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Pillow Talking’s Interview with Craig O’Keefe, Musical Director of THE SIXTIES SHOW

Someday Productions and Pillow Talking are pleased to present the following interview with Craig O’Keefe, Musical Director of THE SIXTIES SHOW

174-The-Sixties-Show

Performing at The Ridgefield Playhouse November 11th

For information and tickets

Craig O’Keefe is Musical Director and Founder of THE SIXTIES SHOW — an incredible tribute concert to one of the greatest decades in music history. Craig is a quadruple threat — he plays bass, guitar, keyboards, and he sings. After a painstaking search for the absolute best musicians possible, Craig has created a truly authentic homage to 60s pop culture.

Pillow Talking had the opportunity to catch up with this talented performer (who also is a Connecticut resident) to chat about his upcoming show at The Ridgefield Playhouse. Read on and be sure to catch them November 11th!

PT: Craig, can you tell us a little about your background and how were you trained in music?

CO: Well, I have been playing music professionally since I was 15.  Although It would be nice to say that I have been formally trained, I have never taken a music lesson in my life. I have taught myself to play some instruments, as well as compose, produce, and arrange. I have been in countless bands, toured, had record deals with Warner Bros, BMG, and some independent labels, wrote music for films, TV, and commercials.

PT: Fantastic! A prodigy for sure. So what was your “big break” into the music business?

CO: That hasn’t happened yet. Still waiting.

PT: (Laughs) How did The Sixties Show come about?

CO: I have always loved and been fascinated with ‘60s pop culture, the transformative history and events of the decade, and of course, the undeniably amazing music that was created. I have been a professional musician since I was a kid. Back in the day, I was in several bands and had record deals with Warner Bros Records, and BMG Records, among others. I also did lots of touring and song writing. I composed music for film, TV and commercials. When I moved from Los Angeles to Ridgefield with my wife and kids, it really hit me that for the first time since I was 15 years old, I wasn’t in a band anymore. I really missed being in a band.  I wanted to start a band but wanted to approach it differently this time. Before we left LA, I started to put the wheels in motion to launch a multi-media production for a 1960s musical re-creation show that would play in theaters. Much easier said than done. Since most of my musical contacts and resources to start creating something like this were back home in LA, and I was now on the East Coast, I had to start from scratch. Getting the very best world-class musicians possible to be part of this was the first and most crucial part.

PT: Awesome. We know the band features former members of Bob Dylan’s, Roger Water’s (Pink Floyd) Ray and Dave Davies (The Kinks) bands and current members of The Smithereens. Wow! How did you get together?

CO: I auditioned countess musicians through an ongoing, grueling audition process at studios in NYC for over three years. This was an arduous process. I gradually found each musician that I knew would be right for each role in The Sixties Show. The guys are phenomenally accomplished and versatile musicians, singers, and live performers. I was looking for musicians who shared a similar and strong sensibility for 1960s music and pop culture – this was absolutely necessary to deliver the authenticity of the show. I’m so grateful that I found each of them, and of course, have them be a part of The Sixties Show.

PT: What would you say it is about sixties music that is so enduring?

CO: So many people still have a love and fascination with music from the 1960s, whether they were original fans back in the day or young people that weren’t even born during the 1960s. The music truly is inspirational and timeless.

PT: The show is billed as the GREATEST 1960s MUSICAL RECREATION SHOW IN THE WORLD. What makes it so?

CO: At a Sixties Show performance it is a full multi-media show. We are known for recreating (spot-on, note-for-note) renditions of the greatest songs from the 1960s. This includes hits, B-sides, and deep album cuts that sound just like the original recordings by the original artists. In pre-production meetings, when I plan the direction of the shows, we are meticulous and do extensive research on the precise sounds. Which type of musical or recording gear did they use? What were production techniques? How about microphone placement, equalization settings, compression settings? To help achieve this we only use vintage and vintage re-issue gear on stage, just like the original artists used in the original recordings. We wear authentic 60s period costumes such as authentic mod Carnaby Street suits, which further heighten and contribute to the visual experience. In addition to the concert experience, the show is also powerfully dramatized by a combination of narration and 60s archival audio and newsreel footage such as old news bulletins, old commercials and key events. This whole sensory experience is designed to take the audience back in time.

