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The Musician... see you among the stars

Chapter 21 - Joey Dee

Joey Dee and the Starliters

Chapter 21 - Joey Dee

So here I am again with no band again. Another big disaster! I am very depressed again and I'm feeling very down. My entire world is coming apart again along with the growing resentment toward our government. The music scene is changing rapidly. The New York clubs especially in the Greenwich Village area are beginning to fold and it seems as though everything is moving on its way downhill. The Vietnam War fucked everything up. President Kennedy was mysteriously assassinated and then the Vietnam War is escalating. Soon thereafter, Kennedy's brother Robert was also mysteriously killed, and I don't know who will be next. There are many protests against the war going on right now and there are many protests for Civil Rights. Heavy psychedelic drugs are also mysteriously spreading throughout the entire country, specifically, LSD! They are calling it the psychedelic age. The fucking government develops a special appreciable name for everything they do or develop

I had heard that the CIA was experimenting with drugs for a new weapon. In the early sixties, the CIA was paying hospital patients $75.00 to take these unknowing forms of LSD. They wanted to know what effects it would have on individuals. The drug then made its way onto the streets. I wonder who did that. Was it an opportunity for the CIA to disrupt a peaceful loving society or are they introducing it to disrupt the peace movement? In my own mind, I knew that this drug is being purposely introduced to disrupt the society. People are not supposed to love their brothers and sisters. People are not supposed to bond with one another. If they did, then they might use that bondage with each other to change or correct our government. Obviously, this appears to be going on at this moment in time. In 1964 LSD was legal. Someone had to bring it into the country on a massive scale. People everywhere are doing LSD. Then when the government realized that it fucked-up the peace movement into anarchy, it outlawed LSD, thereby, throwing the offenders in jail. Nice little trick they have. Now that the Kennedy's are gone they could get away with anything now. And while I'm wrestling with all these thoughts going through my mind, my hero and idol, Otis Reading, dies in a plane crash.

I cannot believe that this age of peace and love would ever be destroyed. I now realize that things have turned the other way downhill, and my dream of being in music is getting more difficult. Life itself is becoming more difficult. I do not know what I'm doing, or where I'm going. This country is in high chaos and my mind is lost in never land. I might have to get a full time job now, because I don't see anything happening right now in music. Something is seriously going on throughout this country and I do not know really what it is. I have some kind of idea as to what I really think is taking place and I know some kind of powerful force is driving it. It is either the government's control of society or the taking over of large corporations. It sure feels like: If you do not do what they say, then they will now kill you. I know it! I can feel it! Throughout my life I always tried to be one step ahead of everything in the music scene. I also tried to be one step ahead of everything in life. I feel the country falling and changing into something else. I don't know exactly what, but I know it will movie in an unpleasant direction. What am I going to do, and how do I survive it? That is the question right now for me.

Susan called me on the telephone and asked me to visit her at her boyfriends' apartment in the city. She wanted to discuss something with me. I asked her, "What about your boyfriend?" She replied that he would not return home from work until 9:00pm. I told her that I would stop by later on. When I arrived, Susan told me that she was going home to New Hampshire for the summer months to work for her parents who owned a restaurant. Susan invited me to come there to stay for a month. She said that she told her parents about me, and they wouldn't mind. We proceeded to make love in her boyfriend's apartment, and then we took a bath together. Susan is very sexy. Susan told me in the bathtub that she would be leaving for New Hampshire this weekend. She begged me to join her in New Hampshire. She went on to say that it is very beautiful in New Hampshire with lots of trees and many lakes, and that I could eat like a king for free, because her parents owned and operated a restaurant. If that wasn't enough, she said that her father owned a big boat, which we could use to sail on this tremendous lake located near her house. She reiterated, but most of all, we could both be together for a month. It sounded fantastic. Before I left the apartment, Susan gave me her parent's phone number and asked me to call her there. I needed a break from the pressures and depression that were building up around me with the death of Janice, Otis, the music scene, the uncontrollable government and the destruction of the band. It sounded like a wonderful opportunity at this time. Susan said that I could take the train and when I arrived she would pick me up at the station. After thinking about it for a while, I told her that I would definitely be there. Susan asked me to give her at least two weeks so that she could prepare for my arrival.

A week later, while I was hanging-out in Manhattan, I had heard through the grapevine that a weekend musical event is going to take place in a few weeks. I tried to learn more about it until someone showed me the ad in the paper. Some promoters are staging a weekend long musical event at a place called Woodstock, New York. A lot of the big stars were on the bill. Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, as well as some newcomers whom I never heard of like Carlos Santana and Joe Cocker. The event looked pretty good, but it seemed expensive. It seemed like a nice thing to do, but I would rather be with Susan in New Hampshire. So off I went!

