album [Tangled & Caught ©’06]. The 2nd album was more about gettin’ out of my own way, somehow finding some sort of peace in the whole process. So that was kind of what SAKLAD is, basically underneath all that, and learning to get out of my way, and not complain about things, and just…
  • CS: “Larry Saklad, gettin’ out of his own way!” You can check him out at SakladMusic.com

~~~ Lull’bye ~~~ © ’10, performed w/ Guild el gtr & small crate amp

About Saklad

Lawrence Saklad- singer songwriter musician, piano/ keyboards & guitars, recording artist, production

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