Neil Diamond made me leave Long Island, but it was Baz and Frisch-O that
brought me to Rochester.
A mile and a half walk home brought me nightly escape from the drunken refrain
of “Sweet Caroline”. As a dive bar full of high school and college buddies howled
their ‘expletive deleted’ substitution for the zillionth go round of ‘so good, so
good, so good!’ I’d slide out the back door into the warm summer night and
wonder at the irony of swearing the refrain. Did it mock the song? Did it mock my
friends? Did anyone ever stop to think about the meaning of what we were
doing? 5, 6, 7 nights a week of beer, darts, jukebox favorites and endless chatter,
punctuated by furtive trips out to the parking lot. It was an infinite loop winding
down into a rabbit hole, with good old Neil as the soundtrack, the endless
refrain… ‘so good, so good, bleep you!’ Once home I’d get out my guitar and play
the rest of the night away, wondering if any of that gang of mine would hear the
call and heed it.. ‘let’s not just listen to music, let’s make it’.
So Thanksgiving 1984 finds me in Rochester NY. Baz was in school and had an
off campus place he and his roomies called ‘The Palace’. Frisch-O was in
Henrietta and working one of his first newspaper gigs. Can’t recall if we had a
dinner anywhere, but they had a band and that was the feast. Within six months I
loaded my cat, guitar and mullet up into my ’76 Chevy along with Brother Tim
and moved in with the band. These were the friends that heard the call, ‘let’s
make it’. So we did, and still do, make it. And that has made all the difference in
my life. I am ever grateful for the deep, abiding friendship of Baz and Frisch-O.
All accomplishments in my music flow directly from this source.
Next: Chapter 13% or how some things came to pass while others passed by.