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The Musician... see you among the stars

Chapter 20 - Variations on a Theme

The Band-Variations on a Theme

Chapter 20 - Variations on a Theme

Joey had finally returned from Vietnam safely, and he is out of the Army. I went to see him at his mother´s house and he looked great, but seemed very different. I hugged him and gave him a kiss. I really love him very much even though he didn´t ask me to be best man at his wedding. Joey´s wife Evie is there with his new son Robert. Robert is one year old. I just met him for the first time. Everybody, friends, and family were there to greet Joey´s return home.

The next evening after all the commotion had finished, Joey and I had a chance to talk privately. He told me a little bit about his life in Vietnam. I asked him if he was interested in playing music again, and he said that he couldn´t wait to play again. He asked me what I had in mind. I told him that I wanted to put a rock band together with strings if possible. Joey thought that it is a good idea. We smoked a joint and played around with the thought of putting live strings with a rock band. I told him that the only problem is, how do you mike violins? Joey replied, Let´s get together tomorrow and visit Sam Ash music store and lets see what they have there as far as pickups for strings. I told him that they were not going to have anything like that. Who wants to have a pickup on a violin, I said. Joey reiterated, Let´s just see what they have. I replied, OK. Then Joey told me about the great pot he had in Vietnam. He told me that he was stoned one night sitting in a tank with this tremendous bag of pot. While he was high, he could hear the bullets ricocheting off the tank. He also told me that he was a communications person who handled fixing the radios. He said that he never really saw much action.

I never got together the next day with Joey, because he was very busy organizing his return to a new life. Aldo had contacted Joey to welcome him home. Aldo wanted to throw a party on the weekend. He asked Joey and me to come to play just like old times. We accepted and on the weekend we all headed out to Aldo´s house for the party. Aldo´s house is packed with many people from his neighborhood. He had hired a bartender to prepare drinks. High class! Aldo´s wife Jane had a sister who is divorced, and I quickly noticed that she is cute and sexy. I got to know her quite well. Anyway, Aldo had set-up a spot for all of us to play and we went at it. The people loved us immensely. It is really good to play with Aldo and Joey once again. We sounded the same as we did originally. We played all night long, and had a great time with all of Aldo´s friends and family. It was a great night for everyone to get aquatinted once again.

A week later, Joey and I finally went to the Sam Ash music store. We told the salesperson that we were looking for acoustical pick-ups. He showed us a few that were just too big for what we were looking for. Then we went around to some other smaller stores, and in one of the stores they had mandolin pickups. They were the size we were looking for. Very small! Joey said lets buy these, and I´ll take them apart to try to boost them up. We bought four of them at $25.00 each. Joey then took the pick-ups home and worked out a way to make them compatible with violins. Joey is a genius with electronics. We then went back to Sam Ash to try and fit one on a used violin. We tested a spot on a violin and asked the salesperson if we could try it out. The salesperson replied, Are you guys crazy. Why would you want to put a pick-up on a violin? Joey replied that it was an experiment. The salesman refused to let us place one of the pickups on a violin. Therefore, we went to a Pawn Shop to find an old violin. We did find a violin that cost 50 bucks. I bought the violin so Joey could take it home to experiment.

A few days later, Joey came up with a masterpiece. I went to Joey´s house and he showed me what he did with the pickups in fine detail. He had readjusted the pickups to be more sensitive to the strings without feeding back, and he placed a special cushion on the back of the pickups so they would not harm the instruments. He showed me the spot to place the pickups for the best reception. What a masterpiece! I am extremely happy. With that big problem out of the way, I now had to think of how I am going to put this all together. I told Joey that we needed a drummer. Aldo is out, because he is living in high class now. He´s making a lot of money with his father´s stores.

Joey came to my house one day to introduce me to this drummer named Tommy Napoli. I talked with Tommy, and he is a wonderful guy. We all smoked a joint together and talked about my idea of live strings in a rock band. I then arranged for all of us to jam at my house during the day when nobody is home. Boy, Tommy is great. I couldn´t believe how good he is. His drums sounded so good that he has a big sound all by himself. He had all the drums working at once; meaning that the high hat was constantly going up and down and his technique is fantastic. He has got to be the best drummer I had ever heard. I had never heard drums sound in this manner. He definitely knows how to tune them to perfection. Now we are a group! Now, on to the next hurdle! How do we write string parts? Tommy said that he reads and writes drum staffs, and if I could write the notes he could write the rhythms. I said great lets do it. So we practiced rehearsing songs of The Beatles, I am a Walrus, Eleanor Rigby, A day in a life. We also learned some of the Bee Gees songs like, To Love Somebody. For the next few weeks, Tommy and I would attempt to write the string charts for these songs. Tommy and I wrote everyday from 10:00am to 5:00pm. We lived on cheese sandwiches everyday.

