“Ground Rules”

I am going to continue with the story later on in this post, but in the meantime want to give you a greater insight into what’s happening to me as I write this stuff. If you’re not particularly interested in that, feel free to skip to the first photo below.

What’s been most surprising to me, on top of how many memories are coming back in vivid detail, is that as I think about and write these things, I am also re-living the emotions I had at the time in my body. In the same way the human mouth salivates when it thinks of food that isn’t even there, my body is having a physical response (both positive and negative) to the emotions that I experienced 30 years ago as a teenager and young man.

When I wrote about the letter Sue Brennan sent to break up with me when I was living in London at age 18, an event that also helped kicked off my musical infatuation with The Smiths, my body felt the pain all over again, just as my body felt the same sense of delight I experienced in 1986 when I saw them perform for the first time ever.

This “phenomenon” is causing me to not be fully present in other areas of my life, which needless-to-say demand a great deal of my time and energy. For that reason,  after this post I am going to lay off it for a couple days, then resume early next week when I feel like my head (and heart) has stopped spinning.

There is just so, so, so much to this story. I can’t believe how much time it’s already taken me to get through just the tip of the iceberg. Alot of what I am going to be writing about, you wouldn’t believe happened unless you were actually there. Some of you know I also do some “creative writing” on the internet that is mainly fiction-based but still twists the line between fiction and reality. I also employ liberal use of photos doctored in Photoshop in such writing adventures. I want to make myself absolutely clear (Dr. Reich reference for you PA friends). Everything I write about on this blog really happened. That’s why I am including the actual names of the actual people who were there in the stories. It’s not just for editorial color, it’s so they can back me up if anyone has any doubts that this shit is all true.

I will also be including as many photos, documents, and other items from the period that I still have, and can obtain from others. I was somewhat of a pack-rat back in the day, and saved ALL the Rake’s Progress stuff. People in those photos, and you know who you are, you have been warned. I will publish anything I have with the exception of sex/nudity, illegal drug use, or anything else that could potentially get myself or anyone else in a world of shit. That said, I hereby swear to abide by the following “ground rules” I set for myself when I began this project last week:

  1. Be kind. If someone was being a dick, it’s OK to call that out, but otherwise respect the fact that everybody was doing the best they could, in the best way they could at the time. Most importantly, this rule also applies to myself.
  2. Be completely honest. Tell the story as it happened. Reach out to others who were there to clarify details of events if necessary.
  3. Memory is one hell of a drug. People often have different recollections of the same exact events, especially those that happened 30 years ago. For that reason, I am telling this story from my own perspective. Period.
  4. I will not out anyone who is gay who is not openly gay.
  5. I will not publish any intimate details of my own sexual encounters (which doesn’t mean I won’t say who I had such encounters with) nor any things that anyone did that could get them into any possible trouble (and I define that VERY broadly), without first getting their written approval. If I am ever in doubt about if something I might write or post may potentially harm you, I will reach out to you first to discuss. I value your trust and will not betray that trust.

OK. So. Now that I got THAT part out a way, get a load of THIS whammy my mom sent over a few weeks ago:

co_op_city_timesAbove: An article written about me in the local paper, the Co-op City Times, in 1985. For you non-New Yorkers, Co-op City is the neighborhood I grew up in The Bronx. The gist of the article is true, but contains several inaccuracies. And that headline? Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break! Remember, the journalistic standards of the “Co-op City Times” had not yet risen to the level of their later glory years, when they would go on to win the Pulitzer several times over for their ground-breaking coverage of the “paving over the little league fields to make more parking spaces” scandal.

ossining_01Above: An early Rakes “rehearsal” in 1988, at my home in Ossining New York. Pictured (L to R) my roommate Jon Cohen, Tim, Gregg, Jessica the daughter of my upstairs Hatian neighbors, and myself. We did many such “rehearsals” at my place in those days, which invariably ended in many such morning scenes  as depicted in the photo below.


Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

Flash forwarding for a moment . . . to send my friends for whom this is the last “work day” of 2014, here is a gift for you – a track from our next-to-last recording sessions ever in 1995 that has never been heard before outside the “inner circle of the band”. You can listen below, or follow the link to listen and (gasp) download for free directly on Bandcamp where there are some “liner notes” as well.

And on that note, I leave you for a few days. For those of you that will be going offline for the holidays, catch you in the New Year. The rest of you, for goodness sake, stop reading this NOW and go have some fun with your various friends and  various families. now Git!!!!

Be back with you shortly.

NEXT–> Shameless namedropping in the service of “journalistic integrity.”


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