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A Huntington Busker Moves A Legend and Lands on The Paramount Stage

Eric on the curb at The Paramount, Huntington Village

Eric on the curb at The Paramount, Huntington Village

On a recent April night at The Paramount in Huntington village, a series of events took place which led to the occurrence of a magical moment in music that the average musician only dreams about.  “Eric on the Curb…is how all of us who work at the venue know him,” exclaimed Kevin Doyle, General Manager of The Paramount.  “He’s been playing guitar on the corner of New York Avenue & Elm since we opened…even in the winter when it’s cold out.”

Eric Heftler is a local busker; one who plays music in the streets for money.  Playing his guitar outside, Eric strums away on many concert nights on the street corner near The Paramount, but on the night when legendary, multi Grammy®-winning guitar virtuoso, and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Jeff Beck, came to town, things would get  interesting for Eric.

Tyler Bryant, a young, up and coming musician, was touring with Jeff Beck as his opening act during their 3-night run this past April 15-17 at The Paramount.  As can be read from Tyler’s Instagram post below, he decided to walk around downtown Huntington after his set one night, while Jeff played to a sold-out crowd inside at the venue.  This is where Tyler Bryant met “Eric on the Curb” and decided he had to introduce him to Jeff Beck. – thetylerbryant Instagram Post:
“I went for a walk after the gig tonight and met Eric busking on the street. When I walked up to him, he was playing Jeff’s “Freeway Jam.” He asked me if I had seen Jeff’s show and told me how much he’d love to meet him one day. I sat and listened to Eric play for a bit and apologized for not having any cash to tip him with. When I finally made it backstage, I told Jeff about Eric and he said he’d like to meet him. I ran outside and down the sidewalk as fast as I could in hopes that Eric had yet to pack up and leave as all the streets were now dead. As I ran, I heard Eric’s amp echoing off of buildings on the empty street. His eyes lit up when I told him I wanted to take him to meet Jeff and he quickly packed his amp and guitar into a bag. I carried the crate he was sitting on as we walked past the backstage security guys, down a flight of stairs to an underground bar, and into a private room where Eric was introduced to Jeff. They started chatting and of course the common thread was the music of Les Paul. There was a power outlet on the wall behind Eric’s busking bag and the tour manager asked Eric to plug in and play a few songs for Jeff and the crew. With no hesitation, Eric pulled out his guitar, plugged in, and played with all he had, “How High the Moon.” I sat in the corner and watched music bring people together once again. It’s not about how good you are when it comes to matters of the heart. If you mean it, you can move someone. Tonight I watched a busker move a legend. Lesson learned.”

So, as it goes, not only did Eric–the guitarist from the curb in Huntington–meet Jeff Beck, the guitarist from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, backstage at The Paramount this past month, but Jeff also asked Eric to plug in his amp and play guitar for him in the Founders Room downstairs after his sold out show! Jeff even gave Eric tips & pointers on playing guitar for nearly 2 hours in a private lesson!

Wait, it gets better!  While Eric on the Curb was playing guitar for Jeff Beck in The Paramount’s Founders Room that night a few other special guests were present: Jason Miller – President of Live Nation and Harvey Leeds – manager of the band Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Marky Ramone & Black Violin and 35-year veteran of Sony Music. So, while playing in a room of folks who clearly can spot talent when they see it, the guys decided to make “Eric on the Curb” a star.

With that said and based off the events of that magical night, The Paramount is proud to announce that “Eric on the Curb” will be opening for Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes this Saturday night, May 9 in Huntington at The Paramount.  Special Guest Eric Heftler (Eric on the Curb) will start the show with a 20-minute guitar set, in what will surely be a memorable musical moment for him and all of those in attendance, going from “the curb” to “the stage.”

“We take pride in being a musical magnet for Huntington,” proclaimed Dominic Catoggio, Director for The Paramount.  “We book many local bands for opening slots from all over Long Island, but usually not right off the street corner. It turns out there is plenty of musical talent playing in town on most nights just waiting to be discovered and we want to be a part of that process. Hopefully this trend continues and we see more musicians around town playing for their shot to perform on our stage,” he concluded.

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