Now we had to find some string players that would be willing to do this stuff. I called The Village Voice newspaper and I ran an ad for two weeks. The ad said, Wanted! Three violins and a cello to complete a classical rock band. Within a few days we were getting some responses. I took the calls and talked with some of these guys and arranged a rehearsal. I had to make the rehearsal in the evening at 7:00pm because that is when these string players were available. We got what we needed to come to a rehearsal, three violins and a cello.

So the next night, Joey and Tommy came by and set-up there instruments in my basement. I went upstairs and my mother who is watching television. I told my mother, Mom, I´m going to have a rehearsal tonight in the basement. My mother asked, Why. I said, That we are putting a new band together with strings and I needed to audition these string players. My mother replied and screamed, Why don´t you stop this music and get a real job? I said to my mom very patiently, "Look mom, I´m having this rehearsal. It will only be for a couple of hours". My mother gave me a disgusted look and told me to play low so that she can hear her shows on television.

The string players rang my house doorbell. I quickly ran upstairs to answer the door and to tell the string players to go around to the back entrance and pointed to them where to go. Two doors down from me live my neighbor, Jenny and Al. Right next to their house is an alleyway leading to the back of the houses. It used to be a driveway at one time, but the cars got larger and people decided to turn their garages into basements. So the string players carrying their instruments went around the back of the houses and I met them and entered into my mother´s basement. They seemed very classical. Meaning they all looked like Albert Einstein except for one guy who looked kind of hip. Apparently, he was the guy that I talked to on the phone. We all introduced ourselves and I proceeded to show them the charts. Tommy and I were not really sure if they were correct or not, because we didn´t have a chance to hear what we had written. This is why we invited the string players to a rehearsal. We wanted to audition string players so we could check out our charts. The string players looked at them and they replied that the charts seemed all right. We explained what we wanted to do and they did not reply except for the hip looking guy who said, "Hmm, interesting!" Then they took out their instruments and proceeded to tune-up. While they were tuning I looked at Tommy and we both said isn´t that great. Just the tuning-up sounded so good. Then I said to the players that I will count it off and give you a tempo and I want you to play it through one time. They said OK! Then I counted off Eleanor Rigby. They started playing and Tommy, Joey and I began freaking-out that it sounded so great. As they were playing all the parts, we knew that the harmonies were perfectly correct. When they finished playing they commented that it is a great arrangement. These guys are giving Tommy and I all the credit, because they weren´t hip to The Beatles. I don´t think they ever heard the song. These guys only listen to classical music and nothing else.

Then I told them that I wanted them to place pick-ups on their instruments. They said, "What!" I told them that we wanted to electrify their instruments so they would not be drowned-out by the band. They all looked at each other in confusion. Then Joey took out the pick-ups and showed them. The classical musicians asked, "Where you would put it?" Then Joey took out the old violin and showed them. They asked if it would hurt the wood of the instrument. We told them no, just try it! In confusiion, they wanted to put the pick-ups on the instruments by themselves. Joey oversaw their placement of the pickups. He guided them as to how and where it should be placed, but I can see that they didn´t like doing this.

After struggling with the pickups for a while, they were ready to make a test. Joey plugged them all into a separate amplifier and they test the sound. They all became amazed! They had never heard strings electrified. We all got ready, Tommy on the drums, Joey on the Bass, and I on guitar. We all tuned-up to each other. Then we all played the song, "To Love Somebody" by the Bee Gee´s. Joey who had the lead vocal could hardly pay attention to his singing and playing, because the strings sounded so great and the band sounded so full and big. I really was amazing! Then my mother came to the basement door and started screaming at the top of her lungs, "Stop this music! Stop this music! I want all of you to get out of my house now! Get out of my house. I want you all out of here now!" Everyone freaked and the string players got very scared; they quickly packed-up their instruments, and exited the house, without saying a word. I became extremely devastated and embarrassed. I went upstairs to yell at my mother. I cursed at her and said, "You ass hole, I asked you for just a couple of hours, Why. Why!" My mother yelled back to me, "I can´t hear my show on TV." I replied, "Your stupid ass show is more important than my band, and the band members respect for me. You just chased away the string players." My mother smiled and said firmly, "Good! Good! I want everyone out of the house!"

