ST rock singer Garland Jeffreys says he’s retiring

Garland Jeffreys, pictured in Stuyvesant Town in 2012 (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After a half century of performing in New York City and around the world, rock singer — and longtime Stuyvesant Town resident — Garland Jeffreys has announced he is retiring from the stage.

While he said he plans to do the occasional guest spot—and has planned a farewell/76th birthday concert next month with at least a dozen other singers — Jeffreys said he is now just focusing on writing and recording music.

“I’m kind of retiring,” he told Town & Village this week. “These days what I’m doing is picking and choosing. Like for example, I’m going to do something in Canada with Steven Van Zandt.”

The “Wild in the Streets” singer, who’s also shared stages with Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed, added, “I love performing, but I’m not going to be on the treadmill, playing, playing, playing.”

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Singer Garland Jeffreys’ tips for aspiring musicians

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Stuyvesant Town rock singer Garland Jeffreys (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, October 22, Stuyvesant Town rock singer Garland Jeffreys will be performing a concert at a fundraiser for the 14th Street Y, where he, his wife Claire and daughter Savannah are longtime members.

It will be the first of a few local concerts coming up for the singer, following a recent tour through Europe to promote his last album, “14 Steps to Harlem.”
Now in the early writing stages for his next album, to be called, “Dash of Soul,” and fundraising for a documentary about his career, Jeffreys, 75, spoke with Town & Village to share tips for new and aspiring musicians.

“I’m always happy to talk to people who are starting out,” he said, adding that starting out means picking a musical direction to take.

“What kinds of songs do they want to write? Love songs, protest songs or a Dylan-esque area?” he asked. “They should work and work and work on the music and not take it for granted. I tell stories about different things, like race, like my childhood, my passions.”
In recent years, Jeffreys has been known to do many concerts in people’s homes, which he recommends doing as well as finding local venues like bars.

“If you’re starting out, anywhere is a good place to start,” said Jeffreys. “Just get your guitar and get your keyboard and get to practicing and that’s how your songwriting evolves.”

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Garland Jeffreys crowd-funding new album

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Garland Jeffreys being inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame by David Johansen, formerly of The New York Dolls (Photo by Arnie Goodman)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town rock singer Garland Jeffreys has been keeping busy lately.

The veteran musician, now 73, was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in November.

Additionally, his early hit song “Wild in the Streets” was recently featured in the Netflix original series “The Get Down” and was also included on the official RCA soundtrack for the show.

Then, last Tuesday, Jeffreys launched a PledgeMusic crowd-funding campaign aimed at producing a new album and a documentary about his career.

The doc features Harvey Keitel, Laurie Anderson and Graham Parker, all singing the Brooklyn-born crooner’s praises. The album is expected to be released sometime in the spring.

Finally, in keeping with what has become an annual tradition, Jeffreys will be performing at Joe’s Pub at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. His 20-year-old daughter Savanna, who’s also a musician, will open the set with some of her own songs and the father and daughter will also perform a duet.

Reached at home, Jeffreys spoke with Town & Village about the aforementioned projects and a European tour planned for 2017.

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New GM promises improved service and more accessibility

Rick Hayduk (right), the new general manager of ST/PCV, speaks with tenants at a meet-and-greet event on Saturday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Rick Hayduk (right), the new general manager of ST/PCV, speaks with tenants at a meet-and-greet event on Saturday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The new general manager of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper, Rick Hayduk, has promised tenants that Blackstone is focused on improving services and communication and in particular, said the hiring of four new plumbers should end the two to three week wait times tenants have been experiencing for repairs.

Hayduk made the comments on Saturday at a meet and greet event that was held at the tents at Stuyvesant Town’s Playground 11.

Around 150 people, mainly seniors and other longterm tenants, attended the event, as did a couple of elected officials, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Council Member Dan Garodnick.

Rick Hayduk speaks at Saturday’s event.

Rick Hayduk speaks at Saturday’s event.

While at a podium in front of a Stuy Town logo-covered step-and-repeat, Hayduk discussed various tenant concerns, including the recent spike in plumbing repair delays. “Our standard is two to three days and that’s what you should expect,” he said.
Hayduk also said that a hotline for tenants that Blackstone had set up after the company bought the property has been transferred to his office.

“Go through normal channels, but if (a request) needs to escalate, we’re here for that,” Hayduk said. The number is (212) 655-9870.

He also encouraged tenants to slip him notes, gesturing to his pocket while saying that several neighbors had already done so.

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ST resident’s photo book aims to capture change

A photo by Regina Walker of the Manhattan skyline reflected in a neighbor’s window

A photo by Regina Walker of the Manhattan skyline reflected in a neighbor’s window

By Sabina Mollot

Regina Walker, a Stuyvesant Town resident and psychotherapist, has released a book of photos called Through My Eyes. The book, which is done in the style of a photo journal, was published in May by Inner Child Press, and includes around 50 images, mostly cityscapes taken in New York City.

Some were taken in the author’s own neighborhood.

