Greenport resident Gene Casey has been rocking venues and parties on Long Island and New York City for years with a little bit of rock, country, swing, and rockabilly as the frontman-guitarist for the Lone Sharks. Check out this interview before you see the band on Sunday at the at in Cutchogue.
Q: How and when did you first discover the North Fork?
A: About 21 years ago I came out east from Manhattan with no particular aim. I got a job working on a building crew and stayed with my sister who was renting a house in Sag Harbor and working as an assistant for the author John Irving. I put together the band and began playing the many bars – there were several more places to play on the South Fork then. Venturing to the North Fork was something we did rarely. It seemed like another world up here, nothing but farms and old houses.
Q: What life change brought you here?
A: Gradual changes, then major changes. Very rapidly the Hamptons got a bit out of control and congested, and it was difficult for a working man to survive. And yet so much of our work was playing private parties and events, as well as the bars and restaurants. Tired of battling the BMWs, I found I would avoid Main Street, Sag Harbor entirely, from May through September, and all of the short cuts were no longer short. We began to consider options.
Q: How has this special place inspired you?
A: Every time I pass an old farmhouse, an open field, or take a moment to study the sky as the sun sets I feel exhilarated. It feels eternal, a bit nostalgic, a pining for an earlier time when people worked hard and lived simply. I grew up in Nassau County before roaming and trying to make it in Manhattan, so I know the oppressiveness of too many people, too many malls, too many cars and craziness.
Q: Where is your favorite North Fork spot?
A: The many little beaches on the Sound are wonderful and you can't beat the sunset all year 'round. Orient fascinates me and I like to explore the area rather than rush passed it en route to the New London ferry. Still looking for my favorite pub, though. It may take some time!
Q: What keeps you here?
A: I am married to a wonderful woman who works for the , so we have laid down some serious roots now. In a few short years the band has made some great connections and we are almost as busy here as we are on the South Fork. The drummer in the group, Chris Ripley and his wife, Joan, even bought a house in Greenport. I suppose as long as I still feel the beauty and the freedom that comes with nature I will stay.