Norm Zamcheck: The Man Behind the Music
I’m a composer, pianist, bandleader and singer-songwriter. I live to create songs and have them performed, inspired by just about everything that occurs in my life.
Looking back, I see the entire trajectory of my life has led directly to “Euphoria,” just released.It contains all the elements of my style as a composer and musician; varied genres – piano based; blues, jazz, latin New Orleans, …. delivered by a brilliant female vocalist and a brilliant band.
That, in a nutshell, was the Stormin Norman & Suzy band, which you can see on youtube filmed by CBS in the Paradise ball room in Boston, doing a double bill with Tom Waits. (Crazy Lady, Youtube). Years, hundreds of tunes later, and the band is Real Stormin Norman ,,,, And the singer Genevieve Faivre, who disproves the adage “lightening never strikes twice.”
Norman Zamcheck with Bette Midler and Suzy Willams.
Stormin Norman and Suzy.
Raised around Boston I lived a double life; as a perfect little Yankee boy, destined for the best schools, ivy college and either medicine or law; at the same time rejecting it all, and living a fantasy life at the piano endlessly composing songs- about scary eagles leaping from gaslights, beautiful young girls floating down
The “Chilly Charles,” blissful fish and redwing blackbirds. Somewhere I stumbled on an old boogie woogie book & started emulating the styles of Meade Lux Lewis Albert Ammons and Pinetop Perkins. My fine old German piano teacher would become engraged when he detected a bluesy riff, slam the piano cover down so fast I had to pull my fingers out of the, way, and yell “you VILL sphepnd your lifetime in a Barrr (growl )room is you play that way!!” Which, curiously, is what I ended up doing for many years.
But as an intensely introverted and shy kid I never imagined I would bring my songs out into the world.
Until I had a strange visitation from two kindly ghosts, spirits of elderly piano teachers who had lived in the shabby townhouse in Boston where I boarded. World’s most miserable law student, I stumbled home, dropped my Heavy bundle of books, and fell asleep on the frayed velvet sofa in the 19th century living room. Suddenly they came to me in a dream, telling me”Norman you must devote your life to music. Forget all this other nonsense. Making songs is your destiny Run up to the piano now!.” I can still hear their voices.
As chance would have it I had just connected with a voracious 18 year old girl, fresh out of California, who was born to sing.. I ran upstairs to my room, sat down at the piano, joined my crazy lady and started rehearsing every available moment.…. Fast forward to June, law finished, a gig off the New England seacoast and I never looked back. Years on the road, New York, celebrity fame and big label record deal and things didn’t quite pan out. But never would have dared to do what I did without a little push (and a great singer!) to interpret my songs. And still am, after twists and turns.
A few colorful moments of the music life. Booked at Carnegie Hall with a singer who suddenly lost her voice right before stage time.. Performing at West Point when an unscrupulous agent had represented us as a strip act (and 400 crewcut cadets were chanting “take it off.”). Spiraling insanely over Manhattan, courted by record label execs and big shot managers who wined and dined us and broke into our dressing room waving contracts, seeing our face all over the media …and then, “broke and on the street”,that’s the inspiration for “Both Sides Against the Middle” in “Euphoria.”
For me It’s all about the magic of the piano keyboard & its infinite possibilities; all about the amazing melodies that can spin up from chords and rhythms, all about the countless stories that need to be sung, all about the pure magic, the colors and shading great musicians add to a song, and most important, the soul and spirit of a great singer. I am thrilled to be able to offer “Euphoria,” and am already planning our next release.