A few rules I decided to follow: I will re-tell the experiences exactly how I remember them, that is to say, to the best of my recollection, so I invite those of you who may have taken part in them to comment, correct, revise or add to them; and I’m not changing names to protect the innocent …although, anyone that knows me knows that I can hardly remember my own kids names. So here goes and please, everyone that reads these exploits, feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts!
Nicky & g: The tale of two knuckleheads – 1st encounter – part I
In April 1984, the band AMERICADE, for which I was the guitar player, broke up. Details of the breakup are a story for another day; suffice to say that the age-old reason “personal differences” took the life of another band- victim. My life hit rock bottom, I had quit high school to join the band, so my prospects of finding a good job were nil and none; I was engaged but my fiancé left me a month after I came home to New York (we were living in Atlanta recording with producer Jeff Glixman, at the time); and I was left with no alternative except to go to work for my dad’s manufacturing business …did I mention that my parents weren’t too happy with me either.
I was a musician my whole life – I read music before I read English, but for me, my music was like falling in love with a harlot and the music industry was the seediest of settings for our love affair. The problem back then was that music was the only thing I really knew how to do. So, after a few months of working in my dad’s factory, my brother PJ and I (PJ was the singer for AMERICADE) wanted to record a few demos. We booked time in a studio owned by Ben Rizzi (or as we listed him on our 1st album, “Len Frizzy”). Ben was a mountain of a man – he stood about 6-foot-12 and had to weigh about 350lbs. We had no idea how he maintained that weight though because the only thing we ever saw the man eat was oatmeal and TUMS – yes, I mean the antacid! Ben kept an industrial-sized bottle of TUMS on the studio console and he would pop them like they were candy, a handful at a time (and the man’s hand could hold about 20!). Sometimes he would wash them down with some chalky white medicine (some other stomach medication).
It didn’t take a gastro-entomologist to diagnose that Ben had an ulcer and at his size, I was sure I could probably walk through the hole in his stomach. It was quite obvious that Ben had a bit of a temper, one that he tried to control with TUMS and at his size, no one wanted to be around if and when he went postal – so needless to say, there was a bit of tension in the studio. I could go on about Ben, as he was quite a character, but he is also dead so I will leave it there (no I’m not sure if his ulcer did him in). Besides, this was a story about Nicky and me…
(Continued… Part II will appear on Monday, March 01)