By Julie Horner
Comedian, DJ, musician, and college athletics hall of famer Ed Greene is enthusiastically curious and eager to try his hand at just about anything. Ed said, “Why not do it all!” An avid golfer, league bowler, expert storyteller, karaoke aficionado, and round the clock people person, Ed has made a name for himself in Santa Cruz as master of the microphone and purveyor of convivial times.
Ed grew up in rural Baltimore close to family and neighborhood connections. Gatherings centered around home cooking and activities at the family farm in Federalsburg, sports, singing in the choir, and playing music. Ed picked up trombone as a kid and later gravitated toward the bass. “I love music,” he said. “Whether it’s bluegrass, blues, heavy metal, Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner — that’s Rossini! The Barber of Seville!” With a compulsion to know a little bit about everything and a mind like a steel trap, Ed has dedicated himself to memorizing lyrics and studying nuance in popular recordings. From punk rock and ska to Dr. Dre and the Spider Man theme song, Ed is an encyclopedia of melodic trivia and vintage series television and motion picture one-liners.
Outstanding in His Field
Touted as “one of the best multi-sport athletes in Swarthmore history,” Ed Greene (class of ‘85) was known on the diamond at the private college in Pennsylvania as “The Hammer” for his prolific pitching and hitting (8-1 on the mound, slugging .510), knocking out several school records in the mid-80s. The MVP outfielder later received All-America Third Team honors for his achievements and was inducted into the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013. Baseball was an easy decision, Ed said, but he also excelled on the gridiron, taking his team to three consecutive conference championships for Swarthmore (‘82-’84) with a record 21 career interceptions. Ed was also a member of the track and field team and received a McCabe Scholarship for his academic achievements. After graduation, Ed was drafted by the Beloit Brewers, a Milwaukee Brewers minor league affiliate.
With a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s of Social Work, Ed moved to California in 2011 to work in academia and social services and is now Program Coordinator with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office where he guides individuals through the corrections process steering them toward resources like NA, AA, Friends Outside, vocational education, and similar opportunities that support rehabilitation and reentry. He said, “For the guy who gets it, that’s why we do it.”
Ed learned to DJ in college. When he moved to Santa Cruz he hosted karaoke at The Blue Lounge on Seabright Avenue two or three nights a week. In demand by word of mouth for office parties and weddings, he now hosts karaoke Sundays at The Jury Room on Ocean Street, alternating Wednesdays at Pono Hawaiian Grill in downtown Santa Cruz and Ella’s by the Airport in Watsonville, and he holds down third Fridays at the Brookdale Lodge. Fresh for the new year, Ed comes full circle by joining his friend and longtime Callahan’s bartender Jennifer Zeanah at her new Hold Fast Lounge on Seabright Avenue, formerly The Blue Lounge.
Ed has a dedicated family of followers who know the ropes, and newcomers are encouraged. Participants can choose from thousands of songs in an intentionally supportive setting. Fan Katie Maxwell said, “I appreciate Ed’s shows because he makes everyone feel special and welcome whether it’s their first time or their hundredth!” Karaoke Night regular Rachel Owens said Ed is actively attuned to a singer’s style and range, remembers favorite selections, and challenges singers to try something new. She’s thrilled because she gets plenty of songs in, and Ed keeps things lively and upbeat with his own funk and old school selections between rounds. She said, “Ed makes sure everyone has a blast!”
Follow Ed Greene on Facebook to see where he’s hosting karaoke next!
Julie Horner writes about art, music, and the local business scene in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Featured photo by Julie Horner. Ed Greene: Comedian, DJ, musician, and college athletics hall of famer.
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