I went back downstairs to the basement in disgust. I never have been more embarrassed in my entire life. However, Joey and Tommy made me feel better. They made a joke out of it and made me laugh. Tommy said to not worry. Then we packed-up our instruments and went to a nearby diner to have a bite to eat and talk. We had all agreed that it sounded so great and that we were definitely on the right track. Now we needed a new place to rehearse, and we needed to run an ad again to find some new string players.

With luck, when I told Ritchie Wheelchair the next day what had happened and how it sound he told told me that we could use his basement for rehearsal. His family assured us that it was OK. I couldn´t believe that a friend´s family would welcome us with open arms, and my own family wouldn´t. Typical of my life!

I placed a second running of the ad in the paper and received some calls. This time I was going to explain exactly what we wanted to do. This way if someone didn´t like putting a pickup on their instrument, I won´t invite them to rehearsal. A cello player named Marty called. I explained in detail what we were doing and he was definately for it and became very excited. Then a girl called. Her name is Janice. She played the violin and she was also totally for it. I told the band that it would be interesting to have a female violinist in the band. Tommy and Joey both thought that it would be great! Janice said that she could not rehearse in Brooklyn, but if we wanted, we could rehearse at her place in Manhattan´s, East Village. She told me that she possessed a large loft apartment. Well, that came as a welcome shock! I talked with the band and they wanted to go check her place out. So we all drove to her apartment in the East Village.

When we arrived, the first thing we had noticed is that her loft is immense. Janice is a sort of hippie girl type, who presented herself very spiritual and beautiful. She welcomed us with great warmth. There were a lot of children running around the loft although. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon. She told us that she takes care of kids for money in the daytime. She made her loft into a daycare center. She told us that in the evening she would be free to rehearse. Joey, Tommy and I were touched by Janice´s warmth and spiritually. She then made us some tea and played the violin for us. Her playing just melted us. I again explained what we were doing, and she reiterated that she was totally for it. We discussed the pickups and the type of music we are going to do. Janice was totally aware of The Beatles and The Bee Gee´s. She liked the idea of playing with a pickup. We were all impressed with her ability, enthusiasm and also her beauty.

Just then, some hippie guy walks into the loft, and she introduced him as her husband. "Uh, Oh!" I quickly said to myself, "This I do not like. marriage and music do not mix! Again, another married person?" However, I didn´t say anything except to inquire further. Then, I said to Janice bluntly in front of her husband, "Your husband would not mind you being in a band?" Her husband quickly said, "No. I encouraged her to call you guys. I´m the one that´s totally for it." I looked at him to get a sense of his sincerity. I asked him, "Then, how would you feel if your wife is away for the weekend playing with the band somewhere?" Her husband replied, "No problem. I want her to do what ever she feels. That would be fine with me." I said, "Well, in that case...that´s great." Even though I didn't trust the situation, I have heard all this shit before with married music people. Her husband went on to say that we were all very welcome here to hangout or to rehearse. Feel free to make our home your home. We were grateful for his kind remarks!

With that sudden unwelcome surprize over with, I showed Janice the charts and asked what she thought. Janice looked at the charts and asked why we wanted three violins. She said that she could play all the parts herself being that the parts were mostly harmonies. Then she picked up her violin, put the three charts over one another, and played all the parts at once. She freaked us all out. She sounded fantastic and all the harmonies are being played. I then organized a rehearsal for the weekend with Marty the cellist at her loft.

We all arrived again a week later and met Marty for the first time. He is a wonderful handsome guy with full enthusiasm and happiness. A great addition to the band and the band's image. As we began to rehearse, the band sounded very powerful and full, and all the time we had thought that we needed three string players. We rehearsed for an hour and took a break. It sounded so great and everyone of us was freaked that we had finally pulled this thing off. Everyone was certainly amazed! I walked over to the window for some air to smoke a cigarette and when I looked out her loft window, I noticed, down in the street that a big crowd of people were standing there listening to us. I turned to the guys and said, "Holly shit look at this!" The band looked out the window and couldn´t believe how many people were standing there, waiting for us to begin rehearsal again. We all began laughing. Then we talked for a while. Janice made some food for us and a few of her female friends had also came into the loft. It became a real big weekend gathering. After enjoying a little food and drinks and everyone introducing themselves, we then continued to rehearse. Suddenly, the people outside in the street began coming up the stairs and into the apartment. The people could not believe what they are hearing and they just had to take a look for themselves to be sure it was real and live. We had to stop the rehearsal, because too many people were gathering into the loft, and we couldn´t control them. I then told Janice that we had to rehearse during the week, because we were attracting too many people on the weekend. The Village is very quiet during the week nights, but many people came from the suburbs to visit the Village area on the weekend. We discussed it and we all agreed and I arranged a rehearsal beginning on Monday evening. Janice said that if we want to come by tomorrow night she will be having a little gathering of friends. Janice just loved us immensely. The band was a dream come true for her.

