Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jambox





My brother Patrick, Tony Patti and I lived together in a small Soulard apartment when we were teenagers. I had a fight with my brother once and I couldn’t figure out how his mind worked. He made absolutely no sense to me at times. Tony said something to me that I still think about. He told me my personality was already taken. Patrick had to come up with his own.

When I moved out Tony and Patrick regrouped in another apartment nearby. It was a twenty-four hour a day party. The place became know as "The Funk Lab". My band Earwacks was in full swing and they started one called Jambox. They turned rehearsal into a lifestyle. They never stopped. People would drift in and out. I remember radio personality John Carney jamming with them. It was total chaos but he had a great time.

The door was always wide open, even in the middle of the winter. When my dad died we got a little insurance money and bought P.A. systems for our respective bands. We had absolutely no discipline with money and went through it immediately. Patrick hooked his turntable directly into his P.A.. We had to hang out on the roof because of the volume. Of course if we’d have stayed in the room it would have skipped as you walked across the old bowing wooden floor. His poor dogs looked like they were developing a nervous condition.

Their band was filled with a youthful exuberance none of the rest of us could come close to. It was hard to listen to though. Tony was just learning guitar chords. Danny (Fojammi) found a 1920s drum set that was bigger than he was and became the drummer, reminiscent of the Bonzo Dog Band.

Danny eventually came to my band as a keyboard player. He was way ahead of his time as a synth programmer. He is also one the most gifted song writers I’ve ever met. Danny’s one major musical flaw is he has absolutely no sense of rhythm and he was their drummer.

My brother was the first of us to take up a musical instrument. He started playing violin in 4th grade. I was jealous and got my dad to let me use his cornet for school lessons.

By the time my brother was in a rock band he’d discovered large amplifiers and guitar stomp boxes. He ran his electric violin through a wah wah peddle that was always pushed down to the treble end. Your ears would bleed.

I remember I couldn’t do acid with him anymore because he couldn’t stop drinking. He should have died with the amount he consumed. It wasn’t fun anymore.

Tony sent me a link to his blog. He has Jambox recordings there and I hope he puts the comedy tapes on it. Some of them were almost brilliant. Check it out-- http://changemusicvarietyshow.blogspot.com/

One of the great things about Jambox was that Tony and Fojammi were 2 of St. Louis’ most creative graphic artists. They printed promotional comics and had the best fliers around. St. Louis was getting famous for band’s fliers in those days. We were all featured in the newspapers.

My pics are the Jambox 4 song EP. My vinyl copy is at my ex’s house so I used the CD. The pic on the CD is local appliance legend and funny man Steve Mizerany. They got Steve to pose for their back cover pic in front of several TVs that featured band members. Tony is upper left, Patrick is in the middle. Fojammi is obscured in silhouette below Tony. Joe Ramsey (Ricco DeBool) is lower right. Joe is one of the kids my brother and I lived with as our single moms tried to raise kids in a man’s world. Upper right and lower left are Sue and Josie. Both of them are old girl friends on mine and I’m still crazy about them. I’ll be doing posts on each of them in the future. Lower middle is Dice Mosely. He was actually one of my band’s roadies. And not to leave anyone out Tammy, the prettiest girl in the West End, is middle right. She was Ricco’s girlfriend. The girls were the back ground singers. They were called The Changels. The OuiOui twins were lurking around behind the scenes at the time too.

4 comments:

tonypatti said...

The strange thing about Patrick is that he had such incredible charisma. As a brother, you could feel his flaws and they probably caused you more pain, and you were immune to his charisma, which I responded to easily but could never explain.

At first, the fact that Patrick was drinking himself stupid seemed like a kind of a chuckle, but after a few years, my love for him couldn't allow me to close my eyes to it any more. We made a religion of change, yet he was the only one who couldn't seem to change.

You know, I tried to make a band of that Jambox, but couldn't manage it. I still like the songs, and when they are played with a modicum of restraint, are sometimes pretty good. I remember I always liked it best when it was just me and your brother playing acoustic.

tonypatti said...

The URL to my blog is

http://changemusicvarietyshow.blogspot.com/

Not the one in your post. The URL in your post is a link to the comments page of one of my posts!

Anonymous said...

i always wished i had learned more about music theory before i was in that band, but at least i learned to memorize song parts, and to move my fingers on the fretboard fast,i kept playing in bands for 30 yeras after that and may do so again some time; by the way its rico haha, geo

Anonymous said...

i always wished i had learned more about music theory before i was in that band, but at least i learned to memorize song parts, and to move my fingers on the fretboard fast,i kept playing in bands for 30 yeras after that and may do so again some time; by the way its rico haha, geo