Tuesday, April 20, 2010
[Before we get into what passes for a story around here, I'd like to thank you all for the multitude of kind wishes expressed to MY WIFE on her birthday. I knew I could count on you guys to denigrate me unmercifully and make her birthday more joyous. Also, a special 'Thank You!' to Judi Fitzpatrick, who went out of her way to make a very nice handmade gift. Her good stuff may be bought HERE.]
[If you've been coming around here on a regular basis for the past three weeks or so, you've seen and/or heard THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS and THIS. All of them might be useful as prologue. I'd say one or two of them might even be essential, but I'll leave that up to you. If you feel lost in what follows, click onto those links!]
On Saturday, I ventured to the home of Steve Giusti, his lovely wife, and his daughter. Steve was the drummer from Live Wire, a.k.a. Powerline, one of the rock groups I played in, in this case during the very early 80's. He had been gracious enough to offer his basement as a place for us to get together and jam, as an entire group, for the first time in close to 30 years. Steve made this offer when, a week prior, three of us had gone to Plymouth to take part in our singer's 50th birthday bash. The only one of us missing was Ronnie Bower, one of the guitarists, who had to cancel his appearance at the party at the last minute due to a business problem that needed immediate handling.
The party was swell. It was great to see Marty again, as well as to see so many other faces I hadn't seen in ages. A nice bit of ego pumping was had, too. We folks from the band were treated as semi-celebrities. It was truly amazing how many people told us, upon finding out that we were members of Powerline/Live Wire, how much they used to love coming out to see us perform at such-and-such a club. I even heard a couple of folks quote lyrics from our original tunes. When you consider that we never put out any commercial recordings, and that these folks were dredging those lyrics from their 30-year-old memories without prodding, you can understand that it was quite a rush to hear them do so. I was flabbergasted, to say the least.
As I said, four of our five made it to the party. And, at one point, we were asked to pose together for a photo. When we did so, five or six people took out cameras and started shooting. It was the closest I've ever come to having the Paparazzi experience. The four of us stood there, smiling back and forth at each other, making comments like, "Man, this is more flashbulbs than we got total when we were an actual band!"
Here's a shot of the entire group, from 1981, and then some shots of the four of us who made the party.
Jimi, Steve, Ronnie B., Ron F., Marty
Ron F., Marty, Jimi, Steve
Without Ronnie Bower there, I was the only bald guy, damn it.
However, while some of us have lost a bit of hair, some of us have also managed to retain a slightly more trim waistline than others.
Here are a couple more shots from the party.
Me, doing my world famous "half-drunk deer in the headlights" imitation
Steve has aged way too well, and is still a handsome bastard. We will have to kill him and get an uglier drummer.
Now, on to this past weekend, when four of our five were able to make it to the subsequent jam session at Steve's place. Marty (our singer/flautist/harmonicat) had a previous commitment. He was bummed about not being able to take part, but expressed definite interest in getting together the next time we can all do so. Showing up this time, to have some fun attempting to remember the old arrangements, were Ron Frattasio, myself, Steve, and Ronnie Bower. In order to even things up in the bald-guy-in-photos department, I kept my hat on this time.
And here are before and after shots of the four of us (1981 first, then present day - as if you couldn't tell that without me cluing you in.)
Ron is, and always has been, a tremendously nice guy. And, in listening back to the tapes of the jam session, I've come to the conclusion that he may be the best musician of the four of us these days. Not that he wasn't a kick to play with years before, but he's now gained some seriously good chops. I was impressed.
Steve still has the same drum kit! Way cool!
Steve is, as mentioned before, too good-looking to go on living. We're definitely going to have to step on his face before we do a gig. I mean, not only does he make the rest of us all look fairly old, but compared to him we look like old degenerates. Personally, I have no problem with that - I've been cultivating that look for some time now - but I'm just thinking of Ron and Ronnie's feelings.
Bowser, as I sometimes like to call him, is one funny son of a gun. He'll just be standing there, very quiet, looking as though he's not really paying attention to anything in particular, and then he'll come out with some sort of comment that just cracks me up. For instance, at one point Saturday, I suggested we take a break in order to clear our heads. Ron F. agreed, and so did Steve. Ronnie waited a beat, then said, "Yeah, you guys do need to take a break."
One other funny story about Ronnie. He's currently plagued with a really bad hip. As a consequence, he can't do much lifting and carrying. When he arrived at Steve's and said that he couldn't carry his equipment inside, and that he'd like someone else to do so, Steve said, "Yup. Some things never change."
THE BASS PLAYER
The less said about this guy, the better off we'll all be.
I'd post some music from the session, but truthfully there wasn't much great stuff. We had a ball, but much of the time was spent playing about a minute of something, then stopping and saying stuff like, "Hey, wait a minute! What key are you playing in? Didn't we play this in F sharp?" or "Steve, that's where your drum break was, remember? That's why we all stopped, but you shouldn't have!" or "Man, Ronnie, I can't hear what I'm playing through this P.A. Can you give me a bit more high end so I can distinguish the actual notes instead of it being a pile of mush?"
More so than anything else, we were struggling to remember the old arrangements. It's been a long time, and it will take a few more sessions before we gel to a point where I'd feel comfortable putting the product out here for general consumption. When we do get it together, which I have no doubt we will, I'll post some audio.
Hope you enjoyed the photos and such. I'm pretty sure none of us did (except maybe Steve, the handsome bastard.)
Soon, with more better stuff.