The World Is Cracked Latin!


Singer-guitarist Lane Steinberg has a pretty impeccable record among pop fans who've been lucky enough to follow his career, so it’s a kind of a jolt to see him taking a left turn with a late in 2009 CD release from Cracked Latin, his new band with long time cohort, Venezuelan singer Luis Accorsi. Described in the press as a mix of Latin rock, American pop and soul music amplified with a heavy dose of late ‘60s psychedelia, Cracked Latin’s CD, entitled The World Is Cracked Latin is an el grande kaleidoscopic epic of Spanglish-ed rock and roll that is the aural equivalent of a wild romp through Miami Beach after midnight. A musical prodigy and ace guitarist hailing from Queens in NYC, Lane’s catalog with his early bands The Wind, Noel Coward’s Ghost and Tan Sleeve harks back to the mid ‘80s. For a good example of Steinberg’s solo work, give a listen to his early 2009 CD Passion And Faith, released on the Transparency Records imprint. With Lane handling all the instruments and vocals, save for a rare string quartet on a collaboration of a Zolton Kodaly composition, the 13 track Passion & Faith CD runs the range of quirky pop sung in English, Portuguese, and Spanish including a sizable rock cover, sung in English, of the Jobim classic “How Insensitive” (must be heard to be believed), a 21 minute cover of the Grateful Dead classic “Dark Star” (Lane's true to form one man full band sounding cover, Jerry Garcia psychedelic guitar sound and all!) even topped by a way cool, bouncy and bubbly pop collaboration with New Jersey’s own R.Stevie Moore. Lane has over the years been viewed by local area neighbors here in the borough of beautiful Northern Queens as Forest Hills' version of Paul McCartney. After all of the above, Lane now enters the era of Cracked Latin, finding a unique match with Luis Accorsi’s wild lyrics and vocals, mostly sung in English (with a few Spanglish textured add-ons) that borders on Latin avant garde, and that flashes back to Accorsi’s work with the Latin rockers Jainz Kapella. Backed up by the drums of Tony ‘Fats’ Musante and a full horn section, Lane’s multi-instrumentalized studio guitar sound really stretches out in Cracked Latin’s global rock mix. With so many musical twists and turns and lyrics that would make Captain Beefheart blush, Cracked Latin is the kind of wild, world beat rock groove that Frank Zappa could tune into. Recorded in NYC and Caracas, Cracked Latin reaches across continents in search of its awesome, experimental sound and in doing so, zigzags skyward with its neo Tito Puente-produced-by-Zappa type sound. And that wild and crazy CD cover art should be nominated for a grammy or something. /


Lane Steinberg and Luis Accorsi discuss the new Cracked Latin CD:

LANE STEINBERG: Luis was in New York for the summer a few years ago and we started hanging out - we're old college friends. We'd shoot the shit, drink espresso, and listen to old salsa and early Stones' records. One day, Luis played me some tracks he recorded in Venezuela and I started offering up some possible directions, a sort of hybrid of these things we'd been listening to. Luis got really excited about this idea which inspired me further. We noticed a very similar energy to British R&B, like the Stones, and, say, early Celia Cruz records and we wanted to explore that relationship.

LUIS ACCORSI: ...and make it psychedelic. We tried to weave a fabric from diametrically opposed cultural idiosyncrasies, and the collision of these two separate musicological teachings is the foundation of the inspiration.

