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Monday, February 27, 2012

2-27-12 Survival Jobs for Writer-Musicians – Starter Job #55 (Preparing to move to the U.K. for Keeps. . .)


(great pic of young Nervus Rex me by SF photog. who needs to remind me of his name & whereabouts!)

My leg had now healed from my great skiing adventure with Nervus Rex. We’d played a few more gigs, but signs were pointing to a parting of the ways with the group. Two years before, we were so hopeful; two years later, everything was an uphill effort, and people in the band didn’t even seem to like one another. We’d recruited a young lead guitarist, Seth, who was a wonderful musician and a sweetheart of a guy, but our musical arrangements onstage had become long and somewhat overblown, though brilliant (the intro to “There She Goes,” our opening number at the Peppermint Lounge in the spring of 1981, was pretty over the top. . . five minutes of spacey, then driving, guitar riffs with the Panther organ and synth sounds -- not exactly poppy any longer, which suited Shawn’s mood but not the audience’s expectations).

Around this time, Nervus Rex had gone into the studio with a young Mike Chapman protégé, a recording engineer named Doug. We recorded a demo of a few tracks for our second album that we thought were pretty cool: “Funky Surfer Boy,” “Out of Love,” and “What I Really Want” (“We Learn To Live With a Little Pain, My Dear” was the chorus of another song Shawn was writing at the time -- a song that Shawn did later on with his pop group, Burning Puppets). At any rate, the titles of those songs sure are telling, hm? Whatever was going on in his brain, Shawn wasn’t into the relationship, and I was fed up, too. The record company passed on our demo, and Nervus Rex was label-less, too.

Shawn and I had been fighting for a year, and after my leg broke, we had pretty much broken up -- there were other romantic interests and a lot of “flirtin’ and hurtin’” happening. I reacted a lot to how I was being treated (I got mad and kind of suspicious when I was not invited out with Shawn when he hung out with his druggie drinking friends, and assorted “midget models” -- ouch and ouch). One young man I was “seeing” briefly (probably to hurt Shawn back -- yup, that was bad) lent me his cool black leather motorcycle jacket and wound up giving it to me (I’m lucky, see?). Crossing 14th street on foot, he even said, “I’ll marry ya if you wear that leather jacket.” (Sadly, he was the wrong guy at the wrong time -- I was getting bored because he wasn’t real smart, just good hearted, which is good, just not enough for me.) After him, I was seeing a guy who was a real smooth talker and a big fan; he came from a well to do family in Connecticut (!!) but was kind of slimey -- of course hard drugs were involved. He was friends with a guy at Madonna’s record company who’d helped Madonna get a deal in return for sexual favors, so I thought all that inside info was quite titillating. . . anyway, it really was a mistake to date that guy but hey, I was young and had a right to make some pretty big errors in my life -- right? (just go with me on this!)

Above all, I’d wanted to move to England for some years. . . . and as if an answer to that prayer, I got a letter from my friend, Glenn Tillbrook, who knew I wanted that. He said, “Come on, move to England; you can stay in my flat in Blackheath for a few months.” He also hinted around that he and Chris Difford wanted to produce a recording project with me as the singer. Wow! Who wouldn’t jump at such an offer!

In the course of a few months, I sold my synthesizer, my Panther organ and a guitar or two (keeping my old acoustic Guild F-30), found a subletter for my apartment (and my mean- spirited calico cat, Claudette), and borrowed money from my sweet old Grandma.

Ask a relative for money? I really didn’t know how to do that, and was pretty scared and confused if it was the right thing. . .


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