“iPod/iPhone Wrangler” and Uptone Ben Eastwood

The Bay Area music scene has changed the way music is consumed. Besides the music and the artists, there were and are a series of people behind the scenes who made these huge changes in the way the business of music has been conducted. I’m going to introduce some of the new breed of movers and shakers in the new music technologies.

This week’s mover/shaker is an active musician in the Bay Area, and he is the “iPod/iPhone Wrangler” at Apple. Yes, Ben Eastwood — one of the founding members of the Bay Area’s preeminent ska band, The Uptones — is also the man keeping those iPhones and iPods in your hands.

In my humble opinion, the iPhone and the iPod are the most useful playback devices in the digital music revolution. Powered by iTunes software, these devices make portable music gr8 and easy. I remember growing up with the “mono” transistor radio. Compared to today, those radios were sooo Dark Ages. It’s ironic that Ben, who makes music, also makes sure the devices that play music work. A fixture in the Bay Area music scene since the 1980s, Ben and his fellow Uptones, while still in high school, introduced ska to the Bay Area, and became overnight sensations.

“We were shocked when we saw a sea of skanking fans out in the audience,” said Ben. “Back then, we were all fans of the ‘two-tone’ movement in England at the time, and we still are.” Busy with the preparations for the iPhone 5, which Mr. Eastwood describes as “mind-blowing,” he still has time to perform with The Uptones. You can see them with the Phenomanants at Ashkenaz in Berkeley (1317 San Pablo Ave.) on Friday, May 4. link to www.uptones.com.