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Drew Gasparini Goes Downtown (and We Use It As An Excuse to Sneak Backstage at Webster Hall)

A drop of… something, some kind of splooge, has just fallen from the dressing room ceiling backstage in Webster Hall.

Lucky and I started a fanfic like that once– with a splotch of uncertain origin on a rock star’s shirt in a Webster Hall dressing room. But tonight this isn’t fanfic. Not at all. Because it’s real life. And the splotch — presumably water — is spreading right where it hit composer-singer-songwriter Drew Gasparini square in the shoulder.

The truth is, though, at this moment our lives feel a bit like the stuff of fanfic. Here in this sweaty, cramped, frankly-much-nicer-than-we-imagined dressing room, with this composer/rock star who, holy shit, is a dude we actually know pretty well these days. It’s kind of hard to believe. And hey, maybe Drew’s life feels a bit like fanfic, too, though we don’t ask. Because we have other questions for him. Ones related to his career, and stuff.

It’s just that Webster Hall is a place of legend. New York legend, and our own, too.

Before the show I joked with Drew’s pal, and actor/writer, F Michael Haynie, that back in our college heyday (we both went to NYU in the early 00s) Webster Hall was a place you avoided if you didn’t want to get murdered/molested by a creepy old man. Let’s just say it used to be a lot more rough-and-tumble back then.

In fact, even after years of living within a three-block radius of the place, it wasn’t until after I graduated college that I set foot inside. That first time was for a Hanson concert — with Lucky by my side, natch — more than eight years ago now, and I honestly thought the place was going to fall apart with us still inside it. Just collapse into a heap of rubble and screaming fangirls.

Obviously, Webster Hall survived. Maybe it’s like the cockroaches, and come the end of the world, that’s all of New York that will be left. What a story it would tell.

Speaking of stories. Given that we’ve known Drew primarily as a composer these past few years, we wanted to get the scoop on why he was at Webster Hall on a Monday night when Joe’s Pub — a more traditional MT venue — is just down the block. So that’s exactly what we asked about. Well, that and some of Drew’s favorite Webster Hall stories, obviously. Every New Yorker’s got ’em.

What is this show about and why is it different?
DG: This show is more of a re-coming out. This is the first solo show I’ve done in nine years. And the reason I want to step back out into that role as a solo artist is because… Okay, I’m going to go along with the themes of Hamilton here: I don’t think I’ll ever be ‘satisfied.’ I want to keep these plates all spinning at once.

Alright… Why did you choose Webster Hall?
DG: [It was] an accident! We were supposed to be at the Highline Ballroom, and Questlove actually kicked us out. Questlove bought the venue out. But I think we upgraded because in my eyes, I think Webster Hall is much more of a legendary New York City venue and that made it a better venue for a re-coming out of this type of music of mine.

What do you like about Webster Hall?
DG: I like how even though they’ve kind of re-done it and it’s a bit nicer – there’s a bunch of new venues within – it’s got that same New York East Village shitty attitude. It’s got like that grit that comes with it. It’s rock star. Webster Hall is rock star.

Have you ever been in The Marlin Room?
DG: I saw the live version of the YouTube channel “Epic Rap Battles of History” here. I did.

Have you been in any other rooms?
DG: I’ve been in all of them! My sister Chloe, last week, just played in The Studio. And I’ve seen Ingrid Michaelson and a couple other bigger acts in the Grand Ballroom.

Do you have a favorite show you’ve seen here besides Ingrid Michaelson?
DG: Delta Rae. I grew up with them, and I used to play drums in their first band, they were called Golden Boy. We were in an acapella group together with [my sister] Kasie, too. They’re all from San Francisco. They’re the best! They gave me my first like, cross-country gig. They all went to Duke, so they flew me out and I played with them there. We’ve been friends for a long time, it’s great.

Click for more pics from backstage, onstage, and all around the legendary venue…

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