(sung to the tune of “Old Paint”) “I buy some old paint/Feel like an old man/Go back to my apartment to paint it up again/I work hard all my life just to make ends meet/One slip of the payment, and I’m out in the street (CHORUS) Drive around little tourists, drive around real slow/See the last of the village, it’s ready to go.”
So went one of our early traddie rewrites. We’d make songs topical about what we were experiencing -- similar to the folk process that Woody Guthrie or any other self-respecting folk singer would do. It really sounded cool because it was rocked up with a hard beat, a throbbing R&B bassline, and jangly, loud guitar riffs. Add the three part harmonies and ten thousand watts of folk and WHOOO! Off we went. I always smiled extra wide when we did “Old Paint”. . . .
Anyway. The three of us “New Wave Refugees” sat together with our bar napkins to write on and our non-alcoholic bevs (the guys liked coca colas and I drank seltzer with a splash of cranberry) to brainstorm until the name -- so obvious it was genius -- came up: The Washington Squares. Whose idea was it? I say it was a harmonic convergence of all our brainpans, an amalgamation if you will of all of our ideas. The fastball wit and back and forth punning (my forte IS puns) with those guys was like alternately witnessing -- and playing -- a pinball game.
We became the Washington Squares (not the Pinball Wizards) in an inspired act of communal wordplay. Together we named the beast -- but of course, Tom or Bruce would say it was THEIR idea. I’d expect that, wouldn’t you? If you knew them, you’d know how territorial things got. . . but neither could agree on who was top dog, and I never challenged either. They were like two different breeds of dog: a Labradoodle and a Jack Russell terrier. But of course, I’m a furry medium hair mutt of a pussycat -- but no Josie, oh no.
In that band, I figured as long as I was the queen, so be it *-) I was the only girl, and if I’d been more forceful or sexy, or if I worked with blander personalities I’d have been potentially more of a star, but it was work enough being a Washington Square -- part of three great harmony singers and rebels from the village. I just wanted equal attention -- and a chance to shine at being a songwriting musician.
As before mentioned, we had an image (neo beatnik), a mission (We just basically hated Ronald Reagan and everything he stood for). We had our Ray-Bans, berets, our turtlenecks. . .
AND we had just acquired a great name. . .