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“Tinted Glass” by FiveSTAR
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WHY IT’S ON THE CD: This is one of the rare instances in which the sum of the parts may well be, at least for now, greater than the whole. FiveSTAR is among the least known of the artists on Good Tunes for Two Bucks, and yet its five members are as accomplished as anyone on the CD. At the front is Young General, a fabulous solo artist building his brand and opening ears with singles “White Sox Fitted” and “Never Love You.” Guitarist Marcus Rezak, best known from The HUE, is part of new studio/live project Digital Tape Machine. Keyboardist Jeff Leibovich comes from Great Divide, track 3 on Good Tunes for Two Bucks. Bass player Matt Longbons is an accomplished studio artist who plays regularly around the city with various acts. And Greg Fundis is the drummer for 56 Hope Road.
For their inclusion on Good Tunes for Two Bucks, I’ve selected “Tinted Glass.” Originally a Young General track produced by longtime collaborator Letter L (responsible for the “Whammy” beat), “Tinted Glass” benefits from FiveSTAR’s lush instrumentation, particularly the guitar work from Rezak. Along with being a good tune, “Tinted Glass” is the only track on the CD that cannot be found any place else. Enjoy!
FiveSTAR coverage from Jack M Silverstein
It is easy to mistake Matt Longbons as “angry” or “serious,” especially when he is playing his bass. He is six foot three and rangy, with a pony-tail that matches his physique and drops half way down his back. His eyes growl as he plucks his strings. His lip curls like Thayer’s Casey. His foot steadily taps the floor below. He is rarely a head bopper, leaving his shoulders to sway just a touch.
…but if you are really paying attention, you pick up on the humor in his performance. “I enjoy looking like a redneck and being able to groove as well as anyone,” says Longbons.
He and Leibovich can be spotted during shows casually mugging at each other, and Longbons instinctively plays up the bad-ass image while his eyebrows smirk. Perhaps the greatest tip that he is an underhanded joker is his tendency to perform in a Bootsy Collins star-glasses and afro t-shirt.
I’m by way of Minneapolis, Minnesota. North side Minneapolis. And I was doing my thing up there. I ended in the Chi because I got a real job, a real 9 to 5. I don’t ever shy away from that — I’m gonna make it in the music business, but you gotta work, you gotta have a job. I don’t believe in the ‘starving artist’ shit. I don’t. Some people are like, “Man, I’m gonna go out here and I’m not gonna work and I’m gonna push this and I’m gonna just…” I like eatin’ too much! You know? (big laugh) Plus, if I don’t work, I don’t have any money to do things I really need to do because the music business costs money. It costs a lot of money. That’s the only way I can fuel it.
It’s a lot of fun. It’s complete escape for me. Serenity. It is. It’s the one thing that I enjoy doing the most. It’s like a vacation. (Laughs.) Even if the music’s extremely intense and vigorous and hard, it’s still a vacation because it takes my mind to just focus on the music. I’m lucky that I’ve found that that’s my favorite place to be.
In front of large crowds, that feeling gets enhanced, by a lot. To know and to see people enjoying it is the biggest rush. Certain times when I’m playing certain kinds of music, I’ll get more into it than others. It’ll just be like that. Some music doesn’t require as much focus necessarily. It requires more feeling. Which I know right away. Other times it’s very involved and I’m completely immersed into the music itself. That in combination with people enjoying it – that’s what it is for me. Because I feel the rush. That’s my selfish side. I feel the rush of it. It feels good to just play.
Writeup of The HUE for Performer Magazine
Writeup of Great Divide for Performer Magazine
Inside the Making of “White Sox Fitted”