Thursday, June 6, 2013


If you've ever been to a horse racing track, the one thing that you never forget the the sound of the bugles that heralds the start of the race! One of the more esteemed buglers in our area is RYAN RESKY and he is one of the Belmont Buglers. On a regular basis, Ryan entertainers thousands of racing fans along with his partner Sam Grossman. This Saturday is the Belmont Stakes. I spoke to Ryan recently just prior to this big race!

MICK: How long have you been one of the Belmont buglers?
RYAN: I started subbing there in 2005, right after the Breeders Cup was the last time it was at Belmont. I also subbed at Aqueduct. In 2006, I played another Belmont. There were 4 of us for that. They had a group of buglers there for a few years and they wanted to give Sam Grossman a solo shot. I joined him back in 2009 so I've done every year since then.
MICK: How many buglers are there now?
RYAN: There's usually just Sam and myself. In the past, they've had three or four depending on what the needs of the track are and who is in charge. of the Racing Association.
MICK: You work other race tracks also?
RYAN: I work at around 20 tracks right now. I've had a regular gig in the Fall that is down in Maryland since 2009. Sam and I also do events when asked. We've played at Saratoga together, The Whitney, The Travers. I've done two Travers and three Whitney's in three years. I done basically every track on the East Coast or pretty close to it. Some tracks out in the midwest. I play a lot of good events for the racing community!
MICK: Do you go as far west as California?
RYAN: Not that far! A mutual friend of ours is Jay Cohen is the bugler out there. He's been out there for 25 years. He has his own gig out there plus he brings local buglers out to play when they have the Breeders Cup. That seems to be the trend now. There were buglers that were traveling across the country playing, including playing at Belmont, Santa Anita, Gulf Stream. With the economy and everything else, it got too expensive to be flying people all over the country. Most places are now asking for local guys. It brings more work for us. We are able to do what they want and we get paid pretty well for what we do. Not only do we do the race, we are playing for the fans! Our main thing is going out and playing for the Stakes races and big fan fairs. Sometimes the music is themed for the particular day. The Belmont Stakes theme used to be "The Sidewalks of New York". Now they play a recording or have a live singer come out and sing Frank Sinatra's "New
York, New York". Sometimes we do patriotic songs like "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America". Other times we throw some jazz in there. I do most of the arrangements. Others we just come up with it on the spot. I'm really beefed up the book with our music the last few years. People often come up to us and ask us to play at special occasions. Sam started doing this a few years ago.

MICK: How did you originally get the job?
RYAN: I started as an assistant in 2005. I was playing previously to that with a bugle group that was touring the country. We would do different races as a trio or a quartet. We were very excited when we got called for the Breeders Cup. Sam and I met at the rehearsal and starting talking. He told me how busy he was and I asked him if he ever took a day off. I told him I live locally and to call me if he needed any help. I figured I would never hear from him. Three days later, he calls me. He said "I'm playing the opening week at Aqueduct and I'm going on vacation. Can you cover for me the next two weeks?" I came down and met him at the track. He showed me the locker room, where to sign in, what to watch for. I pretty much knew the ropes by then anyway. Each track was different though. So that was my two week audition to be his fill in guy. He started calling me very often.
When the 2006 Belmont Stakes came, my bugle group was called to do it. Sam saw that I was going to be there. We started doing more after that. By 2009, they wanted both us us to do the Belmont. I've been doing it ever since!
MICK: What's your favorite memory of Belmont so far?
RYAN: There's a couple. There's at least one good one for every year I've been there. For the Belmont Stakes, they have a singer come out and do "New York New York". My first year there, we were standing in the winners circle and I see this lady, all dressed in red, coming over. As she got closer, I knew who is was. It was Linda Eder! That was a thrill. Just being out there playing in front of 60,000 people at the Belmont is awesome. The following year, I'm out there playing and I see Charlie Hayward upstairs. He was one of the chief operator bosses at that time. I thought I would go up there to say hi and thank him again for hiring me. I saw a very familiar looking lady with him. So I went upstairs and asked one of the valets if theres anyone important that we should know about. He told me yes, in the Trustees Room. I walked in and there she was..Sarah Palin! I asked her if there's any particular song she wanted to hear. She saw my red, white and blue tie and said something patriotic would be great! I went downstairs and we played "America the Beautiful" for her. After the race, Sam and I went upstairs to entertain Sarah and her family. She's the nicest person you could meet! Another time, I also got to meet Marylou Whitney. She and her husband are the reason the Whitney Handicap exists. She still looks great! Another time, Adam Rodriguez from "CSI Miami" showed up in the winner's circle. Really nice guy, down to earth, no attitude. Local politicians often show up. Last year, because we were going to have a possible triple crown, we were invited to a promotional event at the Empire State Building. We were all the way up on the observation deck. Then they took us over to 30 Rock, which is Rockefeller Center, and went up on topfor a NYRA event. That was nice to be included in that.

