Wildwood Daze – Autumn of 1979 – Garage Band in a Shed – Part One

I go back over these memories and I want to write about these moments in my life. But I have found that after writing this blog of over a year and a half I have to dig deep. That does something to you.

Actually two things.

You get the benefit of reliving your youth and the joy of what you once did in a nostalgic way. The other side is what you were going through at the time to make all of that happen. That can be painful, but also joyful. Writing it all down and expressing it does have a cleansing effect. So many people talk about doing it but never make the time.

Because writing is a lonely experience. You have to do it alone. People don’t like that. They like being busy and surrounded by other people to validate their existence.

I no longer need that. I’m not living to acquire possessions or impress anybody. Once you can reach that state, it is somewhat blissful. I like to be alone. But I get my energy from people. I adore the company of delightful women and cool guys. But I have always enjoyed being alone. My father once said, “A man who can sit in a room alone is really at peace.” I’m sure that’s just some shit he read in a book because the man has never had an original thought in his life, but thank you for passing that along Pop. You’re right. Or… They were right.

But that’s how I really feel. It’s really all about the effort. Bands like the B-52’s don’t make it on talent. They made it on originality, fearlessness and going for it. That’s what we all need to do.

It’s so easy to sink into a job under a pile of college debt nowadays. So sad.

Go live your life, people!

I’m writing this story because it needs to be told. It will be on the internet when I’m long dead. But it happened to me, and if it inspires one person then it’s been worth it.

As I write I listen to an internet radio station. I love Pandora, but Tune In Radio Classic Rock is so much better! Check it out! They really got it together! Promise.

 

Jim and I meet up. He’s a nice guy. He’s deep and sensitive. Not like his goofy band mates in the Tom Danning band. Interesting side note here, Tom Danning’s dad was in a band called Dickie Do and the Don’ts and that name in itself makes me want to put a pistol in my mouth, but I digress. Who cares. They suck. Jim wants to rock. I want that too.

I invite him over to jam in our shed. Yea. The basement of the Philly house died with my first band Renegade. My first band and love had been cut from me by my father because he decided to uproot us from Lawndale and toss us all into the shore house.  April and Gabrielle have been dropped off at Margaret Mace, the local public grade school and I’ve been tossed into Wildwood fucking High for my Senior Year.

It’s a nightmare, but my previous chapter has clearly illustrated my experience. So we’ll move on.

Jim and I are in a shed. Not a garage. A shed. It’s getting chilly on the cape and we have a space heater out there to generate some warmth. We are surrounded with bicycles, lawnmowers, brooms, rakes, shovels and other garden equipment. It sucks ass.

But Jim and I jam together. He’s a good guitar player. Taken lessons. Can play lead. I like him. We jam out some Creem and Eric Clapton and some Beatles. It’s rough but I’m just happy to be playing with somebody.

Something to do.

Some sort of direction.

Something.

Jim is mature for his age. I don’t know exactly where he is in the birthing order in his family. But I learn that he is from an Italian Catholic family of a dozen children.

I’m blown away by this number. What kind of reckless fucking do you have to have to birth that many kids? Apparently his mother is pregnant again with their 13th child.

I’m shocked and amazed at this story but I can only think of his mother being in gestation for nine years straight most of her adult life. I also think that at this point his dad banging her is like throwing a hotdog down a hallway. (Sorry Jim. I love you and it’s funny!)

We’re jamming out and realize we should probably put a band together. He likes the idea that I write original songs and we work on them too. All I have at this point is “Get Lost” the punk song about that little dick teaser from Philly, Therese, about my obviously love, and a new one about Farrah Fawcett called “Bombshell.”

I like Jim. I start to like him like a best friend. He’s sensitive and deep. I’ve always gravitated to young people. I feel safe with them. Jim was a good guy. He was my only friend in Wildwood. He understood the desolation of the town in the winter. We had each other. Even though he came from a huge family I know Jim felt some of the same isolation I felt from my family and the world and especially high school.

I found a friend!

School was okay. It was easy. I was making second honors by the midterm. I used to joke that we were studying high-speed skipping and underwater basket weaving at Wildwood High.  When anyone outside of the shore found out I was going there they thought it was a joke. Because it was!

One day at lunch time I went outside and smoked a cigarette. I was stopped by a member of faculty and I told them I was new and didn’t know the rules. He simply told me to go across the street and do it. I complied.

We needed a drummer and a bass player if we wanted to get a band going. The town was so small how would we find anyone?

Well, we were going to find out…

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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Author: phicklephilly

Copyright © 2016 by Phicklephilly All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. All stories and characters are based on real people and events. The names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

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