Wednesday, March 17, 2010
AN EARLY INTERVIEW AND OTHER NEWS
On Easter Sunday of last year (April 12, 2009), I posted the first in a series of blogs regarding Frank's inaugural and quite successful CD, HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO THIS MAN? That blog only took us through a few of the selections on this stunning collection, and I have intended to get back to writing more and more about it. Frank's too fast for me though, (and I say that with a grin from ear to ear). That's a good thing, in other words.
You see, since I began sharing information and opinion with you regarding this truly wonderful and personal work of Frank's, he has been very busy doing shows and concerts - performing on other's CD's, and he's made yet another high-quality, indescribably beautiful CD, with yet more very personal songs included. That CD is titled DELIVER ME.
DELIVER ME is filled with questions and feelings. The work is a masterpiece of music designed to showcase inner conflict, and what to do about it. So...just as I would begin once again working on more writings regarding HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO THIS MAN? I would need to happily put it aside in order to concentrate on another accomplishment by Frank that deserved to be archived here at RamblingsRegardingRENDO.
Though this writer has really only known Frank for a two-year period, he has, indeed, learned a great deal about Frank and has felt that each accomplishment deserved KUDOS independent of anything or anyone else. For example - Frank did a variety of shows and concerts in many areas of Long Island during that Spring and Summer of 2009. He caught the attention of Ms. Pag Hogeboom, an author and columnist for Great South Bay Magazine, a local Long Island publication.
Shortly after writing about and sharing this article with you, Frank decided the time had come to record a song he had been wanting to record for some years - "Don't Laugh At Me." "Don' Laugh At Me" is a really poignant story, and Frank delivered it with so much emotion. Yet, this song needed to be surrounded by even more beautiful music.
Therefore, along with working closely together with Long Island's brilliant singer/songwriter, the late Palma Pascale, on HER newest CD venture, THIS MUST BE HEAVEN, Frank and Palma began working on developing a new CD for him that would include Frank's single, "Don't Laugh At Me." Frank pulled some songs "from the archives" as he described it to me, for inclusion in this recording, and he added some fresh, new compositions by Palma. (www.palmapascale.com)
Plus, Frank engaged the unparalleled talents of another singer/songwriter in the greater New York area, Peter Eldridge, (www.petereldridge.com) to accompany him singing one of Peter's stellar compositions that Frank had, for years, hoped to one day record. The selection became the title song of the CD - DELIVER ME. Besides enjoying a solo career, Peter is also a member of the famed New York Voices. (www.newyorkvoices.com/)
I wrote the DELIVER ME blog in late July as Frank had asked me to author both the Forward and the liner notes for the CD. I can't imagine he will ever really understand what a pleasure, and a true privilege it was for me to pen them; nor how important and humbling it was to me. It was good fun to wade through the details of each song with Frank, and to attempt to share with you, my readers, what a compelling listen this album really is. It was nice to see Frank in July face-to-face there at Tiki Recording Studios in Glen Cove, NY, (www.tikirecording.com), and go over a few of the details of a song or two, plus listen to Tiki owner and chief engineer, Fred Guarino, do some mastering of Frank's album. There was enough energy spent from all those who contributed in any way to the success of this amazing work to light up Long Island for a long time to come. (pictured left: Frank with Peter Eldridge - Pictured right: Frank with Tim San Paolo, and Fred Guarino)
Since the release of DELIVER ME, Frank has continued to perform all over the greater NY area; tragically, he lost a close friend after her significant, brave battle with cancer. That was Frank's collaborator on his last 3 albums - singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/arranger/producer/director, Palma Pascale. It was just prior to the DELIVER ME CD release concert that Frank learned that Palma's imminent death was only a matter of days; sadly, she was so ill, there was no way for her to attend the opening and receive the accolades due her for such a fine production, such unbelievably beautiful orchestration, and of course, for the many beautiful compositions she'd written that Frank chose to include on the CD. Frank literally left her hospital bedside to go and do the release concert, then immediately went back to Palma's bedside and stayed with her until she left this world, only a couple of short days later.
