Listen to the live interview April 18 at 1:40 pm et Episode #454 Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://tobtr.com/9933703
GETTING TO KNOW HESH MEISTER
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
you can say that it started in the womb! My mom tells me that she went to see Fiddler on the Roof in its original run on Broadway, and whenever the orchestra struck up a number, I began kicking away!
After I made my own debut in this world, I always loved listening to music, and as typical in suburban middle-class families, I was signed up for lessons when I was about eight years old. My instrument was the piano; my mom figured I had the interest in playing when she observed me trying to work out a melody on a friend’ s piano when I was about four. Ultimately, however, I did not have the patience to read notes or practice scales, and so I quit formal lessons at age ten. However, the music bug did not leave me alone. I discovered rock’ n’ roll music at age 12, when switching to a New York station—just like in the Velvet Underground song, “ Rock and Roll” ! And the idea that I wanted to be in a band hit me just as I was finishing junior high.
But then I kind of had the rug pulled out from under me when my family moved to Israel the summer after I graduated, and I began high school in a drastically new environment—a yeshiva (Orthodox Jewish religious) high school, which did not look kindly on its students starting rock’ n’ roll bands. I switched schools in my junior year, one which had a more lax (but still by no means encouraging) attitude about such things …
I was in the big city, Jerusalem, away from my parents, and among more like-minded classmates. I met my long-time musical compatriot Izzy Kieffer at the time—we stayed friends throughout the ensuing decades and played many gigs and recording sessions together—and we spent the fall and winter looking for musicians to put together our first band. It was something like The Blues Brothers movie! Life definitely imitated art.
By that April we had the band together and played our first gigs at Jerusalem’s legendary rock club, JBR. We went into the studio to record our first demos shortly after that. A year later, at the end of our senior year, we recorded our first single. And then we got drafted into our three-year mandatory army service, which put out musical ambition on hold for several years. Izzy and I made our way back to the USA after our respective stints in the IDF, first to Boston, then to the New York/New Jersey area. We put together a number of bands and made several albums, both with each other and by ourselves. We always played on each other’s recordings over the years, and that’s Izzy’s drumming you hear on most of my recorded output, including all of the latest album.
This project is decades old!
Not kidding there. I began writing the songs on this album when I was still in college in Boston. The impetus for writing the songs was a general dissatisfaction with the way my life was going—I was in a marriage that was failing, getting absolute discouragement from the person I had relied on to be in my corner as I moved forward with my musical ambitions. I was living in a place I did not want to be living in, stuck in Boston while my heart was really at the Jersey Shore. This music was an expression of all that. Over the years the songs were tweaked and refined till you got what you hear now.
is the culmination of many years of wandering, agonizing, ruminating, and occasional music playing! The album was officially released on March 10, 2017, with the CD available on CD Baby, downloadable on iTunes, and streaming on Spotify (as well as many other outlets). I will be performing at the 10th annual Singer Songwriter Cape May conference, which takes place March 23-25, with my set happening on Saturday night at the Brown Room in the Congress Hall Hotel in Cape May, NJ—this is my fifth year playing at this event. And the next afternoon, March 26, I will be at The Saint in Asbury Park for my official CD release party.