Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jammin'



[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 FRATTASIO

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 GIUSTI


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.

RONNIE BOWER


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.


35 comments:

Jazz said...

I love this. The "before and after" pics are a total hoot! I particularly like the one of you, shirtless, lo those many years ago. Thank you for not reproducing it for the now photo.

Suldog said...

Darlin', I still have a decent chest. The belly underneath it? Maybe not so much.

Michelle H. said...

I agree with Jazz. These photos were awesome! Glad you had a great fun with the jam session.

On the other hand, I have to say a "true" before and after photo of that bass player should have shown some chest hair. Put that Steve to shame! One thing of note, all of you seem so tall...

Brian Miller said...

how coolis that...the before and after pics are cool...so why didn't you get into the same pose jimi?

slommler said...

The photo session was terrific. I am glad you all had a great time walking down memory lane
Hugs
SueAnn

Suldog said...

Michelle - I've always had chest hair, but it's fairly blond. It doesn't show up in photos (unless it's a close-up.)

Brian - Nobody was willing to snap the picture if I did :-)

Sue Ann - Thanks! It was great fun, and promises to be more of the same as we get together again.

Eva Gallant said...

Great photos...love the before and after aspect. Man, that drummer is still wayyyy hot!

Craig said...

I was gonna suggest that we needed a shirtless 'After' pic of the bass player, but that's been about done to death by now. . . ;)

I'm not sure how many of my old band-mates (and just for the sake of sayin' so, we were nowhere near as 'legit' as you guys were) even live in the same time zone anymore. . .

TechnoBabe said...

I kinda feel like I am in stereo. Here in blogland I am seeing pics of your band way back then and you getting together today. I know it was fun getting together for a jam session. Here IRL hubby just received a group of photos online from someone who knew him back then and he sent some clips of a jam session they had at this guys house. Funny to see hubby so young and long hair. And it has been such a change this past year with hubby on so much meds that have put on weight on him, he doesn't look like he used to. From listening to him getting in touch with the guys from the old days, I know how much fun you are having doing the same. Glad your wife liked the birthday wishes. Hope her day was terrific.

lime said...

it looks like you guys had a great time. so fun to see the then/now pics. you didn't have to take your shirt off but you could have struck the same bad ass pose, right? what fun!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

"We will have to kill him, and get an uglier drummer..." ROFL...I think you have MADE my week with that line!!! Too, too funny!!! You ALL look great, I think...Good times!!! I'm ALL SMILES today...thanks to you, my very witty and talented friend!!! Love the walks down memory lane! And sooo glad your wife had a wonderful birthday! Hugs, Janine

Daryl said...

Ron F. still has the same smile .. and I think those other guys all stole your hair Jimi....

Suldog said...

Eva - He's gay.

(Oh, hell. No he's not. I even mentioned his wife and kid in the first paragraph, I think. But, damn it, that would make things more fair.)

Craig - We all live in the same time zone, but in different dimensions!

TechnoBabe - Any chance you can convince him to let you post some pics? My misery could use some company :-)

Lime - Serious answer - The photos were taken with no consideration toward matching them to previous shots. I got lucky on a couple of them more-or-less matching. There is actually one SUPERB photograph of the group, from back in the day, that I haven't published yet. It was shot by a pro, for our publicity, and truly would have made a great back album cover photo. When we get all five of us together, we may try to recreate that shot as nearly as possible.

Janine - Your laughter is balm to my soul.

(Damn, that's a nice turn of phrase. I should copyright some of this junk.)

Daryl - Yes! Thank you! I knew all along my hair couldn't have just got up and left all on its own. I treated it nicely, and I think it liked me. Those bastards stole it, dyed it brown, and... and... well, I'm still working on it. But, yeah! It's all THEIR fault!

Except for Bower, obviously.

Buck said...

Great stuff, Jim. I'm envious of the fact that all y'all still live in the same general vicinity. It would take a couple thousand dollars worth of plane tickets to get any five of my old runnin' mates together these days. There's a LOT to be said for roots.

The before and after shots are classic. Srsly.

Reasons said...

Well hello Steve!

..erm I mean Suldog. Great shots. You may be the only bald one but you are svelt and trim.

Glad you had so much fun.

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Outstanding, and it looks like a hell of a lot of fun.

Referring to yourself as "The Bass Player" reminds me of the film "That Thing You Do!" which if you haven't seen it, is a must rent. In that movie, the bass player is never referred to by name. Even in the credits, he's listed as T.B. Player.

It's a great flick. Be warned, though, that the title song will be stuck in your head for weeks.

Moannie said...

That was a truly joyous post, Jim and I am genuinely happy that you had a great time together. Sure, the passing of time has been kinder to some [the Italian] than others but, as I always say when looking at JP's fizzog...that young man is still in there somewhere.