Frank and I both felt this loss in a significantly painful way. Palma's long-time associate and her very close, trusted friend, Fred Guarino who, along with Palma, co-produced Frank's last three CD's, decided he wanted to finish and needed to share with the world the CD Palma (with help from Frank and others) had been working on for the prior 18 month period, between all of the other work for others she had been doing. So, Fred engaged both Frank and me to help him get the project completed.
THIS MUST BE HEAVEN was readied for release between September 15th, and October 31st, 2009. It made its debut on November 21st, when Frank and others put on a wonderful tribute concert to Palma..."In Her Own Words." Each of the artists sang one of Palma's original compositions. They sang to a packed house, and there has since been talk of another show sometime, soon. Another CD of her beautiful work was slated to be released on the same night as THIS MUST BE HEAVEN, though there were some production issues with the artwork that held it up and prevented that from occurring. The CD, I WORSHIP YOU was actually released during the last week of December. Both of these CD's of Palma's are available at www.cdbaby.com.
(pictured: Palma Pascale)
I made a quick trip to Long Island to work with Frank and Fred on a few of Palm's unfinished songs, and provided arrangements for several selections. I was also quite gratified to be able to sing alongside Frank, and work with Fred. And, of course, to be a musical contributor to one of our most talented songwriters/musicians of our day was beyond measure for me. It was a thrilling and unbelievably bittersweet experience for me to record Palma's songs on her CD - without her.
The highly successful release party for Frank's DELIVER ME CD was held at Samantha's Li'l Bit of Heaven - www.SamanthasLilBitofHeaven.org - on September 5th. Since that time, Frank has been receiving radio air time for not only "Don't Laugh At Me" but other of his recordings, as well. Concert appearances, personal appearances (TV and the like) and his directing and producing skills have also been called upon in a big way. He's been really busy, friends. And there is much more to be done.
Palma passed a torch on to Frank - a very important torch - one that touched her heart in a huge way. She had been composing songs for a "playlet" (a play which will have very little actual spoken dialogue - its story will be told through the songs). The playlet now has a title, "Did You Talk To Him Today?" This title is taken from a Palma Pascale original song by the same name. The song can be found on her highly acclaimed Christian CD, THE BROKEN CUP. This event is for Jesus Alive, a ministry and organization that is committed to raising money for pantries and grassroots ministries from the East End of Long Island to New York City. (http://jesusaliveministries.org/).
Though Palma had, in fact, composed the majority of the music prior to her unexpected death on September 8th, 2009, there was much left to do towards readying this musical extravaganza she had been working on for the Jesus Alive ministry, and as one of her last, important requests, she left this as a job for Frank to carry out on her behalf. Frank, of course, assured Palma he would take the lead and would do everything necessary to ensure the program, which is slated to be performed on October 10, 2010 (10-10-10) is a solid success. Frank is now the Director of the program.
As the Director, Frank has devoted a great deal of time and energy to this important project, in between trying to live the rest of his life. He hasn't been completely alone - he has received help from many people, to include his close friends, Jackie Carey, Fred Guarino, and me, Tim San Paolo - as well as Orlando Pena of Ovations Dance Academy -(http://www.ovationsdance.com/52.html). Frank tells me that Orlando's involvement has been invaluable to him.
http://www.ktts.com/ as well as on WHLI Radio there on Long Island. http://www.whli.com/ His music has recently been added to heavy rotation on the playlists of Arise Radio,
http://www.live365.com/stations/brucbuzz, as well as Carmen's Cafe, an internet radio station Frank was the featured artist for on March 1st. http://stickam.com/wram
Not only has Frank been heard on the radio, listeners of two stations have nominated him in their top countdowns. WHLI announced that Frank was #29 on their "TOP 50 RELEASES OF 2009." Frank did a lengthy interview with the General Manager of WHLI, Paul Richards, in early October of last year, as well. (Pictured: Paul Richards with Frank)
New to Arise Radio, Frank's debut week placed him within the TOP 20, landing at #3 during that week. On week two, Frank landed in the #2 spot on the TOP 20 lLIST. Personally, I was not a bit surprised at this news.