I finally arrived in New Hampshire. Susan picked me up at the station with her father's pickup truck. It felt great to get out of the city. As we were driving to her house, I noticed all the beautiful tall trees. Susan drove me to a little house that we would be sharing. The house is very nice and cute. Then I unpacked my things and we had quick sex. Then Susan had to return to work, and we both went to her parent's restaurant. I was surprised how big the restaurant is. It had a cute little lounge upstairs. Susan sat me down and brought her parents over to meet me. They were very nice and friendly and the restaurant is very busy. After having this wonderful meal I began feeling bored. Susan and her parents are working very hard. I didn't know what to do. Eventually, I got Susan's attention, and she gave me the keys to the car and told me pick her up around 7PM. I returned back to the house to lie down for a while. I picked up Susan at 7pm, and we took a shower together. Then we went for a walk through the forest.

I stayed in New Hampshire for a month and it was beautiful. I spent most of my days sunning on her fathers boat. Susan's family and I would go out for a cruise through the massive ocean style lake on the weekends. It was quiet and peaceful and Susan and I had been able to have sex every night. During my stay, the Woodstock event happened and I had heard about it on the TV. I heard that they had to closed the New York State Thruway, because there were too many cars heading to the event. I was still happy that I did not attend it. I received a lot of peace, quiet and love in New Hampshire.

When I returned home to Brooklyn, I immediately received a call from Aldo. He wanted to know if I wanted to come out to his place for the weekend. He told me that he also invited his wife's sister Denise, and he thought that maybe the four of us could have a wonderful weekend together. I told Aldo that it sounded wonderful. I went to stay the weekend with Aldo and Jane, and on the first night, I had sex with Denise. It wasn't planned, but it just happened. Aldo assigned me a room and when I lay in bed, Denise walked into the room to sleep with me. The next day Saturday, we all relaxed around the house to do nothing. I was lying on the couch with Denise in my arms, and Aldo's wife Jane, who is a great artist, made a quick sketch of us. It was another beautiful weekend to add to the former New Hampshire trip and another girl to play with.Drawing of Chazz and Denice relaxing on the couch

On Monday, I received a surprise call from Benny Gordon and the Soul Brothers. He was going into the studio to make a record and he asked me if I wanted to play on the record. I gladly accepted and met the band at the studio. In the process of making the recording, the band used the same horn break that Sam & Dave recorded on a song on their first album. The song was, "It's a Wonder." Except, Benny's band played a bizarre, wrong chord structure. I brought this up to Benny's attention and showed them the correct chords to use. His band became very confused and they eventually decided to use the wrong chords anyway. I asked Benny if I could take a funky guitar solo on the song. Benny suggested that it would not be a good idea. I couldn't understand why Benny invited me in for the recording if he wasn't going to allow me to do anything else, but strum chords. I mean, he had Sammy Gordon the guitar player there. It seemed weird. Therefore, during the ending of recording the song I played a solo anyway and no one said anything. I got paid and that was that.

Soon thereafter, another black group called me. They are performing at a club in Brooklyn on Saturday night, and they need a guitar player to fill-in for the evening. I am much honored that my name is floating around the black musical community. I had R&B music down, and I guess that I have become the guitarist to call.

I arrived at the club, and it is packed with all black people. I am the only white guy in the entire club. As I entered, I immediately felt very uncomfortable. The black patrons are staring at me. I introduced myself to the leader/keyboardist of the band, and he went over a list of songs with me. Thankfully, I knew everyone of the songs. This leader is not a very pleasant guy. He seems to be cut and dry with an attitude. He told me that I would not be taking any solos. He just wanted me to play rhythm. He also told me that we would be backing-up a featured vocalist named Dee Dee Warwick.

We went on stage and played and the band is pretty good. When it came time for a solo, the leader/keyboardist turned to look at me to make sure that he took all the solos. I am very surprised at this ridicules situation, but I said to myself, "Hey, what the fuck! It's just for one night." However, I was never in a band that stopped me from playing a lead solo. We finished the first set, and everything went off fine.

