Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Keeping up with Camacho.
The late James Brown was once referred to as the hardest working man in showbiz. However, if he were still alive (RIP, Godfather of Soul) he'd likely face some stiff competition from South Florida's very own Jim Camacho. Aside from the fact that he can be counted on to release excellent albums of markedly melodic music on a consistent basis, Camacho gigs regularly, devises ingenious theater productions and simply stays occupied, allowing his creative juices to flow.
All of this points to the possibility that South Florida may not be able to hold him here very much longer. In a recent email blast, Camacho announced he was headed overseas June 2 to June 5 for a series of gigs in the U.K., all in support of his latest EP, the aptly titled Everywhere. A brief but busy visit will include stops in London, Liverpool, and Birmingham. In that latter city, he'll record an appearance on a pretty cool British TV program.
"I'm extremely excited about travelling to England, to play for an entirely new set of music fans," Camacho wrote.
See also: Jim Camacho Reveals His Top Five Albums
"To have the opportunity to gig abroad is one every musician cherishes, but few actually get to live out. It will be ... a real treat to play in Liverpool, the hometown of one of the all-time greats and one of my biggest influences, the Beatles."
He reunites with '60s folksinger Linda Perhacs on the road, with whom he recently performed a series of California dates. Notably, there's a common bond. Perhacs was coaxed out of retirement by Fernando Perdomo, her producer, a onetime South Florida musician now living in L.A., and a colleague of Camacho's.
We recently caught up with the ever-amiable Mr. Camacho and asked him to give us the lowdown on his latest endeavors.
New Times: So how did the U.K. jaunt come about?
Camacho: Back in 2013, I did a tour of the West Coast, and on that tour, I made a connection with a publisher out of the U.K., AltarBoy Music. He invited me over.
How did you enjoy your California tour?
It was a great run! And getting to hear Linda Perhacs every night was a real gift. I'm a big fan of her music. On the tour, we played churches, graveyards and ghost towns that had been converted into music venues. So it was a magical tour. The crowds were very sensitive to acoustic music... Every venue was like a listening room.
What excites you the most about going to England?
I'm excited about all of the shows. I especially love getting to play the 12 Bar Club in London. It's a very cool club and a lot of great artists have played on that stage over the years, from Martha Wainwright to Damien Rice to Robyn Hitchcock.
I'm also excited about getting to perform on the TV show Soundcheck. It was started by people from the legendary program The Old Grey Whistle Test. I loved that program back in the day. There are so many great moments from that show. If you ever have insomnia, you can peruse YouTube and check out magic moments, like Bill Withers taking you on a journey with "Ain't No Sunshine," or Tom Waits performing "Tom Traubert's Blues" or Elton John playing "Tiny Dancer" with just him and a piano. I could go on and on... So getting to perform on Sondcheck is a real honor.
All that said, I think I'm most looking forward to getting to play in Liverpool. For Beatle reasons, mainly, but also for the chance to get to play with Linda again and see my Miami musical brothers Fernando (Perdomo) and Chris (Price). Who knows, maybe we will do an impromptu Beethose show somewhere in Liverpool.
Have you ever been there before?
Yes. We went on a family trip when I was a boy. I remember my brother John and I trying to make the guards at Buckingham Palace laugh, and all of us doing the sightseeing thing. I had just finished reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and I remember trying to make every closet in the U.K. a magic portal into Narnia. It never worked. But Great Britain definitely sparked my imagination. Especially from a musical perspective, I remember noticing the punks in London. The punk movement was in full swing at the time, and I remember wondering what that was all about.
Any special side trips or sightseeing planned?
On tours, you never get to sightsee because you're always moving, but if I have some time I'd like to check out some Beatles history or maybe check out the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Any advance word on reaction to your music over there?
I have the word that one of my songs is getting a lot of play over there at the moment. So I'm pretty excited to go play for the wonderful folks in the U.K. We are also doing a launch in South America with my music videos, so that will be the next stop for 2015.
You recently took part in the musical, Hearing Damage: The Rat Opera. What was that like?
Rat Opera was a lot of fun. It was a blast to be around all those wonderful and talented people. After coming back from my West Coast acoustic tour, it was great to flip from some quietly intense performances to some chaotically energetic ones.
Running around on stage with The Rat Opera's great band -- comprised of some of my favorite musicians and friends I've known over the years -- was a blast. Kinda got me itching to re-stage my musical Fools' Paradise again. I just might do it. December 8 will mark 10 years since it was first staged at Churchill's. I just need to reach out to members of the original cast.
Any other theatrical endeavors in the works?
Yes! I'm in the process of staging a new children's musical I've written called Cranky Carl and His Cosmic Contemplations. It will be presented at the Mandelstam Theater. I'm also writing another brand new musical with Noel Macneal, who I worked with on my musical Mouse King. That will run for the month of October at the Bronx Zoo, and the year will end with another production run of Mouse King," so things in theater are keeping me really busy.
How about the music side of things?
I'm putting the finishing touches on my new EP that I began recording back in April after we finished the West Coast tour. Fernando is co-producing it. We recorded in his Reseda Ranch Studios as well as Capitol Studios out in L.A. I'm hoping to finish that up for release in the fall.
It appears you're keeping rather busy.
Yeah. I don't see things slowing down for a little while.