LS: We started banging out songs one after another and really got on a roll. We went back to Caracas and cut some of the new tunes we'd written up here and re-cut a few of the ones Luis did earlier with a new focus. Great horn section we had, these guys who played together since they were six, seven. Then I took the stuff and worked on it further at my studio, Wild Feed. Michael Sheppard from the Transparency label (Sun Ra, Rodelius, Alessandra Celletti, and my last solo CD, Passion & Faith) heard some early roughs and flipped. He was like, ‘You gotta let me put this out.’ It was all completely unintended. Sometimes that's the best way. This is a departure for both of us, really took us out of our comfort zone. Some weird stuff happened during the making of this CD. There was a small plane crash at the next building over where we were working. It was all over the news. We were recording "Caracas Shakedown" and there was this enormous boom and we were, like, 'What the hell?' Then there we all these sirens and we turned on CNN and saw that it was all happening next door! You know, New York after 9/11, one always fears the worst. We went and cut the vocal track anyway. You can hear the sirens in there. We like leaving some of that in, the city sounds. Sometimes we record background vocals out on the terrace. Actually, though, most of the time we were cracking up. Lots of joy and laughter. We left that in as well. I love hearing people laugh on albums. All in all, it's a very New York record, even though it's completely international in flavor, which, I suppose, makes perfect sense.

LA: And it's more viral than any H1N1 strain could ever wish to be. Is that in poor taste?

Cracked Latin: Musical Backgrounds

LANE STEINBERG: I started as a drummer, moved to guitar when I was twelve. Luis also started as a drummer.

LUIS ACCORSI: Not exactly. I began in music as the castrato in a medieval church until my voice broke.

LS: Right, I forgot. Then they chased him down the hill with a cleaver! Couldn't catch him. (laughter)

LA: After the trauma of the church, I rapidly devolved until I found myself in the ignoble position of drummer of the first Venezuelan punk/rock band. That started the chain of troubles that brought me to the States.

LS: Luis was the original drummer in my first band, The Wind, which was formed when we both went to the University Of Miami together. The Wind went on to do our Motown/Beatles thing and Luis started a Latin punk rock band, Jainz Kapella, which was quite popular in Caracas, though they never cut a record. They moved back here, and ended up running from the law after there was a murder at a house they were squatting in, in San Diego. But Jainz Kapella begat a crucial connective point for Cracked Latin in Luis's collaborator, Joey Schutmaat, a prodigy of sorts who died suddenly at a criminally young age. He was one of the finest musicians I've ever had the pleasure to know. Played anything. Stick an instrument in his hands, and he'd play it with virtuosity. Scary talent. We'd talk a lot about him when we first started getting together again, and he became sort of a guiding spirit, the silent third member of Cracked Latin. The record is dedicated to him.

LS: I met Luis in a drawing class. I took notice when he started berating the professor for criticizing his figure drawing. We started hanging out soon after that. Our musical roles these days are not carefully delineated. We both play the usual one man band things to varying degrees of proficiency. In Cracked Latin, so far, I probably play more of the actual parts, whereas Luis contributes the sweeping gestures. I just try to contextualize and give voice to his energy, as he's out front. My musical default tends to be more linear, and Luis's is more freewheeling. I do the fine line work; Luis the broad brush strokes.

LA: Lane has the wherewithal to compose, direct, and capture the essence of what I can emit. The radical spark that ignites our assemblings is nothing short of ecstatic, especially when you hear it taking place. The saying goes, 'Tell me who you go with, and I'll tell you who you are'. The sessions are all then brought back to Lane's top secret laboratory, where he stretches time to regurgitate what was digested and give birth to the 'songs'.

Lane Steinberg compares the new Cracked Latin CD to his 2009 solo CD, Passion & Faith

LANE STEINBERG: Well, I love pop music, though I'm not a fan of the word 'pop', which always connotates disposability to my ears. Instead of 'pop based releases', I'd rather say 'song based releases', which actually clarifies that there really isn't that much of a difference at the core: it's all about the songs. I don't quite know how to categorize Cracked Latin, which I love. Someone said it's 'Tito Puente meets Syd Barrett'. I'll go with that. It's modern music, that's for sure. I guess my work with Steve Katz in Tan Sleeve is what passes for 'pop' in the current vernacular, as it harkens back to 60's-70's AM radio, when popular music was in its golden era. My solo stuff is way more eclectic. I've digested to a lot of music and have a wide stylistic reference point from which to adorn any given tune, but it all comes down to melody, harmony, rhythm, and lyrics. You put a solid performance over those strong elements, you might have a good record.