On the second set I became conditioned to the situation. I would not take a solo even if they had asked. However, they didn't ask, but I acted that way. Then the leader introduced to the crowd Dee Dee Warwick. We played her first song and she is very good. During the first song, I gave her a little taste of some quick guitar lines. Each time I played them; she turned to look at me and smiled. Her second song turned out to be a slow blues number. As she sang, I again quickly threw in some more licks. Again, she turned toward me and smiled. Then I began to answer her when she sang a line. The leader/keyboard player looked at me in repugnance as if to tell me to lay back. I ignored him and continued to throw the singer quick guitar lines. She loves every minute of it. Every time she sang a line I would answer with a line. The band loved it also, but the leader is now becoming very angry. Then to everyone's surprise, the vocalist said loudly to the audience, "Lets welcome this guitar player to come out here and play you some lines." With that introduction, I moved out to the front of the stage in the spotlight, and whaled out like I had never done before. During my solo, I was so deeply into its expression that I got down on my knees, and the black crowd went wild. The singer kept on saying, "Go Baby...Go Baby." Then I rubbed my guitar strings against the microphone stand as I soloed to give it a slide affect, and I began blaring. No one could believe the intensity. After the solo, I received a standing long ovation. The singer said to the audience loudly again, "Give it to him...Give it to him" Then the singer finished the song and the band ended it with a large crescendo during which I played super fast crescendo lines. When the song stopped the audience again went nuts whistling and yelling for about five minutes. "Thank you...Thank you.... How bout that white boy", she said. Then the band introduced the female vocalist exit from the stage, "Let's have an another round of applause for Dee-Dee Warwick." To my surprise the leader/keyboard player said, "And let's give it one more time for the guitarist!" The audience gave me another standing ovation. I had never been more happily honored in my life. From then on I was treated like a king from everyone and I was definitely allowed to take solos from then on. I could now walk around the club with ease, and as I did, people shook my hand. I went outside on the break to gather my thoughts alone. As I entered the outdoors, I began thinking about how much I love playing music, especially Rhythm and Blues. The audience knew it, but how am I going to make it in this industry? I need to find a place to hang my hat! It is very difficult being a white guy playing black music. It is going to very tough to make it in the black music world. There is a lot of racism in the music world, not only about body color, but in sex as well. I remembered talking with Jimi Hendrix at the Brasserie. He told me that he had a hard time being recognized, because he is a black guitarist playing rock (white man) music. But how am I going to find a place where I could hang my hat. I don't like back people, but I love their music. I don't enjoy hanging out with black people, because they have a different life style. They are into all kinds of shit, and they do not trust white people in any way. However, I enjoy their music, and I enjoy playing for them. They know how to get down to music. In any case, I'm going to have to think about my future. I returned to finish the gig. The entire evening went wonderful.

The following day, I decided to visit Jane's sister Denise. I am horny and I want to get laid and relax at the same time. I drove to her house and spent the entire evening with her. It was very comfortable. Then I went to visit Joey's mother, and I was told that Joey had bought a house in Bayonne, New Jersey. I went to see their new house and it is beautiful. His wife Evie is pregnant again. Even though our band broke-up and we had misunderstandings, we are still good friends. Almost like brothers. In fact, we are brothers.

I decided to take a ride into Manhattan to visit the almost dying club, Trude Heller's. The Cinderella Club is nonexistent. Most of the clubs are beginning to fold. Therefore, Trude's is struggling. I arrived at Trude's and chattered with Rena for a few hours. I then decided to visit the Brasserie restaurant to see if I could locate any one who might be hanging-out. When I entered the Brasserie I saw some of my friends who designed Jimi Hendrix's clothes. Jimi himself is sitting at the counter slumped into, what it seemed like a stoned out depression. I joined his designers at their table and asked what is wrong with Jimi. They told me that he is very stoned out. We chattered for about an hour. They told me all about Woodstock and then I departed. Since I am near the 59th Street Bridge, I decided to go to Long Island and sleep at my brother's house.

I got on to 59th Street at Park Avenue. It is now 3:00am. I am following a garbage truck that is traveling at 10 MPH. It took me ten minutes to get one block closer to the bridge. As soon as I found and opening I floored the car and past him on the left. The truck had his right hand signal on and decided to make a left instead. As I aggressively passed the truck at high speed, the truck smacked me in the right hand door sending me into a spin. I spun around in a circle four times and finally came to a stop. My vehicle is totally smashed. There is nothing I could do at the moment, but drive it smashed back to Brooklyn. If I had only gone home to Brooklyn, this would not have happened. I returned to my house in Brooklyn in depression. I immediately went to sleep. The next day, I went out to view my car. It is smashed beyond repair. It would be too much to fix it so I had to junk the car. I didn't have the money to pay off the remainder of the loan so my sister Marie, who cosigned for the car, had to pay the remaining balance. Again, I am faced with deep depression. When it rains it pours. No more car! Now, now am I going get around? Shoe leather express! My life had now changed. With out a car¦with out a band¦with out a job!!! I am now reduced to the lowest common denominator.

A few days later, I went walking around the Village in Manhattan and bumped into some people I knew. We all decided to hang out in Washington Park. We smoked a joint with a bunch of people at the park, and some male stranger invited us over to his apartment. We went to this guy's apartment and he sat us down in his small living room and lit a joint. We began smoking in his apartment and he proceeded to put on a new album that had just been released. He had his speaker's set-up for maximum fidelity and he put on the album. When I heard the sound of the group on the first song I immediately became shocked. It is totally incredible! The group and the song sound so clear and precise. The music is blowing me away. I am a horn man, which is a slang that means that I love a group with horns. Just like my groups, "The Van-Dells" & "Rocky and his Friends." and all the soul groups that don't exist anymore. I freaked out over the music and asked the guy who the band is. I never heard anything like it. He said the group is, "Blood, Sweat & Tears." I said, "Holy shit! I had never heard horns sound so incredible." I was memorized for the next hour by the entire album. This is something that I always wanted to do and always dreamed to sound like. I had thanked the guy for such a wonderful listening session that I told him that I would remember this moment for the rest of my life. I thanked him over and over again and went out to buy the album.

