The Solver – Rich: The Final Piece of the Puzzle

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[Previously: Roommates for Sale – Frank: The Designated Driver]

After Spike (a.k.a. “Pierce”) left The Roommates (yes, there was a fifth Roommate) in 1979 to join the Marines, a rather expansive punk group which qualifies for government assistance, the boys needed a drummer. Most critics would have agreed that, even with Spike, The Roommates needed a drummer. Spike brief time with the three originals did leave three permanent marks. First, it was Spike’s hidden love for martial music that set the early war-like tone of the proto-group. Second, he inspired Ted to write his first hit, the now famous folksy rag “Blond-Haired Boy from Brooklyn.” Finally, Spike gave the other members something they would need to catapult them to instant fame: Continue Reading “The Solver – Rich: The Final Piece of the Puzzle”

Roommates for Sale – Frank: The Designated Driver

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[Previously: Rubber Puck – Ted: Proudly Not Silent, but Just as Deadly]

Frank started his professional life as a mediocre radio personality, constantly getting fired by general manager after general manager. Fortunately, it was steady work as the only people fired more often than Frank were his (ex) general managers. Scot and Ted found Frank sleeping on a park bench late one night and invited him in for a beer. He proceeded to drain their reserve of two half kegs. It was the first time he had had beer. The two immediately noticed Frank’s strange reaction to beer, and, as they soon discovered,Continue Reading “Roommates for Sale – Frank: The Designated Driver”

Rubber Puck – Ted: Proudly Not Silent, but Just as Deadly

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[Previously: Meet The Roommates – Scot: The True Leader – Silent, but Deadly]

Scot first met Ted at the Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament in Montreal during the summer of 1978. Both had played on opposing teams in the finals. The two visited in the penalty box for nine minutes (two two-minute roughing penalties and a five-minute minor for fighting). Scot and Ted got along famously right from the get-go. (“Enmity is the heart of friendship,” Rich was to later tell Zig Jones.) But, while Scot turned to music, Ted remained with hockey. At the peak of an impressive playoff run, the puckster received a call from Scot and joined The Roommates. Ted stunned the hockey world when he announced Continue Reading “Rubber Puck – Ted: Proudly Not Silent, but Just as Deadly”

Meet The Roommates – Scot: The True Leader – Silent, but Deadly

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[Previously: The Birth of Something New]

Just who were, to borrow a phrase from Zig Jones, these “Musical Mussolinis”? Again, most of the information we have is from the Rock Waves interview, the only question and answer session the group allowed. The boys have been reluctant to discuss specifics of their past since the break, (we can only hold out hope the statute of limitations will eventually run its course).

In fact, the only quote Scot, the unquestionable founder of the band, has ever given in public was the now classic “Give me Continue Reading “Meet The Roommates – Scot: The True Leader – Silent, but Deadly”

The Birth of Something New

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[Previously: Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing The Roommates!]

Ironically, the idea to go public was Scot’s. Scot has been the most private of the four, at times to the extreme. Frank went along readily, but Ted initially expressed guarded reluctance. With Scot and Ted doing most of the arranging and Frank providing cover and bail money, the proto-group soon found itself doing breakfast gigs at various New Haven coffee shops. Their first real break came in mid-September of 1978. After successfully covering some of the early rock artists at the Garbage Can Rally, (“We did it for the dart board,” Scot was said to have explained mysteriously at the time), The Roommates embarked on a stint which gave them local notoriety. Working the graveyard shift at The Post Office, a local bar, the group came away with one of their most prized possessions – a 17th century solid oak library table. It was proudly displayed until just Continue Reading “The Birth of Something New”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing The Roommates!

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Disclaimer

The following is a fictitious account. Any resemblance to real people or actual events is simply a figment of your paranoid imagination. Quite simply, none of this ever happened. It is not real. For that matter, how do you even know you are real? I should know. I was voted most likely to be a cartoon character, a position I still aspire to.

 

 Introduction to the 2012 Archival Publication

An artifact of the recently unearthed slushpile of Zig Jones, this piece comes from the early 1980’s, when leisure suits breathed their last, big hair was big and a long-forgotten band topped the pop-music charts. For a brief time, every pair of ears rang with the tunes of The Roommates, every pair of lips sang the melodies of The Roommates and every pair of eyes watched, read and absorbed all that was The Roommates. Discovered by Jones, The Roommates shot to instant glory when they first appeared on the famous rock host’s weekly show.

