New York – Vic Kastel’s just-released solo album Time Traveler (Island Avenue Records) has successfully created a media storm with positive reviews and poignant interviews with the Long Island-based artist.
Recorded in the late-70’s -on analog equipment- at producer Phil Ramone’s legendary A&R Studios in New York City – Kastel’s debut effort has created interest in not only the songs, but the album’s unique production.
SKOPE‘s Dan McIntosh highlighted the use of a Farfisa organ on the track “Never Gonna Leave It” – asking Kastel if he was a rock’ n roll purist: Asked McIntosh, “That’s one of those distinctly era-related instruments. Would you call yourself a kind of rock & roll purist, with tastes that pre-date the modern era?”
Kastel answered: “Definitely. As an innovation, auto-tune has its place, however I preferred to achieve intonation naturally. The album is a full-blown homage to those times. The band was all in the studio at the same time … playing together. There’s a certain magic generated by that process. I used Pro Tools too to sweeten some of the tracks, but back then, all live!”
The initial single from the album, “Don’t Ever Let Me Catch You Giving Up On My Love,” despite its lengthy title, has garnered the best and quickest response.
Says Kastel, “That song has held up – and, even gotten to sound better through the years. It’s a straight pop-rock single for certain.”
On the album’s packaging there’s an archival photo of Kastel playing with his first band, the Axents at the famous Peppermint Lounge.
Asked McIntosh, “There’s a picture of your old band, The Axents, performing at the famous Peppermint Lounge, which has been called the launchpad for the Twist dance phenomenon in the 1960’s. Were you doing a little twisting there during that time? It’s also said to be where go-go dancing started. Did the Axents ever perform flanked by mini skirt wearing go-go dancers? A lot of famous people frequented that club back then, including many movie stars. Did you have any memorable celebrity encounters?”
Adds Kastel: “Yes, that was me doing a bit of twisting. We actually performed either the day before, or the day after The Beatles visited that club. It was such a pivotal spot at that time. Electric for sure and yes, go-go dancers everywhere.”
The other track that has gained the most traction is the doo-wop oriented “First Impressions.” Adds Kastel, “Dion has, and always will be an inspiration for me. Frankie Lymon and The Platters too were inspirations. Very stylized and to me, a much-missed genre for sure.”
As to the album’s delayed-release, Kastel says: “I’ve literally been working non-stop; raising a family and building this career. I’ve been very fortunate in being involved in so many significant musical projects that when we recorded these tracks, my intention was always to get them released, but this project, or that project came up. I had intended to finally get them out last year, but then I got involved in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – performing in the band.”
Kastel’s plan were to front an East Coast tour, but with the pandemic, that has now been postponed.
“I’m in this for the love of the game, but we’ll be out there shortly.”