Susan returned to Manhattan and wanted to see me. I asked her to take the train to Brooklyn, because my car was gone. She agreed and came to my mother's house in Brooklyn. I took her around the back of the house to the basement entrance and Zitsy Rose, the spy across the street, saw me take Susan into my house. Zitsey Rose waited for my mother to arrive home, and she told her that I had a girl in the basement. While I am sitting on the bed with Susan, my mother came to the basement door and screamed with a very load scratchy voice, "Charles, Do you have a girl down there?" Susan totally freaked! My mother had frightened her beyond belief. Susan ran out the back door and began crying. I angrily yelled, "No, she left because you scared the shit out of her." Susan is sitting in the backyard in tears. I went to comfort Susan and told her not to worry. That everything is OK. "My mother acts that way normally", I said, "She doesn't mean to act that way." Susan could not gain her composure. My mother had frightened the shit out of her. Susan pleated with me to take her home. I tried to talk her into staying, but my mother screaming was too much for Susan. I had no other choice, but to take her home to Manhattan. While we are ridding in the subway car, I explained to Susan about my mother's attitude. I told her that it is an Italian thing. Some Italian women act this way. Susan eventually understood. She began to feel much better. When we arrived in the Village, I told Susan that I wanted her to be my girlfriend. Susan asked, "Where are we going to live?" I told her that we could get an apartment somewhere. Susan didn't like the idea. I knew what was going through her mind. I angrily replied, "Look." I said, "Let's talk truth. You definitely don't love this fucking guy you're living with, but you continue living and sleeping with him. This is because he has an apartment in a great location in the Village. That's the fucking truth isn't it? You're living with and fucking this guy, because of his apartment." Susan became lost for words and could not believe I nailed it on the head verbally. Susan shocked and lost for words said, "I have to go in." She then proceeded into the vestibule. I got pissed. I called her a fucking prostitute for housing.

I walked a few yards and sat on a stoop with tears in my eyes. I looked around the beautiful tree lined street. I said to myself, "This is what it's all about! If you cannot supply a nice refuge for the girl you love then you can't have her. This boring boyfriend of hers has got a fucking straight job with an apartment in the Village, and he has a nice girl just because of that. He doesn't have to be good looking or be a good lover...all it takes is providing a refuge." I glanced left and right at the beautiful neighborhood again and said to myself, "This is what it's all about." Then I began to think of how I had nothing. I didn't have a job, I didn't have a car, and I am broke. All I have is myself, and an abundance of talent. Nothing more and nothing less! Life is fucking tough. This is what I get for being a musician. I am all alone! With my precarious occupation, I can't even have a girl for my own. I sat on this stoop for about an hour contemplating. I felt very sorry for myself. Most of the clubs in Manhattan had closed down. It is going to be very difficult to work with a band now. I don't know if I am going to have a future in music. This country is changing rapidly for the worse. With all this confusion and sorrow in my mind, I hopped on the train to return home to Brooklyn. When I arrived home, I had learned that Martin Luther King jr. was shot and killed. I can't believe that everyone associated with improving our country is being assassinated. It seems that America is being taken-over, but I do not know by whom. This country is in an uproar. There is also talk about The Beatles breaking-up. The music scene and my country are heading into a crash landing.

A few days had past, and I received a call from Ronnie the sax player from Rocky and his Friends. He started working with Joey Dee and the Starliters and he wanted to know if I wanted to join the band. He told me that Joey Dee was looking for a new guitarist so he recommended me. I told him great...Why not! I would be making good money again. Wow, out of the blue, I'm going to play with Joey Dee and the Starliters.

I met with Joey Dee and he is a great terrific guy. His band is great and top-notch. The drummer's name is Gregg Diamond. The bass player is Jim Gregory. The organist is a Chinese guy named Felix, and Ronnie and Joey, the sax and trumpet players from my old band Rocky and his Friends. Joey Dee's girlfriend Lois is also singing with the group. She apparently sings almost as well as Janice Joplin. They also had a male midget guy named, Frankie, who came out occasionally to sing with Joey and Lois. The midget Frankie is some kind of a special surprise act. It seemed great, and I immediately felt that I was with Rocky and his Friends once again. I had always wondered what the old band members were doing. Now I know! We all started playing in a club in New Jersey and it felt good to be with a great tight band again. Gregg Diamond plays a mean set of drums. Jim Gregory is definitely the best bass player that I ever heard. Felix plays an OK Hammond organ. He is a Chinese guy and he is very funny. It also is wonderful to have good money in my pocket again. Everyone in the band is a lot of fun, and we all got along very well. We played this club in New Jersey for several weeks, and in the process, I met this new girl that went completely nuts over me. It felt good to have another new girl to be with. However, I wondered where my old girlfriend, Irish Barbara disappeared to. I'd really wish that I could see her again. In the myth of that kind of thinking, I wondered what happened to the other Barbara, the girl who I lived with at the Chelsea Hotel. My mind thought that maybe I should call my old friend, the Trude Heller dancer Fina, and see what she is up to.

