Vic Kastel has brought his amazing 1970s music into a new century with his very first album – the critically acclaimed “Time Traveler.” With the aid of analog equipment and musicians, 13 original songs had been recorded in the 70s by the veteran singer and songwriter – yet never circulated before 2020.
In a year of pandemic sized madness “Time Traveler” is a welcome respite with the Times Square Chronicles calling the album, “A welcome and rare surprise.”
Kastel’s Musical Journey
From the age of 14, the music man was hooked after strumming the first guitar he picked up. He began playing with friends and, along with graduating high school, soon graduated to performing professionally. The Long Island teen found himself playing at the New York City famed Peppermint Lounge with well-known acts like Joey Dee and the Starlighters.
Kastel became a founding member of The Axents quartet who performed with such headliners as The Drifters, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Gary U.S. Bonds, Jay and the Americans, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, and Patti LaBelle. Soon he was being invited to play with too many music legends to name them all.
Dennis Belline, from the groups The Rich Kids and Man, along with drummer Tony Machine, of Buster Pointdexter’s “Hot Hot Hot” fame, asked Kastel to join them for a group project. The music man continued opening for top acts including Jackie Wilson, Wilson Picket, and Aretha Franklin. He joined SiriusXM’s Cousin Brucie at the radio personality’s rock and roll events and shows.
Throughout the decades Kastel found himself continuing his musical journey. The musician recognized for his morphing musical abilities worked with blues-legend James Cotton as well as rap-icon Kurtis Blow.
Kastel Travels into 21st Century
A show featuring Little Buster and the Soul Brothers led the Long islander to the legendary “Save The Last Dance For Me” and “Teenager in love” songwriter Doc Pomus. Pomus urged Kastel to continue writing – and do it with Buster. In 1995 a collaborated effort of “Broken
Hearted Man” was released on Buster’s “Right on Time” (Rounder Records) album.
Musical theater called and the musician found himself playing in the orchestra for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The 21st Century brought new decades of new opportunities. Kastel has been summoned to play for solo performances – most notable at the legendary My Father’s Place in Roslyn, Long Island.
Interview with the Musical Time Traveler
Carol Ruth Weber: How did you manage to seamlessly change styles playing from one type of music to another?
Vic Kastel: There’s not just one style of music I do – I’ve studied and been versed in all sorts. Classical to doo wop to rock and roll. I know most of the acts today do just one form and I think it’s probably due to them not surrounding themselves will all forms of music. I think the rise of interest in music from the 70s and 80s speaks to that. Look at the Fleetwood Mac song “Dreams” from 1977 – it’s a hit again!
CRW: What makes 70s music so special?
VK: The 70s was an authentic time in so many ways – politics, dress, music. Music reflects the times. You had Jim Croce, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Queen, Grateful Dead, Journey, James Brown. There was never a more authentic mix than then.
CRW: Other than releasing your first album, what else have you done that you never did before during this insane pandemic?
VK: Zoom for one thing. Catching up on documentaries, movies, reading, music – but, also writing for the next album.
When asked about his newest venture in releasing his first-ever album using much of what he had recorded in the 70s Kastel answered:
“I’ve lived with this material for a while and what I was able to create then, has come back into style today in a big way, so I’ve decided to release the album. No auto-tune, no machines … it’s all pure- music. Back then, we actually-recorded in the big room at the studios. These days most records start at home.”
The album is noted to be revolutionary in its ingenuity and how it was recorded. What adds even more value and appreciation for “Time Travelers” is that it was recorded live and on tape at the renowned A&R Studios – owned by Phil Ramone. Listeners of the album have been awed at the recording process remarking on the music as “pristine and original.” Kastel proudly states, “Time Traveler is my musical journey.”
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