All of these things I mentioned take time to write about, and get all of the details for you - then to incorporate them into the blog, too. But, as you can see when you check - you'll find information about all of these important pieces that continue to move Frank's career just that much farther along.
The radio information provides me with a perfect segue, then, for the actual topic today - I'm bringing you a fun radio interview that I transcribed today; one that Frank did with John Barilla of New York Christian Music Showcase. This is a VINTAGE interview, as it occurred in 1992, just shortly after Frank released HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO THIS MAN?
You can easily detect that John was quite impressed with Frank, and the CD, itself. He mentions the magnificent voice of Frank and his tonal quality and control, throughout, as well as the music itself, and the sound quality of the recording.
So, without further adieu, I offer you the following 1992 interview with Frank Rendo and John Barilla.
JB = John Barilla
FAR = Frank Rendo
THE NEW YORK CHRISTIAN MUSIC SHOWCASE IS SPONSORED BY JOHN BARILLA PRODUCTIONS OF WHEATLY HEIGHTS, NY.
JB Good evening to ya - this is John Barilla, your host for the New York Christian Music Showcase.
Well, tonight we have a quality musical project that we'd like to bring to your attention. It's a new album by Frank Rendo called "HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO THIS MAN?" and I'm really into this album because the quality of the sound is so great and the recording process that Frank went through to get it is something that is a very interesting process.
We have Frank here with us in the studio, and we'd like to welcome him to the New York Christian Music Showcase.
FAR How ya doing? Thanks for having me, here.
JB Yeah, Frank - it's good to have ya. Tell us a little bit about your record and we're gonna be playing some music from it very shortly; but just tell us a little bit about the recording process that you did.
FAR Well, for the most part it was recorded here on Long Island.
FAR Home grown, yes. I did most of the recording at the New Covenant Church in East Meadow, thanks to the generous folks over there. And, I had a fantastic engineer - his name is Rick Bieder - he recorded it and we mixed it and then it was mastered at Cove City in Glen Cove. I even had planned a trip to Israel and had some strings recorded over there for the album.
JB Wow! Are we going to be hearing some of the strings in this cut we're going to be playing?
FAR Yes - on two of the cuts, I believe, yeah - the strings are there.
JB Great! Great! Well, let's jump right into the music and then we'll talk a little bit more to Frank Rendo about the production process and his ministry. Now, "HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO THIS MAN?"
JB "How Can You Say No To This Man?" Well Frank, I wanna tell you that I really like that song - very much. It's a very sincere song and your voice really shines on it. You didn't use a lot of effects or gimmicks....ah....and I think that's probably because you really don't need effects and gimmicks - you have good control of your voice - you have to have some training - some background in singing. Is that true?
FAR Well, I've been singing my whole life. That's all I really ever wanted to do, so I guess, I've done it all my life and one of the ways that I like to approach a song is communicating a story or an impression - like doing a painting. These are my paintings - making pictures.
JB Um hm....making concepts come to life, sort of?
FAR Yeah, yeah - I love to do "story" songs, as well. I like to use all of myself to communicate, not just my voice. But like I've said, I've sung my whole life - I've had fantastic mentors and it's just the thing that I love to do. I just love to sing.
JB Well, that's great! And what else about your ministry can you tell us that would be, ah, an epitome of it?
FAR I can tell you what God has been speaking to my heart.
FAR (speaking to my heart) these past few years, actually, and that is "Be In Me." Not big directions, not big revelations - just Be In Me, which is a very simple and at the same time a very hard thing to do because all it requires is surrender on our part. It really doesn't require us to do a lot of things to earn God's approval. And, I might be going against the grain by saying this, but - we're taught
a lot of that - a lot of the "earning" - a lot of the "ten steps to do this...."
JB Formula-type things...
FAR And, you know I've been a Christian now 10 years and I've tested a lot of that stuff, and a lot of it just doesn't work - at least, it doesn't work for me. God wants me to be real and He deals with me in a very real way, and the thing that He's been telling me is to just Be In Me. And, I have seen God work miracles. Things that I couldn't have accomplished on my own - it just happens - things just fall in my lap, like this interview, for instance. It's something that was such a blessing to me, to get the phone call from you ... and, here we are!
