Hoboken native Frank Sinatra had a profound influence on Jersey Shore rock, as the clip below, of Steven Van Zandt and the E Street Band performing “My Kind of Town,” suggests. And on May 9, Southside Johnny and E Street drummer Max Weinberg and Southside Johnny will talk about Ol’ Blue Eyes’ influence at the “Sinatra: An American Icon” symposium at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.
“It’s a four-hour day, approximately, and there will be a number of different things going on, including a musicians panel made up of at least Southside and Max, which I’ll moderate,” says Robert Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which is presenting the event in conjunction with Monmouth University. “Probably there will be one or two other musicians, too.
“The idea is to look at Sinatra from a musical perspective. And interestingly, Max is like a Sinatra historian, and not just about the man’s biography, but also about the music, and the intricacies of the music.”
Santelli, Weinberg, Van Zandt, Frank Sinatra Jr. and author and Sinatra family archivist Charles Pignone took part in a similar panel discussion at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, March 18.
The Grammy Museum also curated the excellent Sinatra exhibition that is currently on display at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in New York, and will be presenting Sinatra events and exhibitions at other locations, including Yale University. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sinatra, who died in 1998.
Weinberg will also take part in an upcoming Sinatra event at Yale, Santelli said, “and we’re probably going to fly him out to L.A. once we open the exhibit in Los Angeles in the fall. He is that good.
“What I’m finding is, all these baby boom artists, particularly in New Jersey — because Sinatra’s influence is so profound — that not only can these musicians talk about Sinatra from a musical perspective, they’re anxious to do it.”
The Monmouth University symposium will also feature an exhibit of photos from the Sinatra family archives, Santelli will give an overview of the exhibit and talk about Sinatra’s social activism, some rare film footage will be shown, and Monmouth students will perform Sinatra music. Tickets are $10; visit monmouth.edu.