As soon as I had an opportunity, I gave Fina a call. Fina answered the phone and she is very happy to hear my voice. Fina is like a breath of fresh air. She gets so excited and interested when I called. I told her what I had been doing, and asked her how she and everybody at Trude's were doing. Fina told me that Trude Heller's club is dying. She said that it is all a matter of time before it will close down. Fina said that she might have to go back to dancing top-less. Then I asked Fina about Barbara. Fina gave me her number and suggested that I give her a call. She said that Barbara would most likely to be glad to hear from me. Then Fina asked me to come visit her at her apartment when I had the chance. She missed me very much and wanted to desperately see me again. After hanging-up with Fina, I proceeded to call Barbara. To my surprise, Barbara is very glad to hear from me. Everything was over and forgotten between us, and she invited me over to the Chelsea apartment to visit her. Marvelous!

I arrived at the Chelsea to see Barbara and her daughter again. I had flashbacks of our life together as I walked into the apartment. It is pleasantly good to speak with her and be in her presence again. Barbara is an amazingly beautiful girl. As we began conversing, I remembered her personality that I fell in love with. However, this time, we are just friends. I told Barbara that I went back to Brooklyn when we broke-up, but I am now looking for an apartment in the city. I told her that I'm again making good money working with Joey Dee. Barbara told me that one of her girlfriend's has a nice boyfriend who is also looking for an apartment. She suggested that maybe I could share a place with him. She said that if we put the two rent monies together, then we good get a very beautiful apartment. "I don't really like living with someone else", I replied. She said, Yea, I could understand that, but look at it this way. You know how difficult it is finding a reasonably priced apartment in Manhattan. But there are quite a few expensive places to rent. You and he could pool your money together and live in a fine apartment." I told her that it is a thought. She said, "If you want, I'll set-up a meeting with him, and you could see what he is like. I met him and he seemed like a very nice guy. I won't say anything to him about the two of you living together. I'll make it very informal. Meet him, see what you think and go from there. I told Barbara that this sounded OK and that it would be nice. Barbara had to go to work as a top-less dancer, and she said that she would call Fina to let me know when we all would go out for breakfast.

I contacted Fina, after visiting with Barbara again, and told her how it all went. Fina said, "See, I told you she would be happy to see you again." I told Fina that I felt very good that Barbara and I are friends again. I thanked Fina and told her that I loved her very much. Fina replied, "I hope to see you soon. I love and miss you also very much."

A few days later, I brought the new girl that I met at the Jersey club to meet Fina. Fina was happy to see me again and to meet my new girlfriend. Fina told me that she fallen in love with Mitch Ryder. She told me that she and Mitch have a wonderful relationship. However, Mitch is touring a lot, and they get together ever time he is in New York. Then Fina gave me a key to her apartment. She knew I hated Brooklyn so she gave me a key and told me that I could stay at her apartment anytime I wanted. Wow! Then Fina had to leave for a dance class, and told me to lock up the apartment when I left. I gave Fina a big hug and told her that she is most definitely, a sweet and thoughtful beautiful person. With Fina gone, my girlfriend and I made love in her apartment.

That evening after the gig, I returned to Fina's apartment to sleep. Fina and I shared her bed. She made me feel very comfortable and welcomed. We are good friends so sex doesn't even enter the picture. The next morning, Fina made me breakfast and we shared a wonderful day together catching-up on each other's lives.

A few days later, I returned back to Brooklyn. My Cousin Joey had moved into an apartment next door to Joey's parent's house with his wife and kid. Their apartment is across the street from my house. Joey invited me to dinner. After dinner, Joey showed me a little room that he had set-up in his basement. It is a little room in his basement especially for listening to music and smoking pot. We entered this little room and he rolled a joint and told me that he is going to turn me on to this new album of a new group. He told me that since I liked horns, this album is going to blow me away. I immediately thought of, "Blood, Sweat & Tears." I didn't want to tell him that I had heard it a while ago so I just went along with his hospitality. We began to smoke. We got real high from the pot and then he put on the album. As soon as the album started, the hair on my head had stood up. I could not believe what I was hearing. There was so much happening in the music and the horns were so rich and clear that I was completely floored. I thought that Blood Sweat and Tears had released a new album, but this sound, arrangements, and vocals are a thousand times better. I asked him in awe who this group is, and he replied, "Chicago Transit Authority." I said whom the fuck are they. He said that he didn't know anything about them except that they were a new pop-jazz group. The album is a double album. For the next two straight hours I remained in a trance listening to every cut of the albums. Cousin Joey had freaked me out. He had turned me on to an album of my dreams. I had never heard anything like this before. Then I had to say goodnight and when I left my Cousin's house I was hypnotized for three days. I couldn't get the sound out of my head and it opened up a new world for thinking of music. My mind had changed forever. I quickly bought the album the following day.

