Don’t Give Up the Ship


I brought Peter Goutzos over to Project Sound to add some percussion tracks to the songs I’m working on. With “Train Sleep” (an old song penned by my friend Charlie Esposito) Peter added a glass washboard that I think he used finger picks on. When the sound of the washboard comes in I picture girls tap dancing in a rhythm used frequently by Adam & the Ants. He also added a cabasa to the end of the song to create kind of a train moving along. A cabasa is a hand-held percussion instrument that is basically a steel ball chain wrapped around a cylindrical wooden block with a handle. As you turn the block, the chain ripples a metallic sound that is similar to, but more controlled than a maraca.

Peter also worked on “(Let’s Go Down to) Dogtown,” adding some marching snare, but the results were questionable. Apparently my basic rhythm guitar tracks didn’t follow a click track and the tempo was not exact (old band members used to sarcastically call me “the rhythm king”) so we’re working on a new solution to get the track sounding better.

Peter played in the Vinny Band back in the ’80s Boston music scene. But recently I found out that earlier on he was the drummer for Twelve 76—a ’70s Boston soul band on Critique Records that didn’t open for, but headlined over the J. Geils Band and Aerosmith, and played with Sly & the Family Stone, Chicago, and the Rolling Stones. For a sampling of the band, listen to “The Way You Make Me Feel” on YouTube. After many major concerts (they didn’t play small clubs), Twelve 76 suffered drug and management problems.

Jason is the owner and engineer at Project Sound in Haverhill, MA. He recently married animation artist Tiffany Bethel. Their wedding and reception was exceptional—the main dinner dish was boiled lobster! The reception felt so much like the last wedding I attended (Kier Byrnes’ wedding), I swore the same people were there. With one exception—Chief Kooffreh—a recording artist that is totally unique. Every one of his songs start with something like, “This is Chief Kooffreh thanking millions of my fans.” But there will be more on the Chief in a future issue.

The most memorable part of my day at Jason’s wedding came early on. I arrived at the huge Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport one and a half hours early (I don’t like arriving late). Since I had Googled the place and looked at the satellite view, I knew there was a large pool behind the main building. In my car, I changed into my swimming trunks and headed straight for a swim. The salt water pool was the perfect temperature. There were a lot of folks poolside. Mostly older couples, some younger, and a few kids. Waiters would sporadically make the rounds to keep everyone happy with fancy drinks. I decided to occupy my time searching for the prettiest woman there. There were a few candidates, but she arrived after about 10 minutes—with her husband, and sat over in the corner. She wasn’t like a cover girl model—just a woman with a lot of natural beauty—and she looked perfect in her black bikini. I observed her discretely while floating in the buoyant salt water. When I exited the pool, I put on my very wide-rim woven hat and wrapped myself in a blue towel. I walked over to the edge of the pool area to take in the view of the stunning Maine coast–which also meant I was within 10 feet of the sun-bathing pretty woman, but my back was to her. As I turned to return to my sun-chair, she caught my eye, and the corners of her mouth rose—then she lightly spoke the words, “I love your hat.” That was it—my day was made. She passed me a few minutes later and gave me a bigger smile. I could have followed her into the bar area where she was headed without her husband, but I was already satisfied with the smiles and the little bit of communication. It doesn’t take much to please me.

I played in Mr. Timothy Charles Duane from 1969 to 1979 and then we did reunion shows over the years. This video of “Holy Moley,” a song I do in my live solo set now, is from a reunion at CHARLIE ESPOSITO’s wedding on Martha’s Vineyard on 6/7/08. The video link can be found at Alimentum, the Literature of Food.

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