TEN: Starting in 2013, each Friday, Innocent Words started shining the spotlight directly on up and coming artists/bands with 10 questions we like to call IW10.
Sea Cliff, NY
Members and Instruments:
Roger Street Friedman – vocals, acoustic guitar
Frank Ferrara – electric guitar, vocals
Matt Schneider – bass, vocals
Concetta Allegra Abatte – fiddle, vocals
Jim Toscano – drums, percussion
Short Bio (in your own words):
I was born into a music-loving and creative family. Some of my earliest memories are of my father blasting Dvorak, Beethoven and Stravinsky on his hi-end stereo on Saturday mornings. He also loved folk music, Woodie Guthrie, The Weavers, and Pete Seeger, as well as Ella, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and on and on. There was a lot of variety in the house. My older brothers would play and sing folk and blues and Beatles’ tunes in the living room… I started playing the guitar when I was five.
I left home when I was 18 to move into Manhattan and play bass in a band called The Walk. We were being produced and managed by a music industry veteran who was trying to get us a major label deal. That didn’t pan out as planned, but I wound up (after a few years out west) building a recording studio with a buddy of mine and worked as a recording engineer/producer for most of my early 20’s. Life then intervened and I wound up leaving music altogether for the better part of 25 years!
When my dad passed away in 2004 and my mother in November of 2006, just two weeks before the birth of my daughter, something cracked open inside of me, and I wrote my first song in a number of years called “The Miracle Is You.” That song gave birth to the second phase of my musical life. Now, with the perspective of a grown man, I realized that when I stopped making music I had let a piece of my soul wither, and I could no longer abide this. I wound up starting to play out in Brooklyn in 2010, and in 2014 I teamed up with Grammy-nominated producer Felix McTeigue to release my debut album “The Waiting Sky.” The album got some airplay and garnered good reviews. This primed the pump for some great shows, with the highlight being our opening slot for Los Lobos up at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY. This led to a lot more writing and another collaboration with Felix on my latest effort “Shoot The Moon.” I’m extremely proud of this record. We recorded it using analog tape and a ton of vibey analog gear. My band basically moved into my home studio for a week to record the basic tracks, and we had a number of guest musicians contribute to the project including Amy Helm, Nini Camps of Antigone Rising, and Jason Crosby. The sessions were all so much fun! It was mixed by Paul Kolderie of Radiohead fame…
What was the first live concert you ever went to?
Believe it or not, my very first concert was Steely Dan and Cheech and Chong! Steely Dan opened for C and C!! My older brother brought me to see this show when I was 10. I didn’t understand the comedy at all but I loved the music!
What is your funniest or worst tour experience?
The worst experience I’ve had was when a promoter booked a TV interview at the venue the afternoon before my CD release show in 2014. We had gotten there at 3 p.m. for an early sound check but couldn’t get on the stage until they were done filming the interview. This delayed the sound check by almost 4 hours and we had 200 fans waiting to see the show which started 90 minutes late! We found out later that the promoter had blamed US for the delay. That was infuriating.
What THREE things are a must have when you go on tour or play a show?
A good book for the tour, my bicycle for some exercise, and before each show… a shot of good bourbon!
What was the first record you ever purchased?
It was when I was 10 and I had some birthday money. My big brother took me to the record store (Korvettes) I bought four albums that day – Cat Steven’s “Tea For The Tillerman,” Jethro Tull “Thick As A Brick,” Jackson Browne “Late For The Sky,” The Beatles “Let It Be,” and a Humble Pie record.
If you had to record an EP of covers, which FIVE songs/artist would make the cut?
Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson.
What’s your preferred music format – vinyl, CD, digital, cassette – and why?
I love the sound of vinyl. I also love the act of having to remove the record from the sleeve, place it on the turntable and drop the needle… and you can’t stray very far from the source because, unlike a CD or a digital stream, you’re going to have to flip that album in 18-20 minutes! It feels like a more active way to listen, like the old days!
What is your website and do you have a music video to share?
www.rogerstreetfriedman.com – there are videos on the site and a premiere of the video of the single “Everyday” should be released very soon!