Displaying items by tag: rochmon

Thursday, 12 March 2020 12:48

Neighbors: Chuck Vosganian AKA Rochmon

On the third Tuesday of each month, Chuck Vosganian AKA Rochmon, leads a live multi-media presentation about a classic album from rock ‘n’ roll’s heyday. There are stories. There are songs. There are trivia contests, the exploration of lyrics, and a timeline of culture in an iconic time. After relocating the monthly sessions to Caffe Lena nearly three years ago, Rochman is slated to return to the place of his origins at the newly reopened and remodeled Universal Preservation Hall.

Where did you grow up and how did you get to Saratoga?

I grew up in East Moriches, Long Island, in the middle of nowhere. Potato-and-duck country. Later, I lived in Chicago for 15 years then in Queensbury for 27 years before moving to Saratoga. Being in Saratoga, I wanted to live in a community where I could go out my door and walk around downtown.    

When was the first Rochmon show?

September 2016. The first album was actually a movie: I played the Joe Cocker “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” We had like nine people come. It was so much fun. So, I asked Teddy (Foster, of UPH) if I could do it again. I returned the next month with David Bowie’s “Young Americans.”

What other artists’ albums had you done at UPH?

We did Queen and Led Zeppelin, we did Deep Purple; the music was a little bit of harder rock over at UPH. We got folk-i-fied when we went to Caffe Lena, haha. But Lena’s did such a great job building an audience for me. I was there since April 2017 - and our audience - we had lines around the corner. Sarah Craig at Caffe Lena was great.

I have always been surrounded by smart women. Between Teddy Foster and Mary Beth McGarrahan at UPH,  Sarah at Caffe Lena, my wife Karen, and my daughter Alyssa, they’ve really helped bring the show forward. I couldn’t have done it without any of them.  

You’re assisted during the shows by your daughter?

My daughter Alyssa, who’s 28. She’s my youngest and grew up listening to this stuff. Now, doing this with my daughter is also a reach-back to my mom, who taught me how to deeply listen to music; to see the picture that the music was trying to paint. My parents were classically trained opera singers and performers. So when we listen to an album and I do the deep dig-in, it is part of that connection.

How many Rochmon Record Club presentations have you done to date?

Forty-seven. Forty-seven different albums. And every show evolves in an unexpected direction. Like Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” which we’re doing next week. (Ed. note: this presentation, along with all other shows at UPH have been postponed until April 12).  Sound and pictures of Paul Simon - throughout his career, and people who played on the album, interesting instruments, the lyrics. We’ll talk about each song individually, the album cover, sales, and I also play some deeper audio drops; for instance, there will be a demo version of “Homeless,” and it’s nothing like the (recorded) song goes.  

The entire album is played?

I ask people: When was the last time you listened to an entire album? Ten years ago? Fifteen years ago? Today, the way we consume music is different, so you might listen to a couple of songs, but not the whole record. And the whole record is the complete work of art. It’s the Mona Lisa.  And that’s how we connect around the album. We’re listening to the whole thing. I like to say we’re listening to the album again for the first time. And it gives us an opportunity to go back.   

Now that you’re coming back to UPH, what are some future listening parties you are planning?

Later this year we’ll have “Led Zeppelin IV,” Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “Chicago II,” Elvis Costello’s “My Aim Is True.” 

How do the stories work?

A lot of it is just relating the story of the band and talking about what I loved about the music. I explain what I hear and discuss the connections. What’s really interesting is how the listening has evolved. In the beginning it was what the album meant to me, but years later, the way you hear it today changes from how you heard it as a kid. And that’s an amazing journey.

- Interview by Thomas Dimopoulos

The Rochmon Record Club presentation of Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” at UPH, on Washington Street was slated to take place March 17. All shows at the venue have been postponed, through April 12. 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – In the waning months of 1974 and following the conclusion of his tour with The Band, Bob Dylan recorded 10 songs that would emanate from the grooves of his vinyl release in the new year. The album - “Blood On The Tracks” – includes the now-standard Dylan tunes “Tangled Up In Blue,” “Simple Twist of Fate,” “Shelter From The Storm” and “Idiot Wind.”