A few days later, Barbara called Fina and set-up an appointment to have breakfast with her girlfriend´s boyfriend. We arranged to all meet at a restaurant near Fina's apartment. Barbara's girlfriend´s boyfriend seemed very nice. He dressed very well and he definitely had a very clean appearance. His name is Raymond. After bullshiting with him for about two hours, I told him that I was looking for apartment and that I heard he was also. I asked him what he thought of the idea that we both live together. He said it is a good idea. Therefore, I told him to start looking for a place. After a few days, he called me at Fina's house where I was staying, and told me that he found a real nice apartment on 85th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Ave. It is a beautiful area and a great location. He went on to say that the apartment is a duplex. Chazz and Raymonds shared 85 Street apartmentIt had two floors with a spiral staircase. It rents for five hundred dollars a month. Quite expensive, but we would only be paying two hundred and fifty dollars a month each. It sounded great. Therefore, we both went to see it and to meet with the landlord. The landlord lived above the apartment and he occupied the top three floors of the Brownstone building. It was newly renovated and it had natural brick walls. The apartment is beautiful and it would be nice living close to Central Park. The owner liked us very much so we gave him the first and last month's rent. One thousand dollars! I put in five and Ray put-in five. That was it! We each received a key. It is all set! Since it is now the middle of the month, the landlord/owner told us that we could move in immediately rent-free until the first of the month, and we did. Once again, I had my own apartment in the city. I celebrated by having sex with my new girlfriend on the first night. Raymond is very nice and polite. After a few weeks we were getting along just fine.

I called my mother in Brooklyn to tell her that I now had my own place in Manhattan. She wasn't thrilled of course. I asked her if anyone called the house for me. She said a guy named Ritchie and she proceeded to give me his phone number. There are so many people I know named Ritchie that I wondered who it was. Therefore, I immediately called the number. It is Susan´s best friend Ritchie. The funny guy I met while playing out in the Hampton's. I still had a crush on Susan and I was interested in knowing what she was doing. Ritchie is funny as usual. We talked for a while and I told him what was happening. I told him that I have a new apartment, and I'm playing with Joey Dee and the Starliters. He became impressed and I hoped that he would relate that to Susan. I asked him how Susan is doing. He said that Susan is still living in the same place with the same guy. He also said that he had heard that I got up-set with Susan and that I called her a housing prostitute. He thought that was very funny when she told him. He told me that I had a lot of balls for saying that to her. Ritchie then said that he was going to come to the club to see me perform. I told him that it would be great to see him again.

Jim Gregory, the bass player, lived on 73rd Street and Amsterdam Ave. I made arrangements for Jim to pick me up every night and to drop me off at home. I would chip-in for gas. That was something I needed to settle, because I had no way of getting to the gig. Susan's friend Ritchie came to see me at the club, and he was very impressed with the band. After the gig, Ritchie and I went to breakfast, and he wound-up sleeping over at my apartment. The following day, I introduced Ritchie to Raymond, and they both got along fine. Raymond came home to change clothes and immediately left. I told Ritchie that Raymond is very strange. He is never here. He comes home to change clothes and splits. It's wonderful that I have the apartment all to myself, but I don't know where he disappears to. I think he is probably sleeping with his girlfriend. I don't know, but I'm not complaining. Then I asked Ritchie if he wanted to go visit Susan. Ritchie drove a Volkswagen Beetle and he said, "You want me to give her a call?" I replied, "Yes, see if she is home and we will go visit her. Let's see what she says." Ritchie proceeded to contact Susan and she said that it would be all right for us to visit her for a few moments. Ritchie is the key that connects Susan and I. Through him I will always be in touch with Susan. We arrived at Susan's boyfriend's house. I played it cool, but as soon as Susan saw me again I could tell that she wanted me. She gets very horny when she sees me. She is still angry about what I had said to her, but since Ritchie is there, she also played it cool. It is apparent that she wanted to see me again. That is the reason why she said it is OK for us to visit her for a while. We hung out with her for a little bit. Ritchie made us both laugh a lot. Before we left, I told Susan that I now have a beautiful apartment near Central Park and she now has an excuse to leave her boring boyfriend. Susan punched me in the arm. Then, Ritchie and I proceeded to roam around the Village on foot taking in the sights. Then we decided to visit Fina. I still had her keys. Fina was home and doing great. She told me that Mitch Ryder was in town for a week. I asked her how it was going and she said that they were doing fine and that she likes him very much. I inquired about Mitch's career. I told Fina that he never released another record after the first album. Fina said that the Detroit Wheels had broken up, and Mitch was performing on his own doing pretty well. She told me that he loved her to death. I returned Fina's keys and Ritchie and I returned to my place and made dinner. After dinner, Ritchie and I decided to go see the movie Easy Rider. The beauty of traveling throughout the country overwhelmed us. Not having a care in the world, even though the ending was violent and sad.

