Alice Leon’s – The Alice Project intelligent, hooky rock ‘n’ roll that unequivocally soothes the soul.

Alice Leon - The Alice Project Photo by Dan Komoda

Click For Blog Ambiance

TRAVELING WITH LADY BERLIN

Occasionally everyone takes a moment in their life to look back at where they have been, what they have done, and who went along for the ride. When I think back to my days in high school, er a … I mean college (yeah college that’s it … I would never have entered a bar at age 17) I start reflecting on my time as a roadie. These were the days I managed to go into New York City to spend the night playing road crew for our friends bands – then somehow get up and make an 8am class. I can remember a few times I was disturbed as a flock of insane morning people arrived at the office, how rude when they shewed me off the couch I slept on in the lobby; I just wanted to be sure I arrived on time.

Aside from the realization that I’ve grown old, comes some great memories of New York, the Jersey Shore, a whole host of dive basement joints, biker bars, and a few other strange venues. (We’ll lave it at “strange”  this is a PG blog.) I may be able to see a pile of wood as a finished piece of furniture, but I can’t sing, I can’t dance, and you may want to go deaf if you hear me try to play (abuse) an instrument. Joining the ranks of the road crew allowed me, Tom Clark, and Jim Gross to gain access to a whole world of interesting places simply by carrying in the equipment and plugging in a few wires.

After Alice All Access All Occassion PassAlice Leon - The Alice Project - Photo by Dan KomodaWe found our place in the musicians world providing the support, the muscle, sometimes the sound, sometimes the lighting, and a few times we even got to be bouncers.  We even laminated (Shown Left: lamination is important, it made it really official like!) our own All Access / All Occasion Back Stage Pass. Which, even to our surprise actually did serve as a means of entrances into back stage locations, VIP rooms, the only clean bathroom in the bar, and an assortment of free drinks and food. Meeting some of the crews, up and coming musicians, DJ’s, record labels, agents, and even a few events involving Melissa Etheridge, the East Street Band, Penthouse, and most of the local radio stations.  Does anyone remember the WPST “Worlds Greatest Memorial Day Party” … Gig?

We were “The After Alice Mobile Technical Support Team,” click on the pass and read the fine print for more details on that! All the while we got a front row seat to the show – which is where Alice Leon often took center stage. Alice, at the time was the lead singer for “After Alice.” Alice always managed to light up a room with her voice, and often had a unique and very honest perspective or observation to share both on stage and off. (Inside Joke Interlude: Alice – if you want us to eat something, your pitch should not include the word “groady.”)

Today Alice’s musical operations surround  “The Alice Project,” continuing her traditional namesake role, she describes her role in the band as follows:

“Lead Singer/writer/acoustic guitarist/piano… sometimes. Alice makes lyric and melodic driven acoustic/alternative/indie rock that will connect with lovers of Carole King, Aimee Mann, Suzanne Vega, Jill Sobule and John Lennon. Songs about faith, armchair warriors, love, botox, and regifting are neatly wrapped in masterful instrumentation. Alice is outspoken, funny…a master story teller…and extremely honest.” – Alice Leon – lead diva, rhythm guitar, keyboards.

Alice’s project consists of: Alan Greene – bass/ vocals, Scott Strunk – drums, James Leahey – guitar/ vocals and at this point I’ll let the band’s PR specialist take over for the song descriptions as any attempt to rewrite this will just end in an abnormal confusion of the intended content!

********

Alice Leon - The Alice Project Photo by Dan KomodaProvocative, smart pop may seem like a lost art these days, but it’s hardly been lost on THE ALICE PROJECT. With the October 2000 release of their second Clown Milk Records CD, , this plucky foursome from Princeton and NY exposes stories of hope through experience with a knowing wink and undeniably heightened musicianship. The songs are fun, hip, melodic, and lyrically challenging. And they rock.

Alice’s smooth, pleadingly clear voice leads her revamped band on with the same anti-demure approach she easily brings to the live stage as an embracing storyteller. Her voice is so engaging, that people don’t always realize the impact of her double-edged lyrics until they’ve penetrated their target to chill-inducing effect. Once that happens, the songs of THE ALICE PROJECT tend to touch people in ways they haven’t been moved before, evoking genuine emotions and meanings they can’t seem to find elsewhere.