Wednesday night, the Rochmon Record Club calls its popular sonic gathering to order at Caffe Lena to listen, learn about and discuss Bob Dylan’s epic 1975 album “Blood On The Tracks.” 

In addition to revisiting the stories and songs of this iconic album, the night also provides a neat prelude to the scheduled 2019 Netflix release “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese,” which focuses on the singer-songwriter during his The Rolling Thunder Revue tour. That tour hit the road shortly after the release of “Blood On The Tracks” and featured a plethora of musicians (Joan Baez to Roger McGuinn to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott to Mick Ronson), writers (Sam Shepard) and poets (Patti Smith turned the tour down, but Allen Ginsberg showed up).  There was even a push by Saratoga Springs café owner Lena Spencer to stage the tour locally (One Night Only, Nov. 18, Six Bucks).   

The Listening Party on Wednesday, Jan. 30 begins at 7 p.m. with a live audio and video presentation by Chuck Vosganian, aka Rochmon. The Caffe Lena kitchen will be open for light food and drinks. General admission is $8. For more information, go to: caffelena.org. 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Rochmon Record Club returns to Caffe Lena Tuesday, March 20 to indulge in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s 1970 album, “Déjà Vu.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and a $5 donation is suggested, which goes to the restoration funds of Caffe Lena and Universal Preservation Hall.

In 1969, the trio of Crosby, Stills and Nash – born from the fracturing of The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Hollies, respectively - released their debut collaborative album and sought the addition of a fourth member to round out their sound. After being rejected by John “hot town, summer in the city

back of my neck getting dirty and gritty” Sebastian, and Jimi Hendrix, the trio brought electric guitar wizard/ moody folkie Neil Young into the fold. (Jimi Hendrix, by the way, recorded a rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” with Stephen Stills guitar months prior to CSN’s offering - a recording of which was for the first time, coincidentally released this week).  

CSNY made their stage debut as a foursome at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, then promptly manned the main stage at Woodstock the following evening. Their 10-song album was released in March 1970 and generated the Top 40 singles: “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” and “Woodstock.”

Following the event Caffe Lena, the Rochmon Record Club a/k/a Chuck Vosganian will hit the road to Schenectady, to preside over a Beatles tribute night at Proctors.

The event, which the venue is billing as a new concert series, showcases local musicians performing their renditions of Beatles’ songs culled from the “White Album,” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

The lineup includes Bryan Brundige Collective, Clear Mind, Eastbound Jesus, Girl Blue, Let's Be Leonard and Wild Adriatic.

Tickets for the “Capital Records Live” event, which takes place 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23 at the GE Theatre at Proctors, are $25 and available at the Proctors box office at 432 State St., Schenectady; by phone at 518-346-6204, or and online at proctors.org.

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I was 12 years old and sprawled across the back seat of the family station wagon – a big-finned, hardtop machine with wicked tail lights and heavy metal side panels painted the color of wood. Dad sat in the driver’s seat, directly in front of me, losing his mind.

My sister and I had reached the age when promises of ice cream sodas and enticement of egg creams in exchange for orderly behavior – can you just sit still, for five minutes, please! – no longer carried significance. If we were going to be bribed into silence, it was going to take cash. Five bucks apiece, to be precise. Our palms dutifully greased with paper greenbacks depicting a serious-looking Abe Lincoln, we giddily trotted into the department store. It was a momentous occasion: each of us setting out to purchase our first record album. Dad waited in the car. My sister chose an album by The Beatles: love, love, love, blah, blah, blah. I made a beeline for the new releases. The Rolling Stones. Sticky Fingers.

I cradled it in my arms, this inspired 12-inch by 12-inch platter, double-wrapped in an opaque shopping bag, the contents within filled with strut and swagger and songs about slave-owners and demon lives and drugs, salivating Pavlovian dogs, mad, mad days on the road and nightdreams of sins and of lies and living after we’ve died. 