Walker, who’s always taken photos and has shown her work at spaces in New York (Ceres Gallery, Staten Island Museum) as well as Florida and California, said she had been approached by the publisher with the idea of doing a photo journal.

“It’s kind of like looking at someone’s diary, but something to see as well as to read,” she said.

Through My Eyes, in an online summary, has also been described as being about grief. While that, Walker acknowledged, “sounds depressing,” she stressed that it really is more about change, which, by definition, includes confronting the void of what was.

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Stuy Town singer Garland Jeffreys releasing new album

Garland Jeffreys, now on tour, in Stuy Town Photo by Sabina Mollot

Garland Jeffreys, now on tour, in Stuy Town
Photo by Sabina Mollot

Crowd-sourced project also raised cash
for program helping elderly neighbors

By Sabina Mollot
Stuyvesant Town singer and songwriter Garland Jeffreys has quite a few things to celebrate.
The now 70-year-old rocker – his birthday was on June 29 – is releasing a new album, with some of the material just performed at a packed birthday show at the Highline Ballroom, and he’s raising funds for a program to help some of his elderly neighbors.

Jeffreys, who said he’s close to releasing his 14th album, has gone the independent route in its production. Like with his last release, “The King of In Between,” in 2011, this album (yet to have its name released) is being produced sans label. But unlike in the past, this time the funds were raised by fans and friends. Jeffreys used the crowd-sourcing website PledgeMusic to raise the money, which has a policy of having users donate 10 percent of the funds, after the artists’ goals are met, to charity. Since Jeffreys has been looking for ways to help seniors in ST/PCV, he opted to give that money ($400 so far) to Favors for Neighbors.

That program, which is run by Stuy Town management as well as Beth Israel hospital, provides services to resident seniors like social worker visits and matching them up with young neighbors who can run errands and do other services for them.

Based on publicly viewable information, 157 percent of the album’s goal amount was reached, a result of 283 pledges. Those who donated were promised goodies that ranged from a free digital download of the album to dinner at Jeffreys’ home near the Oval. “My wife, Claire, is a pretty good cook,” he wrote in a May blog post. It’s worth noting that Claire is also his manager, while teenage daughter Savannah, an aspiring singer herself, has performed with her father many times.

Jeffreys, who’s shared stages with Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen, has been performing for decades and has produced albums under labels such as RCA, Epic and A&M. But, as he told Town & Village recently, at this point in his career, he has no interest in working with a label.

Using the crowd-sourcing method, “you have to hustle,” admitted Jeffreys, but, he added, “It frees you from the grips of the record business. When you go with a label, when you use some executive’s money, you pay a price. It may come sooner, it may come later. They dictate to you what kind of album to make and they are often mistaken in their selection about what is good music.”

Besides, through PledgeMusic, Jeffreys said he’s only doing what he does normally which is engage in an interactive way with fans. “I love this Pledge thing because it brings the fans into the picture,” he said.
Those who donate will also get sneak peaks at behind-the-scenes work, which is going to be part of a documentary-style video.  Jeffreys is putting the video together alongside the album, which is slated for release in September.

“It’s almost done,” said Jeffreys, though he opted to remain mum about the recording’s title and even song titles. Musically, the style will be different from past rock songs he’s written, he promised, though once again he declined to reveal how.
But, he added, “In my mind, this album is some of the best stuff I’ve ever done, so I’m pretty excited about it. It’s very strong emotionally.”

His most recent album, “The King of In Between,” was the first one he released after a 13-year-break from recording albums, though he still contributed to others. One recent feature is on 2012’s “Occupy This Album” by Music for Occupy. Meanwhile, older hits have remained selling, like the song, “Wild in the Streets” (from 1973) which was used in a bar fight scene of the video game, “Max Payne 3.”

In the past, Jeffreys’ style has been influenced by his own background — he’s a Coney Island, Brooklyn native who’s racially mixed (black and Hispanic) and many songs have revolved around themes like race, conflict, poverty and a desire to bring people together.

Additionally, for the past couple of years, Jeffreys has been trying to come up with ways to help lower-income elderly residents ST/PCV, in particular women, with things like medical expenses and just having those who live alone checked on.

The singer has said he was turned on to the idea of starting some sort of organized outreach by some of his older neighbors, including those in his own building. They don’t always discuss their problems with him, but then, he’s said in the past, they’re often obvious enough where they don’t have to.

Last year, he mentioned in an interview with T&V how he noticed an elderly woman at she sat near the basketball court in Playground 9.
“She was really debilitated and could barely understand me,” he recalled, but he noticed that she still seemed to appreciate that he’d struck up a conversation.

Since then, he’s been making it a point to reach out to older neighbors, and with a tour schedule that sometimes offers him months free at home, he’s become more aware of things like when neighbors he sees around are suddenly not there, sometimes having been taken away for medical care.

“There’ll be more to come” for Favors for Neighbors, he said, adding that he’s open to the idea of holding benefit concerts.

Jeffreys, who performed in Stuy Town last year, won’t be performing on the Oval again this year, since he’s been touring and will be doing shows throughout Europe as well as in Canada. “I would definitely play another time, though,” said Jeffreys.