Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ah, Shoot... Look At That Hair...




It turns out that Steve Giusti is even more of a packrat than I am.

Well, that’s sort of starting the story in the middle, and I guess it does Steve a disservice, too. I apologize. Let me try again.

On Saturday, I went out to eat with my old bandmates from Live Wire.



(L - R) Jimi LaRue (my stage name, at the time), Steve Giusti, Ronnie Bower, Ron Frattasio, Marty Sucks (HIS stage name - Marty Murphy all other times. We're all wearing the shirts we sold at gigs. They were probably just delivered that day.

It was great fun. We talked about old times and long-ago people, and we made some tentative plans to get together for some jam sessions. We haven’t played together, as a complete group, in almost 30 years. It should be interesting.



At one point during the dinner, Steve pulled out a scrapbook he had brought along.


Ronnie Bower, Ron Frattasio

It contained all sorts of photos, old ticket stubs from venues we played, miscellaneous memorabilia, and even an original set list from one of our gigs. Great stuff.


Prior to my seeing that collection of his, I assumed I was the only one who had saved much of anything. I had one of our T-shirts, a bumper sticker, a few photos, and (so far as I’m aware) the only recordings of us in existence. When I saw Steve’s book, it blew me away. I asked if I could borrow it, to show to MY WIFE (she and I didn’t meet until 9 years after the group had disbanded, so I thought she’d be interested in seeing some of it.) As I was leaving with his treasures – which I promised to guard with my life, since I knew how much the stuff meant to both of us - Steve suggested that perhaps I could publish some of the items on my blog.

Why, yes, Steve, I do believe that’s something I’d like to do.

Without any further ado – and, for once, I really mean that – here are some of the relics from my previous life.



I know this shot was from when we played The Beachcomber. It was the only gig we ever played where I set up on that side of the stage. And, as it turned out, it was bad luck for me to do so. The gig went alright, and people liked us, but I broke a string (the G) about halfway through our set. I didn't have a spare, so I had to play on only the remaining three for the rest of the night. If anyone had noticed, and known what I was doing, it would have been fairly impressive, but since we were mostly playing our original tunes to a new crowd, for all they knew I always played them on just the three strings.


Just including this one to show the crowd. It's proof that people did actually come to see us play!



This shot doesn't include me, but it's a great shot of the other guys. I want to give them their props, anyway. From left to right...

Ronnie Bower - Guitar, Vocals (A great songwriter with an ear for tremendous pop hooks, he is also a good vocalist. When we sat down to write songs together, they were some of the most pleasurable moments of my creative life.)
Marty "Sucks" Murphy - Lead Vocals, Flute, Sax, Harmonica, Guitar, Percussion (A showman par excellence. Marty worked the crowds like no other. And his instrumental versatility let us spread out quite a bit from standard three-chord bashfests. His flute playing was unique, and good.)
Steve Giusti - Drums (And my favorite drummer, too. We were tight on rhythm, man. Steve's fills played to my strengths and covered my weaknesses. Utterly selfless, he did whatever the rest of us needed. Great guy.)
Ron Frattasio - Lead Guitar (Inventive, powerful, unafraid, but totally lacking in the sort of ego that blows groups apart. He never tried for the spotlight except when it was his turn, and higher praise than that I do not have.)


Some of the tickets Steve saved. Remember that this was 1980 & 1981, so what do those prices translate into these days? Ten dollars? Fifteen dollars? Note the one that has us playing for six hours. Not bad value, eh?



Newspaper clipping following the benefit. I include it not only because we were all proud of the amount of money we raised for the family, but also because it shows that I actually did go by that name then.



Oh, man, look at that hair! People sometimes asked me if I dyed it. Nope. All gone now, of course.


Marty, Me, and Ron F. in a classic pose.



Nu Pixie, Hyde Park.




I'm not positive, but I think this was at McCarthy's, the Mattapan club where we were more-or-less the house band.



My guess, deduced from the fact that Ron's hand is not on the fretboard, is that this was taken during my bass solo in the song Live Wire. I got to stretch out for three minutes or so each night, with Steve providing excellent accompaniment on drums.



Bumpersticker, and an actual set list from McCarthy's. You'll notice we played four sets a night when there. Of the 33 songs, 13 were original compositions. If an encore was called for after the fourth set, we reverted to Living After Midnight, our opener in set one.


Just a nice shot of the entire band, taken from the balcony.

My time in Live Wire (Powerline) was a blast, and I'm looking forward with great anticipation to the jam sessions. When they happen, perhaps I'll publish some photos of what we all look like now as compared to then. Whatever else the photos will show - a little more weight, a lot less hair - maybe they'll also show five guys having a great time together. It is hoped that some things never change.

Soon, with more better stuff.


33 comments:

Thumbelina said...

That was and is an AWESOME trip down memory lane. And I don't like that word "awesome"! And they ain't MY memories!

But I really enjoyed this. Thanks Jim La Rue. Not related by any chance to Danny La Rue are you? hehehe ;0)

Uncle Skip, said...

Broke your "G" string...

HAR!

's funny, ok?

Brian Miller said...

hahaha...amazing tale suldog and wonderful pics...

slommler said...

Great trip down memory lane!! Love the pics and the hair...well what can I say...you had some for sure!
Hugs
SueAnn

Hilary said...