JB Well, it's a blessing for us, too! Ah, I'm sure it's some source of inspiration to a lot of the songwriters and vocalists and music ministers here on Long Island to know that people, right here at a local level, are doing professional quality projects such as yours.
Now, I know you had a lot of help with it, and you went to the right people - and you did the right things - and you spent, what was it, 13 months doing this project?
FAR Yep! Thirteen months....and for the most part, it was a joy to do. There were sometimes, though, where it would seem long....like, is this ever going to be finished? Sometimes, you get some of the personnel together and nothing would happen, you know? Something would happen with the equipment - or something would happen with the arrangement, or you know....something....and you, well, I'm a perfectionist by nature and when I get frustrated, I internalize it and I get depressed and I get very quiet and, ah....God was able to bring me through all that, you know? So, I'm really glad the way the thing......well, I just pray that He gets glory from the album because I like what He did!
JB You like what He did...through you?
FAR Through me.
JB Well, that's the title of your next song by the way - "Have Your Way In Me," and we both know the songwriter that's involved here.
FAR Yes, David Ridgeway.
JB Say a few words about Dave.
FAR David Ridgeway - he's a brilliant songwriter, and I think we're gonna hear a lot of his music in the years to come. I hope so.
JB He's an amazing guy - he's got about a thousand songs in his book, and I look forward to hearing a lot more from him.
This is Frank Rendo doing David Ridgeway's song "Have Your Way In Me."
~plays "Have Your Way In Me"~
JB Frank Rendo - "Have Your Way In Me." Frank, I want to tell you that I really enjoy your vocal technique that you used in that song.
JB The bridge part of it - where you did all of those, ah....very imagistic vocals there - reminded me a little bit of some of the early Simon and Garfunkel bridges - like from "Bridge Over Troubled Waters."
JB Yes, and others like that - so, that's really nice technique. Now, you did all the vocals on that yourself?
FAR Yes - I love this song and I think partly - maybe mostly, it's the message that it has...because it talks about a person who is broken - which......I've been there. In the journey with Christ, He brings us to those places where we do come to the surrendering - again and again and again. And when David first brought the song to my attention, I thought...well, vocally, it's very challenging because it does do a lot of things - it takes a lot of control, and it's hard to perform. But the message is what's most important...and that the words are understood.
JB Sure....the message is surrender, and of course we're hearing sometimes a different message frequently from the radio and on the pulpit that we shouldn't really say that we're hurting when we are hurting. Now, there's a little conflict there, and what does the Bible say?
FAR All I know is that repentance is a lifestyle. It's not just something you do once in your life and I believe that the Lord calls us to be real - and He said we will experience tribulations, so if I'm to go around saying I'm doing great all the time, "Praise the Lord" then I'm really.....I'm not being honest....I'm not being honest. I
JB That's true - that's true! I think we all need a little more honesty in the church, today.
FAR (chuckles) I think we need A LOT more honesty in the church today.
JB Ummm Hmmmm.....Well, we're gonna be back talking to Frank Rendo in just one second - I just wanna do a quick ID for the New York Music Showcase.
~ runs ID commercial for showcase~
JB Okay, so why don't we just plunge into another song? Frank....what are we listening to, here?
FAR This song is called "I'll Keep My Eyes On You" and it's my favorite one on the album because it really speaks from expereince what I've been through in my life, and how it's only God that matters.
~plays "I'll Keep My Eyes On You~
JB "I'll Keep My Eyes On You" by Frank Rendo. Frank, the tape that you played and shared with us today is a real work of art.
FAR Awww...thanks! Thanks!
JB I'm sure that a lot of our listeners will want to purchase it, so tell us where it will be available.
FAR Well, on Long Island I know it's available at the New Horizon's Bookstore* in Coram, and it will be available at the Sunshine Faith Bookstore* in Ronkonkoma. They expressed an interest in selling it, so I'll be dropping off a lot of tapes there.
