By February 18, 2020 Read More →

Joe Anastasi Explains Stroll Down Penny Lane

Joe Anastasi Explains Stroll Down Penny Lane

Interview by Middagh Goodwin

Stroll Down Penny Lane line up: Joe Anastasi aka Prof. Stompensplatt (lead
vocals and rhythm guitar), Winter (lead guitar and vocals) and Mike
Sugar (bassist, electric cellist, melodica, synthesizer, and vocals), Mark
Abbott (drums and vocals) and Matt Twain(Keys and vocals).

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hi, I am Joe Anastasi, the executive producer of the show Stroll Down Penny Lane — a multimedia extravaganza celebrating the life and music of Paul McCartney. For this show, I have written the screenplays for the 25 that are shown during the show. I also have led the musical arrangement for the songs that we perform, and the theatrical production planning for this show. I also play guitar, and am the lead vocalist for the show. Our other band members include Mike Sugar, on bass guitar, electric cello, melodica and recorder; Matt Twain, on keyboards and bagpipes; Mark Abbott on drums and Hohner 48-chord harmonica and bass harp, and ‘Winter,’ on lead guitar.

What is the origin of the band’s name?

The title of our show (and our band) describes what our show is all about, the music of Paul McCartney. The song title, Penny Lane, is evocative of Paul. Through the use of the films and the music in our show, the audience will be taking a stroll, exploring music and stories that span some sixty years — so, Stroll Down Penny Lane came to truly embody the essence of this show.

I guess the first question I should ask is how and why did you decide to create a tribute to Paul McCartney and his music? 

Over the course of my life, I have always been drawn to this music. So for me, this is a natural extension of my life

Stroll Down Penny Lane is much more than your typical tribute; tell us what the audience can expect when they come to see you perform? 

Through the story telling devices used in the accompanying films, the audience will learn many things about this music that they otherwise may not know. I have done all the research – it was painstaking. But in the process, when I learned something surprising, or was struck by something profound, I found a way to thread these nuggets into the story telling in the films. Everybody loves story telling — it is a fundamental underpinning of our human nature. And when you combine that with this music, the audience is drawn right into the show. So we have those two things. But remember too, there is a third aspect that exists — the audience has their own personal life experiences that are directly associated with having experienced this music during the course of their lifetimes — our show somehow inextricably taps into the nostalgic personal experiences of everyone who attends. People weep oftentimes at their memories, sometimes triggered by a song, or a film in the show. And this is not in sadness; it is a manifestation of personal joy. And I am always impressed with the personal experiences our audiences share with us after watching our show.

The animation is a big part of the show, who created all the animation for your performance?

For many of the 25 films that we depict in the show, I had hired cinematographers and motion graphic specialists to capture film imagery that fit the stories I was intending to tell. The first five or so films were completed this way, and then I proceeded to write the screenplay for a film to tell the story about the song Michelle. After sending this screenplay to my film editor, Eric Pomert, he suggest that we put this film across as an animated film — and he had an animator in mind, Avi Ofer, who lives in Barcelona. So we sent the screenplay to Avi, and he developed a couple of sketches of the characters in my screenplay. Then we put the characters to work to illustrate the story. This turned out to be a great success. So we used a similar work process approach for a couple more films in our show that accompany the songs, All My Loving, Golden Slumbers, Penny Lane, and Ob-La-Di; Ob-La-Da.

Outside of the Beatles and of course Paul specifically, who else influenced you as a musician? 

I served as the Chairman of the Midsummer Mozart Festival for some ten years — so I must have absorbed something from that. This whole process of developing this show has been a terrific learning experience for me. I am explaining things in this show that took me an entire lifetime to learn.

Where can our readers see you performing next? 

Our next show is Friday, February 21, 2020, at 8 pm — at the Grand Theater Center for the Arts, in Tracy, California. Our website is at: strolldownpennylane.com. And there, you will find a three-minute film that shows excerpts of our stage performance of several songs. And in this little film you can see the story telling that is unfolding, on screen, above us, as we perform these songs.

Is there anything more you would like to share with us?

The vocal harmonies in this show are incredibly authentic — and they are what make this music so distinctly unique and spectacular. Come see the show, you will be very entertained.

Paul McCartney Tribute Multimedia Extravaganza – Stroll Down Penny Lane. Original films-animation-live concert celebrating the life and music of Paul McCartney’s whole career, from The Beatles to his later solo work. A tribute of the best loved pop songs of all time. The music is embellished with stories, evocative images, a musical education of sorts, and animation to create a unique concert experience. Visit strolldownpennylane.com

When: Friday, February 21, 2020 at 8pm
Where: The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts
715 N Central Ave, Tracy, CA 95376
 (209) 831-6858

Tickets for the Grand Theatre

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Posted in: featured, global, music

About the Author:

Middagh Goodwin LIVES Music. He has been booking and promoting Music, Art and Comedy for years in the Central Valley. He ran the award winning Plea for Peace Center in Stockton for 5 Years and has booked bands from A-Z. Middagh is beginning 2016 with a new position at the Gallo Center for the Arts and celebrating Beat Happy! Music's 30th Anniversary. Read the MAMAView every month and a the Needle Drop 52 Records 52 Weeks.