Steve Espinola (Music Bio)
If we were tripping on peyote and walking along in the desert, and we came upon a mysterious hallucinogenic lounge right there in our path, and it was dark and glowing and strangely comfortable inside, the piano player at that lounge would be Steve Espinola. –Tony Rubin, Recording Angels
Steve Espinola is a mostly-piano-playing singer-songwriter, though he deviates to 19-string electric tennis racket and melodic shortwave radio on occasion. Sometimes, lately, he accompanies himself on a row of 5 hand-cranked portable Victrolas, all playing home-recorded unsynchronized 78 prm records make from picnic plates. (Video to follow.)
Steve’s music has been described as a “Fats-Waller-shares-a-cigarette-with-Brian-Wilson-while-Marianne-Moore-buys-insurance-from-Wallace-Stevens-and-Isabella-Rossellini-eyes-Stanley-Tucci-in-Big-Night sort of hybrid.” He is currently living in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, New York.
He grew up with his parents and sister in Sudbury, Massachusetts and, for three early years, in a trailer on Kwajalein, a television-free army missile base in the Marshall Islands, Micronesia. There, he immersed himself in their rebroadcasts of World War II era radio. He has been writing sometimes time-disrupted songs since then, and performing them live for over 20 years. He has long been allied with the genre-bending, widely inclusive, “Antifolk” community of New York City’s East Village.
It is rumored that Steve is the subject of the Moldy Peaches’ song “Jorge Regula.”
He has a longtime duo with Alex Wolf as the Lookalikes USA (aka The Like-a-looks). They wrote and recorded their first album over 6 years, and wrote and recorded their second album in 8 days.
A well-regarded sideman, he is currently tickling the ivories in the onstage band for the Off-Broadway “Saved By The Bell” hit parody “Bayside! The Musical!” He also plays with The Sprinkle Genies, and has played and/or recorded with The Moldy Peaches, Jeffrey Lewis, Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate, Gutterball), Amy X. Neuburg, Biff Rose, cub/Lisa Marr, The Dan Emery Mystery Band, The Teenage Prayers, Tammy Faye Starlite’s “Mike Hunt Band,” (Ben Hume’s) The Listeners, Peter Dizozza, Sport Murphy, Dan Fishback, Molly Pope, Do (Dwight) Peterson/Science Groove, Debby Schwartz, and Dallam Dougou/Raul Rothblatt, among many others.
He is a home recording enthusiast, audio producer, animator, instrument maker, record cutter, Wurlitzer Electric Piano repairman, amateur Victrola repairman, and cat worshiper. He has paid his rent doing every one of these things in the past two years (minus the Victrola repair).
Steve Espinola’s mom, Peg Espinola, is a songwriter as well. Check her out on myspace! (http://www.myspace.com/pegespinola)
Photo by Geoff Kornfeld.