Wildwood Daze – Spring of 1980 – The Union Jacks – Part 1

“Thanks to my dad, (the classical music enthusiast,) ‘Tommy” was properly released to the world.”

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I went to my dad and ran by my band name dilemma. I don’t know why but the more I thought about it the more it made sense.

They never got me guitar lessons and gave piano lessons to non-musical sister Janice for two years. I discovered music and rock on my own. Forced my way into bands and made my own way. Bought my own killer guitar with my own earned money. They in turn bought me the finest amplifier on the island to speak my voice. (Actually to roar the voice of the unheard louder than anyone on the island with that Marshall amp.)

All is forgiven and awesome in the same breath.

My dad’s brother Jack had always worked in the music industry all his adult life. Columbia Records. The real deal.

My father loved classical music and opera. Jack knew nothing of this and would give my dad dozens of great records every year. My dad could understand them and tell Jack what was good and what was sub par.

My uncle Jack worked with the likes of Barbra Streisand and Andy Williams. He was a major producer, but I never thought of him as a person that could help me make it, just a bit of guidance.

Once My uncle Jack was working with a rock band that was very popular in the sixties and seventies. They wanted to do a concept album. A rock opera, which was unheard of then. Even the Beatles hadn’t of thought of that. (Well, Sgt. Pepper)

They submitted their work to then producer Jack for some input and he had no clue about opera. He only understood popular music, the business, production and vocalists.

He turned to his brother, my father with the concept of a ‘rock opera’ by a popular rock band.

“Well if their serious about making a rock opera then they need a libretto. Every opera has a libretto.” My father said to his brother.

li·bret·to
ləˈbredō/
noun
 
  1. the text of an opera or other long vocal work.

 

My uncle Jack went back to Pete Townsend of The Who and told him they needed to make a libretto that must be included with their finished work.

Thanks to my dad, (the classical music enthusiast,) ‘Tommy” was properly released to the world.

One of the greatest creative achievements by The Who.

That is some real shit right there.

So I go to him and tell him what we’re doing. I need to come up with a cool name for our band.

“It sounds like you guys play plenty of British music. Beatles, Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Stones. What if you call the band, Union Jack?”

My dad was always a deadly marketing guy and could have killed it in the ad business.

“What’s that?”

“The British flag is called the Union Jack.”

“I like that. I’m going to take that back to the boys.”

_________________________________________________________

Two nights later everybody is making their pitch for what the new band should be called and I explain why we should be called Union Jack.

Everybody loves it except Brian.

Why?

Brian is in love with John Waite and the a band called the Babys. I get it. I love that band too. They are terrific and horribly underrated. They just ironically came out with an album called “Union Jacks.”

He wants the band be called, “The Union Jacks.”

Jim agrees with me that ‘Union Jack’ is enough but we yield to Brian’s might.

We are now The Union Jacks.

But… thanks dad. You fucking rock.

As the band Nazereth would say: “Close enough for rock and roll.”

I had acquired a drab green army jacket and had the Union Jacks put on the back of it. Jim followed suite and had the name of the band put on the back of his denim jacket.

It was cool to be part of a cool new band and felt the name gave us an identity as a musical entity.

One night Jim and I were walking down the boardwalk together in Wildwood, and this group of teenage girls were like, “Hey Union Jacks!”

We just smiled and waved and enjoyed the fame.

This little blonde shouted, “You’re the guy with the black guitar!”

I think I had a Lief Garret moment right then. (google it youngsters)

 

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Author: phicklephilly

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