MICK: Does weather affect your bugling?
RYAN: Yes! if it's nice weather, say between May and September, we're doing really well. It can be pretty unpredictable. We have weather gear that we use when we play. Sometimes races even get canceled. It all depends upon the jockeys. If the weather is bad, they all get together and make the call. But once you're out there and the weather is funky, you have to be dressed warm and brave the elements. If it's really cold out, we play with either plastic mouthpieces or plastic rimmed mouthpieces that helps keep the cold away but it's still very hard in that weather. I've been out in 20 degree weather with 20 MPH winds. It's not fun but you have to go out and do your job!
MICK: Can people meet you at the racetrack?
RYAN: All the time! Aqueduct is a little more difficult unless I'm right in front of the racetrack. The place where we most often meet people is Belmont. I play right above the winners circle. There's a gate right there so people walk right up to us. Saratoga is even more so because we are walking right through the grandstands.
MICK: Do you have an off season?
RYAN: The busiest time of year for us is anytime after Easter till around a month after Labor Day. Racing is all year. It starts around January and runs all the way up to The Kentucky Derby. That's when the triple crown starts. The summer races lean towards the Breeders Cup. That's usually the first week of November. That's just the thoroughbred racing. There's four different types of racing. Thoroughbred racing, harness racing ( which tends to run all year and has it's own triple crown), trotters and pacers, steeplechase..they have their own triple crown too.
MICK: When you're not bugling, what do you like to do?
RYAN: When my wife is not working (she's a teacher), we like to do different things. We are trying to plan a vacation for the first time in many years. We try to see our family as often as we can. Some of my family is still out on Long Island. I'm originally from Lindenhurst. My wife's family is from Bay Shore.
MICK: So you live in the city?
RYAN: Yes we do. My work is here so it makes it easier. I just want to keep getting more work! My hope one day is to play every race in the Triple Crown and the Breeders Cup in one year. I'd be like the Tiger Woods of bugling!
MICK: How long would you like to do this?
RYAN: For as long as I can! I am trying to get more regular work in the city as far as playing. That takes me more indoors. Last year I played in Radio City as one of the orchestra members. Hoping to do more of that and Broadway too. As long as I can make a sound out of the horn I will be happy!

Catch Ryan this Saturday, June 8th 2013 for the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes,
6:40pm ET on NBC
Location: Belmont Park, New York

Sunday, June 2, 2013


With a string of top 40 hits and million selling albums, EDDIE MONEY has carved himself a nice place in rock and roll history and continues to tour the world to the amazement of his fans. He is more than just a rock and roll icon. Eddie Money is one of us! Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, he has never been far from his roots. He returns to Long Island on Friday June 7th and The Paramount in Huntington! I spoke to Eddie from his California home recently and he can't wait to get back to NY!

