Rick Keene Music Scene – Producer Chris Birkett Explains Chris Birkett – Part Two

Nothing compares to Chris Birkett.

Award winning producer Chris Birkett has worked with artists who – collectively, have sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Put that in your console and smoke it.

The Pogues, The Talking Heads, Sinead O’Connor and Sir Bob Geldof; a few of the artists that have made Chris one of the most sought after producers in the music business.

Please listen below to my chat with Chris about producing and his new album 11:11 with The Free Spirits.

Visit Chris Here

Smoke Meat Pete Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Producer Chris Birkett Explains Chris Birkett

Nothing compares to Chris Birkett.

Award winning producer Chris Birkett has worked with artists who – collectively, have sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Put that in your console and smoke it.

The Pogues, The Talking Heads, Sinead O’Connor and Sir Bob Geldof; a few of the artists that have made Chris one of the most sought after producers in the music business.

Please listen below to my chat with Chris about producing and his new album 11:11 with The Free Spirits.

Visit Chris Here

Smoke Meat Pete Here

Gabriela Martina – Her ‘ Sound of Music’ is Real ! Full Interview.

Gabriela Martina yodelled as a young girl in Switzerland. That is where the similarities between her and Maria Von Trapp ends.


Gabriela’s story is real … 

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Please listen below to my interview with Gabriela !



Visit Gabriela Here !




Jean-Michel Blais – A Pianist Making Waves …


Jean -Michel Blais is a newcomer. Sort of …

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Jean – Michel Blais started playing the organ at a young age which – in turn, led to the piano. Even though, a love-hate relationship developed for a while between Jean – Michel and music, it is now part of his life in a big way.

It may even get bigger …


Please listen below to my chat with Jean-Michel.



Visit Jean – Michel Here !






The Real Reason We Mourn Prince’s Death …

The artist formerly known as ‘ the artist formerly known as Prince‘, aka ‘Prince‘ or ‘Prince‘ Rogers Nelson – passed away.
His death, echoing around the globe with thunderous fanfare via social media.
Why ?

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The obvious reasons are acute. Fame, fame and more fame. The brighter the flame, the harder to extinguish. The brighter the flame, the more it spreads with the oxygen provided by the corporate machine, the fans and the product itself. In Prince’s case, the product was music.

How could anything else come from a man whose parents were of music lineage?

Mom ( Mattie Shaw) was a Jazz singer. Dad ( John L. Nelson), a lyricist and pianist. Music was part of Prince’s genetic code. Chances are if Prince’s chosen career happened to be a forklift operator – at home, as a hobby, Prince would have probably played the piano or sang  ‘just for fun’ …

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So what? Lots of folks are musical. Lots of souls possess the God-given ability to pick up any instrument and play it well. Some, such as Prince, are either lucky or blessed to reach a level where all the tools required to reach millions are at their fingertips. Artists such as Prince can then preach their messages to the hearts and souls of their followers. In effect, affect people’s lives.

Scanning social media in the hours following the death announcement, everyone had a thought, a picture or a paragraph pertaining to their ‘hero’ ‘Prince’ Rogers Nelson. 

Fifteen – year-olds, teenagers – people not born when Prince hit the Pop charts were mourning his loss. Eighty-year-olds, folks who had no idea that Prince, not so long ago, went by a symbol as his moniker. Fifty-year-olds who had no idea that Prince played guitar. Folks whohave no idea just how much of a musical genius Prince was.

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There are reasons why Prince’s death spread faster than the Ebola virus and caused many bosses panic attacks.

First ( and the most symbolic indication of humanity’s demise); people are like sheep. If one person shares the news, one ‘cool’ person, it inevitably goes viral. ‘Everyone’ must be the bearer of bad news even though ‘everyone’ has witnessed ‘everyone’ being the bearer of bad news on their newsfeeds. If this was not bad enough, suddenly ‘everyone’  is an expert of at least one aspect of the subject of the bad news. ‘Bobby Joe’ knows everything about Prince’s music. ‘Harry’ grew up with Prince in Minnesota. ‘ Darlene’ has a friend who knows what killed ‘ The Purple One’. On and on it goes …

Secondly, there are genuine fans out there. People who know more about Prince than the time of day ‘doves cry’. Fanatics who can toss ‘Purple Rain‘ aside as a commercial jingle. Folks who can say “Let’s go crazy’ and not get into a ‘Little Red Corvette’ and party like it’s 1999. 

These fans, these people – are the divine holders of any profound detail concerning the life, the times and the music of The Prince of Funk. These folks are genuinely hurting. They mourn and will continue to mourn the depth of not only Prince’s musical ability, his knowledge and his craftsmanship as a true artist. A songwriter, a composer and a groundbreaking figure. The ‘Spike Lee’ of musical direction. 

Musicians, fellow artists also fall into this category. People – women, men and transgenders who recognized the abilities of a man who accomplished in the studio and on stage what they could only dream of doing in their finest moments. For them – ‘Princes’ exist solely in fairy tales and rightly so.