“Beatles, very nice,” said dad, during the unveiling of the albums in the family station wagon. “And you?”

He gazed over the back of the album jacket first, which was festooned with a bright sticker that depicted a big red mouth and a long unfurling tongue. It was the album’s front side that got the more immediate reaction. Here was a near life size snapshot of a human torso wearing a pair of jeans upon which was fixed a working zipper. When unzipped, the jacket revealed an inner-jacket picture of a pair of cotton briefs. To this day I’m not sure what dad said when examining the zipper-front, other than the sound of the words seemed to emanate from somewhere deep in the gut. The jargon itself was a mash-up of words that mixed phrases from the Old Country, new American slang and some otherworld language yet-to-be invented. 

Of course, immediately, I was hooked.

“God knows what I’m on about on that song,” Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone magazine many years later, when asked about his lyrics for the album’s first track, “Brown Sugar.” “It’s such a mishmash,” Jagger said.  “All the nasty subjects in one go.”

The Rolling Stones debuted a rough working version of “Brown Sugar” at the Altamont festival in 1969 - the first song in the setlist performed immediately after that infamous stabbing captured in the film “Gimme Shelter.” Despite the karmic baggage, when it was finally released as a single a year-and-a-half later, it climbed up the American charts and all the way to number one, displacing Three Dog Night’s six-week cling to the top of the charts - with “Joy to the World” of all things - and provided a daring counterpoint to chart-topping snoozers by Carole King - “It’s Too Late,” James Taylor -“You’ve Got A Friend,” and the Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” - that would soon follow.       

“Sticky Fingers” begins, as most good things do, with a succession of scything Keith-chords, adds a dose of heavy horns, and a killer rhythm section highlighted by the booming of Charlie bass-drum beats, as Mick Jagger releases the pent-up verse: Gawlko slayship bownfocottan feels/ sawld in-a-mawket-down in New Awleens…  

The album was released at an important time in popular rock and roll history: the Beatles had broken up, Bob Dylan a recluse and the trippy-hippy ‘60s were over. ‘Sticky Fingers’ boasts 10 songs in all, and not a throwaway tune in the bunch. There is the acoustic beauty of songs like “Wild Horses” and “Moonlight Mile,” the Gram Parsons-inspired country-rock-and-tonk of “Dead Flowers,” the heavy horn and musical jam explorations of “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” and the solemn hair-on-your-neck at attention moodiness of “Sister Morphine.”

The Rolling Stones classic 1971 album "Sticky Fingers" is the focus of the next Rochmon Record Club Listening Party, which takes place Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Caffe Lena. I can’t wait to see and hear what Rochmon’s got lined up for the night. Doors at 6:30 p.m. and show time is at 7. A word of advice: If you want a seat, get there early. A $5 donation is suggested. Donations go to the restoration funds of Caffe’ Lena and Universal Preservation Hall.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Rochmon Record Club continues its successful monthly run at Caffe Lena on Tuesday, Dec. 19, this time with a focus on the music and career of Tom Petty.  

Some fading notebook scribbles related to live appearances witnessed by this reporter, to get you in the mood:

 

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, August 2006 --- In the end, Tom Petty finished where he began, completing the circle of a 30-year career with a final stroke on his jangling guitar to the tune of “'American Girl.”

Thirty years ago, the youthful face of the singer stared back from his debut album, donning a black leather motorcycle jacket beneath the logo of a guitar shooting through a heart like a broken arrow. Sunday night, Petty returned as the musical maestro of the timeless verse, adorned in crushed velvet with glitter speckles and caught in the reflection of the floodlights that sprayed the crowd in crimson and lavender neon.

With the word out that this summer's tour may be the band's last large cross-country journey, there was a touch of finality in the air at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, where a sell-out crowd of 25,000 cheered Petty and his band of Heartbreakers through a 19-song set celebrating their decades of musical service.