What a fun post. It must have been such a kick to go through your friend's scrapbook and relive your time in the band. And it's so you do have done a charity performance. :)

Michelle H. said...

Great photos, and I can only imagine the great memories you have associated with each one!

Couldn't leave a comment before because I clicked on the photo with the set list to see which ones your band played. It would have been interesting to hear you play Jumpin' Jack Flash.

It would also make a great post to have people guess which songs are your 13 originals versus the covers of famous bands. I'm guessing "Barry Spew."

Matt Conlon said...

Haha, broke your G string... hehehe... Uncle skip beat me to it, but I had to repeat anyway.

And now, I'll admit to having broken my own G String in years passed. Fortunately, I always carry with me a spare G string.

Always a good trip when memory lane is the destination!

Moannie said...

I loved this. I can feel how great it was for you to get together and rehash the old days. Are they all doing well. made good lives for themselves, still playing?

AWESOME! And it isn't a word I usually use either, but it fits. Thankyou.

The Good Cook said...

Forget the hair - what is UP with those white pants?? Thanks for the trip down memory lane - what fun!!

TechnoBabe said...

Your friend kept some great souvenirs. I am going to forward this to my hubby. He will enjoy it. He played in bands for 30 years I think. And he had long red hair. I bet your wife enjoyed looking through the scrapbook.

Jazz said...

Wow. that WAS a lot of hair you had...

Buck said...

Brilliant!

Goody 5 said...

Another great LaRue on the bass...

Karen said...

How much fun for you all to get together again! Can't wait to hear some music ;)

Eric said...

Nice walk through your past. That looks like so much fun. Thanks for sharing it.

Eva Gallant said...

What wonderful memorabilia! Kinda' brings tears to my eyes that I wasn't there the night you were performing on stange and broke your G-string---that must have been a sight....I'm just sayin'

jinksy said...

Wandering down memory lane is always fun! Let's hope you're creating another path in the 'now'...

Shrinky said...

Oh Jim, what a life you've lived - this stuff is pure gold, hon. I'll bet you could have kissed your buddy for bringing this scrap-bok along (um, okay, maybe not quite, but you get my gist). People paid REAL money out to see you lot, you must have had more than a little something going for you..! I'm betting this jamming session is gonna' prove all you hope for and more.

Craig said...

Very cool, Sully, uh, Jimi. . .

You guys were obviously a pretty decent act, and I salute you for that. (Still need to go back and give a listen to the sound clip, dang it. . .)

Angela Christensen said...

It IS indeed a fine trip down memory lane, even for those of us who didn't hear *you* play, but do remember bands who were more or less the house band at the bars where we hung out. Thanks for sharing this...loved it!

Ericka said...

very cool!

i'm the most un-musical person ever. i love music, so it bothers me. *sigh*

i hope your jam sessions work out. bring extra strings. :-)

lime said...

what fun memories. so glad you had a chance to reconnect with your bandmates and that he was so generous to let you post some of the relics. rock on!

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Great pictures, definitely a 70's band feel to it.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Jimi La Rue? :) Has to be a story behind that.

Thanks for sharing your trip down memory lane.

GreenJello said...

How fun that he had this scrapbook to share! Make sure you go get color copies of it all, or get it scanned in.

Land of shimp said...

Jim, what an utterly marvelous head of hair you're sporting there! You'd have been impossible to lose for long, that's for sure.

"Where's Ji...Oh, there he is, I see him now. That or someone's on fire, which would be bad."

What fun time traveling memories. You do realize you'll have to take a similarly posed shot of the here and now group when you get together?

I love that some of the photos appeared to have been stored on the sun, they are so faded, and others in a climate controlled vault in the basement. All presumably from the same album.

Teacher's Pet said...

I love LOVE your red hair.
I hope the trip back in time was as much fun for you as it was for me. I love this!!!!
Hugs,
Jackie

Jeni said...

Isn't it just great when you come across someone else who treasures history the same way you do? How cool it was for you to learn your former band mate had all these pictures and other mementos of the musical era of your life! And even cooler that he not only let you borrow it but even suggested you share it here. Anyone who loves history -of any type -is an A-OK person in my book. (And you thought I only liked your blog for your creative and often raw humor, huh?_

Maggie May said...

That was amazing to go down YOUR memory lane but all that talk of HAIR........ makes me envious!

Nuts in May

Chuck said...

That's one awesome scrapbook you shared. And that was some impressive rocker hair!

Ruth and Glen said...

What great memories and such fantastic pictures. Do take a pic of the band at your upcoming get together. We've seen the 5 of you in the "before" pic. It should be a hoot seeing the 5 of you now. :o)

Jenn said...

Nothing cooler than being able to see photos from the past, relive the nostalgia together, but have an opportunity to enjoy similar moments with the same great people in the here & now. Awesome photos & memorabilia, thanks for sharing all of this! Enjoy the jam!

Amy said...

I found you through Land of Shimp and this post resonated on several levels. First, just the nostalgia aspect - I'm older than you but I can remember my friends, who were in bands, write out their play lists just like the one you photographed.

Secondly, just today, on a whim, I was trying to find vintage videos of the band I was most closely affiliated with, Clover, from Marin County (north of SF) in the late 60's, early 70's. That was Huey Lewis' first band - and it wasn't "pop" - more of a back to the earth/country type of sound. There's not much out there at all on Clover. That's why you do a service by documenting these photos and memories, so thank you!