Herein lies the recorded history of my various and sundry attempts to play the guitar in public.
But first...we need to start with my influences and specifically a certain encounter I had with none other than Mr. Gene Simmons of Kiss and Mr. Geddy Lee of Rush.
Sometime in 1975 or 1976 Kiss came to Port Huron, Michigan to play a concert with Rush as the opening act. Well one of my friends from High School, Doug Gribbons (I worked at the High School Radio station and Arby's with Doug), ran into Kiss' tour manager at the drug store and somehow talked his way into getting an interview after the concert. I was covering the concert as a yearbook photographer, so Doug suggested that I accompany him to interview. Unfortunately, I shot all my film during the show and had nothing left for the interview, like I would have been allowed to use it anyway, but Doug still let me hang with him.
In one sense, what you are about to hear is very, very painful and tediously slow, Here are 2 accomplished rock stars putting up with 2 high school geeks that don't realize how far over their heads they have gotten. So there is a good bit of Gene really poking fun at us. But, he was also very warm and gracious and I think shared some of his heart with us. As for me, I say like 3 words the whole time (I'm right behind you Doug). Now, without further adieu, the Gene Simmons Interview
Lake Superior State College, 1978
Dance Little Sister Dance/Bitch Anyone remember Chuck Barris and the Gong Show? Well my our student government decided to sponsor a Gong Show in the school auditorium. A group of us got together and got the job of warm-up or opening act. I wish to emphasize that we were NOT contestants. 2 things stick out in my mind. The first the the Professors who were to judge the show sitting in the first row with their hands over their ears. The second was the look of the darkened auditorium and all those cigarette lighters raised in the air. Way cool. Sorry about the sound quality. We only had one microphone and I elected to position it on my side of the stage. I'm on the bass guitar, so you are going to hear a lot of bass.
Port Huron, MI, 1980 This session was recorded in the summer of 1980. The only reason I remember this that I got my cassette recorder for an early graduation present in May. I also distinctly remember spilling a vodka-tonic into it this very evening. It's amazing that any of this ever got recorded. Mona's parents were away for the weekend and we set-up in their living room.
Aint Talkn 'bout Love Yeah, we can butcher Van Halen with the best of them. That's Jon on vocals (and drums of course) and Mona on keys (if you can call the family Wurlitzer keys)
Babe I Love You An ever so touching duet by Jon and Mona.
Cocaine What can I say? My second best lead guitar work ever.
Just What I Needed That's Cheese, Jon's brother on vocals. And of course me screwing up the lead part.
Tie your Mother Down I actually thought we did this OK. That's me kinda shouting the vocals in the background.
The Geneva Sessions, circa 1983
Rick's Jam. I just love this one. My buddy Rick made it up (I'm pretty sure) and we loved to jam with it. Believe it our not, that's me on lead. Rest assured that will never happen again.
Rick's Jam 1 This is another one of Rick's gems. That's me not being able to hold a steady rhythm
Rick's Jam 2 This is yet another one of Rick's gems. Had the whole band cook'n on this one. Too bad we couldn't pull off the ending.
Dave's Jam I don't remember much about the origin of this one. As they say, it is what it is. No I didn't have a whammy bar on my guitar. The Ibenez Flying-V you see pictured in the back ground had a VERY weak neck. I just needed to lean on it a bit and it would drop a third or so.
Dave's Jam 1 I vaguely recall messing around on the bass and coming up with the bass line and Rick added the rhythm part on the acoustic.
Twist the Knife This was destined to be a top 10 hit. I had just gone through a particularly tough breakup, one where I had really been play for a fool. Hence I was dealing with a little angst. There are actually lyrics to this one. The chorus goes "You twisted the knife into my heart. It could have been easy but you made it hard." I'm sure there is nothing to be said about why I remember the lyrics 20+ years later.
Suspended in E I've been mussing around with this one for quite a while. It needs a "C section" but so far that eludes me. Also something that eludes me is the ability to concentrate and play a simple pattern for more the 2 minutes with out my brain or fingers going to sleep. You'll hear what I mean. I won't quit my day job.
House of the Rising Sun So What ever made me think that I could sing? Not sure. Some of being off key is due to a cassette deck, which I used for overdubbing, that couldn't hold speed any better than I can hold rhythm. Sigh.
In the End Well technically, this was recorded in my living room, not the basement. That's my wonderful wife on backing vocals. I'm not exactly sure why, but to recorder this, we played and sang into a speakerphone and left it on voice mail. I then put it on cassette from the phone with one of those suction cup deals. The most amazing part is that this actually was saved on the voicemail switch from 1991 to about 2003. Pretty amazing