I have abandoned my initial effort to start a band with Jim and Chris. I met this clown Ron in art class. He knows of a working band that need a rhythm guitarist. I want that gig.
I meet with them. The bass player Mark’s parent’s own an Italian restaurant up on New York avenue. It’s a good spot in the summer but closed in the
winter like every thing else in this god forsaken town that I now hate.
Mark Piro playing a blonde Fender Precision Bass
I enter the restaurant with my new guitar and meet the guys. They seem cool, and I’m thinking here I go again. Me inserting myself into an already established group. They tell me they just want to fatten their sound.
The furniture and tables in the dining room have been cleared out and there’s a great space for us to jam. There isn’t anything around us neighbor-wise to disturb so we can rock out. We chat and I get to know the guys. Jesse is the lead guitarist. He seems like a sweet, nice kid. Tall with brown hair. Goes to Wildwood Catholic. Mark, the bass player, whose folks own the restaurant and he lives in Wildwood Crest. So he’s from money and attends Wildwood High like me. He’s a year younger so he’s a junior. 11th grade. Brian, the drummer is clearly the leader of this band. He is a little tough Scottish dude. Apparently his mom is a sweet woman who works at the library here in town and my dad knows her. So that’s an in.
They play a few songs for me to show who they are.
I am amazed.
This band is light years ahead of anything I did with Renegade back in Philly. The songs are tight. The playing is spot on and the solos are exact.
I can’t believe I’m standing in the same room with these guys.
Mark Me Brian
But their stuck. They need something else. I tell them I write songs and they like that. I dig that they are receptive to that because that’s what I want to do.
Mark Me with a bad haircut
I jam a little with them and it sounds good. I throw out a few licks from some Zep songs I know that they aren’t currently performing, It makes an impression with them. I knew it would. I have been practicing songs non stop ever since I picked up the Silvertone back in Philly. I’m so hungry. I think Brian takes a shine to me because I’m sweet and nice. I am not a person that threatens his authority. I could sense that was a thing with him. Little man syndrome is rampant in all walks of life. I get it and I’m a good diplomat. He’s a little than the other boys. He’s 21.
I see a nasty gouge/scratch on Jesse’s Guild guitar.
“Wow sorry man. How’d that happen?”
Brian speaks: “I was trying to talk to someone and Jesse wouldn’t turn his amp down.”
I turn away from Jesse to Brian.
He wouldn’t turn down his fucking guitar, so I threw a drumstick at him.”
“He got off easy. I was aiming for his face.”
Jesse said nothing.
Brian gives me a set list. It’s great. Cool songs, and this band already rocks without me.
“Learn these songs.”
I remember going home and locking myself in my room with my records and nearly breaking my fingers to learn all of the songs, chord changes, and time signatures. It was the hardest homework I had ever been assigned in my life.
I came back in a couple of days and we started jamming. It was glorious. Better than anything I could have ever imagined. Here I was exiled to this shitty summer resort/ prison and I was now playing with a band that was awesome!
This group was so many steps ahead of Renegade. We were playing songs from the past that were amazing but we were also working on stuff that was on the radio NOW! I loved that. This band was relevant. I was honored to be here.
Only about nine months out from actually picking up a guitar for the first time and here I was jamming with a bunch of pros! I knew I was born to create and make music and now I was finally able to go forward and rock out! I was scared and ecstatic for the first time. I was stressed because I had to learn so many songs to catch up but I wanted it so bad with these guys I worked my ass off to catch up, This baptism by fire made me a better musician almost immediately.
A leap in evolution. That’s how it happens. You have to adapt to survive. I got better on my new axe and I could feel the surge of great energy happening.
Here we go. Now I’ve got something to live for here in the winter of ’79. Thanks guys!
It was tough but so fun. I would go to school all day, and then come home, do my homework, eat dinner and then head out to practice. It was great. I had purpose again in my life. My mom was happy I wasn’t on drugs, drinking or getting into trouble. I was doing well in school and had a hobby. (My dream!) I don’t remember where my father was during this time. He seems invisible to me.
But my father knew what was going on and was probably happy that I had come out of my cage of depression that he couldn’t understand.
So for Christmas that year he got me this:
I nearly came in my pants.
Marshall Amplification is an English company that designs and manufactures music amplifiers, speaker cabinets, brands personal headphones and earphones, and, having acquired Natal Drums, drums and bongos. It was founded by drum shop owner and drummer Jim Marshall, and is now based in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
Marshall’s guitar amplifiers are among the most recognised in the world. They are known for their Marshall “crunch”. This signature sound was conceived by Marshall after guitarists, such as Pete Townshend, visiting Marshall’s drum shop complained that the guitar amplifiers then on the market didn’t have the right sound or enough volume.
After gaining a lot of publicity, Marshall guitar amplifiers and loudspeaker cabinets were sought by guitarists for this new sound and increased volume. Many of the current and reissue Marshall guitar amplifiers continue to use vacuum tubes, as is common in this market sector. Marshall also manufactures less expensive solid-state, hybrid (valve and solid state) and modelling amplifiers.
Kids had Fenders, an Ampegs and Peavey’s. NOBODY had a MARSHALL amp. Marshall is the premier rock star amplifier in the world. My dad got me one. No matter what I’ve ever said about my father in this blog means anything against this moment.
“I’ve been trying to get you worked about something for years, son.”
“Oh my god, dad. I can’t believe it. Thank you. (crying) This is the greatest amp in the world. This what all of the rock stars use. Thank you!”
It was a 100 watt Marshall combo with twin 12 inch Celstion speakers. It was tube driven. No transistors. I know most of you don’t know what that means, but let me put it in terms we can all understand: This Fucking Amp ROARED. Super scary power. Weight. Clarity. And most of all organic mad distortion. This coupled with my pedal would be a force to be reckoned with on this island. Power chords would be played, walls would crumble.
A Marshall is that powerful.
It changed my life.
I’ve now got a rocking band and the best and coolest equipment in the industry. Stardom can’t be far off!
Thank you dad! I love you!
We played this song spot on! Jesse nailed the solo note for note! Wonderful!
Jesse Dean playing a brown Gibson SG
We murdered this song too! Again I was amazed listening to Jesse killing the solo. I loved being in this band with no name! But feeling alive again!
At least I was making music again and further along musically than I’d ever been. I need to survive this ordeal.
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