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New Year's Eve 2003
12-31-03 7:30 pm 41 degrees, clear sky, half moon, Hyannis,
Cape Cod, Ma
" Are my boobs too big?" ( Jeeeeez !. What a question too ask a guy! I considered
my options very carefully.) " No gorgeous, they look just fine." was my honest
reply. "Hey! Isn't that a brand new Real Kids tee shirt your wearing ? I said
as I massaged the black cotton fabric between my thumb and forefinger, as if it
were an expensive hand tailored suit. "Ya, I got a bunch of them." the Felice
sibling, Mary Jo, loudly and proudly exclaimed.
"How do I look?" (Jeeez! I have heard this question before, a very deep and far
fetching inquiry, one that has ruined many a night out. A query so innocent and
yet so petrifying, the whole night seems to hang on my very response.) " Way cute."
Another honest reply. (hey, I kinda like this honesty thing)
time to head out to the big city. We hopped into the car and as usual I take mental
inventory before I back the car out the driveway; one 1963 Epiphone Rivoli bass
guitar, one Fender Studio Bass amplifier, Two mic stands (one boom and one straight),
one microphone with cord, tuner, cell phone, etc.
˜Mental inventory™ is my friend,
A friend who has saved me many dollars and sleepless nights. I taught myself the
technique while working with my good friend, and LYRES guitarist, Jack Hickey.
One night years ago Jack left his Fender Twin Reverb amp at CBGB's in New York
City. He was completely oblivious to this fact the whole way home and even well
into the next day. I got a call at work about 3:00 in the afternoon. "Hey Corockanroll!"
"What's up Jack?" I replied. "I think I left my amp at CBGB's." he lamented. "Well,
what do ya mean YOU THINK?" I asked somewhat incredulously. "Do you have your
amp or not?" I added. "Well, NO, I don't have it." he answered in a characteristically
calm Hickeyesque manner.
To make a long story short, I suggested that he call
the other band on the bill and ask them if they knew anything (which he did) and
miraculously they actually had his amp. Unfortunately, they were from Long Island,
400 miles away. Their honesty and willingness to help reunite amp with owner was
nothing less than inspirational. The amp was too heavy for UPS and FEDEX. We finally
decided to get it on a train to north station as freight (a thirty dollar trip
and a happy ending).
10:15 pm Central Square, Cambridge MA.
was surprisingly light for a New Years Eve. As we entered the square from Main
Street I could see that parking was gonna be somewhat of a problem. On a whim,
I took a right turn at Mc Donald's directly in front of the venue. I hadn't gone
ten feet when suddenly back up lights appeared in front of us. "Hey! That guy
is leaving!" exclaimed Mary Jo. Fortuitous indeed I thought. A parking spot less
than 20 yards from the front door of ZUZU. This of course is MAJOR!! It means
that I can simply roll my bass amp across Mass Ave and into the club. Yes, the
"Parking Fairy" was indeed smiling down on our Toyota.
10:30ish Central Sq. Cambridge MA Club ZUZU
We entered the club and were immediately offered colorful feathered masks. Club
owner Lilli was smiling and chatting with
the patrons as she walked around passing out assorted noisemakers and hats. The
bartender was very busy and very happy. I was here only once before and had forgotten
how tiny this wonderful place is. My first BGN journal entry was from here. Singer
Eric Martin moved me (and everyone else) to
tears with his rendition of Tupelo Honey.
Fifty persons is all the law will allow here. It's not unlike having a party in
your living room. This place is about the size of a typical living room. By the
end of the night I'm sure we will know everybody here. I met a couple from Oregon,
Michael Day and Pollyanne,
nice people. They were visiting relatives nearby in Rhode Island, picked up a
newspaper to find something to do, and lo and behold, their favorite band (The
Lyres) were playing a mere hour away. They told me they had many friends
who will be green with envy when they find out. A super compliment! Thank you
The Worcester contingent is well represented by my good friends and fellow musicians
Artie Sneiderman, his lovely wife, Patty
(the prettiest face in rock and roll) Sneiderman, Mike
Michaud, his lovely wife and a few of their buddies . These guys are
occupying a table right in front of the bandstand. They are having appetizers,
dinner, desert and drinks and basically just 'doing it up'. Directly behind them
rock novelist Brett Milano and friends are
whooping it up. Brett is looking wonderfully goofy and festive in his top hat.
His girlfriend is just as tall as he is. I am waiting for the ceiling fan to knock
their top hats off their heads.