The music scene is now leading into the so-called psychedelic age. There seems to be a big movement forming in the West coast specifically, San Francisco. There are new groups that are adapting to this movement like: The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and The Jefferson Airplane. I don´t particularly like this movement, because it seems to be associated with the drug LSD. Meanwhile, here in the East, a new artist named Bob Dylan and a group called the Byrds is introducing a new style of Folk-Rock. I think Dylan's music sucks, and I could care less about the Byrds. I think their music is horrible. I can understand why people like that shit.

Tommy and I decided to take Janice up on her invitation, and we arrived at her loft at around 8:00 PM. There are some beautiful girls here and everybody seems to be really stoned. Some are high on pot, and although I didn´t know, maybe some are high on LSD, acid. We were all hanging out drinking, smoking pot, and eating. Everyone is having a wonderful time. Tommy Napoli seems very attracted to Janice´s spirituality. They appeared to have a great communication factor happening together. Janice´s husband is there also, and he suggested that everyone take a shower together. I was shocked that all these things were happening. So everyone laughingly took his or her clothes off and pilled into the shower. I just watched on, but I am not into it and I have trouble adjusting to this style of lifestyle. Little did I know at the time that everyone had done LSD. Then someone accidentally rubbed up against the hot water knob and the really hot water started gushing out. They all screamed and fell out of the shower onto the floor. It was very crazy, but also very funny. And although I didn't drop any acid or didn't know at the time time that everyone else had, I just couldn't relate to what was happening and the insanity associated with it. With all their clothes off, they all proceeded to sit on the floor in the main loft room and an orgy began. Everyone began making love, kissing and fondling one another which began to lead to sex. I just watched and felt very left out because I wasn't into this type of behaviour and still couldn't understand why all this was happening. It turned into a very wild night. I just stood there stoned on pot as I watched events as everyone now began to switch partners. The neon lights are flashing and the lava lamps are burning, and I did not want to be part of it. Therefore, I left by myself as Tommy stayed behind in wonderland. No one saw me depart, because they were all too busy to notice. I´m just not into orgies so I don't care to even watch. I´m a one on one type of guy. I need a developed feeling for someone before I could have sex with her. I just won´t jump into sex with someone that I do not know. But again, I didn't know at the time it was the acid that was causing this to happen.

The following day, Tommy Napoli told me that he had a great time that night and he had fallen for one of the girls at the orgy and he told me all about it, but Marty and Joey had not shown up that night. On Monday night, we continued the rehearsals unobstructed, and after two weeks, we were really tight. Janice performs standing up while Marty has to sit down with his cello. Marty is the only one who had to sit. During one of our rehearsals, we plugged fuzz boxes into the amps for the strings and Janice and Marty really went wild in their playing. I cannot describe the sound we had, but we definitely achieved our goal. Now, the question is, what name do we go under and how do we get gigs with this type of new sound.

There was a new classical group called, The Classics Five, which had formed while I was putting this group together. They had a record out, but they didn´t have strings. They were a group of classical musicians who played multiple instruments. They had incorporated all these classical instruments with a rock flavor. I went to the music store to look at their album. I noticed the name of their management company and I called them to introduce myself and the band. I told the management company exactly what we were doing and set-up an appointment for the agent to come to one of our rehearsals to hear us. When the agent arrived and heard us, he immediately fell in love with our band. He said that he thought that we are fantastic. He then told us that he would set up gigs for us and recommended a name, "Variations on a Theme". We didn´t like it and told him so, but he suggested that we use it so that he could sell us to a special classical type people gigs he wanted to give us. He the said that after he builds us up, and we get exposure, then we could change the name. We all had nothing to lose so we went with it.

The first gig that the agency booked us is at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Wow, what a first gig!

The Band-Variations on a Theme

We would be playing along side The Classics Five. It was a great opportunity, but also a chance to see what The Classics Five were all about and how they sounded and performed. The gig went great, but the audience was extremely stuffy. They didn´t applaud. They just watched and stared, but it was wonderful to play and be among and associated with such a famous place of music. It was certainly an honor!

