Exclusive post-Grammy interview with musician, historian and 'Boardwalk Empire' bandleader Vince Giordano.
With the tributes to the late Whitney Houston, the awards won by Adele, Bon Iver, and the show-stopping performances by the likes of Nikki Minaj and the Foo Fighters, Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony was full of memorable moments. For some, however, the CBS broadcast and the Los Angeles ceremony itself took a backseat to a phone call or, in the case of music man Vince Giordano, a text message.
Vince Giordano and his band the Nighthawks took home a Grammy (Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media) for their classy work on the Boardwalk Empire: Vol. 1, Music from the HBO Original Series soundtrack album, which also includes performances by Regina Spektor, Catherine Russell, Leon Redbone, Stephen DeRosa and Kathy Brier.
Giordano, 59, spoke with Atlantic City Weekly on Tuesday morning, Feb. 14, right before doing a radio show interview, from his Brooklyn home.
How did you celebrate the big Grammy win?
Well, we worked last night. We played last night and we sort of had our own little Grammy party, so to speak at Sophia’s [Restaurant in New York]. Though I didn’t get, you know, any kind of physical award, at least, or anything at this moment, I have an old phonograph and I had a guy come out with an old horn phonograph to sort of mock getting a Grammy. It looks like one of those ones they give out, but this is a real one, an actual wind up one so we had some fun with it.
They didn’t announce the award on the air during the Grammy broadcast, so when did you find out?
From what they told me, it was sort of on the Internet and it was announced sometime in the afternoon. That’s how I found out. I got a text.
What did you do when you got that text?
Well, I was driving home from a gig and we were just jumping around in the car, I couldn’t believe it. You know, it’s been a long battle getting this music recognized and it’s been one of my dreams. It’s wonderful winning, but it’s basically a win for the music. The whole world now will start listening and really finding out how great the music of the 1920s is. It brings it up to the forefront.
Still, it must be pretty gratifying for the Recording Academy to recognize your hard work.
Definitely. It’s a little hard to take really right now, you know?
It’s still seeping in.
Yeah, I mean the struggle that’s been all my life has been people saying, “Why don’t you play later music? Why don’t you play rock music?” You get all this stuff from people, like, “You’ll never do anything with this old music.” I’ve had all that stuff and you know, after all these years you get conditioned — “Gee, maybe they’re right? No, they can’t be right, I’ve got to keep going.” The journey is still long.
Have you spoken with anyone else from the soundtrack? Leon Redbone or anyone?
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New York big-band leader Vince Giordano talks to Atlantic City Weekly about working on HBO's Boardwalk Empire and its GRAMMY-nominated soundtrack.
"When I recorded the first two songs I got to record with the band, which I prefer — in the same room, we did it live. Coming from a musical theater background, I prefer to sing live because there's just this synergy when you have a band playing behind you."
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