My last CD, Passion & Faith, is a varied collection, to say the least. I'd been earlier listening a lot to Milton Nascimento's 'Clube Da Esquina', and some of the other records done around the same time with the people from that circle, guys like Lo Borges, Beto Guedes, and Tavinho Moura. This music had a profound effect on me. I would say there were some major musical epiphanies in my life, and this had been the most recent. So I cover four songs by those guys and sing them in Portuguese. Another epiphany was the first time I heard “Dark Star” by the Grateful Dead, back in 9th grade. Still haven't recovered. I also cover that on Passion & Faith, a 21-minute version. And, of course, there's also some great originals, haha!

Cracked Latin: Luis and Lane on the Cracked Latin CD cover art

LUIS ACCORSI: The image is supposed to arouse an incorrect emotion, something that pulls you from all parts and places into sharp relief the pathetic prurient 'we are not innocent like when we were born' state of mind, the hard journey of development from childhood to adulthood with its uncomfortable encumbrances and augured investigations...including tube socks!

LANE STEINBERG: That was our initial concept that was further developed by Jon La Porta, who did the cover shot. We put out a casting call and picked out the girl with the longest legs.

Cracked Latin: Guitars featured on The World Is Cracked Latin

LANE STEINBERG: There's a ton of guitars on the CD, though you have to really listen for half of them, as they're part of the fabric. Luis has a great Rickenbacker 360 12 string that we both played on “En Estos Tiempos.” He does the McGuinn parts. He also has this horrid Fender with these parallelogram pickups - can't remember the name - that's on “The Expatriate.” Nasty sound, that has, but it fit perfectly. Besides that, there's a '74 Telecaster, a '52 Telecaster, a Guild Bluesbird, a DeArmond M-77, a Jazzmaster reissue, an ESP Strat, a Martin 00-17, a Tatay classical, and a 70's Fender Precision I bought at a moving sale for $35 on the condition that I also buy the practice amp for ten bucks. And then there's the usual (and not so usual) keyboard sounds and samples. Nothing was amped, all internal sounds with plug ins. I also use an original SansAmp and a Danelectro Leslie box. I use flats on the Precision and D'Daddario 10's on my electric's.

Musical Influences

LUIS ACCORSI: Unfortunately, Jagger is still a big one. Funny thing, is that Jagger never wished he was anybody but himself. Well, maybe Muddy Waters.

LANE STEINBERG: Early Stones, Beatles, Tito Puente, Machito, Syd Barrett. These are Cracked Latin's stylistic reference points thus far. What's in my CD changer right now? Malipiero's - Sinfonia Del Mar. Gorgeous music, like a great Sibelius tone poem. And on my turntable is The Jimmy Castor Bunch's “Bertha Butt Boogie” record.

LA: Xavier Cugat, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Pacheco...

LS: Howlin' Wolf, Chopin, Sinatra...we're all over the map.

Upcoming Plans

LANE STEINBERG: We have a killer band we're playing with that was put together by our music director, Charlie Zelaney. We're playing our 2nd gig on January 14th at The Bitter End in the city, trying to getting this band warm. We have a cartoon that we did for “Caracas Shakedown” that's going to be released in a few days. It's going to be very controversial because it pokes fun at the Chavez regime. Trust me, it's a riot. It'll be up on You Tube and on our website in a bit.

LUIS ACCORSI: We want to follow the Beatles’ trajectory linearly but backwards. Not in the respect of their relationships, but the deviated musical tangents that mark their evolution. At the beginning of our career we go all psychedelic, and at the end we want to play Buddy Holly covers at 3 AM in a bar in Hamburg!

Web Site is almost done

Our myspace is:

You can contact through there for now.


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