 

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, August 2005 --- Wearing a schoolboy smile and a multi-colored ascot that invoked the mod Carnaby Street pop-isms of his teenage years, Tom Petty clutched the neck of his white tear-shaped guitar and led his band of Heartbreakers through a rousing two-hour set at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Saturday night.

Petty's onstage exuberance was reciprocated by a joyous gathering of nearly 25,000 fans, while breathing new life into 1970s material “Breakdown,” “Listen To Her Heart,” and “Refugee,” revisiting drive-time radio hits “'I Won't Back Down,” and “Free Fallin,'” and ratcheting up the sonic intensity beneath the lighted effects of the white-hot strobes with a hit parade that included “Learning To Fly,” “Mary Jane's Last Dance,” and “Don't Come Around Here No More.”

 

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, July 2002 --- For a quarter of a century, Petty has weaved the poetic language of the common man with a sonically jangled surrealism, along the way acquiring star-power leverage to do battle with record labels, concert promoters and music publishers, and championing the rights of fans and fellow musicians.

His name has been engraved on a five-point star on Hollywood Boulevard, and he was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not bad for an insurance salesman's son who grew up in Gainesville, Florida who left high school to pursue his vision of the American dream.

Friday night, performing on the fifth date of a summerlong tour, Petty tore through the set opener ''Runnin' Down A Dream,'' flashing his pearly whites at the mic. “'It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down,'' he sang, amid the arsenal of guitar riffs behind him, ''I felt so good, like anything was possible.''

With the backdrop projecting images of falling snow, Petty sang, ''Please shed some light on the road less traveled,'' in a piece titled ''Lost Children,'' as the stage resembled a scene inside a tumbling Christmas snow globe. Haunting melodies oozed from within during his tune ''It's Good To Be King,” and Petty donned a Rickenbacker guitar for the show-closing ''American Girl,'' giving birth to a jangling resonance which hung in the dense air long enough to inspire one last primal dance from the faithful. Eventually, they filed out to rejoin the rest of the world, taking the vibration of its memory far as they could with them into the night.

 

Palladium, New York City, July 1978 --- “Breakdown” is a nice song. Moody, like Mink DeVille. “I Need To Know,” from the new album, kicks it well enough for a boy from the sticks, ‘tho not as kicking as, say, The Ramones. A slew of obligatory ‘60s covers dotted the night and the highlight was, of course, “American Girl,” which sounds like a tune Petty lifted from Roger McGuinn’s mojo.

Rick Derringer opened the show. He was fine, though not nearly as entertaining as when he played with Edgar Winter Group a few years back. Ted Nugent came on to play a song or two, which signaled most everyone it was a good time for a bathroom break. Ran into David Johansen in the art-deco bathroom downstairs. His new solo album is great and he’s playing the Bottom Line next weekend with Sylvain.  Somebody said Warhol is here, up in the front somewhere.  

Tuesday’s event begins at 7 p.m., although if last month’s sold out celebration of Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells A Story” is any indication, you want to get there early, or you’re likely to get shut out.  Doors open at 6:30. Admission: $5 donation, which goes to the restoration funds of Caffe Lena and Universal Preservation Hall.  

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Bolstered by now-classic performances of the songs “Maggie May,” “Mandolin Wind,” the album’s title track, and a moving rendition of Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe,” Rod Stewart’s 1971 solo album “Every Picture Tells a Story” will receive the Rochmon treatment at Caffe Lena on Tuesday, Nov. 21. 

Rochmon Record Club gathers once a month under the guidance of music savant Chuck Vosganian, who selects one ground-breaking rock or pop album to dig deep and wide in creating an entertaining, illuminating program of anecdotes, biographical, technical information and photos.

Stewart, accompanied by Ronnie Wood, was ascending to the height of his powers with “Every Picture Tells a Story”- an album cranky rock scribe Robert Christgau graded with an A-plus with extra credit for Rod the Mod’s ability of being “tawdry enough to revel in stellar pop-and-flash” while able to “refine the rock sensibility without processing the life out of it.”      