But The Roommates, inscrutable from the very beginning, left the scene just as quickly – and mysteriously – as they arrived. Indeed, the band is so thoroughly forgotten, there’s not a shred of evidence of their actual existence. Wikipedia contains no reference to their greatness. Popular search engines turn up nothing. Even the Library of Congress has no work copyrighted by The Roommates (which, given their infamous anti-establishment fervor, is only to be expected).

Although crafted in the documentary style he would later become famous for, it’s not clear if Jones wrote this or not. It was, however, accompanied with the only extant audio tape of Jones’ once popular Rock Waves show. The clip contains The Roommates’ first, and as far as we know, only appearance on the California-based syndicated program. This article will no doubt interest musicologists seeking to reveal the significant events during the still unexplained transition from disco to punk. What follows is the unedited version of the undated source document (believed to have been written in late 1984 or early1985). So, without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing…

 

The Short Ragged Life of The Roommates:

Punk Rock at its Best and Worst

For two-and-a-half short years between the eighth and ninth decades of the twentieth century, society and culture witnessed and experienced what has been a cyclical event: the all-encompassing power of a flash of change in popular music. Each successive generation seems to have fallen under the awe-inspiring power of a musical deity, from Sinatra to Elvis to The Beatles to, most recently, The Roommates. (It is interesting to note the cycle skipped a beat in the seventies, perhaps a tribute to the formidable influence of The Beatles, and quite possibly at once both providing and explaining the reason for The Roommates’ sudden and dramatic rise.) It’s been over three years since they last Continue Reading “Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing The Roommates!”

The Chair

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It began on a spring day in the late nineteenth century, a very tiny pod of dust. After many agonizing months, the ground burst open. Ah, fresh air and sunshine! It felt good.

During the tough first two years, the sapling had to fight for its life. The older more mature members of the immediate area crowded the young ones, pulling the very air from them. Still, the generously provided sunlight found a path through the thick branches above the wheezing seedling. Rain, of course, never posed a problem, thanks to gravity. The water droplets always sought the low ground, and as soon as they did, the thirsty dirt sponged them up. The young bud would then drink from the soil as its tiny subterranean tentacles sucked up the precious Continue Reading “The Chair”

The Cornucopia Tree

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Once upon a time, there lived a man who owned a very special tree called a “cornucopia tree.” Now, as we all know, the word “cornucopia” comes from the 1270765_38669260_Cornucopia_Tree_royalty_free_stock_xchng_300Latin word meaning “horn of plenty.” Ancient mythology held it as a horn producing an endless supply of food and drink. Traditionally, Americans display a cornucopia at their Thanksgiving table, symbolizing our gratitude for all the Lord has given us.

Well, this cornucopia tree produced everything the man’s family needed to survive. From its branches grew all sorts of food and drink, the wood they needed to build their house and to heat it, as well as the clothes they wore to protect them. One day, the cornucopia produced two identical eggs. The man, now very old, knew what this meant,Continue Reading “The Cornucopia Tree”

I Don’t Know Poetry

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875056_87571838_spiral_stairs_300I don’t know poetry
I don’t know jazz
But, of course, that is redundant

I see asymmetry
Hear razzmatazz
Creativity abundant

Give me geometry
And simple facts
A feast I’ll eat inundant.

Cupid’s Apricot

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A man receives a package with no return address. It contains a pirate-style eye patch and a note. It also possesses a faint aroma of scented perfume.

cupid's_apricot_300“Apricot?” sniffs the homely man to himself. He smiles, examining the eye patch. For a moment, he floats back to a past he never knew. With inspired angst, he wraps the eye patch around his imperfect head carefully covering his right eye.

“Rats! Where’s my Hathaway shirt?” the man wonders while staring at the bleak mirror. He never liked the mirror, its darkened wood frame speckled with irregular dents. He despises it all the more now as his macabre reflection reminds him he no longer owns a Hathaway shirt. With a heavy sigh, he reluctantly accepts the sole benefit of the mirror lay only in its ability to give the appearance his dreary one room hovel actually contains a mysterious second chamber.

In forlorn despair, he rips the eye patch – and several well-attached hairs – off his head and throws it at the waste basket. He misses badly. “No matter,” and he returns to the sweet fragrance of the package. He lazily paws at the note several times before it sticks to his stubby hands. Flopping backwards onto his bed, he reads the note in mid-flight.

Continue Reading “Cupid’s Apricot”