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!”

So This Is Why W Reunioned at the White House

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It’s 11:35pm on a Tuesday night. I’m sitting on a train, the Amtrak Lake Shore Limited, on my way to Chicago. I boarded the train in a Rochester rain at 11:25pm, twenty-five minutes later than the schedule dictated. It didn’t matter. I’m not in a hurry. I haven’t been in a hurry since the sun first rose.

Yes, my lackadaisical day began in surprising sunshine. I say “surprising” because I happened to be in New Haven, Connecticut. In another era, it would have been raining. I would have also Continue Reading “So This Is Why W Reunioned at the White House”

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”

PAC-MAN – A Last Look Back

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the January 10, 1991 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Just over twenty years ago, a new game began sprouting among aging pinball machines in arcades across the land. Its instant popularity helped solidify the video game market. Two things distinguished PAC-MAN from its immediate predecessors and, especially, the granddaddy of all video games – Space Invaders.

Foremost, PAC-MAN employed a novel Continue Reading “PAC-MAN – A Last Look Back”

My Lunch with Pearl Bailey

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the September 13, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259I used to always ride the train. An unnatural fear caused me to seek every opportunity to avoid flight. Yes, yes, I know all the actuarial tables say flying is the second safest form of transportation (after elevators). In that portion of my life when time seemed less important (namely, both during and immediately after my collegiate years), I viewed the train as the preferred method of travel.

The train relaxed me. It allowed me to read. It permitted me to get up and walk around. It provided the opportunity to be alone or discover new friends, depending on my mood. Most importantly, it forced me to slow down. Once I boarded the train, I knew I would next step Continue Reading “My Lunch with Pearl Bailey”

Leon Tec’s Targets – The Book That Started It All

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Target_300“Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.”
– Baltasar Gracian

Like most undergraduates, I enjoyed college. I viewed those four years as a time of experimentation, a release from the staid banality of suburban pabulum.

But not in the way you think.

Some people collect nostalgia. Some people collect materials. I collect experiences. And it started almost immediately upon setting foot in a courtyard surrounded by walls of ivy. And my parents reacted like most parents of university students. They told me to stop it.

But I couldn’t. As I explained at the time, I was like a shark. These carnivorous Continue Reading “Leon Tec’s Targets – The Book That Started It All”

The Morning the Music Died

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the December 14, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel. I decided, for the purposes of this blog, to switch this so it better coincides with the actual anniversary; hence, the beginning parenthetical note that occurred in the original publication might seem a little strange until you read next week’s post.]

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(C Note: OK, OK, so I’m a week late. I just thought it would be better to give our local merchants a plug as early in the Christmas season as possible.)

Chronologically, I was too young to grow up with the Beatles. Still, a very young aunt and several teenage cousins provided the avenue for me and my brother to experience at least the fringe of Beatlemania.

Not that we fully understood everything. Let me share with you just one example. During one family party in the summer of 1967,  a cousin spirited me away to her room, warning me not to tell my mother what she was about to show me. She proceeded to Continue Reading “The Morning the Music Died”

Legalize Drugs?!

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the October 5, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259In a recent CBS-New York Times survey, 64% of the respondents named drugs as the nation’s top problem. The high degree of attention currently being paid to our country’s drug epidemic may be due to President Bush’s initiatives of just about a month ago. (A similar poll taken last July revealed only 22% of the people claimed drugs to be the nation’s number one plight.)

With all the political news coming from Washington D.C. and the war stories emanating from Columbia, the issue of uncontrolled use of controlled substances has supplanted Continue Reading “Legalize Drugs?!”