Brooklyn-based musician and Sheepshead Bay resident Anthony Kapfer wants to sit down and get personal with you on his first solo album, A Series of Events.
Kapfer aspired to make this album “sound as sincere as possible,” wanting it to tell a story and have the listener go through the experiences with him.
The main inspiration was a break-up. This album is a bit of a departure, as he’s always been in loud rock bands. But A Series of Events is entirely acoustic at its core. Musically, Kapfer was inspired primarily by The Eels and The Beatles.
“I wanted to try and make an album with a similar vibe as Paul McCartney’s first solo album, where it’s just him at home playing songs,” he said.
“Conceptually the album is about a man who is watching his long term relationship with a woman end, and at the same time, a new one is beginning. But what’s different about this album is the fact that it’s written from the point of view of the main character during the break up. It’s the build up. Seeing it fall apart as it’s happening. Towards the end, the mood changes and things seem more optimistic. I’m very proud of this album.”
Kapfer owes his musical leanings to his family’s good taste.
“My mom would play The Ramones, the B52’s, and The Cars. David Lee Roth’s first solo album was another one I remember hearing a lot,” Kapfer said.
Watching MTV on New Year’s Eve of 1993, Kapfer found his first compulsion to do more than just listen.
“MTV aired a Nirvana concert and at the end they smashed their equipment. As a nine-year-old kid that was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I wanted to be them,” he said.
A year later, Kapfer received a guitar for his tenth birthday.
“It was a strat copy, I was so bad at it, but I loved it. I wasn’t getting better, so I asked for drums for my eleventh birthday.”
Kapfer’s musical prowess has evolved significantly since then. After teaching himself how to play both guitar and drums, and drumming for nearly a dozen bands, he started playing local shows all over Brooklyn with his first band, Good Grief.
While there are no plans to open a venue that would cater to that spirit, Kapfer is helping to bring some vigor to the true South Brooklyn. Along with local band Big Pull (and yours truly), Kapfer is an assistant organizer and scheduled performer for Jamsterdam: a benefit concert for Darfur taking place this July in Coney Island.
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After returning to guitar, Kapfer began writing songs which became the basis of his album, A Series of Events. Working primarily by himself, he enlisted the help of his cousin, Ricky Wells (Cortez the Killer), with whom he has been in several bands since childhood. Wells provided guitar solos and played bass. Another addition to the album is Zoe Johnson, who plays piano on the track “New Home.”
“I think they both did excellent jobs. Having other people contribute adds a whole new dimension to the album,” Kapfer said.
Kapfer began writing and recording in September of 2009 and was writing and recording a song a day at one point. He worked “incredibly fast” and wrote so many that quite a few didn’t end up on the album.
“It felt so good to start writing again, but some of them just didn’t fit with the concept,” Kapfer said.
As a seasoned musician, he has accomplished quite a lot in 25 years. Having opened for well-known acts like Peter Frampton and Vanilla Ice, he has fond memories that he only wishes he could replicate here in Sheepshead Bay.
“One of the greatest moments ever was when my band Kung-Fu Grip got to open up for Local H. They are one of my favorite bands of all time. We played on New Year’s Eve 2007/2008 at Subterranean in Chicago. It was a sold out show. We met a lot of great people that night,” he said.
Living in a neighborhood with no active support for musicians is hard, Kapfer said.
“A big challenge for any musician is getting heard by the public,” he said. “The internet both helps and makes this impossible for an unknown artist. There are an infinite amount of bands trying to get their music out, so coming up with creative ways to get noticed is probably the biggest challenge … besides writing songs that are worthwhile.”
Back when Kapfer started playing Brooklyn gigs, the now-defunct Bensonhurst punk venue known as “The Temple” would be packed every Saturday “with friends and local bands we loved and it was like a party. There was a bit of a scene then,” he said.
“It would be nice to bring some of that spirit to Sheepshead Bay.”
You can download A Series of Events for free on www.AnthonyKapfer.com.