That’s on top of his numerous other projects, which include studio engineering and production, solo gigs and guest spots at the acclaimed Under Cover at the Office Bar shows, playing guitar with reggae/rock trio, The Counterfeits, who perform at the Harp on Nov. 11, as well as playing with instrumental quartet Dinosaur Ghost, tribute bands The Distractions (Elvis Costello), Bone Scott (ACDC) and the Faux Fighters, soul revue the Monuments and a Bowie tribute show that has performed twice this year to huge crowds at Balboa Park’s Organ Pavilion and next plays the Casbah on Jan. 8.
“I'll play with anybody who will hire me,” Levine said. He notes that keeping track of all his projects can be overwhelming. “It's part of the job. Sometimes I'll have to devote entire days to learning 30 songs that I'll only ever play once, schedule rehearsals with 4-5 other guys who also have equally busy schedules. The time put into learning and prepping is not always equal to the gig's payout,” he points out.
“What also can get stressful is, now that I'm focusing on the Ariel Levine Band, I really want to give it the time it deserves, practicing my parts, my singing, writing new material. When the gig load gets heavy with cover band shows, my own art does take a back seat. I'm still finding the balance. But at the end of the day, when I get up on stage, no matter what the gig is, it's all worth it. I love to play.”
Levine’s new album, “Let The Machine Get It,” from which “On My Color TV” is taken, is due in early 2017. “It's taken longer than expected, but that's how these things always go,” he said. “I plan to do a soft/digital release once it's mastered, then another few months wait for the vinyl to arrive, where I will make more of a stink about it,” Levin joked.
While the album is sure to be welcomed by music fans, Levine is no one trick pony. This winter will see him debut as co-host, alongside singer Rebecca Jade, of a new music television program, “The Revue.”
“It's one part interview show, one part travel show, all music, kind of like ‘Live From Daryl's House,’” he said. “All things music in San Diego. We will be exploring SD's music scene from top to bottom, from its seedy underbelly to the creme de la creme. The venues, the studios, the history, the songwriters, the sidemen the tastemakers and more.”
Each episode will close with a jam between the guests and the hosts. “This is my first time doing something like this,” he commented. “I'm a lifelong Howard Stern fan, I loved Elvis Costello's ‘Spectacle’ show, Marc Maron's ‘WTF’ podcast, etc. I'm excited to get to learn and grow as an interviewer.”
The pilot episode was shot at North Park studio, Rarefied Recording in North Park, with guests, studio owner Roy Silverstein and jazz guitarist Steph Johnson, but every episode will be in a different setting.
Beyond his music, one of the most noteable things about Levine is his impeccable sense of style, whether it’s wearing dinosaur masks with Dinosaur Ghost or as a nattily dressed singer. “I believe (a look) it is very important” he said.
“As a musician, you are a spectacle whether you like it or not. Whatever your thing is, whatever your image, you must own it and you must enhance it for the stage.You gotta look better than everyone else in the audience. They're there to see a show, they're there to watch a performer. Give them what they came for. Doesn't have to be a suit, doesn't have to be dinosaur masks, or a Ziggy Stardust unitard, just do something! No cargo shorts!”
While Levine is happy with the progress made on his musical career in recent months, he considers it all just the first steps of a lifetime in music. “Onward and upward!” he said. “I feel like the first five years here were spent getting my name out, getting a little reputation. But now I have to spin that into a money making career.”
He knows the road to success isn’t easy. “I don't need all the riches, but I'd like to get to a place where I'm no longer living on a shoestring budget I can pay my bills without worry, and have a little left over to save. And have some fun,” he said. Find out more about Levine at www.ariellevine.com.