However, we were very surprised and disappointed at The Classics Five. They were great musicians and played many different types of instruments during their performance, but they were not playing rock at all. They billed themselves as a classical rock band, but they weren't playing rock. It was strange because I just could place their style of music. They weren't rock and they weren't really classical and I just could put my finger on their style, but it made us feel great because we sang and the didn't. They were just instrumental and we had strong rhythm and the didn't. So we were all glad that we were unique and nobody else has entered or classic rock style yet. OK, we are coping The Beatles and Bee Gee's, but we are a band with electrified strings so we certainly remained unique.

The second gig was at Radio City Music Hall. Wow! What a second gig. however, the agent told us that we had to audition at Radio City first before we performed. We didn't pass the audition because we were too loud. At the audition, the people in control of it told us to turn our volume down. As we lowered our volume, they kept on telling us to lower th volume until our instruments were hardly amplified. Then they asked us if we could perform without amplification which was a silly remark and I asked them how could we do that. That would be counter-productive. So, we didn't pass the audition. Our band was dying to play for normal people. I had told the agent that these gigs were certainly wonderful, but we need a different audience. We are however a new band and we haven't really developed our style playing in front of a real live audience. The agent understood then hooked us up with another agent that does a different kind style of booking gigs, and finally we began to perform for normal everyday people. Now it has become great, and the band quickly started to progress. Except, all the gigs we were getting were all out of town. We had to travel a lot. We were getting gigs in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, but none in New York thus far.

Tommy and I decided to write some songs together. I didn´t want to be approached by record people again and not be prepared with material. Tommy and I put our heads together and came-up with a song called, "How can I believe". I also added two of my own songs to the repertoire, "Verrazano Narrows Bridge", and "Music in the Sky". We decided to go into Mario Rossi´s studio on West 8th Street and Ave T to record the songs. When the song demos were finished, we played the tape to the neighborhood people, and they all seemed to like it especially, "How Can I Believe".

Our sub agent booked us on the coming weekend in Massachusetts. On Saturday night we were to play a club which turned out to be a rock concert. We arrived at this gigantic concert hall that was set-up looking very incredible. They had our name, "Variations on a Theme" written on the walls in big graffiti style large neon glowing letters. The theatre became sold out quickly. All of us in the band could not believe it. I was really a surprise to us and we had no idea any of this was happening. We just thought we were coming to a club gig so it was a shock to all of us. This would be a very special performance, because they gave us the top billing and treated us like kings as soon as we entered the place. Thus, I decided to rearrange our performance to be a show rather than a club gig. I told the band that during one of our songs we were all going to take individual solos, and Marty would use the fuzz box and Janice would play dry. Everyone in the band agreed and planned themselves as to what they were going to individually do on stage. After a few local bands opened the show for us, they gave us a long verbal introduction, and we entered the stage while the audience was applauding. We would play about six songs and then on the final song we would take our own individual solos. During the last song, I went into my solo so that the other members would follow they idea in the same light. The audience gave me a standing ovation. Then Joey took a bass solo and the people welcomed it the same way. Then Janice went nuts on the violin and the audience went into an uproar yelling and screaming in joy and disbelief. Then Marty began soloing and when he switched on the fuzz box, the people were bustling out of their seats. After Marty´s solo, Tommy went directly into a terrific drum solo, but Marty forgot to remove himself off his seat that was directly in front of Tommy Napoli's drums. We were standing at the side of the stage trying to get Marty's attention to tell Marty that he is blocking the audience´s view of Tommy, but Marty was in a state of oblivion. Tommy is playing very loud so Marty couldn´t hear us calling out to him. Marty is just sitting there holding his cello in a dream state. I kept calling out to him. "Marty.... Marty!" Then Marty in oblivion began to pick his nose. I said to myself, Oh shit! I called out again loudly, "Marty.... Marty!" Joey called out to him from the other side of the stage saying, "Marty... Marty." He was still picking his nose. Then he caught on to a piece of snot, and threw it on the floor in front as the entire audience watch on. When I seen Marty throw the piece of snot on the stage floor, I personally went out there and grabbed him. When I did, the audience began laughing into an uproar, and then they went into applause as I dragged Marty away. I took Marty to the side of the stage. He looked at me and said, "What?" I told him that he was directly sitting in front of Tommy picking his nose. Marty replied, "So!" Marty was a classical musician, who had wild ideas about music, but he is very innocent in his mind set. He still couldn´t understand what the big deal was. However, the audience loved it. They might have even thought it was a special funny skit. When we finished our long set, the audience showed how much they loved it all by giving us a long standing ovation while chanting our band name.

