Last year I had a long discussion with Craig O’Keefe about 1960’s guitars, amps, sound systems and song production. Once again, last week I found myself on the phone interviewing O’Keefe. He is the founder, bass player, and leader of The Sixties Show, an act from NYC that is billed as “The Greatest 1960s Musical Re-Creation Show on Earth.” They are performing at the Bay Street Theater is Sag Harbor on Friday, November 1 at 8 p.m. This will be the fourth year they have played Sag Harbor.
O’Keefe is originally from L.A., but now lives with his family in Connecticut.
His enthusiasm, and passionate knowledge of all things 60’s music is contagious, and to hear the story of how this self-taught musician, husband and father of two has had another successful year was gratifying.
The metamorphosis of O’Keefe’s career is always a great story. He began playing small bars with ten people to selling out all the venues they now play, rooms with up to 1,500 people. When asked when did he know the band had made it, he paused, thought, and then responded, “We were playing a club on the West Side of NYC, near Columbus Circle, when the owner was sort of angry at us because the club was too crowded. We looked out at the crowd and it wasn’t our regulars, it was all new people, from that day on we knew we had to book the bigger rooms.”
About the upcoming Bay Street show O’Keefe noted, “We have added some tunes that weren’t in last year’s show. We really don’t play the smaller venues like Bay Street anymore, but we love Bay Street’s audiences and going out to Sag Harbor. I know it’s going to be another really good night. Bay Street is probably the venue we are closest to the audience because there is really very little room from us playing and where the seats begin. This produces an intimacy and magic we feed off of. We are really good at what we do no matter where we play but, yes, the Bay Street audience does bring another layer of magic to the show.”
O’Keefe claims 60’s music is perhaps the “best produced music ever.” He mentions legendary late Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick as a hero of his. However, his main hero of the era is Brian Wilson because “he did the whole thing, the sounds, the arrangements, he did it all.”
What makes this 60’s show so great? O’Keefe answered, “We do the great sixties songs note for note, with the guitars and amps of the era along with our multi-media and light show. We have added and improved our light show since last year. We give the folks a great quality show.” He said he and his band members, Tom Licameli/guitar, vocals, Jim Boggia/guitar, vocals, Chris Parker/drums, Peter Chiusano/keyboards, orchestrations, and John Cardone/bass, backing vocals, the line-up from last year are all still together. “We don’t play any song we don’t love and do great. We kill the songs we do,” he added.
What O’Keefe stressed was how successful the show has become. “We are playing bigger venues and have a string of sellouts, and we are proud of that. We have new management and there is a chance we may bring our show to Broadway. I personally am very excited about that opportunity, if it should happen,” he concluded.
Tickets to The Sixties Show are $35 to $45.
Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.