Artist Spotlight: Danny Klein
Today, Danny is following his musical muse with his new band, Stonecrazy. Stonecrazy is Babe Pino on harmonica and vocals, Ken Pino on guitar, Danny Klein on bass guitar and Mark Hylander on drums.
The band intends to keep expanding their musical horizons and evolving the sounds of their influences into something fresh and original.
We've had the pleasure of hearing Stonecrazy on more than one occasion and we can attest that their sound is new, fresh and exciting.
Danny proved to be both unassuming and a pleasure to speak with. Barrelhouse Blues (BB) takes great pleasure in sharing our discussion with Danny with all our readers...
BB: How did the members of Stonecrazy meet and get together as a band?
DK: After the J. Geils Band stopped playing, I took some time off from playing and was working as a chef in Fitchburg, MA. I missed playing and started to get back into music again. I was playing some blues gigs with a local band, one of the members being Babe Pino. At one of the gigs the guitar player that night was Babe's brother Ken. He had been on the road for ten years with Johnny "Clyde" Copeland and was now playing with blues woman Debbie Davies. Debbie was looking for a bass player and Ken asked me if I was interested. I went on the road with Debbie for a couple of years. During that time Ken and I talked about starting our own blues band. After we left Debbie we formed a band with Babe and a few different drummers. We finally hooked up with Mark Hylander who has played with many bands most notable being Duke And The Drivers.
BB: How would you describe the band's style of music?
DK: We perform Blues and R&B. While we are influenced by all the Chicago blues greats as well as other regions such as Mississippi and Memphis, we are really excited by the Texas style of blues by artists Like Freddy King, Johnny Copeland, Joe Hughes, and many others. We feel that a lot of Texas blues has more of a rock edge to it, which we enjoy playing. On the R&B side we're into many different styles, from Stax and Atlantic Records and James Brown, to Philly R&B, Motown and other Detroit R&B, and Chicago influences like Percy Mayfield. We also enjoy various Swing and Jazz music.
BB: Who are some of the performers that have influenced the band's style of music?
DK: To try and name all the musicians that influence our music would take a whole other article. Some of the blues musicians are B.B., Freddy, and Albert King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Jr. Wells, Jimmy Reed, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Slim, Paul Butterfield, Charley Musselwhite, Albert Collins, James Cotton, Johnny Copeland, Joe Hughes, Lonnie Mack, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and about a million others. On the R&B side there are just as many, from all the Stax greats like Otis Redding, Booker T., Sam and Dave among others to Aretha, King Curtis, Don Covay, Wilson Picket, all the Motown artists, the legendary Dyke And The Blazers and another million others.
BB: What are the band's musical goals? How would you like to see the music evolve over time?
DK: Our musical goal is to continue to grow as musicians and as a band by taking our influences and evolving them into our own style of music. That is, to get to the point where we sound like Stonecrazy, which will be derived from the music and artists we're influenced by, but not sound like them.
BB: What are the challenges and rewards of playing Blues in the New England market?
DK: The challenge of playing blues in New England is that there are fewer venues than there used to be and the blues market is suffering from the same problems as the rest of the music industry these days. It's difficult to make a living as a working musician. The rewards of playing blues in New England is that the fans are very knowledgeable and loyal and the clubs that do remain are really into the music and the club owners treat the musicians very well. Also, organizations like the Boston Blues Society and BarrelhouseBlues.com are very helpful to both blues musicians and fans. Blues radio, such as Holly Harris' and Carter Allen's shows among others really helps keep the blues scene alive and vibrant.
BB: You've been performing a long time. Is it still exciting to perform on stage? How do you maintain your enthusiasm?
DK: Being excited to play is never a problem. We love to play and always have. The two or three hours playing on stage are always exciting. The other 22 hours of traveling, staying in motels, being away from home, etc. can be a drag, but playing the music you love in front of an appreciative audience is always satisfying.
BB: What's been your most rewarding experience to date as a band and as individuals?
DK: There have been so many over the years that it's hard to enumerate them. I think the most rewarding thing is the feeling you get when you learn something new and grow musically. There's always something to learn.
BB: What would you most like your fans to know about you and your music?
DK: We love what we're doing and we try to convey that when we perform. We hope to grow as individual musicians and as a band and hope our fans will enjoy our music as much as we do.