It was a great weekend full of great success and inspiration. We returned home and dropped Marty and Janice off at their apartments. Joey, Tommy and I then returned home to relax with our families and to create personal time to absorb the astonishment of this performance.

A few days later, an unexpected surprise happened. Tommy called me and told me that Janice has to quit the band. I said in shock, "What!" Tommy repeated it, but said that he wasn't told very much other than she had to quit the band. I told Tommy that I was going to pick him up right now and we were going to visit Janice to learn why. We quickly rushed to Janice´s loft and when we walked in her face was all wet from crying. I asked her what was going on. Janice replied under great stress and agony, "You know, the band is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life." Tommy and I listened carefully and patiently as she slowly continued to speak, "I wanted so much to play with a band. My husband saw your ad in the paper. He cut it out and gave it to me. When I looked at the ad I couldn´t believe that he wanted me to fulfill my dream. He had seen my eyes light up. I said to him, You want me to call? He replied, Go for it because I want you to be happy. It was to me the greatest expression of trust and love that he could give to me at that moment in my life. He knew it was what I wanted. He wanted so desperately for me to be happy. When I arrived home two weeks ago after the gig, I had walked into the bedroom and saw that there was an unknown girl with my husband in our bed. I asked him, What is this? He replied that since I am playing every weekend he had become lonely. Therefore, he invited this girl to be with him. Then my husband asked me to come to bed with the both of them. I reluctantly did because I didn't know what to do at the time. We then all had sex together! The other girl is a very nice person and we all got along very well, but it is not something I should have done. I didn´t know what to do when I was suddenly confronted with this situation. I guess I am kind of weak. That is why I joined them in bed. I didn´t want to tell you guys what was going on. However, eventually I could not deal with it anymore.... that is, the other girl and I sleeping with my husband. The next morning, my husband and I had it out, and entered into an argument. It was the first time that we had ever had a confrontation. I didn´t want the girl there anymore and my husband´s reply was, then quit the band. I didn´t want to quit the band, but he put out a situation and said, If you don't quit the band then that's OK, but then don´t get upset if I have another girl here when you are not. He put my future with the band in front of my face. It was an tricky ultimatum. I told him that I would quit the band to save our relationship. Therefore, I called Tommy and told him that this is what I needed to do." Then Janice broke down and cried very heavily and with a week voice and said, "But I don´t want to quit the band!"

I quickly put my arms around Janice as she is uncontrollably crying. Tommy joined in to help her with her pain. Janice said, "I love you guys so much... you are my family...I´m so happy with all of you.........I want to play music." Tommy and I could not hold back our own tears. Then I sat Janice down and became very angry. I said, "Where´s you husband now?" Janice replied, "I don´t know. He´s been gone for two days." I said, "Listen Janice, fuck this guy...get rid of him... what kind of man would let his woman do what she loves and then get another girl to live with him in her absence. That´s fucking ridicules. The music is your soul and your life...get rid of this fucker...he´s not worth it." Tommy agreed. Janice replied in heavy tears, "But I love him." I then walked away in frustration to look out the window to think and to let Tommy takeover and he began to have a quiet consultation with her.

Standing by the window, I was thinking how I am always right about marriage and music and it just doesn´t mix! But this hippie psychedelic mutherfucker is a son of a bitch. I know why he wanted her in the band so that he could fool around with all these little chickadees he developed on the side. He´s just a manipulater and fucking with her head. I know what he´s doing! Tommy also knows what´s going on now. Then I thought about what´s going to happen to the band now. Janice cannot be replaced. She is not only an accomplished player, but also she stands-up and dances while she plays. She is so beautiful on stage with that long brown hair flowing to her ass. How the hell do you replace someone as great as she? Every time I get to a certain level of success with a band something happens to fuck everything up. It is always a relationship that is the cause behind this madness. Then I turned around and watched Tommy consoling with Janice. I turned to glaze out the window again and watched the people going to and forth. I was thinking about the gig in the Hamptons this past weekend and how successfully wonderful it was and now, how are we going to sound without Janice? It´s like playing without an arm. It will be too weak and I'm not in the mood to begin auditioning violin players again! The band has a gig in the Hamptons this weekend at a club on the beach. I shook my head in disgust and then returned back to Tommy and Janice.

