Still rocking, still dreaming. Lots of baby-boomers still make a living playing rock and roll. But their careers were established decades ago. Can a baby-boomer band starting now still make a go of it?
That’s the question facing STARKETT LEVEE, a NYC band whose key performers are Noel Hattem and The Graz, two men of a certain age. “Our age is an advantage,” says singer Noel Hattem. “Our music is contemporary but our songs reflect years of life experience. We capture themes that everyone has faced or will face.” In contrast, Hattem notes, established boomer stars recycle greatest hits written when they were in their teens and twenties. “Music is like a pen that doesn’t run out of ink,” adds Hattem. “It’s always there for writing.”
As life expectancies expand older music fans won’t be satisfied listening to the newest “kid” on the radio. Starkett Levee songs about topics such as consumerism and corporate greed, gun control, injustice, and personal relations will fill a niche for listeners. “Baby boomers have revolutionized culture through every stage of their life cycle,” says Hattem. “And we’ll continue to do it with music.” “The songs are not about hope and redemption says The Graz, but a bit on the dark and edgy side, augmented by clever guitar riffs and hooks and well placed synths and keyboards”.
And Starkett Levee will use the latest technology to find its audience. While the music was recorded direct into and mixed on a MacBook Pro, they tap into all the necessities of social networking. However, this isn’t some band thrashing away in some garage” The Graz notes. “Aside from that, in Manhattan most people can’t even afford a garage for their car, let alone play in one” adds Hattem.
The nay-sayers tell them that they’re too old to make it. But Hattem disagrees. Once we get going,” he says, “they’ll be singing a different tune.” Preferably a Starkett Levee tune.
Starkett Levee is a song oriented Alternative/Indie Rock band from New York City. The music is a hybrid blend of Rock influences with darker and hard edges, which combines thoughtful and compelling lyrics with diverse topics.
Noel Hattem and “The Graz” (John Graziano) met during their high school days. Decades later they reconnected in New York City where Hattem was writing songs in Greenwich Village while The Graz was recording tracks in his makeshift studio uptown. A mutual friend suggested they make an album and STARKETT LEVEE was launched.
Noel Hattem singer/songwriter, keyboard/guitar player from New York City, over the years has fronted and performed in local NYC bands. Being a rock artist is the platform that sustains him. Hattem puts it simply: “I tap into a song from self-reflection and personal experience. Sometimes I come up with a song jamming on my instrument, other times I just wake up with a melody in my head.” PS “hand me the mic and let’s rock”.
“A chemistry exists when Graz and I get together”, Noel mentions. “That chemistry results in the unique rock magic that is happening in Starkett Levee tunes.”
The Graz, multi-instrumentalist, engineer/producer and originally from Ft. Worth Texas, actually comes from a background in music with roots in the blues and folk, though he worked with a progressive rock bands in California during the 70’s and 80’s.
The Graz, a songwriter himself, takes on a supportive role in Starkett Levee by adding his own style and sound to the rougher, harder edged Hattem material. The result is the unique dynamic blend of hard rock with an atmospheric and creative quality. “I never know what I’m going to do next. With Noel’s songs, which are very different from what I’m doing on my own, I’m forced to go outside my comfort zone and find something that serves the song. In some cases it’s just a few notes placed in a certain spot – or a lot of notes crashing down on your head. It was a stretch,” the Graz says. “Basically I just listen to what he’s got going on until an idea pops into my head and then I rush to record it before I forget it. I think what we have here is unique – it doesn’t really sound like anybody else that I’m aware of.”
Indeed, it does not. Starkett Levee is totally original. They started in earnest in 2012 and their debut album, “The Damage You Have Caused,” was released in August, 2014.