Alice Leon - The Alice Project "Traveling with Lady Berlin" Album Cover Photography by Dan KomodaAs with THE ALICE PROJECT’s acclaimed debut, 1999’s The Big Number, Alice wrote all the music and lyrics and handled most of the arrangements on TRAVELING WITH LADY BERLIN with Keyboardist Scott Monetti. And once again, her stories are real. “We Will Love You” surveys the abuse one is willing to take from a lover until it’s time to finally let go. The highly personal “Uncle” finds Alice questioning her ongoing quest to reach higher ground in the music industry despite the frustrating hurdles. “I Don’t Wanna Be Alone” offers a twisted lyrical approach, while the cutting “Marilyn Things” fearlessly points a harsh finger at bidders of Marilyn Monroe’s personal belongings at auction for having “a sorry life so empty” that they need these items for fulfillment. “I’m Not Afraid to Live” is a pointed declaration of near-desperate love, circumstances be damned. TRAVELING WITH LADY BERLIN closes with “She Always Notices the Sky,” a mellifluous acoustic piece she co-wrote with former band-mate Scott Monetti, and inspired by John Irving’s book, “A Prayer for Owen Meaney.”

Alice Leon - The Alice Project Photo by Dan KomodaThe players in THE ALICE PROJECT have drastically changed since The Big Number. With drummer Scott Strunk the only holdover, Traveling with Lady Berlin marked the debuts of newcomers Alan Greene on bass and James Leahey on lead guitar. All three are highly accomplished musicians. Greene, a versatile stylist, has extensive Broadway experience most recently appearing in Tony award winning “JERSEY BOYS” and “Menopause the musical”. Has recently played with Rupert Holmes, Kathie Lee Gifford, Martin Short and Bernadette Peters to name a few. James (Jimmy) Leahey, the son of jazz great Harry Leahey, co-writes many of the band’s songs with Alice and along with playing with the AP is currently touring with Denis DeYoung and John Waite.

Scott Strunk, a Berklee College of Music graduate, has performed with jazz greats such as Etta Jones and Bob Devos. He’s also the leader of The Soul Jazz Trio, which recently released it’s first CD which is self-titled. Strunk has also toured the U. S. with “The Mighty Jail breakers”, an R&B band, and has toured regionally with “The Cramer Brothers band”, opening for many national country artists.

As of April 2008 THE ALICE PROJECT songs have been played hundreds of times on soaps and TV shows. “One Life to Live,” CBS reality show “Who Wants to Marry my Dad,”, “Dark Angel,” CMT’s “Dallas Cowboys,” and Disney’s “Knock First”. Alice has written a new song for the CRAYOLA company, the KEAN UNIVERSITY alma mater, over 60 songs for children with cancer via the “songs of love” foundation and has recently been writing for a number of independent films. Their CD “Traveling with Lady Berlin” was listed on WBJB (90.5 the night) in their TOP 905 albums of all time. #509… in front of Billy Joel’s “Stranger,” REM’s Monster, and Sheryl Crows’ “Tuesday Night Music Club.” The band has also joined the world of PODCASTS and has been played on over 250 shows around the globe.

Photography Credits on this Page go to Dan Komoda

For more information about THE ALICE PROJECT including events, more song clips, to purchase albums, etc:

Visit: www.thealiceproject.com

Watch a short Alice Project Video via YouTube

Photo by Dan Komoda "After Alice" - Scott Nagrod, Matt Calabrese, Alice Leon, Brian Stouchko, Scott Monetti - Photo Circa 1993-1994 ... the crew with which we played many games of "sober" Jenga.

Photo by Dan Komoda "After Alice" - Scott Nagrod, Matt Calabrese, Alice Leon, Brian Stouchko, Scott Monetti - Photo Circa 1993-1994 ... the crew with which we played many games of "sober" Jenga.

Share

3 Comment(s)

  1. WOW! Eric, you are making me cry. Beautifully written piece and I thank you for being such a loyal participant to the insanity!
    I don’t normally take too much time to look back, but with the advent of facebook and all the old pictures and music resurfacing it’s been quite a ride. Thanks again!

    Alice "Groady" Leon | Jun 24, 2009 | Reply

  2. I agree. Very nicely written. Good luck Alice.

    Dan the Music Master | Jun 24, 2009 | Reply

  3. I’ve been flipping back through all sorts of things since getting into the Facebook addiction myself. Lots of old photos appearing, reminders of stories (some should have been forgotten!), etc. Amazing how fast time passes, we met you guys I think in 1992? I’ve been having fun putting together stories like this. There’s a few more pending in the concept phase, and rumor has it Tom has some negatives stashed away that are destined to appear online at some point as well.

    Eric Saperstein | Jun 28, 2009 | Reply

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.