Professor Stompensplatt is also the narrator in an upcoming series of children’s books, which take as their inspiration the animation imagery developed for this show. The first book is “Professor Stompensplatt’s: The Little Devil in Michelle,” which explores the inspiration for Paul’s song, Michelle – with a plot twist at the end.
Professor Stompensplatt is the nom de plume of the producer/writer and lead singer/ rhythm guitarist …he is also Joe Anastasi, the author of The New Forensics, who resides in Piedmont, CA. His passion has been applying his forensic investigating skills to the music of Paul McCartney. Stroll Down Penny Lane is the result of Joe’s painstaking research, and the application of his writing abilities – using animation and other film devices – to explore what makes these songs so special. Joe has written and produced the twenty-five films that are presented as part of this show.
Mike Sugar is a massive fan of the those marvelous McCartney bass lines he gets to play for Stroll Down Penny Lane! Mike can be heard on bass and other instruments and vocals at the shows where he also oversees the live production; lighting, video, and special effects programming.
Mike is also a solo artist with several solo albums available in multiple genres. Some of his solo performances featured live looping with a unique electric bass-cello instrument which became incorporated in Stroll Down Penny Lane’s live show for those iconic cello parts found in “Eleanor Rigby”, “Yesterday”, and “Live and Let Die”. Mike’s various, solo, musical endeavors are well-balanced by countless sideman gigs and sessions, collaborations, band memberships, and just all out jamming, over a decades long music career.
Born in New Orleans, an obsessive curiosity for music and instruments led Sugar to California where he co-founded the band Jambay and hit the road. Jambay was the first of many hard-working bands that would take Sugar to venues and festivals all over the states and into a variety of studio sessions, film scoring and composition work.
After settling in the Bay Area, Sugar began gigging and recording with a much larger variety of acts on an increasing variety of instruments, while gathering music production knowledge. Eventually he opened a recording studio, which came in handy when Mike began work on the Stroll Down Penny Lane podcast. You’ll hear him on basses, guitars, drums, keyboards, vocals, percussion, engineering and mixing of the music, sound effects, and the overall podcast production.
Sugar offers a seriously deep menu of musical and technical skills from tremendous experience in live music, audio production, and related media technologies. Between a variety of gigs and recording production work, Sugar continues producing and composing for his own recording and performing projects while enjoying learning and implementing new technologies. We should mention that Mike does indeed play recorder, sometimes melodica and even kazoo, proudly and in public! But Sugar also has had some success with HDMI redundancy, recreating pet sounds, reputation-saving fact-checking, foods with cheese, bass joy, and those pesky high vocal notes!
This is Winter – a fantastic guitar player and recording engineer. He is from Kassel, Germany. He was first going to be a drummer, but then, when he was 12, he heard a boy in his building play Smoke on the Water on guitar, and, as they say, the rest is history.
Winter has produced and performed on numerous albums, and is the senior sound engineer at EMB Studios.
Some career highlights include playing guitar for Blondie’s current album, Ghosts of Download (2014) and recording drums for Paul Bostaph (Slayer, Testament). He has also worked with Dwayne Wiggins (Toni Tony Tone), Darius Rucker (Hootie & the Blowfish), Bill Ortiz (Santana), Sonja Drakulich (Stellamara), Amelia Hogan, and Jessica Star, among many others.
Mark Abbott, Stroll Down Penny Lane’s drummer, almost never made it as a drummer. Mark’s right thumb was accidentally severed during a production of Hair at the University of California, East Bay. Surgeons successfully reattached the thumb using microscopes and laser technologies. He returned to the set bandaged and continued drumming in this musical production—using one hand. This set of circumstances impressed several other performers, leading to Mark’s inclusion in the formation of the band, Box Set.
The band’s 1994 debut album was critically acclaimed by Billboard. In 1995, the band was named “Group of the Year” by the National Academy of Songwriters. Two years later, the band collected two “Bammies” (California Music Awards) for their critically-acclaimed third album. The band scored a deal with Capricorn/Polygram to release their 1998 album with producer Joe Chicarelli (producer for Tori Amos, American Music Club, and Frank Zappa, among others).
Mark’s drumming has been featured in DRUM Magazine. He has toured the country with Box Set several times (performing in every state except North Dakota) and the band sold out the historic Fillmore West three times.
Mark has recorded in some of the finest studios in the country. He has also been turfed out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for having: a) stepped over the rope, and b) proceeding to play on the Led Zeppelin drum kit, belonging to John Bonham. The physical ejection has left Mark undaunted, and unmarked. His earliest memory, however, is the day the Beatles broke up. (He asked his parents, “Why are all the hippies crying?”)
A more recent addition to the group, Matt Twain’s home has always been the Bay Area. Born and raised in Oakland, he grew up in the studio as a child talent, singing and doing voice-overs for numerous commercials including C&H Pure Cane Sugar, Levi’s, The Gap, Visa, and many more.
As he grew older, he enjoyed both acting as well as musical directing in both universities and community productions of such classics as Hair, Pippin, Little Shop of Horrors, Cabaret, and many others. He then decided that his true calling was playing in bands and recording music.
He has played in many bands over the years, including being the founding member of Box Set, which then later morphed into The Fall Risk. He also sits in with Highwater Blues, and is currently recording and performing with the band The Sky Kings, of which he has been a member for over 25 years. When he isn’t performing with bands or doing a solo gig here and there, he also enjoys his other creative outlet as a professional graphic designer/contractor.
Avi Ofer Animator
Avi is an illustrator and animation director who specializes in a whimsical style of hand-drawn animation. He has animated projects for a variety of media, including book and editorial illustration as well as direction of animated films, both commissioned and independent. He has exhibited in art shows and screened in festivals around the world. His animation is frequently featured in TedEd videos. aviofer.com
Creative Consultant & Video Editor
Eric started life as a theater and film kid. A specialist in humor and music, he worked as a major brand tv commercial editor for 15 years before starting narrative work with his first feature “Love, Ludlow,” the runner-up for the 2005 Sundance Film Festival Audience Awards.
In addition to a slew of short films, he has edited hundreds of commercials for clients including Mercedes Benz, Heinken, Diet Dr Pepper, and Puma. His spots have won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and the British International Advertising Festival, and have aired on the Super Bowl and around the globe. Eric has collaborated as an editor and producer with top directorial and technical talent including the Oscars Awards team, and he has had the pleasure to work on projects featuring stars such as Will Ferrell, Usain Bolt, Barbara Walters, Rob Corddry, Mike Myers, Lauren Bacall, and Paul McCartney. “Barry and Joan,” (www.barryandjoan.com) a feature documentary he edited and produced, is currently in festival submissions.
It’s simple, but not easy, according to Eric: “Nuance of character, storytelling rhythm – that’s where the magic lies.” ericpomert.com