*[The writer's 2010 aside]: the New Horizon's Bookstore is no longer carrying any of Frank's CD's, and the Sunshine Faith Bookstore is no longer in business.
JB Okay - if this is inconvenient for some people, I know the signal does occasionally make it into Connecticut or New Jersey - ah, would they be able to call you directly and get a copy of the tape?
FAR Yes, (Frank gives phone number)
JB Okay, now tell us about your concert engagements. I know you've spent a good part of your life traveling around the world, sharing the gospel with people...in music.
FAR I know I have one concert coming up here in the area on Long Island on June 27th, . I will be at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church - it's a Sunday night at 6 p.m. It's in Commack, and it's on Jericho Turnpike. That's June 27th  at 6 p.m.
JB Great....Great! Anything else I can tell our listeners before we go?
FAR Oh, there's a whole lot!
JB You've got a couple of minutes.......
FAR Oh, you've put me on othe spot here. (ponders)...What do I want to say? There are so many things, I don't know where to start.
JB Any words of encouragement for artists coming up?
FAR Well, I know for myself, I came up against a lot of things that would try to stop me or quench me from singing or making this album, and at times I got discouraged. But, I had the vision in my head and in my heart and I just followed it until it came to pass. I give all the credit - all the glory to the Lord for that, because in myself, I would have been too weak. I would have just given up and lay on my back. But God is the one - He's given the gift and He'll make a way for that gift and I give Him all the glory for it.
JB Well, one of the beautiful things about being a Christian is knowing when to say "help me" .... and, to have the humility to do that. A lot of artists try to do everything themselves.
FAR That was ME a few years ago - and I burned-out, trying to....you know....making the phone calls - doing the booking calls and having the pastor's not call back, or have them say they're not interested, or the secretaries say "well, if he's interested, he'll call you" and I just took it as a personal rejection. The artist has a very hard time separating himself from his work, and what he does.
FAR So, for my own peace of mind, I can't do that anymore. So I just pray that God will open the doors for me to do what I do.
JB Well, I think in the wake of this album, I don't think you're gonna have a whole lot of problem with having to call people up - I think people are gonna be callin' you! So, I would like to give you the number one more time, if you wanna call Frank Rendo and have him come over to your church to minister in music and in song. And....I can tell from talking to him that what he does IS, in fact, ministry - it's not "entertainment" per se - although it is very entertaining and his voice is very professional, and the recording of the highest quality - I would just say that Frank is a minister of music...and the comfort that the Lord has given him, he will give to the people that listen to him. So give him a call at (John gives phone number).
We're here at the New York Christian Music Showcase to showcase the best of Long Island's Christian talent and artists, and to help them along the way.
Thanks very much for being with us today, Frank.
FAR Oh, thank YOU!
JB We wish you the best, and you've got so much more good material on the show, I think maybe we'll have you back in a few weeks and you can play a few new tunes for people.
FAR Thanks! I wish the best for your show, too - we really needed this on Long Island.
JB Ummm hmmm....yeah, we certainly do! So, God Bless you all out there in the listening audience, and tune in next week at the same time for the New York Christian Music Showcase.
There you have it - a very nice conversation and interview by John Barilla of Frank Rendo, speaking about his ministry in music, his journey with God, and his first album, HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO THIS MAN? The album was in tape form at that time, but for the 15 year anniversary of its continued excellent sales, Frank had the songs remastered by Fred Guarino at Tiki Recording - some of them remixed - some of them embellished (sweetened) by pal and brilliant artist Palma Pascale, and it was re-released in CD form.
You can find HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO THIS MAN? at cdbaby http://www.cdbaby.com, as well as at Amazon.com - http://www.Amazon.com.
Hopefully, I will be finishing my writing about this wonderful collection of important songs, soon. Keep checking here at RamblingsRegardingRENDO for continued updates, and news about the very talented Frank Rendo.
Until next time then,
I remain yours, musically,
Photographs, courtesy, Frank Rendo Collection, Tim San Paolo and Sue Rosen. All photos are of Frank Rendo, except where noted.
Posted by Martini at 7:12 PM