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Lastly and the veritable reason everyone mourned Prince on a level normally fit for Kings and not Princes; people are human and nothing touches the human soul more than music …

Sally’ recalls quite vividly where she was was when the riffs of ‘Little Red Corvette’ eased her pain. Lifting whatever was troubling her for a fleeting moment of a busy workday. ‘Jimmy’, the once pimply teenager, at the drop of some purple misting – zooms to a backseat and his first kiss with Prince providing ‘the condoms’ in the form of ‘dearly beloved’ oozing through the Blaupunkt speakers of his rusted Honda Civic. His first car mirroring his first ejaculation.

‘Jane’, the once party animal-turned-mother-of-three snickering of ‘the fight’ that took place as she defended Prince in the ever important Michael vs. Prince debate. Arguments as important at the time as Trump vs Hilary is today. Music was and continues to be the pulse of the people. It escapes no one and leaves no one indifferent.

An artist on the scale of Prince, a man who affected millions through music, showmanship, songwriting and individuality left no one indifferent.

That is the reason we mourn his death. That is the reason we will never mourn his music.

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1958 – 2016






Ask Dave the Bartender … Episode Four

The man who knows everything. The man who serves everything. The man known simply as …

Dave the Bartender!



Remember – Dont Drink and Drive!







You Can Call Me Ray …You Can Call Me Jay – Or You Can Call Me ‘Snooksta’

Leslie ‘Snooksta’ Alston is a schooled drummer. Not a classroom aficionado but a sidewalk one …

On the ‘streets’, paying attention to other musicians is what makes the former ‘Snooky’ great. Playing with Freddie James or singing and drumming on a cruise ship – Leslie is an act worth writing home to …

Leslie …?


Visit ‘Snooksta’ Right here!



Wayne Wallace – Grammy Award Nominee

Wayne Wallace has been around. That is an understatement.

A trombonist who has played with every legend possible in the music business. Hear his tales in part one of my interview. A very insightful look into the life of a soon-to-be legend himself.

Cheer for him on Sunday the 26th of January as he goes for a Grammy award for best Latin Jazz album.

Good luck Wayne !

‘Snooky’ Stuck in Music School

The beat goes on …

Especially for drummer Leslie ‘Snooky’ Alston.


Kicking the bass peddle, cracking the snare or shuffling on the high hat- this American – born keeper of all things rythym, feels as if he has something to say …

Musically anyways.

“I always thought I was a drummer.” Says Snooky. ” Recently, my 86 year old Mother tells me I was a singer first. It comes as a surprise to me …!”

Leslie Alston grew up in Rhode Island and as early as the age of six (according to his Mom), Leslie sang hymns to the matriarch of the Alston clan while drumming along with his mouth at the same time. It has been a long musical journey since then, a trip which has seen ‘Snooky’ play with every type of musician imagable. Motown, Jazz, Funk and disco to name a few.You name it – Alston has been there done that.


His current gig with Snooky and the Bandits every Monday night at the House of Jazz is not enough however.

“Inside, I feel as if I have something to prove. Something to say musically.” Admits Alston. “Something which is chasing me …”

The musical demons which follow this fifty – something man, are the reasons Snooky is planning to embark as the resident drummer on a cruise ship. Alston agrees that most musicians are like gypsies – always on the move.

A Younger Alston on Drums

“It won’t be the first time that I have travelled. I have been to Japan and Africa touring with Freddy James. The band was named Fusion 3 and it was an interesting foray into the world of professional music.”

Perhaps Snooky’s most defining musical education came when he was stationed in Morocco. He signed on with K9 Entertainment in 2007 and for the next three years travelled back and forth between Montreal and Casablanca. According to ‘the Snooksta’ – the experience made him realize how easy life as a musician is in North America.

“Over there, entertainment is not as abundant as it is here and in the States. When the people go out to be entertained – they want to be entertained ! They get all dressed up and they want the entertainers to be sharp. They can turn on you pretty quick if you slack off on stage.”


Alston does not want to ‘slack off’ with the rest of his life. He is currently working In the studio lending his voice to a local musician and plans on recording his second cd. His first disc – recorded in 2006, contains a virtual stew of musical genres. Snooky not only played drums and sang every song on the disc, he wrote all the tunes and produced it as well.

The album – ‘Snooky – Let’s Talk About’, contains every influence this man has employed into his drumming. Michael Jackson, Prince and George Clinton to name a few. Snooky came very close to playing with Clinton and the story is a funny one …

“George was playing in a club downtown Montreal. Most of the people attending were white so I figured if I attempted to sneak in the back and pretend to be part of his entourage – I just might have a chance.” Continues Snooky …


“George often has fifty people on stage with him and I figured I could blend right in with the predominantly black crew and performers.”

Sure enough, the ‘white’ security guard assumed that the African-American Snooky was part of the crew and let him in. For once – racism was a good thing.

“I ended up talking to George in the hallway. I told him how much a fan I was and that I could go on stage right now and play any song in his catalogue. If it was not for his loyalty to his drummer (someone who I thought was bad at what he does), I would have played with one of my idols.”


Leslie ‘Snooky’ Alston will continue to bash out beats with his Bandits every Monday night at the House of Jazz until he departs on his ship.

One thing is certain in this musician’s life. One thing that ‘Mama’ Alston can be proud of …

Snooky will not be sailing on a ‘ship of fools’ …