Meanwhile, Joey Dee had hooked-up with some people who wanted to make a record. After Joey Dee made the final arrangements, the recording people came backstage to talk with the band. They wanted the band to sign a recording contract. We asked what would be in the contract. They said that the contracts were too technical to convey, but that they were going to make us stars. All the band members broke-out laughing. They record people replied, "Yea, we are going to make you stars." We all laughed even harder. They asked, "What's so funny?" I told him, "Do you want to know how many people in my career had giving me that line." The guy replied, "You wait and see." Anyway, it was set with Joey Dee and the band had to all report on Monday to this law office to sign the recording contracts. Jim Gregory and I both went to the office together. I really didn't want to sign any contracts, but Jim Gregory told me not to worry, because he had signed many contracts. He didn't give a shit as to what the contracts contained. Then Jim reiterated, "Hey, I've signed so many contracts that one more isn't going to hurt no matter what is says." Therefore, we went in the office and signed the contracts without even looking at them.

A few days later, we went into the studio to see what we could do. I immediately became impressed, because the producer is Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons. He is a really wonderful guy and extremely professional. He wanted us to record a song we were doing in our repertoire called, "Big City Hick." We recorded it, and Lois sang the shit out of it. We recorded the song a few times and then we waited for the next move. We were all sitting around bullshiting when I heard Bob Gaudio say to Joey Dee, "Do you have any other tunes?" I quickly jumped-up and said, "I had a tune." Bob asked me play it for him. I got very excited and picked-up my guitar and showed him the song I wrote while I was with Variations on a Theme called, "How Can I Believe." Bob immediately liked it. Bob began to rearrange the song, and I tried to guide him by saying, "No, the chord is not like that...it goes like this," and I tried to show him the style in the way that I wrote it. Bob replied, "OK! Maybe we will try it later." Then Bob quickly ran the tape to play a little mix of Big City Hick. We all listened and it sounded great. Then we had to leave the studio to start work in the club.

It was on our way to work that I realized that I had made the same mistake again. I should have not said anything to Bob Gaudio. I feel that he is not going to consider my song, because I interrupted him and told him that the chord structure goes like this. I've should have not said a fucking word. I should agree with everything. Now I feel like I blew it again. People in this business are so touchy and temperamental. If you say the wrong thing, or say something in the wrong way, it turns them off immediately. Ego plays a big role in this business. Here, a guitar player...a nobody...is telling Bob Gaudio how to arrange. I guess that's what it seemed like. Damn, I did it again. I had flashbacks when I was with Ralphy's brother Joey and he told Phil Specter the same thing. "No," he said, "Do it like this." The same fucking thing! Why didn't I remember? What's most important is that they do your song no matter how they do it. What a fool I am. Again, I am curled up into depression. Fuck! I can't seem to stop making the same mistake. It is very difficult not being yourself.

It took me two days to finally get over that. I had seen Joey do it to Phil Specter and now I did it to Bob Gaudio. I'll just have to chalk it up as a continuing education. What else can I do? Now I believe that I had finally learned. I am never going to do that again. I hope that in my future life, I will have another opportunity. Please God give me another opportunity!

The following week, Joey Dee and the Starliters will begin a new gig at a club in the Bronx called The Robin Hoy. It had a classy Chinese restaurant in the basement and a classy bar/club on the main floor. The last club we performed at appeared to me to be a kind of a Mafia Club. This new club is definitely a Mafia club. You can tell the way people look and dress. The people wore expensive suits and dresses with mink coats, and they didn't smile very much. However, we put on a great show. A few nights later, Gregg Diamond the drummer didn't show up for work. He had apparently quit the band unexpectedly. We had to perform without a drummer for about an hour until Joey Dee got a replacement. The new drummer had finally arrived. He is an older guy, but he is fucking great. I never heard a drummer like this. I think he might have been technically faster than Tommy Napoli, but actually, Tommy is still the best. This is because Tommy has a great deal of taste and finesse with the drums. Anyway, while we were waiting for this new drummer to arrive I had over heard a conversation with Joey Dee who was sitting at a table talking to these really heavy-duty looking Mafia guys. I heard the Mafia guy say to Joey Dee don't worry we will break his legs and he will never play drums again. I got very scared and concerned for Gregg. Then about an hour later the replacement drummer showed up and while we were all downstairs in the basement dressing room I went over to Joey Dee and said that I heard that they were going to fuck Gregg up. Joey did not reply. I said to Joey don't let them do it. It's all right. We are better off without him. We should be glad we got rid of him. Joey was silent putting on his makeup. I said to Joey again, talk to them.... tells them not to do it.... it's not worth it ...let him meet his own fate.... It will be better that way. Joey then said I'd talk to them. Later on Joey assured me that he called them off. I felt so much better. I feel as though I had saved Gregg Diamond's life.

