The Center of the East End Scene
By Tiffany Razzano
Much like the Long Island music scene usually gets stuck in the shadow of New York City, musicians from far eastern LI - the north and south forks - often get overlooked. What those from further west in Suffolk and Nassau don't realize is that there's actually a thriving East End music scene, albeit a mostly undiscovered one.
And at the center of that scene is Crossroads Music in East Hampton, which opened just two years ago. "It's such a musical and artsy community. There's so much happening out here," said the store's owner, Michael Clark. "There are so many talented people. It's just hidden and needs to be uncovered."
Crossroads is a full-service music shop, offering music lessons for a variety of instruments, including voice, and selling a full line of guitars and accessories. They're the only authorized Fender dealer on the East End and are also authorized dealers for Behringer, Washburn, Takamine, Guild, Marshall and other well-known brands. Aside from Crossroads, the closest music store on the South Fork is in Hampton Bays, which is a trek, especially with Hamptons traffic.
But Crossroads is much more than a convenient musical retail oasis for the East End - it's also the center of the local scene. It's become a home away from home for younger and older musicians alike.
During the school year, the store hosts its monthly Crossroads Coffeehouse at the Springs Church Community Center. This is an all ages event that also features bands of all ages, creating perhaps the only venue for teen bands on the South Fork. It's definitely where young bands in the area strive to play.
And, every Sunday afternoon, Crossroads holds an open jam session in the middle of the store, for musicians of all ages and skill levels, though it normally attracts middle-aged musicians. "It's a great place for them to get their ya-yas out," Clark said. The group varies in size - from around 10 to sometimes more than 20 - and plays everything from classic rock to jazz standards.
From these jams, several well-known area bands have found their start - The Lost Keys, Under the Covers, The Surf Dogs. "It's neat to watch what's happened in this one year period," Clark said. "They meet, then they see what clicks. And they've gone off and formed their own bands."
"I've lived out here a long time," said Michael Weiskopf, of the Lost Keys, "and we didn't know any of us existed until the store opened. A nice scene has been created here."
"Sometimes they play hokey, three-chord stuff. But it's fun. They're just sharing what they know," Clark said. "But sometimes it's just amazing."
For more information, go to www.myspace.com/crossroadsmusicstoreny or www.crossroadsmusicstore.com.
Published June 29, 2008
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