Record Club gets into the groove at Caffe Lena

Chuck Vosganian at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs.

Chuck Vosganian at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs.

"Let's get the needle in the groove," says the man behind the mike.

The sounds of Queen's third album, "Sheer Heart Attack," ripple through a basement room in Universal Preservation Hall, and the audience is reverently attentive, the atmosphere almost church-like, with the exception of a few men who bob their heads to the music.

As each track is played, as the air trembles with Freddie Mercury's vibrato, the lyrics are projected on a screen.

Between each song, the man at the mike rolls out quirky facts and anecdotes about how the album was made, the band members and their instruments, the cover art.

Welcome to the Rochmon Record Club, a monthly "listening party" hosted by Chuck Vosganian, a 60-year-old Saratoga Springs resident with a passion for classic rock.

Vosganian, who happens to be the father of Mateo Vosganian, drummer for Wild Adriatic, one of the Capital Region's favorite bands, has been doing his scripted Powerpoint shows since September.

This month, as UPH closes it doors for a major remodeling, the Rochmon Record Club, still sponsored by UPH, is moving to Caffe Lena. The $5 suggested donation at the door supports UPH.

At 6:30 p.m. this Tuesday, "Aqualung," Jethro Tull's pivotal fourth album about God and religion, is in the spotlight.

“It’s fun and education," says Vosganian. “Music is a language onto itself. It’s this entry point of connection with people.”

At each meeting, he offers his audience a short list of albums, they vote for the one they like, and then he puts together the next show.

“They are albums that were pivotal in some way for the band,” says Vosganian.

Record Club audiences have listened to Led Zeppelin’s 1973 “Houses of the Holy; ”Deep Purple’s 1972 “Machine Head” and The Who's 1971 "Who's Next."

Vosganian, whose daytime job is running Empire Audio Recording and Sound (also called ears) uses a digital, state-of-the-art sound system. He doesn't play vinyl on a turntable because the “opportunity for disaster is great” and slows down the presentation.

For the Zeppelin show, he made an exception, and played the vinyl.

“We had 60 people for the Led Zeppelin. Deep Purple was well attended,” Vosganian says.

Sometimes there are a few high school students.

“It’s been mostly men of a certain age,” he says.

It was Mateo, his drummer son, who encouraged Vosganian to record and preserve his musical knowledge.

Mateo told me that "it would be really nice for my father to teach me about rock n’roll for the rest of my life,” Vosganian says.

Vosganian's life has been about music since his boyhood days on Long Island.

“I grew up with classical music. My parents were both professional musicians, opera singers.”

Vosganian, who plays the drums, has a daughter who plays saxophone and another son who plays trombone.

When Mateo was in high school, his Dad helped Mateo's band find places to practice.

“We did a lot of shows. I helped the band record a CD.”

Vosganian's own vinyl collection, about 3,000 albums, includes not just rock but jazz, classical and folk music.

“The first album I bought was The Monkees,” he says. "But the first serious album was 'Goodbye Cream.' I was 13 years old. I bought it at Woolworth’s.”

His first rock concert, on his 13th birthday, was Guess Who, at Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island.

“It was the night they landed on the moon. Nobody was there. So I got to meet the band. They signed my album.”

Forty-seven years later, Vosganian says his monthly record club reminds him of when he was a teen and sat on the couch in his parent's living room, admiring an album cover, reading the lyrics, and listening to every note.

“They don’t listen to albums from beginning to end any more. That’s gone," he says. "But each one (each track) makes a little piece of the picture."

Rochmon Record Club

WHAT: Listen to and learn about a classic rock album
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. on the second or third Tuesday of every month. The next show, about Jethro Tull's "Aqualung," is this Tuesday, April 18.
WHERE: Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs
HOW MUCH: $5 suggested donation
MORE INFO: Rochmon Record Club on Facebook


Reach Gazette reporter Karen Bjornland at 395-3197, kbjornland@dailygazette.net or on Twitter @bjorngazette.