Fifteen Years

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I'm not dead...I think I'll go for a walk December 1980...
At 15 years old, I was having a hard time in high school. I'd lost most old friends and new ones didn't come easily. My big brother liked to tell me all the bad things that other kids said about me. I don't know if he said it often, but it's funny how you remember one bad word among a dozen good words. I was so quiet they thought I was weird...which was true, and I was also sensitive and insecure. I wasn't happy at Mater Dei High School. And then, on December 8, John Lennon was murdered in New York City. It was a very sad autumn.

Tiger, the original of the 1977 Tiger and Fluffy pair, was living with his nephew (named Lucky)and having his way with him. Lucky ran away, and in June 1980, Tiger was found dead on Middle Mount Vernon Road. We soon acquired a cream colored, long hair male kitten. Mom and Dad wanted to name him Fluffy, as we had named our previous cat. No one ever decided on a name but our last two cats, according to Mom and Dad, were Fluffy. They were never very good with naming things...did I tell you I had two sisters named Brenda? Grrr...I called the cat 'Cat'.

Tom and I had gone to full-time recording at his house. Neither one of us could sing or play anything, but we wrote very funny lyrics for old songs (mostly Beatles), faked what we could, and when we couldn't, simply played the old track in the background and tried to drown out the original singers.

Despite making some absolutely horrible recordings, we used a few innovative ideas. Originally using a Sears catalog and small baseball bat as percussion, I discovered one day that dropping a metal butter knife into a metal sink made a heavy beat sound. We had to do something different anyway...we'd destroyed all our Sears catalogs. So we found Tom's old metal garbage can and that became our signature beat. Later we branched out, using a tupperware container filled with Lego blocks, and a butter knife.

Tom's portable tape recorder had lost its ability to erase so we used this for creating double-tracked pieces, even creating our own screaming, applauding fans with just our four hands. We may have one of the few recordings ever made of throwing rotten fruit at a tape recorded during a rainstorm, or drop-kicking a metal garbage can into a fireplace. I later built a very crude electronic synthesizer using my knowledge of electronics which was used briefly in one of our songs. During the entire time we wrote seven songs, none of which you'd want to play for friends. When one would get accidentally heard in my house, Dad would tell me I was crazy, and so would my brother. So we kept them to ourselves.

The first 'song', just Tom and I banging on his piano and going up and down the scale, was called 'Sukiyaki Face'. But in Tom's intro he referred to it as 'Chicken Chowmein'. It grew out of a favorite thing we used to do, which involved playing a sappy ballad and overlaying it with loud, disruptive noises. Due to Tom's defective recorder, 'Sukyaki Face' had an interesting transition to the Beatles' instrumental 'Flying'. The second was Tom's, called 'Can't Do!', an attempt at Rap, before anyone knew what Rap was. I hated it and you can hear the anger in my voice. It was my idea to add the piece at the end where fans revolt and throw rotten fruit at us. Then I wrote 'Michael Stomp', a dance where someone named Michael is trampled to death. I used a metal butter knife on Tom's guitar and he played metal garbage can drums. It ends with a unique Bugs Bunny-ish finale. Our first 'real' song was taken from an insult Tom made to his sister. One day he shouted,"You look like a dead ape!" I liked the phrase and we wrote a song around it with Tom playing guitar for real, and me singing and clapping my hands. Then there was 'The Girl Next Door' which was guitar and me singing, recorded in a concrete room in his basement which we dubbed the 'echo chamber'. Tom later erased it. It's gone. Then, January 27, 1984, we did 'What Am I To Do?' using my synthesizer...a country-ish song about a whore, basically...I played sythesizer, sang, and Tom played and sang backing vocals. There were a few other silly things we recorded but I'm running out of room! It was a fun time...we loved the Beatle's so much I think Tom was a Lennonish person to my McCartney. His voice was raspy,

lyrics darker, and I was more upbeat in my lyrics and vocals. After John Lennon died I became absolutely nuts over the Beatles and would often unknowingly compare ourselves to them. Our only fan was Tom's cat, Patches, who eventually attacked Tom's stereo speaker one day because she'd had enough. Patches had moved on to a more sophisticated sound.
Hi can't see me...I'm a space line.