Friday, February 24, 2006

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.

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