PT: That is truly incredible and we can only imagine what an immersive experience it must be for the audience! How much does the show tour?

CO: Not so much on the touring side, but when we get a good offer anywhere in world and if schedule allows it and of course the price is right, we will accept it. We love performing for 60s enthusiasts all over the world.

PT: How do you keep the show fresh?

CO: We are always introducing new songs, new 1960s footage and media as well as new stories about the songs’ origins, in the brief narration parts of the show.

PT: How do you attract young audiences?

CO: We don’t necessarily target any age-specific demographic. Whenever we perform, the audience consists of people from their teens to people that were actually buying the records and into the bands when they originally were on the scene. It is really quite a mix of all ages at our shows.

PT: That’s great. Can you tell us what you hope audiences take away from the show?

CO: There are so many things that are magical each time we play. I love during moments of shows when every person in the audience is on their feet singing along to the songs. Or, when fans come up to us after the show and tell us how something in the show brought back a certain memory that made them so happy. Or, just knowing that there are other kindred 1960s spirits just like the members of The Sixties Show in the audience that love or have a connection to the 1960s. Getting to take the audience back in time to my favorite decade.

PT: We have a last signature question – if you can sum up the show in one single word, what would it be?  

CO: Get ready to experience something that you have never experienced before.

PT: Okay! That’s more than a single word, but we’ll take it! Or we can sum it up as “experience”! Thanks for a great interview!!

 

Craig_0513Craig honed his musical prowess on the LA scene writing, touring and recording with several bands most notably psychedelic au go go stoner core favorites Hal Lovejoy Circus {BMG Ent} who scored a Top 10 Hit on the Billboard Alternative Album Charts. He was also a founding member of the Hollywood, CA 90’s kingpins Annapurna {Warner Bros Records} who shared stages with everyone from Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, Oasis, Sublime and Weezer. 

Craig was also the co-founder of LA underground fave raves and critics darlings Echoback {Acid Ceiling Recordings} whose critically acclaimed, yet sadly and commercially overlooked, “Paper Spaceships you Can Fly” CD landed in many of those in the know year’s end best lists. 

Craig has also worked frequently as a session bass player and arranger for a slew of acts which won him coveted artist endorsement deals with G&L Guitars, D’Addario and Ampeg. His song writing /producing credits have been heard all over radio and TV such as ABC Television’s Smallville, the opening musical theme for TNT Network’s Saturday Night NBA Game of The Week, In store music for the Gap, Burger King, Nike, Starbucks and others as well as various compositions heard on HBO, Cinemax, Showtime. 

Besides converting the world and elsewhere to the aural and sensory delights of the “The Sixties Show” he is working on a follow up CD to the harmonious Topanga Canyon styled psychedelia overdrive of “Mescal Emissions and Desert Transmissions”, the 1st album from his solo project Golden State Electric whose 2nd CD is titled “The Last Days of the Strange and Beautiful Machines”

READ PILLOW TALKING’S OTHER INTERVIEWS

 

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Stephanie & Wayne

About Stephanie & Wayne

Stephanie is a journalist, writer, editor, and has had several hundred articles published in various newspapers and magazines, many of which still are available online under “Stephanie Lyons Schultz”. She has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and was a practicing psychotherapist. She currently is a professor of psychology at WCSU and NVCC in Connecticut. Wayne is an Emmy-Award winning writer, producer, and director. He has produced many programs and documentaries that have appeared on television, and have been distributed to schools, libraries, and home video. Wayne also is a practicing attorney with a Masters degree in Law from NYU. In addition, he is a professor of communications at WCSU. Together, this recently wed couple write, produce, and direct as many of their stage, screen, and TV projects as they can with a full house -- their combined brood of seven! Some of their work has been featured this summer and fall off off Broadway; other work currently is under option. They hope to continue to promote more of their projects in the coming months! Feel free to write whatever comments you like! We want your feedback!

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