Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Rock & Roll Dreams
I had just left a Moody Blues concert and despite the fact they were still going at it some 45 years after they had started they were still as good as ever. They really brought back the old times and now I heard the Beach Boys were getting together for a concert tour. My blood was still rushing through my veins as I pulled into the parking space of my favorite Pub. I entered and was glad to see there was room at the bar. I pulled up a stool and the bartender knew my order, Scotch Rocks, Dewers. As I sipped the and let the great cool taste slip down my throat my mind was drifting back to a time when The Blues and The Beach Boys were young and just beginning to taste the glories of Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll. Around a little suburb of New York City there was a group composed of four young guys called New York's Unemployed who were starting to make inroads around New York City. They were primarily a cover band but they were working on some originals. They had gotten together when they were in first term high school. In a way it was an odd grouping. Jude played bass and sang. The other front man was guitarist Jerry who also sang. Jerry's brother Gary was the Drummer and the Mike, the pretty boy of the group who attracted the most girls but certainly left plenty for the other guys, played keyboard. They all sang. They had used Jude's parents house to rehearse and it was plenty noisy. They had to quit at ten by order of the father, but the place rocked from 7 till 10.
I knew Jude's parents that is how I got to know a little about the formation of New York's Unemployed. Actually I was in love with Jude's mother but she was unresponsive to any advances I might have made. The father was a crazy guy that I tried to avoid so my love went unrequited. Jude's name was bestowed on him before it was popular and many had asked the father why he picked a name that would subject a son of his to ridicule to which he replied, "If he's bothered by people I guess he will just have to kick the shit out of them.", really nice and genteel wouldn't you say. I just avoided him whenever I could but I sure loved his wife. Any way sometime in the mid 1970's the group was finished rehearsing and got themselves a manager, a big, 400 pound, black guy named Tony who was always full of good vibes and cheer. He got them started with their bookings. They played New York clubs, Bayside clubs and built a following of some 400 fans. Then Big Tony's weight got the best of him and he died so they had to do the bookings themselves which was not as easy a job as it looked. They were getting good gigs, like Camouflage's booking, opening for Cindi Lauper and rubbing elbows with the likes of Kiss and such. I really didn't know a helluva lot of detail about them because as I mentioned before I was really interested in Jude's mother and I went to see them only in order to get close to her. Unfortunately she didn't seem to get the ideas I was throwing her way but I appreciated the crumbs like her bright laugh and the way she had a sexy gleam in her eye without even realizing it. But I digress. I nodded to the barkeep and he gave me another Scotch, Rocks. My point is they were getting so good that even their rendition of "The House of The Rising Sun" was better than The Animals who had the hit record. They figured, as did their fans and guys like myself that they were going to hit it big, all they needed was a break. They were enjoying every moment of the ride.
Jude with his long hair with the blond streak had the girls climbing all over him as did Jerry but unfortunately they were kooky broads and led to nothing but trouble. Mike, the pretty boy, had his share of loving but his gals were much quieter and less trouble. Gary was in love with his girl and they stayed together through all this from high school until marriage. This is not to say they were not making out, they were! One gig I attended they reminded me of a Beatles's movie because at every break, if I would go to a corner to be alone, or step out side for a breath, they were there in a deep embrace and soulful kiss. They married. Serves them right! They didn't dabble much in drugs maybe a little pot but their drug of choice was alcohol and they enjoyed it.
While they were riding the peak of their success they had reached a fork in the road forcing them to choose going out on the road which even the Beatles had to do before they hit it. There was a problem, Gary couldn't see leaving his love behind. Jerry and Gary had to help support their mother and road gigs never paid much neither did dreams. Mike met a girl of his dreams or should I say a slighter older lady by some 15 years and was deep in the throes of love and lust. So it was decided that they would retire for a few months to the studio to work on originals, come back out and if they were still knocking them dead then maybe they could consider the road. Unfortunately, the fans love had died down during their hiatus and nothing was clicking for them so they agreed to a breakup and pursue an adult life. One that was less colorful but steadier for a life with responsibilities.
By this time I just drifted away from the group, partly because there was other music to be heard and partly because Jude's mother was not singing the same tune I was whistling. I had heard that Jude was still living as though Haight-Ashbury was going to come back. But eventually he got a job as a head honcho somewhere and is making tons of bread. But who really knows, he never really seemed to be the type of guy who would settle down. Jerry met and married a real Puerto Ricana beauty who gave him stability to have a very successful business. Gary is happily married. Carla and he still make out furiously. Haven't heard about Mike and his slightly older wife. Hope they are as blissful as they were when they first met and gravity hadn't taken over yet.
The Bartender was going to pour another drink but I was driving and shook my head no. I left him $50 which should include a hefty tip. Boy have things changed since the Moody Blues inspired me with Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, back then five bucks would have covered two Dewers and a good tip. I got in the car, started it up and put on CBS FM, 101.1, to listen to some of the music from the 1960's to 1990's. As I started to pull into traffic, I thought "Those were the days!". And then I wondered what ever happened to Jude's beautiful mother? I wonder if she would remember me? But what the hell I better forget that because her crazy husband is probably still around. But even better I'm going to live in the present and call that beautiful lady I met just a short time ago and see if I can revive some Sex, Love and Rock & Roll now!