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Monday, July 2, 2012

7-01-12 Survival Jobs for Writer-Musicians – Starter Job #137 (Starting Out Again. . .with New Beat-ginnings in The Washington Squares - Fast Folk at the Speakeasy)


The pain of Nervus Rex coming to an end was behind me; the new band, “the Squares,” healed that wound and made a lot of sense, really.  Around that time, painfully commercial popsters Huey Lewis and the News did a song called “Hip to Be Square” and a group called Timbuk 3 did a song, “The Future’s So Bright, I’ve Gotta Wear Shades.” 


(look!  We even had a logo, thanks to Marlene Weisman, a talented artist/graphic designer that Tom Goodkind hired to do design for the Peppermint Lounge, too)

As counterculture and so-called hip as we were, those popular songs were eerily apropos.  You’d think they were custom-writ for the yuppies, but most young people felt it and resonated with it.  I guess we were riding a zeitgeist, some sorta gemutlichkeit.  We felt at home anywhere there was a reason to protest, a microphone, and a spotlight.  We had something(s) to say and had to get it right out there. . . in song, and jokes.

So our initial plan of attack had us attending open mics in the village, mostly at Folk City and the Speakeasy.  There was this organization called Fast Folk that I think Jack Hardy spearheaded.  He was a preppy looking guy who wasn’t too friendly to me, but I guess I wasn’t the friendliest character either.  At turns, I was shy, wary, moody, and a little paranoid.  Of course, the cheery face I usually showed to the world belied all the weirdness going on in my head.

Tom Goodkind and Bruce Paskow (but more Tom) were good at hanging out with the other guys, and they got to know Rod MacDonald, Jack Hardy, David Massengill (he was a friend -- he and his sweetheart, Lisie), Eric Frandsen, even Dave Van Ronk.  Christine Lavin also was a part of that scene, and Frank Christian (Jr.).  Cliff Eberhardt, Tom Intondi, Carolyn Mas, Shawn Colvin. . . . lotsa good singer-songwriters.

Like I said, I wasn’t the most social person -- kind of reserved, I hung back and had a hard time feeling a part of that Fast Folk group, even at times my own group felt strange and I always questioned my sense of belonging.  But not to belabor that point here. . . I’ve always felt that way, even in my own family.  Moving on. . .

So, ever notice how different people have different effects on you?  There are those who somehow just make you feel better being in their orbit; there are others who seem to bring out the negative, the whiner in you.  I had just figured that one out right about this time. . . and if I didn’t resonate with a person, if they didn’t make me feel good or comfortable or positive. . . I kinda lost interest and wandered off, in my own self-created haze.

That haze was pure creativity (with a little pity party and self reflection sprinkled in).  I had so many songs in me, so much music to share.  The harmonies flowed on.  I felt happiest when writing and singing. . . some things never change.

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