I said, "Look Janice is this what you really want?" (meaning, leaving the group.) She said, while slightly in tears, "No!" A very long moment of silence followed. I broke the silence by saying to her as Tommy watched on, "It might be a good idea to leave the group for a while so that you could try to get your marriage back together again." Janice replied, "OK!" Hmm, finally a positive response! I continued, "Let´s not say that you are quitting the band. We love and need you too much, you are apart of us and we are your family. Let´s just say that you´re taking a short break from the band. We will be in constant touch with you. Anytime you need us we will be there. Just take some time off. Don´t worry about the band.

West Hampton NY

We will get by on the weekend in the Hampton´s." Then Janice quickly said in tears, "I wanna go!" I looked at Tommy and Tommy looked at me. We made body language with one another to talk on the side. Then Tommy and I walked over to the window, and I said to him, "Have her call her mother in Massachusetts and we´ll take her there." Tommy had been thinking the same thing. He thought the same as I that she needed to get away from the city. Then Tommy returned to talk with her. He had convinced her to contact her mother and to get her things together so that she could spend some time with her family since she didn't know where her husband was. We then all drove to Massachusetts where Janice´s mother was waiting for us. Janice´s mother is real sweetheart. We could see that she came from a wealthy family. Their house is a mansion surrounded by a forest. Nice and quiet! Her mother made us some refreshments and I could see that Janice had gained more positive control of herself. We asked Janice to spend some time here to relax her mind and to get her clear thoughts back again. She should eventually think more clearly. Before Tommy and I departed, we told her to contact us if she wanted to return to Manhattan. We then gave Janice a loving hug and kiss. We told her not to worry and we said good-bye to her mother and we returned back to Brooklyn.

On the ride back to Brooklyn, Tommy and I really wanted to give her husband a beating. Actually we wanted to kill the fucker. Not really kill him, but we were both pissed. We knew we did everything that we could do. We just have to wait to see what plays out. I know what is happening and I told Janet to take time off, because I knew that if she would quit the band her husband will still fuck other girls anyway and nothing will change. I was hoping that she would finally realize this and learn then, hopefully make a decision to dump her mutherfucker low life husband. Tommy also agreed!

The following weekend, we went to the Hampton´s to play. It is a wonderful club which is situated directly on the beach. We had to play an afternoon and evening gig. The people loved our performance even without Janice. Marty the cellist was superb. He tried very hard to sound fuller by doubling his notes, and he succeeded. We had a blast and wished Janice was with us. However, even though we sounded good, we were still missing the main instument that justified it all. Guitar, Bass, Drums and a cello is pretty bizarre.

At the club, I met a nice cute girl with long blond hair. Her name is Susan. She is very cute. After our first night performance, I took Susan back to the house that the club provided for us to stay at. We had wonderful sex together. She is very hot and she just loved to fondle my dick.

Chazz and Susan on the beach at the West HamptonsThe next day, Susan and I went to the beach in front of the club to enjoy the day. As we layed on the beach soaking some sun, a few male groupies had arrived to join us whom we met the night before at the club. I guess that they were either hoping to get one of the girls we didn´t want or hung-out with us, because being a band, we attracted the girls. These male groupies are very nice people, but it is annoying having them around. The only problem is that you had to ask them if you could be alone with your girl, or you have to search for an isolated spot on the beach. In the Hampton´s that can be quite difficult. Anyway, Susan and I are enjoying the soaking of the sun. I love having and being with a girl with long hair. After our weekend performance, the club loved us so much that they wanted us to return the following weekend. We were honored and agreed to return.

I was home on Monday evening relaxing trying to think about what I was going to do with the band. Even though we are getting gigs, we just can't go on like this. Wedon't relly sound the way it was originally planned. Either we must begin the violin interviews again or we somehow have to get Janice back. Suddenly, I got a unexpected phone call from Tommy. He told me that Janice had committed suicide! I went into shock and anger!I told Tommy that I was going to come get him right now.

I arrived at Tommy's place with ten minutes, Tommy jumped into my car and we went to Janice´s loft to kill that mutherfucker husband of hers. When we arrived the loft it was totally vacant. We became very frustrated! There is nothing we could do. Janice had jumped off a cliff into the ocean in Massachusetts. The band went into shock and mourned. We all had to find peace within ourselves and with our friends and families.

The following weekend, the remains of the band returned to the Hampton´s. We dedicated our weekend performance to Janice´s memory. We shared our grief with the patrons. We all performed at our highest peak and I had Susan again to be with who consoled me. I had then learned that Susan is living in Manhattan´s West Village and that she has a boyfriend whom she said she didn´t like, and now I don´t know about this situation with her either. She wanted me, and I wanted her. She´s sexy and maks me forget my pain. I´ll just have to play things by ear, I guess, for now.

