Steel Notes Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 33

www.steelnotesmagazine.com Steel Notes Magazine bnik ck Cat arlowe B West Ladies and Gentlemen and Children of All Ages ... My name is Marlowe B West and I am your Ring Leader ... Back in October, for my special 'Marloween' column, I appropriately brought you a wild and robust interview featuring the sensational Black Cats NYC ... Today I am singling out their amazing guitarist ... Donald Sztabnik, whom I refer to as DBC ... Don Black Cat ... who also happens to be an incredible photographer. MBW: Okay now, DBC ... I may be repeating a few of my questions today ... however ... some of my loyal readers and fans may not have caught our exclusive Black Cats story ... So let us begin with little Donnie ... dreaming of becoming a rock star ... Please pardon the assumption if I am offending you ... I am only trying to imagine where our story begins ... Please ... would you be so kind as to bring us back into your memory of such a day ??? DBC: Thank you Marlowe for your great support of the Black Cats NYC !!! I always loved top 40 a.m. radio as a wee Donnie Black Cat having an older sister watching American bandstand and dancing with the refrigerator door handle, learning all the latest dance moves ... but I clearly remember the exact moment hearing the Beatles for the first time on a little radio in a gas station and being stopped in my tracks !!! ... everything changed ... I heard those voices, those guitars, those songs ... my musical world exploded! MBW: ... and now let us jump all the way ahead ... Please fill us in on where all your dreams and endeavors have led you guys ... and girls ... Where do you stand today in your modus operando ??? DBC: The Black Cats NYC is the realization of our vision of rock 'n' roll. Andrew and I have played together for a long time going way back to The Dragons, my band back in the CBGB's and Max's Kansas City days. To me our songs are the foundation of the Black Cats NYC ... We play basic New York City original rock 'n' roll - plain and simple, and you can dance to it ! ... always a plus ... and with our current Black Cats NYC lineup up including Jason Reddish on drums and Deanna Lair and Julie M Smith on backing vocals we are rocking all over the place! MBW: I would like to give you a free stand right now ... to go off on anything, any subject or subjects (related or not) that you might be holding inside and longing to let everyone know about ??? DBC: Right now there is a palpable resurgence of great music right here in New York City ... so many varied bands, song writers, and poets expressing their vision, their feelings, their heartbreak, their happiness while plugged into a Fender amp. Guitars, bass and drums remain the language that we speak and it is exuberant!!! I am a fan as much as I am a musician. The Black Cats NYC love being part of this creative group of colleagues and loyal fans. MBW: Can we step aside, now ... out of your rock and roll spotlight ... and get into your photography ... You and your work appear to be very free and casual ... although you do seem to have a few certain distinct characteristics in most of your photographs ... Do you agree ... and what would you say they might be ??? DBC: Yes photography!!!! I have always seen the intrinsic connection between photos and the rock 'n' roll bands we love. Remember in Hard Days Night the 35mm camera clicking away and George making all the faces ? ... Remember Blow Up and the power of a single photo and Yardbirds playing in the film !! I am sure I am not the only one to stare at every picture on the back of our favorite album cover as if it was speaking to me and me alone ... I always liked Andy Warhol with his Polaroid camera snapping 'free and casual ' shots of the people in his life. I like to 'shoot what I see' ... I love to catch the singular expression of the moment captured on the faces of all the people we know and now can know a little more intimately. I love faces. Faces reveal so much with the eyes - always the eyes, ... and the smiles - always the smiles ... I often use Lurid colors like Technicolor in the movies ... an illusion of how we wish life to be! ... and I love black-and-white ... the details revealed are all the color anyone can imagine. MBW: How did you get into being such an on the spot photographer ... and tell us your photography story ??? DBC: I do look for the 'on the spot ' moment. Being a performer with the Black Cats NYC makes me keenly aware of the nuances in my subjects. I try very hard to capture the single moment that tells what has already happened before and what will happen after the camera clicks!!! ... and I look for the reality in the fantasy I am shooting, or the fantasy in the reality. I enjoy the immediacy of the iPhone which is what I use for all my current photos ... (all my real cameras are back in a closet for now) The sharing component is important to me in that what used to take days, weeks and months to see in print now is enjoyed immediately. I also feel that any contribution to this vibrant New York City music scene Steel Notes Magazine www.steelnotesmagazine.com 33