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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6-24-12 Survival Jobs for Writer-Musicians – Starter Job #134 (Starting Out Again. . .in the Big Apple with a new survival job at One U: The Birth of the Washington Squares)


We didn’t have a name yet, but we definitely had direction -- and a few songs.  Bruce Jay Paskow had written a harmony-filled anthem called “New Generation”:  “. . . It’s time for direction, caring and trust (so) Be on the lookout/for a new generation/Comin’ down strong, filled with inspiration/Be on the lookout for a new-ew-ew-ew Generation.”

Tom Goodkind had written a tex-mex style ballad called “Gestures of Passion” (“Gestures of Passion/They’re all fake/when you kiss her/It’s a mistake”) with pretty harmonies & a descending chord structure.

I had written a folky ballad-anthem with a Joni Mitchell/Steve Stills D-chord shaped lick capoed up on the 3rd fret called “Charcoal” with a William Blake poem, “Riches,” in the middle. It, too, was harmony-laden (“Some do search for gold/what is the purpose?/Yellow smiles or warm souls/I’ll take the charcoal/melt down that gold”).

When we started rehearsing, we sang old Peter, Paul & Mary songs we remembered from summer camps and our childhoods, like “Cruel War” and “If I Had a Hammer.” We had a natural harmony blend that we just fell into -- although of course sometimes we actually had to work them out, our three-part harmonies worked naturally and well.

We went into an electric rehearsal studio the first time or two, but after that realized we sounded better acoustically, with our acoustic guitars. Our rehearsal space/hangout became Tom & Jill’s small one bedroom apartment in the Village, on 13th Street between University Place and 5th Avenue South. Just a few doors down, the Lone Star Café was poised on the corner, a huge Iguana lizard sculpture hanging on the sign and the side of the building.

And the Peppermint Lounge, where Tom worked, was right across the street from that, on 5th Avenue at 13th.  He held that job as long as the club was open (it had moved downtown from 45th - ? - street), but it had to close because of good ol' Rudy Giuliani who cracked down on clubs and money laundering operations (boo hiss -- we hated Rudy).

At any rate, we had a great sound, some cool original songs, and were amassing a repertoire (in our first year) of over a hundred covers, traddies, and originals.  We rehearsed a few times a week, and hung out around the village, kind of like musical terrorists. It was fun.

We had an image (neo beatnik), a mission (the violent overthrow of the U.S. government -- only kidding!  We just basically hated Ronald Reagan and everything he stood for). We had our Ray-Bans, berets, and boatneck shirts. . .

We just needed a great name. . . 

1 comment:

  1. Hey my dear I was head waitress at one U for a while, it must have been before your day. I trained Nina Ruskin. And I do not think she was sallow, she had lovely skin, just like her grandmother, Mickey's Mom who I served with her husband Mickey's dad many times, I was always picked to wait on them. Nina shared my apartment with me for a while. She was so intelligent and thoughtful and kind. I read that she is deceased. Do you know anything about her death, I suppose I could contact her brother Michael Ruskin's mother and find out more. I spent the night with Nina after her father died. I am so sorry now we lost touch. And I dated your secret crush too, he and also spent a wild evening at Dan Ackroyed's private bar one night. He was a very sweet guy and his grandfather was far more than a famous musician for God sakes! Yes you had to be tough to work there and pretty. I walked out when Richard came stumbling out of the back room with my checks dropping them all over the floor and accused me of doing something wrong.
    Mickey was a really good to me and had a kind heart, if gruff manner. I am going to stay unknown for now and try to remember more. Did you mention Dorthea Rockberne ( not sure of the spelling, what a wonderful artist and human being, I was friends with her daughter and Dorthea used to come in all the time, what a class act. How inspiring I found her and she was so modest and humble and funny and brilliant.

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