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Up Close With Providence Legend Rudy Cheeks

Friday, August 16, 2013

 

Providence music veteran Rudy Cheeks will be showcasing the best acts RI has to offer on a new TV show called Meet Me at the Met.

You might know him as a local media legend around these parts, that crazy bald saxophonist who sings for The Young Adults or that class act who always has a cigar in his mouth, but Rudy Cheeks has a new TV series going on that deserves your attention. If you've been to a few shows at The Met in Pawtucket over the past few months, you might have seen Rudy walking around with a drink in his hand along with a few cameramen parading around the place. It's all for a public access TV show called Meet Me at the Met and it's showcasing the best of the vibrant Rhode Island music scene. The other day I managed to have a chat with Rudy about it and here's how it went:

How did the idea of "Meet Me at the Met" come about?

I had done a cable television series back in the earliest days of cable TV in Rhode Island called Club Genius so I had some idea as to what producing a television show entailed. I had been kicking around the idea of doing another TV show back in 2011 with Phoebe Legere, but nothing came of it so, when we started the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame,  Jonathan "Nate" Flynn, another founder/board member, and I started talking about doing a music television show. We came up with the format for Meet Me at the Met after considering the successful formula for Austin City Limits with a Rhode Island twist and a few other elements such as interviews with band members and brought it to RI-PBS who were enthusiastic about the idea.

A lot of people know you as the frontman and saxophonist for The Young Adults who became local legends in the late 70's and have since performed a few reunion shows over the years. What impresses you most about the current state of the Rhode Island music scene?

There are a lot of good young bands and musicians coming up. Obviously Deer Tick and Low Anthem who have already had a national impact but we've seen Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, Alec Redfearn and the Eyesores, Brown Bird, The Silks, Smith & Weeden, Sarah Lupo among others and we thought...wow. Plus, I am friendly with a lot of the veteran bands who still play around like Roomful of Blues, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, The Schemers and Mark Cutler's current group, The Men of Great Courage, Rizzz and the Wild Turkey Band who have also wanted to do the show. And then there are some other fine performers like Allysen Callery, Sara Azriel, Dylan Lucas Block-Harley not to mention his dad, the multi-Grammy Award winning Bill Harley, Keith Munslow and the Superchief Trio. I mean the list goes on and on and I haven't touched on all the great R&B and blues musicians that have been playing for decades here. Nate and I firmly believe that Rhode Island is as rich in musical talent as New Orleans or Austin or any other top musical scene in the country.

Do you like the newer version of The Met on Main Street in Pawtucket better than the old Met that was on Westminster Street in Downtown Providence?

The old Met was great but very different from the new space and I really couldn't choose. The new Met is much larger, has great site lines and acoustics, and is quite reminiscent of the original Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel. I remember with great fondness all the old clubs: Lupo's, the Living Room, the Met, One-Up, etc., but we don't want to look back as much as look forward to what is happening now.

What do you like doing most: talking on the radio, writing a column, or being on TV?

None of the above. I most love playing music with my friends and fellow musicians. I also love writing songs but that is not something I have the time to do right now. Co-producing and hosting Meet Me at the Met brings a number of things I love to do together and that seems pretty good to me. On occasion, I get to sit in and play with some of the bands on the show and that is fun, although my performances are not likely to be included on the show too often.

Which local band in Rhode Island do you want to film the most but you haven't gotten the chance to yet?

We haven't taped Joe Fletcher or The Silks yet but we are planning to for the first season and I look forward to that.

When's the next show at The Met where people can catch a live taping?

We are taping Audio Revival, Northeast Traffic, and Paryah on Saturday night August 17th and on Tuesday, August 20th, we'll be taping a show with Vudu Sister, Sara Azriel and Allysen Callery.

 

Starting on October 3rd, you can catch Meet Me at the Met on RI-PBS, Channel 36, Thursday evenings from 10-11pm and you can check out the shows' website at meetmeatthemet.net for additional listings and videos. I'm going give Rudy's show a look, and you should too. Meet Me at the Met will provide a look at the Rhode Island music scene from all different angles. Hop on for the ride and you'll surely be entertained.

 

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