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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'M WITH THE BAND

Over the past twenty-five years I've been in a number of bands. The first, back in 1981, was Platinum Dragon (yes, from the Dungeon Master's Guide) featuring Pat Wilson on Drums, Bill Devine and Jaime Lagasse on Guitar, Bob Gosiki (sp) on Bass, and yours truly fronting. I was horrible, and was thusly releived of my position. I could never remember the lyrics to the various Kiss, AC/DC, and Deep Purple songs we did, so I'd make up my own, spawning such classics as: Jill's a Bitch, Donny Go Home, and Bubba Is a Cock. Looking back, I was far ahead of the others on the creative curve, but way behind on everything else.

Sam Saldivar replaced me and Rob Simpson replaced Bill, and I forget who replaced Pat. The band became Nightwolf, and Pat, Bill, and I started Prophecy, which became Prowler, which became nothing. We never had a drummer, and we never giiged. In 1983, Pat and Bill teamed up with Bassist Chris Dice, and drummer Brian Spears to form Talon (the names jsut get better, don't they). Talon actually gigged, and were very successful in High School terms. One night everybody took acid at a gig, and the band fell apart in every way possible. Pat Wilson ceremoniously burned the video tape evidence.

Then Pat Wilson bought a Fostex eight track board and reel machine, moved into Pat Phillips basement, and what was Talon morphed into Danger Penguin - adding Pat 'Big Hairy Ghoul' Phillips on Vocals, and Mitch 'Blind Lemon Jefferson' Turner on Guitar. Danger Penguin never gigged either, but the band name got better, and we started writing original material. I was staff lyricist. A role I was well suited for. Not because I was so great at writing lyrics, but because I couldn't do much else.

College took the various members of DP in different directions, mostly Atlanta, and eventually Coal Mine Sound moved down there too.

Over the next few years I wrote songs, and worked on my own guitar playing.

After settling for a while in Nyack, New York, I became friends with Joe Masucci, and helped him put together the Drag Triplets. Though officially a member for only two weeks (and as many gigs), I humped their gear, and attended rehearsals for two years. I learned alot from them. I learned about songcraft. I learned about guitar playing, and I learned how not to treat others.

I put on two one-off gigs in '91 with Joe Masucci, Pat Wilson, and Joel Finn (The Horse), though the band was essentially the same, I changed the name; first I called it Full Facial Explosion, then, on the insistance from Joel, we called it Better Off Ted.

In '93 when I was at SUNY Albany, I put a band together with the other art fags and communists called A Band Named Sue. We played some college functions, but mostly took drugs and recorded endless jams on a Tascam 4-track.

I graduated, and moved to New York. I was going to be an actor. Insert laughter here. A year later, after countless fruitless auditions, Rob Kendall (Bass - A Band Named Sue) moved to NYC as well, and we put a band together. I recruited Paul Daly (Bass), who worked with me at the Mexican restaurant, and he brought along Chris Fragale (Guitar, Vocals), and Sex Circus Star was born. I pulled Joe Masucci on board, long enough to play a few gigs, notably CBGB's, and he was followed by Josh Penni, and Reet. As the drummers got worse, so did my drug problem. Eventually Chris split the scene, and Sex Circus Star disintegrated. That was a blessing. I needed to get my act together. Paul went on to work with The Prom Queen, and Rob and I healed eachother, which means we fought alot.

I did overcome my habit, and then Chris Pace showed up at my door. Chris' take on our introduction is far more lucid, and entertaining, but basically I wormed my way into a band that he and my then roomate Kory Smith (Drums) had going. I duly brought Paul and Rob into the mix, and Happy Boy was born.

The Story of Happy Boy is much the same as that of Sex Circus Star, only without the heroin. We wrote songs, played gigs to ever dwindling audiences, got into fights and, broke up. If you haven't ever been in a band, got into fights, and broke up, I suggest you try it - it's fun.

The break up of Happy Boy left our rehearsal space/studio in the murky world of shared time. Who's night is it? Can I trade you a Sunday morning for a Thursady night? Chris and I held on. We became partners in rhyme. We wrote songs. We wrote more songs. We couldn't stop writing songs. Eventually the other fellers bailed on the studio, and Smoke And Mirrors was born.

Chris and I breifly gigged with his Lady, Annie Rusoff (Bass), and Shane (Drums) as Mr. Littlejeans, but the recording began to take precidence, and though Mr. Littlejeans never officially broke up, we haven't played in two years.

It's been three years since Chris and I inherited the lions share of the studio, and almost two since the last little indian left (John Andersen). In that time we met George Vitray, who introduced us to Microdot, Rob Machold, and his Distressor, among other things. Our partnership has grown into a business, and we have had the pleasure of hooking up with my old Danger Penguin pal Pat Phillips for some out of town projects. I am very lucky.

Getting 'the band' back together for TEDSTOCK felt very natural, and being on stage after a two year absence was a welcomed experience. #12 Rock and Roll Noodle is by far my favorite of all these band names. Will the Noodle play again? Dunno. Would I like to? Yes. Should I write some new songs - definately.

Comments:
So that's where you've been for the last 18 years!!!
 
I'm jealous.
 
Are you jelous of George's Distressor - I am!
 
Probably pick this one up for under $1200...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Emperical-Labs-Distressor-EL-8_W0QQitemZ7366669061QQcategoryZ23793QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
 
And I believe I was Happy Boy's #1 fan.
 
This will all be in the book, "God Hates Me - An Unathourized Biography of Happy Boy," but when we met Ted Kory and I were working on a project called "Laundrobot," which had evolved from earlier projects like "Shag," with Victor Mastroianni (guitar, vocals, bass).

When Kory moved into the seaport - 150 Beekman Street, if I remember correctly - we started rehearsing there, so it was only a matter of seconds before Ted stumbled out of his "bedroom" and plugged in his tele.

Now, we invited Ted in, and he immediately convinced us to play with Paul and Rob, as Ted was getting ready to "move to San Francisco." "Keep the band together," he said, and we did, even as he failed to move.

So we had 3 guitars (except for when we had 2 basses), which was always challenging - 'though we managed to create something like our own "sound." (Kenny - aka Hazmat - probably remembers it well, as he was arguably our Number 1 fan. He and Einar Westerlund, editor extraordinaire, made it to more gigs than some of the band members.)

Ted's right when he talks about the fights - there might not have been any heroin, but there was plenty of alcohol. Eventually, at the urging of some members, some other members were dismissed, and so began the end.

The real nail in the coffin was a song we didn't even write called "Questioningly" by the Ramones (which we performed at Tedstock, no less). It was during an attempt to mix this song that Paul and I started not to see eye to eye, and that was essentially it. (Ironically, neither of us knew what we were talking about. It was a crappy mix no matter how you cut it.)

Since then, we've all matured and grown and all that crap, but we still know how to get drunk and f' up a mix.
 
One could argue that Paul's departure from the band was a watershed for us, if he hadn't left we would never have recorded Formula One, Acquiesce, or Figo (live at T-Stock). Paul went from band mate to best customer back to bandmate.
 
reading this post gave me the insight that nobody needs to write down their life history right before they die anymore

you should just tag certain posts with "lifestory" and then when you die, your friends and family can pull up the "lifestory" tag and get all the posts that make up the entire story.

they should be able to do that for the next thousand years or so when they want to know what you were all about.

i also thinkinging listening to positively 10th street in 30 years will be kind of fun.
 
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