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‘70s Musician Forest Apple Then and Now

November 10, 2014 Written by | No Comments

“I started off in the ’70s and it become a life long journey since,”  says Forest Apple, 63, of Westchester, County. Playing the harmonica and seated with his xylophone on his lap, along with a custom- made xylophone at his feet, he can be seen in the narrow tunnels leading to the L train at the 14th Street subway station. There, he entertains busy subway riders as they hurry him by.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA         Apple shows off his talent at playing three instruments at once.

Apple kicked started off his career as musician when he was a teenager in the 70’s, his first steps were playing the guitar and banjo for fun as a street performer. Once becoming able to understand the basics of performing, he was able to travel to the city at 17 to pursue being a musician after realizing it was the only thing he enjoyed doing.

Forest Apple Showing Off His Skills!

“I was young, and knew I wanted to go pack up and move to the city to further my career as a musician, but at the same time it was hard because of my disability,” he said. “I got tennis elbow, from always holding the guitar and banjo around especially when I perform acoustic songs so because of that I settled for the xylophone.”

   GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA            The xylophone displayed on Apple’s lap that he uses to perform.

Despite the struggle of not being able to properly perform due to his disability, Apple happily embraces the sound of the xylophone to capture the crowd’s attention with its unique sound.

    GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA        Creating his unique sound, here he is using two of the xylophones. 

“I knew I needed something loud, to cut through the large crowds around here and the xylophone seemed to get the job done, actually performing this way is my only job so I’m happy with it, ” he said.

 GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA         Trying to entertain busy New Yorkers  is a daily part of his day. 

Being familiar with the Music Underground Program, It was interesting to find out that Apple absolutely refused to become a part of  to help out his career or to promote himself more to people.

“I understand its big competition, and its limited space and besides the police will let us play here in the subway anywhere anyway but to a certain degree, it depends if you use an amplifier for electrical instruments, then they will decide if you can or not,” he said. “ I’m not part of it, it works for some people but I’m fine with how things are going for me just as things are now.”

   GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA      Apple once again showing off his talent as people walk past him. 

While most musicians seek fame and fortune, Apple makes it clear that in his case he just simply enjoys shedding light with the the sound of his music through the train tunnels, the songs he sings were written to raise awareness for problems we don’t normally pay attention to such as environmental concerns  and other issues involving anti-war for instance and poverty.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA       Someone stops to drop some money appreciating Apple’s talent.

“I’m a major hippy, I’m Eco-friendly and care about issues that many people ignore, I’m not the best performer because of my disability getting in the way of things, but I do my best to sing songs that will make people understand where I’m coming from.”



Categories: Music · Personal issues and the Musical World · Street Musicians · Subway Entertainers