Susan introduced me to one of her best male friends named Ritchie at the club the following night. He was a really nice guy with a good sense of sarcastic humor. He made me laugh an aweful lot which I desperately needed, but I also thought that he might have a crush on Susan, but I didn't care. I enjoyed him very much.

The next week, we decided to change the name of the band. The band had never been the same since Janice died. No one could think of a name so Tommy came up with the name "Elizabeth", aned we tried using it. We got another gig from the agency in Massachusetts again for the following weekend. It turned out to be a very dumpy club. During our performance, I had noticed that Tommy and Joey are not playing up to par. During our break, I had asked them if they got stoned. They denied getting stoned with a laugh, and I immediately got pissed off knowing that they did. Joey tended to make many mistakes, and Tommy seemed to be in another world. I don´t mind members getting high when they are not performing, but I´m very strict about them or anyone else getting stoned on stage. I could tell by the way they´re playing that they are stoned. When I´m performing on stage, I can hear every note and beat. If someone places a note or beat where it is not supposed to be then I get pissed, because the groove gets all messed-up which messes my playing and concentration up also. So, I demand that the band be as professional and tight as possible at all times. It is the only way to achieve success to a good performance.

After the night had finished, we all returned back to the hotel that the club provided for us. Joey and Tommy were making fun at my attitude by saying nasty sarcastic remarks, which is very unlike Joey and Tommy. Then, after some discussions about their attitude they finally admitted to me that they were tripping on acid. I went into a tantrum. After yelling at them for an hour, they continually laughed at me, I decided that it was useless and there is nothing I could do at this moment. They are totally incoherent and Marty is also tripping. I felt all-alone! They all had a certain mindset which was similar to Janice's party in Manhattan and my mindset is certainly not amongst theirs. Thus, I eventually decided to join them, but I only dropped a half-a-tab of acid, which they suggested I do.

An hour had past. I am sitting on the bed next to my paisley-pink Fender Stratocastor guitar. My arm is situated directly next to the guitar. I looked at my arm and noticed that the paisley-pink color is reflecting on my arm. Then I looked toward the guys in the next room and the room light is a yellowish gold. Then after a long while, the sun rose. I had noticed that the light coming in over the closed shade in the bedroom is purple. Then I became very tired of being stoned. I didn´t want to be stoned any longer and I was still by myself and everything was weird. I became tired of viewing all these bazaar things. I tried to snap myself out of it, but I couldn´t. I hate not being in control of myself or my emotions and that is why I normally hate to get stoned. In frustration, I began to cry. I didn´t want to be stoned. I wanted out. Once I began to cry, I couldn´t stop crying. I kept crying for hours, as it seemed. Joey and Tommy tried to console me, but it did not help. Then, I passed out from crying. When I woke up hours later, I had regained some control of myself. I swore to God that I would never do that again. It was the worst feeling that I ever had. I looked around, but Joey and Tommy were nowhere to be found. I went to the closet to get my jacket and Marty is in the closet standing on his head which is his kind of meditation he does. I closed the door and proceeded to the bed to return to sleep.

That night is our last performance at this club, and it would wrap up the weekend. Joey and Tommy were behaving very erratically and I realized that I had suddenly lost control of the band. Nothing I said seemed to matter to them anymore. They had ganged-up on me telling me that I was acting like a boss and being very authoritative. When we arrived back in Brooklyn, I told them about my deep concern for music. I told them that if they thought that my actions are authoritative and bossy, then we should break-up the band. They replied by telling me that I should lighten up and try to have fun once and a while. I explained that I have fun on the beach. I have fun during our break to play with the girls and talking to the people. I have fun with you guys on stage when we are performing at our best, but I don´t have fun on stage when you guys are stoned-out missing beats and notes. I don´t have fun when you´re playing what you´re not supposed to be playing. It sounded like a jam session the other night, I reiterated, there was no groove and timing kept on changing getting faster and slower. Tommy and Joey went on to defend their actions. I interrupted them by saying that I heard enough. That is it for the band! I put my foot down and I was not going to argue about it anymore. When the band members begin to attack me for being determined, then it is finished. However, I knew for a fact that the passing of Janice had a great bad effect with the band. No one really seemed the same thereafter, and the control was definitely lost. Another great idea and another great band lost!

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