MICK: How's your tour going this year?
EDDIE: I've got my health, I've got my weight down, I've still got all my hair! I had 14 songs in the top 100 so it's easy to write a set list! "Baby Hold On", "Two Tickets To Paradise", "Think I'm In Love", "I Wanna Go Back", "Shakin", the list goes on! The show at the Paramount in Huntington is going to be a lot of fun.
MICK: I know everybody is very excited about you coming back to Long Island!
EDDIE: The Paramount is a great theater. I have a bigger guest list than the Rolling Stones! You know in New York everybody wants to get in for nothing! The last time we played Eisenhower Park, the parks promoter said "What is this Woodstock? There's not enough toilets, there's not enough parking. Who's this guy Eddie Money?"
MICK: And you're coming back again later this year to Eisenhower Park?
EDDIE: Yes we are doing that later this year but the Paramount show is going to be great. We open up with "Baby Hold On", we have the new song "One More Soldier Coming Home" and we are donating 100% of the proceeds from the release to Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. I'm also supporting these kids who are HIV positive. We are making money for the kids, money for the troops, taking care of my family. Everything is good!
MICK: How often do you get back to Long Island?
EDDIE: I'm back there all the time! I was just back there for a week. I have an apartment in NYC next to Mickey Mantle's. My wife likes to go there for $400-$500 lunch and goes back once every other month to jog in Central Park. I should have married a blind woman! But when I'm in New York, I don't stay in the apartment. I go out to Long Island where all my friends are. I think the pizza is better out there, the Italian food is better. I stay in my sister's basement in Levittown. I can tell who's at the door by what kind of shoes they have on!
MICK: I've read that your longtime drummer Glenn Symmonds was recently operated on for bladder cancer. How is he doing?
EDDIE: He went in too late. He had a tumor the size of a golf ball on the wall of his bladder. I pay my band good but he never had health insurance.
He had insurance for his family but he didn't have it for himself. He's been with me since 1973. You have to take care of your own!
MICK: What's happening with your play "Two Tickets To Paradise"?
EDDIE: I'm working with John Blenn. He's a teacher at Five Towns College. He produced and directed the play and it was very successful for me three years ago. We had great dancers and great actors. We are going to proceed to go at it again, get a lot of the same cast and see if we can get it on Broadway somehow. I wrote a lot of great Broadway songs for the play. We have Eddie Money's greatest hits and some great Broadway type songs in there. Growing up, my parents used to take us to the city to see plays like "Damn Yankees", "Carousel, "Oklahoma". We used to get the records and act out the plays. So I wrote some really good Broadway type songs for the play. "The Train Don't Stop Here Anymore" is about becoming successful and then losing the old lady. "I Only Want The World For You" is a song my mother sings to me in the play. "California Here We Come" is another great one. I'm very happy with the songs. The play is not like a "Rock Of Ages". So we will see what happens.
MICK: People recently saw you in the Gieco commercials on TV. How did that come about?
EDDIE: My wife is a lot like Lucy Mcgillicuddy on "I Love Lucy". And I'm like Desi playing The Copacabana. My wife wanted to get back on TV. She hooked up with this Geico commercial, which I didn't know anything about. We went down there to do it and they had had these veteran actors that I've seen in many other commercials. An old lady was going to be pushing the CD button and I was going to sing "Two Tickets To Paradise". My wife wanted to be in this commercial so I had to fire this little old lady who was in lots of legendary Broadway shows. I felt terrible. The look she gave me was like when I would leave my car in the driveway and got in trouble. There's my wife getting all dressed up, changing shoes and shirts. Pedicures and manicures. So the last commercial we did was acapella, without the CD player. That's the one they choose to use! So my wife ended up on the cutting room floor!
MICK: What's your favorite venue to play in?
EDDIE: I love Madison Square Garden. I played the US Festival and there were 650,000 people attending in 1981. Steve Wozniak and Bill Graham were the promoters and that was completely amazing. I played Budokan in Japan twice with Santana. That was a lot of fun! I used to like My Father's Place in Roslyn, Long Island. And I like playing Westbury Music Fair but the thing is I can never find the stage when I'm coming back from shaking hands. All of a sudden I'm getting ready to jump back on stage and I'm looking at a bunch of amplifiers! I also played Eisenhower Park and lots of people came to that. People on Long Island are very frugle and they bring their lawn chairs and get to see Eddie Money for nothing! It was a very successful show that I did a few years ago. People in New York are very fussy people and if you get a good review in New York, you've got it made! New York has always been very good to me!
MICK: You were a NYC cop for two years. Do you keep in touch with any of your former coworkers?
EDDIE: That was over thirty years ago. Most of the guys have retired. My father was patrolman of the year when I was on the job. He would always say, when I was coming off the stage all sweating, "Just think, you could be retired now instead of being so damn tired!" I've got two nephews on the job too. My grandfather was a cop and my brother was a deputy inspector for 25 years. The NYC cops are really nice to me. A lot of people used to think I worked for the Department of Sanitation and I'd tell them I wasn't a garbageman, I wasn't a fireman, I was a cop!

MICK: What would you consider the high point of your career up to this point?
EDDIE: I guess doing "Saturday Night Live" was pretty big. Doing the "Midnight Special" with Wolfman Jack was great. Of course, doing a lot of great shows all the time. Having the opportunity to sell tee shirts for The Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation and also the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund for the troops and the kids. I played The Winery in NYC and I had some people coming in from Long Island. I asked them why so and so didn't show up. They said they saw me at the gas station!
MICK: Which of today's music artists do you admire the most?
EDDIE: I really like this kid Bruno Mars. I really think he has something there. And I think Nickelback is a pretty good band. But outside of that, I'm from the 70's so I listen to Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Kinks, the Eagles. I love the music I've always listened to. I get in the car with the kids and I listen to all this new garbage. I feel like I'm in another world! I've toured with the Stones, I've toured with the Who, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Miller, I've toured with the best!
MICK: Do you have any regrets?
EDDIE: Back in the 80's, I was drinking one day and thought I was snorting cocaine but it was a synthetic barbiturate and it knocked out my kidneys. I blew out the sciatic nerve in my left leg and I couldn't even walk for about a year. Then I came back and made my best record "No Control" which was about you don't have to be rich and famous to get drunk and drive a car, get arrested or put something up your nose and die. The "No Control" album was the best thing I got out of it. People would say "How did you overdose?". "It was fucking free! How did you think I overdosed?"
MICK: What's a typical day for Eddie Money like?
EDDIE: I get up in the morning, walk the dogs. I go to the gym 2-3 days a week. I like to play golf. I go to work in the studio, help my kids out. I'm making a Christmas album right now. Wendy Dio, Ronnie Dio's wife, has a label and she has connections with Sony so I will be back with my old friends at Sony. I also have a new record with some new songs, my kid's careers are taking off, I'm raising money for my drummer. I'm really looking forward to the show at the Paramount on June 13. We open up with "Baby Hold On To Me", then we do "Endless Nights" which I just put back into the set. Then we do "Wanna Be A Rock and Rock Star" which is all about how it all happened for me. We go into "Walk On Water" and then we do "One More Soldier Coming Home". It's a great show! I even put in "Call On Me" from the first album! People are really loving it! Lots of encores each night! So tell everybody I've got two tickets and I'm taking everybody to do some shakin with
the Money Man at the Paramount!!

See Eddie Money this Fri, Jun 7, 2013 08:00 PM at The Paramount, Huntington, NY. Doors open at 7:00PM.
The Paramount 370 New York Ave, Huntington, NY 11743 (631) 673-7300