My Life in Music

The trumpet, guitar (twice), harmonica, piano. The list of instruments I’ve tried to learn is fairly typical, but the most interesting is the trumpet. In fifth grade I decided not to play it any more, but chose not to inform my parents.

I’d leave for school in the morning with the trumpet, but stash it in the backyard shed rather than take it to school. Maybe my parents wondered why I never practiced — or maybe they were just grateful that they didn’t have to hear it.

But my greatest musical moment was appearing in the Carle Place High School “Gong Show.” Though I could barely play the guitar, I got up and improvised a folk song. Years of listening to Bob Dylan influenced my style, harmonica frame and all.

The judges made quick work of me. Guitar legend Steve Vai won the competition with his version of the National Anthem, therefore I can claim that we once competed head-to-head in a music contest. What can I say? He was just too good to beat.

Then there was the garage band. My friends needed a singer and for some crazy reason recruited me. We actually appeared in public once at a local bar, where I sang Bob Seger’s “Hollywood Nights,” a couple of Creedence songs, and — I swear to god this is true — “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” in a duet with a girl we knew.

Like most failed musicians and “drooling fanatics” I keep a list of band names, though I can safely say I’ll probably never have a band. Here are the current top ten:

  1. The Wild Black Morels
  2. Boomstick
  3. Munchhausen by Proxy
  4. Approval Process
  5. Rat Race Choir
  6. The Pragmatics
  7. The Husky Section
  8. Strobes
  9. The Benjamins
  10. Road Apples

Lower on the list you’ll find things like The Joel Rifkin Quartet which, admittedly, might not be such a great band name.

5 thoughts on “My Life in Music

  1. #3 and #7 are truly masterful. You need to do some home-recording and press a split 7″ attributed to those bands . . .

    I managed at different times to play guitar, bass, synth and percussion on stages of various sizes and shapes, as well as singing. I have some embarrassing tapes to prove it. I was a practitioner of audience shocking industrial noise core long before it was cool. Oh wait . . . it’s still not cool . . . my bad . . .

    I’ve long threatened to roll out The Neatly Trimmed Triangles as my next band name, when life allows me to get around to it. I’m also fond of Stake Knife, Wheel Dio, Mon Hairy Frere, and Bobby Demons, all of which were leftovers from the old Upstate Wasted board . . .

    And then there’s Assdingus . . .

  2. The Neatly Trimmed Triangles, naturally, would have matching goatees…

    As a chubby child, I was no stranger to the husky section atthe Sears store in Hicksville.

  3. my threats for names have been:
    Xiphoid Process
    the Flamin’ Yons

    and my latest – the Asphalt Chewing Titanics (from an anti-trucking op ed piece)

    1. I especially like the Flamin’ Yons. I don’t think there’s any chance those are already taken, which is always good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *