Native Rocker, Justin Beech, certainly isn’t new to the stage but sharing one with George Lopez? Now that’s a new gig for the handsome guitarist/lead vocalist. And since it’s not a beach day, HEC is spending the day with Beech. Let’s DrawSomething of this.
What the Lopez/Beech rondevu? It happened a few months ago, when George Lopez and entourage hit up one of the hottest scenes in the Seaport District, Lucky’s Lounge. “George is a big fan of Lucky’s,” Beech tells HEC. “So yea, he came in and was checking out the band, The Shoe, Jeff Gilman, Troy Velazquez, Jeff Calder and myself who were rocking the room that Friday night.”
It only takes a strum of Justin’s guitar to know he tunes the room. He is known for his classic rock tunes, ever chilling vibe and “encore”, Don’t Stop Believing. Beech is one of Boston’s top musicians! And it just so happened tonight, he was lucky too. “Lopez’s manager got my card and asked if we were interested in doing some work with them on the George Lopez Stand-Up Tour,” Beech tells us.” I said, ABSOLUTELY!”
A few weeks later, The Shoe, was set up with back to back sold out shows St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Times Square @ the Best Buy Theater. “We did 2 sets on Friday and Saturday night,” Beech tells us. “Kobie Ali, who does a Prince Tribute with the band, Love Sexy, joined us on stage as well.”
With 2500 laced up fans, The Shoe, tied one on with hits from Stevie Wonder, Prince, Steely Dan, Journey, and even Brazilian Girls before Mr. Lopez stomped the stage. “It was a very good time, everyone had a blast,” Beech adds. The Shoe traveled back to Boston and days later flew to the Sunshine State. “We opened Lopez’s performances @ the Hard Rock Live in Ft. Lauderdale and in Orlando @ the Universal Theme Park,” Beech tells us.
And guess what Hollywood East? The George Lopez Stand Up Tour has just begun. The Shoe will be killing it right here in New England when they open for George at Mohegan Sun, May 4th. Tickets are available and HEC is in. Then, will be rolling the dice in Atlantic City on Cinco de Mayo! Now that’s a fiesta.
Beech’s livelihood began back at Newton High. “I was pretty hell bent on being a guitar player,” Beech tells us. “But was kind of forced into the role of singing lead with my first band, Cheating Aces. I started taking voice lessons.” When graduation came near, Beech applied to the best, Berklee College of Music. He spent four semesters kicking it into gear. However, if he didn’t get accepted he would have enrolled into a Culinary Arts Program. That’s right ladies, he can cook to boot.
It was summer of 1995 when Beech sparked it with Two Ton Shoe (TSS), a mix bunch of talented musicians from different indie bands across Boston. TTS kept soul rock and pop edge on the stages of New England. Within four years TTS blew a fuse and released two CD’s, was nominated three years in a row as Best Funk Band and in 1999 they won an internet contest, Best Band on the Net. “It was like Christmas,” Beech tells us. “We won $20,000 worth of musical gear.”
In 2001, TTS signed a record label with Pastel Music in South, Korea to release a double CD for distribution. “They found us through the web and offered to sign us for a licensing deal,” Beech tells us. Four years later, TTS spent 10 days in Seoul, Korea doing a live television broadcast and club dates. A few years later, they released their third album, Never Cancel the Stage, and played at the Grand Mint Festival. “We performed in front of 25-30,000 fest goers at Olympic Park in Seoul, Korea,” Beech tells us. “The most people we had ever played in front of.” TTS has since unlaced.
There’s nothing easy about being a rock star but Beech has managed to do just that. He started tweaking the guitar at a young age, humming in high school, and has never stopped believing. From South Korea to Lucky’s Lounge, The Junction, The Stadium to Hollywood George Lopez to weekend wedding band gigs, it’s just an average day with Justin Beech. You rock!
Ads are currently running on TV for the soon-to-be-released Rio, an animated feature from the makers of Ice Age, the Connecticut-based Blue Sky Studios. Thanks to the Constitution State’s generous 30% tax credit, the animation studio, which is based in Greenwich and owned by 20th Century Fox, follows the story of a pet blue mccaw in Minnesota who meets the fellow feathered love of his life, and decides to make a break for it down to Rio de Janeiro.
A host of well-known faces have lent their voices to the picture, including last year’s Hasty Pudding Award recipient, Ann Hathaway, and star of the made-in-Mass. flick, The Social Network, Jesse Eisenburg.
According to local news channel 8 WTNH, “Blue Sky arrived in Greenwich in 2009 and since then has added over 100 people to its payroll. They calculate that their employees logged over a million hours of work in order to produce Rio.”
The studio recently held an advance screening of Rio for patients from the Children’s Hospital and kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs. The film was shown in the theater at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford.
Rio will be released in theaters on April 15, and also features the voice talents of Leslie Mann, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan, George Lopez, and Will i Am.
★ Last Saturday was a busy day in Boston for celebrity events; Chelsea Handler had a book signing in Brookline, and Tinsley Mortimer of “High Society” on the CW made an appearance at The Estate.
★ Our own Matt Dolloff interviews Emmy award winning Northeastern U professor.
★ Conan O’Brien announces plans to team up with George Lopez to create all-new late-night line-up on TBS.
★ New Hampshire Film Office survives first round of state budget cuts, what happens next?
★ Matt Damon receives mid-career achievement award from American Cinematheque.
★ Connecticut’s Chloe Sevigny talks about her recent Golden Globe win.
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