One night at a rock and roll club, during a particularly ferocious noise band’s 20th minute of electro-feedback barrage, I looked out at the audience and noticed it consisted almost exclusively of young white well-coifed record store employees, ranging from the ages of 19 to 29. This made me uncomfortable, as I had been thinking of my late grandmother for much of the day. I decided, on that day to follow in the footsteps of old-fashioned "entertainers," such as Sammy Davis Jr. or Edith Piaf. That will be my response. My name is Alexander McGregor, solo musician (guitarist, organist, infrequent trumpeter), singer, and writer. I want to make music my grandmother would have liked.
First off, I consider myself an instrumentalist… But I can’t stand most virtuosos, especially those in the noodly, self-absorbed variety. I live in Boston and many of these types can be found at the various unfortunate Schools of Music. So this is one camp I set myself against… firmly. The other side of the coin, and this camp I fully embrace whole-heartedly are the attitude-filled rock’n’roll debaucherous, performance art-noise merchants that have been popping out of city rubble for the last few years. I appreciate the authenticity, and love the "now" spirit, but I simply do not possess the demeanor to wear music best dressed in leather and tattered clothes. So I wear bowties and hope I can distill my musical leanings in a vaudevillian sort of way. Some friends accuse me of being a nostalgic sentimentalist, but I just tell them I’m trying to play and write songs in my own subversive way… I’m no folkie, and if you can see Robert Crumb as "punk" maybe you’ll see where I’m coming from.
The sounds I respond to are a cracked lyricism, a rhythmic noisiness, and a classical sparseness. Music is alchemy, and these are the elements I respond to. My main partner in this endeavor is a 50’s era Stella guitar, a cheap old children’s-sized acoustic made famous by the poorer American guitarists of the 1930’s. I also play on some toy pianos and organs, pocket trumpet, and I perform live with a boombox, which provides backing karaoke tracks.
Do I sound like someone? Well, in other people’s descriptions of my music the term psychedelic comes up often, as do the names of late - 60’s singers and old guitarists. But I find comparisons inaccurate and embarrassing. My solo project is only six months old at this point, so I have no perspective from where to speak about this subjectively... I can say I’ve been fortunate that my first recording has been reviewed in several fine publications, and has been played on some very fine college radio stations, and I’ve also been fortunate to share bills with many talented musicians.
My history? After my father brought home a casio keyboard he won at a raffle when I was 10, a long line of musical spectacles followed ‘til the end of my formal schooling. I then lived in New York City for several years, playing organs in a psych-garage outfit called the Ghost Exits, playing eastern scales and developing my own personal Sun Ra imitation. Ghost Exits were (and are) a group active in a Brooklyn scene that is currently exploding in worldwide popularity, as ironically everyone is currently vying to be the most "radio-friendly." Anyhow, Ghost Exits opened up for people like James Chance and the Contortions and Oneida. We also played with some bands that are now in the BuzzBin. The rest of my history consists of a long musical blood-line, the highlights of which are my Texan grandfather playing trombone in Tommy Dorsey’s band, and my Colombian great-grandfather being a wandering troubadour who disappeared one day, guitar in hand, into the coffee fields and never returned. I think I fit in to this history someplace. This is why I go by my given name.