Ananda girl said...

So tell me... you had a naked chest in your before... what happened to your after?

Sounds like a great time. I can hardly wait to hear the audio when you guys are ready.

Happy belated b-day to your Mrs!

Land of shimp said...

What a lot of fun! Thank you for sharing the pictures.

Jim, on the subject of the ravages of time, you have to keep one thing in mind: All those people you encountered, who were able to call forth the lyrics to your songs with ease? You're part of their memories, something that lives on in their minds.

And they all remember you as you were in the original pictures. You all look as good as drummer-boy when they think of you :-)

CatLadyLarew said...

Love the before and after pics! How fabulous that you guys have a chance to get together!

Eddie Bluelights said...

Great to see you all as you were and as you are now. Great shots of the bass player, the guitar man.

Great also to see you having so much fun, Jim. Cheers ~ Eddie

saz said...

deer in the headlights and then l scrolled down to your last pic shirtless strutting your guitar in true guitar envy fashion...THANK you for making me laugh out loud and waking myself up.....

lovely post and pics..and yes steve is a fine looking chap....and if you'd stop googly eyes look, you'd photogragph just finely also....yes siree bob....l mean...er... Jim...

and your verification is

arsesneb.....LOL!!!

saz x

Everyday Goddess said...

Reunion gigs are great! How fun to meet you before and after.

Hilary said...

It's terrific that you all still know one another and have reunited this way. Local idols. How cool is it, that some folks still remember the lyrics to your songs! Thanks for sharing the befores and afters.. and all the stories and songs in between.

Jeni said...

Your descriptions of your feelings about coming together again with this group, your friends then, friends now, is something I would equate to how I feel everytime my high school classmates and I get together with a class reunion! Gotta wait two more years now till our next reunion and it's gonna be a big one -our 50th! Isn't it just so great though to get together with people from our past and enjoy remembering the good old days and also, seeing how much each of us has -or hasn't -changed too over the years?

Shrinky said...

Jim, sounds as though you guys are having a blast since being reunited, I think it's awesome you've managed to reform, and I'm guessing it won't take too long before you manage to get the act back on form - who knows? Maybe there are a few new songs yet to come? Love, love love the before and after shots. As for the "pretty" one, pah! Interesting is far more more sexy than purty (grin)!

järnebrand said...

Wow. This was a fun post!
First I just have to say as for Ron's t-shirt: I want it!
And secondly, I agree, your drummer is way too cute, you guys will have to kill him.
And last but not least I just thought I'd share some wisdom with you: the coolest guys always play the bass, I mean always... But I guess you already knew that. :)
Thanks for sharing with us. Good stuff. Peace and love/ Jo.

Suldog said...

Jeni - I think much of the good feeling I hold toward former bandmates has something to do with my lack of same for my high school times. I did not enjoy my school years - or, I should say, the time I spent in school - so have never gone to a reunion or had any desire to do so.

I was totally accepted as a musician, whereas my interactions with many (not all, but many) of my classmates were strained. As a musician, I could totally be myself. Individuality and experimentation were encouraged and appreciated. In other realms, if you didn't fit in you were looked down upon, or even mocked.

I owe much happiness to these guys, as well as all other groups I was part of. They all allowed me to see that I could be myself and be accepted, and that I didn't have to walk in lockstep with the majority in order to be appreciated. I owe them a great deal of my willingness to be open and honest rather than wary and always measuring my words. Without their unconditional friendship then, I'd be a much sadder person today.

Karen said...

How fun! Loved seeing the before & after pictures! It's really great that you all live close enough to get together.

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Hey Jim, thanks for the shout-out, glad it worked out for you and YOUR WIFE!
Sure looks like a fun party/reunion/jam session. You've all aged well!

Carol said...

Boy, Jim....I'd say you ALL aged pretty darn well. And you're all still here. That's a good thing!! Fun post...great pics!

Eric said...

This is awesome stuff. And being the bald guy means you don't have to pay for haircuts. If you do post some audio clips later though, I'm gonna be all over that. You guys look like you're having a ton of fun, and listening in will be really fun too.

Ericka said...

very cool. glad you had fun, and i'm looking forward to hearing you play. :-)

Ayala said...

I randomly stumbled upon your blog and what a delight! I started reading about your love for ants, your love for YOUR WIFE, Comfortably numb, 20 years ago today, and blah blah blah.

Your life is so inspiring and I want to blog now. Start playing my guitar and become a gazillionaire. I'm 23 and there's a long journey ahead, right? Right.

Thanks for sharing, stranger!

Jenn said...

The before and after photo of Ronnie B is killing me, he has the exact same facial expression! Too cool for school :-) Can't wait to hear what you guys put together, what a blast!