Saturday, February 25, 2006

Colorblind James Experience, San Francisco 1981

Colorblind James

Thaddeus Iorizzo

Phil Marshall

Kevin McDevitt

Photos by K. Regan

These photos were taken at our first rehearsal spot deep in the mission district of San Francisco. William, the English bloke with the girlfriend named Bluh, rented the space to us. Oddly enough we reconnected outside the Electric Ballroom on the night of our big final London showcase. He was happy to see us but the entire time he had this incredulous look on his face that seemed to scream "What the hell are you lot doing here?"

Friday, February 24, 2006

Colorblind James & the White Caps, Circa 1979

This is the White Caps in all their all-night-long glory at the Market Street Music Hall. From left to right: Colorblind James sporting his pre-red-painted Guild T-50, Kevin McDevitt, Rush Tattered, Terry O'Neil and G. Elwyn Meixner doing the slash-and-burn on his Telecaster.

1977 Buffalo, NY

It was the fall of1977 and I was in my third semester at the University of Buffalo. The band was Pretzel which we named in honor of our drummer Jeff "Pretzel" Carlo. The other guitar player pictured here is Jay Goldberg, my best friend during the two years I endured U.B. The singer, standing behind me, is Ginny. She was a theater major and had a very non-rock'n'roll voice but no one else in the band saw themselves as singers.
The first semester, we played out as an instrumental rock band doing covers like "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Rocky Mountain Way" without words. The second semester, the infamous winter of 1977, saw us playing with a couple of self styled hippies on keyboards and saxophone who wanted to play Traffic covers and call the band Spring Thaw. I remember saying "Spring Thaw? Why don't we just call ourselves Sludge?" The relationship didn't last although when the Ellicott complex was snowed in for a full 10 day stretch, we were the very much in demand.

This picture was taken at the pub located in the Ellicott Comlex on the Amherst Campus. Our hits at this point were "White Rabbit", which I always hated, and a version of "Free Bird" which we timed at seven and 1/2 hours long. Six of those hours was my guitar solo.

At this point I was beginning to see myself as a real guitar hero. There was only one problem, tho': I had absolutely no sense of rhythm. I spent long hours learning how to play fast leads but when it came to playing with the rhythm section I was lost. My rhythm playing really didn't come together until I started playing with Chuck, for whom rhythm was everything. Beyond that, it was playing with the rhythm section of Jimmy Mac and Ken Frank that really helped me pull it together.

1976 Oswego, NY

This picture of me was taken during a typical evening at the Holiday Harbor Hotel. In my pre-Les Paul days I played the 1968 Guild Starfire V seen here which I had purchased a few years back from a real guitar hustler who lived across the street from me. The guitar was beautiful and went with me to San Francisco although it always took a back seat to my Les Paul.

Before I left S.F. I was hard up for cash and ended up selling it to my friend Andrea. She is literally my oldest friend on the planet (since I was five) and when I finally re-connected with her via email, she assured me she still has the Guild.

The awesome hippie necklace was made for me by a 25-year-old French exchange student named Colette on whom I had a huge crush.

Where it all began? The Roots of Rex?

Yes, my friends, that's yours truly on the far right at the ripe old age of 17. From left: Paul Vandish (19) , Bill Barlow (21), Jack Barlow (37) and Joe Trionfero (24). The year was 1976 and I was on the verge of graduating from Oswego High School when I joined up with this "50s, 60s and light rock" band after answering an ad in the Oswego Palladium Times. It was my first band and we landed a regular gig at the Holiday Harbor Hotel playing every Wednesday through Friday night. Saturday night's we played at the Fulton Bowl-a-rama.
Russel Tarby, aka Rush Tattered, was writing for the Palladium times then and he gave us favorable reviews although I think he was just being kind. Chuck, who I didn't know at the time, thought we were awful. Of course.
Paul and Joe went on to form Side By Side which Ken Frank speaks of favorably to this day and without a hint of irony in his voice. For those of you who weren't there, the jumpsuits were pink (!) and bought at a women's clothing store. The suits were complemented with 4-inch heeled disco shoes. The outfits and the shoes were not my choice. My friends, the money was good.
I stayed with the band until I left for SUNY @ Buffalo that August. By that time I had been able to purchase the white Les Paul and Music Man 4X10 that stayed with me through all my San Francisco days.