The midget in the band is very funny, and Joey Dee always picked on him playing practical jokes. You had to laugh when you were with Joey Dee. He is always fooling around except when he was performing. I didn't like performing in these Mafia type clubs with the band. The people who frequent these places are too serious and you had to be very careful in what you say and do. One thing for sure, don't come on to any girl in the club, it could mean sudden death. Gregg Diamond almost got killed because he tried to leave Joey without a notice. Therefore, I quickly became disillusioned with the group. I had nowhere else to go. I loved the band and I loved Joey and Lois very much, but I didn't like the gigs. It was Joey Dee's birthday and the Mafia club had decided to throw us a party. All the heavy Mafia people were there to join in the festivities. The club is packed with five hundred dollar suits and mink coats.

After we performed the second set, they cleared the small dance floor in front of the stage to set-up a table. Then the manager of the club brought out this tremendous cake. This cake was about three Feet Square and about two and a foot high. I had never seen a cake like this. The inscription on the cake read, "To Joey Dee and the Starliters for one great month of Performance, Happy Birthday." Then the manager of the club took out this big knife, and made a speech with Joey Dee standing by his side. All the band members gathered around the cake. After the speech, the manager asked Joey Dee to cut the first piece. Joey Dee cut out the first big piece of cake and put it into a paper dish. Joey Dee then put down the knife and picked-up a plastic fork. Joey turned to look at me, smiled with body language, and made a sign to Frankie the midget to come over to him to receive the first piece of cake. Frankie, thinking something was up immediately said, "No," with a smirk. Joey said, "No Frankie," meaning that he had nothing to worry about, "Come hear." Frankie was very reluctant, but proceeded over to Joey, not trusting him. Then Joey Dee smacked the first piece of cake right into Frankie's face. Everyone started to laugh. In a split second, Frankie the midget, blinded by the cake covering his face and furious that Joey Dee made a fool out of him, went to grab a handful of cake to get Joey back, and he slipped on the cake particles that were on the floor. As he tried to regain his balance by holding-on to the table, the table gave way and the entire cake, smashed onto the floor. Frankie still desperate to get Joey finally grabbed a handful and threw it missing Joey and hitting a Mafia guy on his $500.00 suit. All hell broke loose. Joey Dee grabbed another handful of cake and before everyone knew it, everybody is throwing cake. It is like a scene from The Three Stooges. Even the Mafia women, in their mink coats, joined in and were throwing cake. It became a mad house. All the heavy Mafia men ran back to the bar area and it seemed that they are reaching for their guns. While everyone is throwing cake at everyone, I am scared out of my wits. It is very funny at the moment as the Mafia ladies were picking up cake off the floor and throwing it. The whole throwing event lasted for about seven minutes. When it was over, I had finally thought and realized what had happened. The entire band area, the walls, the tables, the expensive drapes and rugs were drenched in cake. No one ever tasted the cake. It was all over the place everywhere you looked. None of the Mafia men were smiling. To the contrary they were very pissed.

I ran downstairs to the dressing room thinking that bullets were about to be flying. Joey Dee is laughing like crazy, and as scared as I was, I am laughing a bit also. I then said to Joey, who is wiping the cake off his face, "There going to kill us.... they are not going to let us get away with this?" Joey laughed in his funny smirk and replied, "I don't know?" I told Joey that I am not going to return upstairs. "Joey said not to worry. I yelled to Joey, "Don't worry? We just ruined their entire fucking club." Joey laughing again said, "Yea, I know!" I said to Joey, "You're a crazy mother fucker. I'm scared shit." Joey continued chuckling and he made me laugh again. I thought that if Joey isn't worrying, then I why am I worrying. Certainly we could not finish performing the night. We all waited for Joey to go back upstairs and then we sneaked-out through the restaurant area, and went home. Joey Dee and Lois stayed behind. We all were laughing on the way to return home. Joey Dee called me the next day to tell me that it cost him $2,000.00 in cleaning bills, but that everything with the club was OK. He also told me that we are going to Montreal, Canada to do a weekend gig. Some of the band members wanted a raise. They decided to approach Joey Dee for a raise when we began our gig in Montreal. Joey Dee refused and thus it began abhorrence within the band. When we returned to New York, Jim Gregory was the first one to quit, and the Starliters began to fall apart. I waited patiently in my apartment in Manhattan for Joey Dee to pull things back together again.

I looked in the mirror and realized that I am beginning to lose my hair. This made me very upset. There is definitely a significant loss of hair. I knew it was that Adorn hair spray. As I examined my scalp more closely, I became shocked to see so much hair gone. There are many open areas in my scalp. I knew that it was all a mater of time before it would be all gone. I was not going to use hair sprays ever again. I made sure that I cleaned my hair regularly, and I hoped that I could prevent any further hair loss. However, this is a going to be a big problem. If I loose my hair my entire life will change. I will not attract the girls anymore, and it will make my life in music very difficult. Plus, if I loose my hair I will look very much older. Depression!



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