11:25 pm or so
Mr and Mrs Micke Michaud
and Artie Sniederman
Danny McCormack picked up his guitar and
quietly started picking out the chords to "Swing Shift", a song
we have not played since the Eighty's. I will at this time confess to you, dear
reader, that this present line up of The Lyres
(referred to as the "On Fyre" lineup) has yet to rehearse as a band. This is our
Paul Murphy, huge goblet of red wine in hand,
squeezed his thin frame behind the drum kit, settled in and picked up the beat,
softly at first. I threw the strap of my trusty Epiphone over my shoulder and
after tuning looked at Danny's hand in an effort to find the key. After a few
measures I had the 12 bar progression down and it felt pretty damn good!
rehearsal for sure. I wrongly assumed that we would include this tune later in
the set. When I turned around to face the audience the whole friggin' joint was
dancing up a storm!!! I mean it was absolutely NUTS!! Even Jeff
was impressed and psyched. Resplendent in his blue sparkle tux and
two bottles of bubbly. It was just so beautiful when he flipped on his Vox Continental
and elevated the MOOD to full out, balls to the wall, BASH status.
Through the partially curtained front window behind Murphy I could see several
people dancing on the sidewalk. Passers-by getting sucked into Paul's hypnotic
beat with pulsing organ masterfully and gleefully improvised by Mister
Mr. Airplane woman, Tara,
dressed very smartly in a bright red outfit, danced through the front door and
never stopped all night. My honey Mary Jo,
with a huge smile on her sweet face is doing that girly shoulder shake dance that
only girls can do. A couple from Nantucket are doing this crouching dance thing.
The guy has on this amazing mask that is like a huge tangled mass of snakes, like
Medusa. I will never forget this moment.
11:59pm Five, four, three,two, one! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Noisemakers are grinding away, horns are tooting loudly, everyone
is so happy and so 'in the moment'. I turned around to take a large gulp of my
drink and yuuuuckkkk!!!! Coca Cola !!! I had forgotten about my vow not to drink
tonight. (Yes, it is true) I, Mr. Black Russian himself, had decided not to drink
tonight because I was determined not to be one of those poor unfortunate souls
on the side of the road doing 'The Dance' in front of blue flashing lights and
too poor to afford the hotel room I had previously reserved. It was a good decision,
which I definitely do not regret, but wouldn't ya know it, the bartender didn't
know how to make a Black Russian! I love that! I ordered one for my girlfriend.
"It's so easy." I explained, "first, take a LARGE glass, Half Absolute and Half
Mary Jo ran up to me to give me a big New
Years Eve make out as Jeff directed Dan
to start off "Loving Cup"( a song that is literally impossible NOT
to dance to.) I'm so glad that everyone is having a good time and Jeff is behaving
himself very well (at times, I swear, he is downright charming).
There is a guy
here, I don't know his name and I have never seen him before. Every time I walked
by him he grabbed me in a big clutching bear hug. He spoke with a foreign accent
and he had wicked salami breath (salami or Iguana, I'm not quite sure) He seemed
harmless enough but it was all I could do to wrench myself out of his grip. A
woman at the bar asked me if I could get this guy to leave her alone. What the
hell, I'll give it a try! I walked up to him and as soon as I got within four
feet he reached out with both arms and pulled me six inches from his face(definitely
violating my personal space). Through trial and error I figured out that if I
yell loudly into his ear, "OK THAT'S ENOUGH" he lets go. Just a big happy drunk
guy loose in America on New Years Eve, chasing every girl in sight and getting
absolutely nowhere. We've all been there.
1:20 am Jan 1 2004 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA in front of
I do miss smoking in bars but having a smoke in front of a bar
is becoming a real happening. I met more people in front of the bar than I did
inside. They should serve drinks! Sooner or later some enterprising businessman
will figure out a way to capitalize on this phenomenon.
Ex- Lyres guitarist, Jarred, appeared out
of the crowd. "Hey Jarred, I thought you moved to L.A?" said I. "Rick! How's it
goin'?" he smiled back as he reached into his coat and pulled a bent filter cigarette
from a soft pack. "I am so good." I replied as I lit his smoke and snapped my
lighter shut with an audible click. "Good to see ya man." I added. "I miss playing
with you guys." he admitted. "We had some really great gigs." I agreed. Naturally
he was with a wicked cute young girl. They walked into the bar. Through the front
door I could see him hugging Jeff. It's New Years Eve and all is forgiven.
1:40 ZUZU bar time
Most of the partiers have
gone. The salami breath guy is still here and managed to grab both me and Mary
Jo at the same time, one in each arm. O.K I know the drill and it works every
time. Jo and I ran to the back of the club. Club owner Lilli
looked at me somewhat apprehensively and said "There is only twenty minutes to
load out!" I guess it's time to go I thought to myself.
Out on the street here
on famous Mass Ave. it was such a nice New Years Eve scene. The stars are blinking
and it is warm for a New England January night. Couples are walking by hand in
hand and smiling, everyone is smiling and happy! Cabs are being hailed. A truck
driver blasts his horn loudly at the sight of three or four attractive young girls
in short skirts waving madly at him. The sidewalk is bustling with partygoers,
each with their own agendas and stories and memories of New Years Eve 2004, in
this wonderful New England city. RC
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