Gregory Page will share ‘nostalgic masterpiece’ June 17 at Lestat’s
By John Phillip Wyllie | SDUN Reporter
In June 1965, while still a toddler, musician Gregory Page had the rare opportunity to spend an afternoon sitting on Paul McCartney’s knee.
Paul and the other Beatles were attending a bullfight in Madrid at the time, and the following day, the group was scheduled to perform in the same bullring with an all-girl band called the Beat Chicks as the opening act. Page’s mother was a member of that short-lived ensemble, and it was through her that the young Page had his chance encounter with Sir Paul. While Page can no longer clearly remember his afternoon with the now legendary Beatle, some of that McCartney magic must have rubbed off, because now, nearly a half century later, Page has more than two dozen solo projects to his credit, in addition to those recorded when he partnered with Steve Poltz in the Rugburns.
Scheduled to debut his latest CD, “My True Love,” June 17, at Lestat’s Coffee Shop in Normal Heights, Page recalls how his music has taken him throughout Europe and Australia, where he has developed a substantial following, and how his career has yielded many friends and sometime collaborators—such as luminaries Jason Mraz, Jewel and Eddie Vedder.
Today regarded as one of San Diego’s premier singer/songwriters, Page is popular despite the fact that he often writes music in a style that was prevalent more than 70 years ago. “My True Love,” which was recorded at Mraz’s North County studio, carries listeners back to an era when music focused predominantly on themes of love and romance.
“My past collection of records [flirted] with the jazz stylings that I grew up with. This particular collection of songs was written for a couple who were getting married. I found myself with nothing to play at their wedding,” Page recalls. “Then I met with them, and from that meeting I created ‘My Cherry Pie.’ I never felt so happy writing a song before.”
After rediscovering his creative groove, one song blossomed into many and, over the course of the next four or five weeks, Page was well on his way to compiling his latest nostalgic masterpiece. Yet while his previous recordings have also focused on romantic themes, this one differs in that it emphasizes the positive aspects of relationships.
“The content of it lyrically is certainly more positive,” Page said. “[In the past], there has been perhaps too much of the depressed, morose Page. There is a certain comfort in the past for me, and I am trying to imitate history. I make no bones about it: If I can try to sound as much as I can like (1930s crooner) Al Bowlly or write a song that sounds like one from Hoagy Carmichael or Fats Waller, that is what makes me happy.”
By choosing to focus his considerable songwriting skill on a genre with a limited following, Page is committing commercial suicide. His lifestyle is Spartan: He doesn’t own a home, car, or a T.V. and has no family to support. He shares a modest apartment with several roommates and often relies upon his friends for transportation.
“Money is something that has never been important in my life. Each of us has our own road. If we take our eyes off of that and make ourselves unhappy or [envious] of the other person (or their success) it becomes like a poison inside of you. I don’t worry a lot about eating, but I do use the money that I make from every CD sale. I ‘squander’ it mostly on food and heat,” Page quips. “My focus has always been on writing and recording music. If you are creating the music that you love and playing the music that you enjoy, that in its own way is success.”
On the evening of June 17, Page will turn his monthly gig at Lestat’s into a film screening and CD pre-release party. Lestat’s Coffee Shop is located at 3343 Adams Ave. Doors open at 9 p.m.
Page also returns to Lestat’s on July 1. The official release for an expanded version of “My True Love” is scheduled for Sept. 11 in Holland. For additional information, visit gregorypage.com or www.lestat’s.com.