The Band that could have been the greatest in the world. In another time.
I know: It sounds like that Beatle’s movie, “Yesterday.”
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda.
This is how I remember it.
When we started playing together all the bands were crap. They sounded like Grandpa’s Beer Hall. They dressed like waiters at an Ice Cream Parlor. They had names like “Sarsaparilla” and ‘The Copper tone Four.” And they all featured tubas.
We were from Detroit. We hated tubas. And the best music on the radio was Motown. Those were our idols. But they never played it south of Ohio. We loved it but we couldn’t really play it. Those cats were Jazz musicians and we didn’t have the chops. And none of us could sing like Marvin Gaye or Smokey Robinson or Diana Ross — We were smart enough to know we couldn’t do it better. So we did it crooked.
We played guitars and sang harmony and wrote love songs that made us happy down to our toes. We strutted a bravado that we hoped to live up to someday. Sometimes we sang like girls because that’s what Motown did. We weren’t good enough to be stars on our own. But together, we had something. Together we shone.
Everybody said: “You need a drummer.” Patrick said “Why? We’re playing Pop Folk music. And none of that Holier-Than-Thou-I’m-Singing-Till-They-End-War Crap. We play Love Songs.”
We spent years together jamming in the basement. We had brooms before we had guitars. Mike taught us how to tune ours. And we were off. Mike knew all the chords, too. Greg could sing to make the girls swoon. And Patrick knew how to harmonize and goof leads. It was a blend.
We were also military brats and our dads all got shipped to guard the Berlin Wall. So we went along, grew up with the Saurkrauts. We played them our version of Motown and they went nuts. They’d never heard nothing like that. Everything was bloody beer hall polka, washboard skiffle and Peter, Paul & Pompous, If-They-Don’t Stop-The-Bomb-I’ll-Sing-Another-Song.
We had fun because we sang what we loved. And we weren’t ashamed to shake our heads and sing girly.
After high school our dads got discharged and shipped home and we stayed on to play our music. We got a good gig on the Reeperbaum. We learned our chops, cut a single and it got some airplay in Hamburg. But we might as well have been on the moon. We couldn’t seem to get over the hump.
We got booked on a Captain and Tennile tour in the early Seventies. But they tossed us after three gigs and we went home with our tails between our legs.
Everyone got dope soft in the Seventies. “John Denver Disease” we called it. Kiss-Me-I’m-Sensitive-And-I-Sing-About-Mountains. We kept on playing our love songs. We never went disco, we skipped new wave, we were too clean for grunge. Greg wrote our motto: “No drum solos. No synthesizers. No bat-biting. No ass-wagging.”
The stuff we loved never got old. Beat music. Simple love songs with a twist and bit of swing. Motown — you know? That’s what we did. Why change?
Anyway we saw no reason to stop playing.
Even after we got jobs. “Magnifico” Greg got a teaching gig. Mike was into IT until Fords let him go. Patrick did advertising until Chevy took a dive. But every Thursday, like clockwork, we’d run down our old set in Mike’s basement. And whenever we play in public people love those old songs.
We really believe: In another reality this could be the greatest music ever. Who cares if it never made the Big Time in this one?
We like it. And have you heard the crap they call music these days?
As far as we’re concerned: It’s all Tubas.