Friday, November 16, 2018

Transfixed By The Boss

Tuesday night, Bruce Springsteen shook my hand, gave me a nod and said, "thank you." After the church service at the Walter Kerr Theatre-Bruce Springsteen on Broadway, I left my second row pew on the edge of the sacred altar with a shit-ass grin, my beautiful reward, forty-years after my first Bruce concert in 1978 at MSG. I wrote about that show on my Yorkville Stoops to Nuts blog. Here you go... Thank you, fellow altar boy, Joe Dettmore, for serving High Mass with me.…
Yesterday, I heard Don McLean's, "American Pie."
The opening lyrics reflected my mood about live music in 1978.
"A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.
But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died."
That summer in 1978, I went to a Bad Company concert, and sat through it like a work meeting. Bored. I was leading up to that, the last few live shows I attended made me feel the same way. Empty. I felt I'd lost my musical inspiration.

That August, Yvette & I saw Bruce Springsteen for the first time at MSG. Two hours early, we split an eight pack of seven ounce Miller nips, while we sat on the 32nd St. entrance steps watching traffic and rating girls & boys as they rushed home to Long Island.
Inside, the energy was electric but I didn't know why, yet. Then the band took the stage and ripped into "Badlands." It felt like 1964, I was ten years old again, watching all the girl groups on the Clay Cole Show, watching Roy Orbison singing "Crying," and "Pretty Woman." It didn't matter it was a crappy little TV, those artists week after week tore my heart open, moved in, bought furniture and never left. Springsteen woke everybody up in there, and they haven't left me since 1978.
The next night, I went back to MSG alone, and bought a $6 ticket for $15 from a scalper. Starting from my blue heaven seat, I ended up in the third row in the orchestra by the third song and stayed there crouched on the floor between two girls for the entire show including the three encores.
Tons of great shows followed: John Hiatt, J Geils Band, Pater Wolf, Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin, Lucinda Williams, Jonatha Brooke, Mary Lee's Corvette, Syd Straw, The Losers Lounge, Yo Lo Tengo, Bruce Cockburn, Garland Jeffreys, Roxy Music, and on... The day I die, tickets for my next live show will be in my dresser.
Somebody pick them up... Don't waste them!

old photos by Jeff Havas, now photo by Joe Dettmore.

Monday, November 12, 2018

"I Could've Died Right Then & There"

Ron Johnson scores winning TD vs. Skins Nov 1970
Best live "Old Yankee Stadium, we were there," sports days ever with Dad.

New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins 35-33 ~ Nov 1970 ~ Jints came back from 19 points down with a quarter to go. Tucker Fredrickson's best game as a pro. Ron Johnson scored winning sweep right in front of Dad & me seating behind Yankee dugout. (God bless you, Ron Johnson. You made the end of my teen years hopeful.)

The Stadium rocked like it was a Rolling Stones concert. Dad and I hugged as if we were going out. The concrete below our feet was going up and down, up and down.  I didn’t care if the Stadium fell in on us. I could’ve died right then and there.

Dad’s gone fourteen years, when Dallas loses, I feel his smile. When the Giants win, I feel Dad’s hug and kiss.

At one point, (maybe they still do) the New York Daily News Sports Department sold prints of photos to the public. In the early 1980s I went down to their 42nd Street building with old dates in mind. Special Mickey Mantle days and terrific Giant victories. The photos in the papers from those special days were tattooed to my brain. I asked for the 1964, 1967 and 1970 files. 

I found Mickey Mantle’s 500 homer, Mantle’s homer off Barney Schultz breaking Ruth’s Series record. Tarkenton rolling out in a win against the Cowboys, Bob Tucker in same game and the crown jewel, Ron Johnson scoring on the sweep against the Skins in 1970. Doug Van Horn, Willie Young, Willie Harper and Don Hermann blocking efficiently on the play.

While I was looking through the photos I received a bonus.  A guy came into the empty side room where I was looking through the photos.  He leaned over me and asked, “What cha doing?”

It was Bill Gallo the News sports cartoonist.  He sat with me for a half hour shooting the breeze, getting a kick out of my intensity and knowledge of his old hero & goat photos from past World Series. Bill was very nice to me. The 6 photos I bought cost me $95. It was a good day.

Yankee Stadium 1962

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Paul Is Dead!" "No He's Not" ~ Earth Science With Ernie Kovacs @ LaSalle

 I'm swinging south on a vine towards La Salle Academy's old gym at 44 East 2nd Street today to meet a few ghosts.  Jim TeamanMarty ReganDermott WhalenShamus DunnRudi PapiriAndres ValdespinoGerard Martinez, miss you guys.
Tommy swinging @Lasalle 1968

Below, Pat Cullinan and his LaSalle partner in crime, Ernie Kovacs, our Earth Science teacher & "Paul is Dead" theorist. 

Patrick Cullinan & "Ernie" Kovacs

In fall 1969, disgusted with our lack of attention in his classroom, (he fooled around more than we did) Ernie began to list clues on the blackboard that Paul McCartney was dead. As we barked them out, he used several colors of chalk to make strong points and when he ran out of room; inspired he began to write along the blackboard edges, up and down, across and back. The kind of thing you did when you forget to add one more lovey-dovey line to your love letter to your first girlfriend.

The clues were left on the blackboard all week until Hermano Pablo gleefully erased them. Yes, he had a glob of shaving cream behind his ear. I always counted on that.

Pat, thank you, for letting me publish your photos.

"I Hate The Dallas Cowboys ~ tales of a scrappy New York boyhood"  on Kindle @ $9.95 later this month.