written circa 1980
Three years. THREE FUCKIN' YEARS! I could hardly believe it. Was it really that long? But there I was at the fourth annual Town Hall concert.
I still felt that excitement as I watched the roadies scurrying about readying the stage for the show. All those little red pilot lights glowing like knowing eyes back at the audience. Gary's imperial drum set perched atop the platform like waiting artillery. Dan's guitar on its stand like the crown jewels of the coronation. Jon's keyboards stacked up like midtown Manhattan. Julius's bass carrying no apparent mention of the thunder it promised. And Kurt's array of computers and mystery that no one could predict.
They had just spent three months recording their last album and this was the first concert in that time. I knew there would be some surprises.
"Shoot the Moon" started off the set as always with its crisp lines and sterling lyric as potent as ever. Dan was an urgent beast with his massive upper-body strength straining against the meek confines of his pink tee-shirt. Jon and Kurt matched each move instinctually and Julius played the entire song crouched in a catcher's position!
As they seamlessly segued into the next song, "The Serpent's Reply," my mind drifted back in time. Way back...
"Stu... Mr. Fine," my intercom was blinking.
"Yeah, what is it?"
"A Jon Ochshorn just dropped off a record he said you were expecting."
"Okay, bring it in."
My secretary walked in and dropped a small 45 on my desk. As she was walking out, my eyes followed the slim sculpture of her legs right up to the Jordache emblem. With a sigh, I sunk my thinning hairline back into the stack of paperwork set before me.
Before long, the graphics of the record just delivered caught my eye. I couldn't resist. Pushing the paper aside, I took out the record, popped an adaptor in the hole — and put the needle to it. My stereo was set loud and I was stunned when this sinuous synthesizer line came in followed by a full-blown band. It settled down into a slippery groove with some earthy vocals riding the crest. Then these Gregorian back-up vocals hailed in an unbelievable guitar solo and then the whole song went out like it came in. Wow!
I couldn't wait to hear the flip side. "After the Dance" it said. Well, so what it if started off with a squeaky bass drum. After all, this was just a demo. This was one hell of a catchy little ditty. I loved the melodic bridge and that girls from France thing in the middle. This band had some possibilities.
I called them up the following week and told them I liked what I heard. They invited me to one of their rehearsals. I accepted.
I don't know what possessed me, but I decided to drop acid right before boarding the train to New Rochelle. By the time we hit Mount Vernon, the windows were melting and the conductor looked like a horse. Luckily, I remembered to get out at the Pelham stop. They were on the platform waiting for me. Jon, Dan, Julius, and Kurt. I had met all except for Julius before. They said Gary, their new drummer, would meet us later. As we walked to the car, I couldn't help but notice what a good-looking crew this was. Even through the drug-induced haze, my good business instincts told me that here was some teen-idol potential.
When we got to the house, Jon and Kurt introduced me to their mother (Jon and Kurt were and still are brothers) whose house it was. She insisted on parking a cup of coffee in front of me to wash down some tasty but rather oily carrot cake. Forgetting the oil and remembering my buzz, I enjoyed seconds before we moved down to the basement where they rehearsed.
Gary arrived and after the formalities took his place behind the drums. They wasted no time and proceeded to run down their set.
My mind was going wild! The rich baritone and deep textures of their music encircled me with a warm glow while the ever astonishing rhythms conjured up images of high vertical spires breaking up smooth expanses of crushed green velvet.
Every bridge and chorus was a turn of a deep blue river set in afterglow with small shining metallic fish shooting parabolas like inverted pendulums.
They were like Homer's sirens beckoning. The music had a cool efficiency yet spoke with balls. They were at once distinct and yet everything.
I could hold out no longer. I rolled my head straight back and yelled, "STOP!"
They signed with us the following day.
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Last updated 23 July, 2015