Doors at 6:30 p.m., presentation begins at 7, and a $5 donation is suggested.  Donations go to the restoration funds of Caffe’ Lena and Universal Preservation Hall.  

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SARATOGA SPRINGS - Rochmon Record Club gathers once a month under the guidance of music savant Chuck Vosganian, AKA “Rochmon.” Each month the club selects one ground-breaking rock or pop album, and digs deep and wide to create an entertaining, illuminating program of anecdotes, biographical and technical information, and photos. Musical selections include the cuts from the featured album as well as some unexpected selections. Conversation and mingling follow.

This month’s event: Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” The event takes place 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15 at Caffe Lena. The kitchen will be open for light food and drinks.  Alcohol will not be served during this event.  $5 donation is suggested.  Donations go to the restoration funds of Caffe Lena and Universal Preservation Hall.  

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Who: Chuck Vosganian, AKA “Rochmon.”  

Where: Broadway.

Where are you from originally?

East Moriches, Long Island. I moved to the Saratoga area 30 years ago.

 

What’s changed in Saratoga since you’ve been here

A lot has changed in 30 years, but living right in town, being downtown, and being part of this community is really cool. My wife, Karen, teaches at Empire State College and when gets done at 5:30 we’ll take a half-hour, 45 minutes, and just walk around downtown. It’s just a vibrant downtown, there’s a lot to do.

 

What are you doing today?

Preparing for Rochmon Record Club, which takes place July 18 at Caffe Lena. What that is: one Tuesday a month we’ll get together and talk about a classic record. I do a breakdown about the history of the album, the history of the players, and I talk about the songs, play the songs, show pictures.

 

What are some of the records you’ve showcased?  

David Bowie’s “Young Americans,” Creedence Clearwater’s “Cosmo’s Factory,” Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung,” Led Zeppelin “Houses of the Holy,” are some of them.  In August, we’re going to do Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon,” and this month it’s Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours.” (Tuesday, July 18 at Caffe Lena). I’ve been doing music my whole life. My parents were musicians, I play drums, my son, Matteo, is in the band Wild Adriatic who are touring all over the place, and I’ve always been into the details. Doing this takes me right back to being a little kid sitting on the couch, in the sweet spot in the center the two speakers, holding the album cover and listening to the record.  

 

CD, vinyl, tape - what’s your favorite format?

I love vinyl first. To my way of thinking there’s so much more information in there, you hear more things and it just sounds so much better.

 

Where did you get your nickname ?

It was a weird thing. Back when we got AOL Instant Messenger, my kids were all picking their aliases, and I picked Rochmon P. Nickname as an alias for myself. I don’t why I came up with it, but for some reason my kids held onto it and started calling me Rochmon.

 

What do you see in Saratoga’s future?

I would like Saratoga to continue to always be a good walking city. One of the things that makes it so much fun is walking down Broadway from one end of the street to the other. Parking is always going to be an issue; I’m not sure we can ever have enough parking, but just so it stays walking-friendly, so people can come and feel safe and see what there is to be seen. I love the diversity of the retailers on Broadway – I’d like to see a little bit more diversity there as well, but there’s a lot to do off Broadway as well, from Beekman Street all the way down to Congress Park.   

 

Published in Entertainment
Thursday, 23 March 2017 16:11

Record Club Finds New Home at Caffè Lena

SARATOGA SPRINGS -  The Rochmon Record Club has hosted monthly learning and listening parties featuring classic rock ‘n’ roll albums since last fall at Universal Preservation Hall.

 

With the Washington Street space set to undergo a lengthy renovation, Rochmon brainchild Chuck Vosganian announced this week – during a listening party that featured Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” – that the sound and vision show will be relocating to Caffè Lena for the foreseeable future.

 

Vosganian credited the local creative arts community for making the relocation to Lena’s café possible. The Rochmon Record Club series continues Tuesday, April 18 at Caffè Lena where the album focus will be on Jethro Tull’s 1971 album, “Aqualung.”   

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