Richard Barone is an example to all of us who get trapped in our daily grind. He seems to be the perpetual glass-half-full kind of guy. He admits he feels pretty much the same way he did 30 years ago when Barone on lead vocals and guitar along with bassist Rob Norris and drummer Frank Giannini gave birth to the Bongos, a wonderful, jangly power-pop combo that could light up any room with its overflowing energy. It’s difficult to believe that their new album, Phantom Train (Jem), is not really new at all. With guitarist James Mastro added to the band, it was cut in 1985 and 1986 and has languished on the shelf ever since. Barone has also kindly agreed to serve as guest editor for magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.
Barone: “We are the premier training ground for creative entrepreneurs and the only school to award a BFA in Recorded Music.” So correctly states the dynamic chair of Clive Davis Institute Of Recorded Music at NYU, Jeffrey Rabhan, himself a top artist manager and journalist, having worked with artists from Kelly Clarkson and Michelle Branch to Lil’ Kim and Korn. A department of Tisch School of the Arts, ReMu (as it is affectionately referred to on campus) is the kind of institution that I wish had existed when I attended college. Now in its 10th year, the curriculum focuses on business, musicianship and performance, production, music history and criticism, placing special emphasis on experiential education. The quality and diversity of the students’ output, and the rate at which they develop is astounding. And it all (or mostly) happens not is some isolated scholastic setting, but right in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York, historically a hotbed of musical innovation and energy, a location that allows for lots of interaction with the city’s music community. So students feel a part of the music industry not only when they graduate, but while they’re in the heat of learning. The department’s faculty is made up of active music professionals, like Roots drummer Questlove, journalist Robert Christgau, producer David Kahne, engineer Kevin Killen and, well, me. I started teaching the course “Stage Presence and the Art of Performance” in 2012, and sharing my experiences with students has itself become one of the best experiences of my life. The unexpected bonus is that I learn so much about what it is that I do when I get up onstage by helping students develop their own persona and presence. When we discuss the phenomenal career of David Bowie, the stylistic invention of Tupac or the skyrocket that was NYU alumni Lady Gaga, it’s always with the attitude that there’s no reason they can’t make the same kind of impact themselves. I truly believe that, and nothing excites me more.