Truck Stop Troubadour Volume 12- The Origins of Frankenstein Dog (Part 6) -Escape

"Fuck you!!!!" Ria screamed shrilly as an unopened Hawaiian Punch can sailed through the air and made direct contact with the glass kitchen window shattering it into what seemed at the time to be thousands of little glass shards.
Chris Magistro and the plumber who was working at our house on 208 both muttered the same thing..."you gotta be shittin' me."  
It would've been funny if it wasn't so terrible.  But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.
Sometime in Sept of 1995 we grew tired of the place on Church St--dump that it was--and began to look for a suitable band house.  There was this really nice place out on 208 by Jansen Rd that was owned by a "butch" (for those of you unfamiliar with the accent, that means butcher)  from Queens named Joseph Tramontana.  He was a strict first generation Italian and this was basically his upstate project summer home.  The house was being rented by a Real Estate agency so we realized we'd never be approved if we showed up saying we were looking for a band house.
So I found a halfway decent suit at Salvation Army and Ria had a dress from her last society affair on Staten Island and we posed as a married couple looking for a place to start a family.  We invented and finagled all kinds of fictional references and past histories and we managed to wrangle the house.  It was occupied by me and Ria and Chris Magistro and Sarah.
Things began on a positive note there.  I was wrapped in a magical flow with writing and recording.  Some more notable material was "Guess That's What I Gotta Say", "Main Street The Other Day" and an entire rock opera called Wax Wings.
Wax Wings was truly a glorious affair.  Sometime around December 1st, I decided I wanted to give Ria a rock opera for Christmas.  The premise was that I wanted it to be a surprise, so I didn't want her to hear any of it beforehand.
So I was writing stuff, multitracking it at The 87 motel and handing it off to Chris who was writing bass lines in his room through headphones.  It was truly inspired and coming together nicely.  I based the format loosely on everything I learned from years and years of listening to Tommy and Quadrophenia.  Instrumentals that seamed together all the different melodies from all the songs, a solid theme that ran throughout, dramatic tensions, sweet resolutions--it was all there.
Ria wasn't all that impressed by it, and if I remember correctly she was wondering if I got her anything real for Christmas but as a songwriter, I was stretching quite a bit and it felt really good.
Now in the middle of all of this, our friend Michelle Moriello was killed in a car accident and it affected all of us emotionally and I think it even altered the flow of the writing of Wax Wings.  The last few songs took on a really sad and darkish tone, but it really balanced all the pot and Ritalin inspired stuff nicely.
A night that will live in my memory forever was, a week or so after Christmas, when me and Chris decided to get some recreational drugs and re-record the whole thing live from start to finish.  It was amazing.  I did the guitar and vocal live with Chris accompanying me on bass and then we tracked hand percussion and lead guitar.  This entire event went on from nighttime til dawn and when we woke up later the next afternoon, we could not believe what we had.
We bought tapes and made about fifty copies and I made these librettos by hand to go with them.
Two or three nights later, we performed the whole thing at Creations Coffee House on Church St, and managed to sell every copy we made.  We taped that live performance and we made fifty more and made the live Creations gig the B side of the tape.
There was something that was also working against us during all of this.  We were partying like crazy.  Some might even say abusing drugs like crazy.  And the more we were, the more chaotic things were getting. 
Add to this the fact that that particular winter was brutal with its snowfall and the fact that the Tramontana house was really a summer home that was not meant to withstand a winter onslaught such as this and you'll get the idea.  Chris Magistro and Sarah's rooms had no heat, mine and Ria's section was electric baseboard==it was really beginning to get untenable.
And that led to the Hawaiian Punch blow out.
Chris and I had a meeting while driving up to get cigarettes:
"If we're going to get anywhere with this band, I need to get away from dope and away from Ria..." I remember saying.
Magistro spoke to his father who lived in Matthews, North Carolina and a plan was hatched to just leave in the middle of the night--no warning, no official break up...nothing.
The way I was able to make this decision seem more palatable was by convincing myself that Ria was out of control, irrational and strung out.  You don't try to sit down with someone like that and explain a decision that they are going to be very angry about.  You're just wasting a whole lot of time and energy and opening yourself up for more craziness and violence.
So we did it.
We left in the middle of the night and as we trekked down I-95 I was having mad visions of success, a new start; a dream of Charlotte, NC being the new Seattle and as Frankenstein Dog being the next Soundgarden.
We told no one what we were doing and felt completely safe and insulated until the phone call came to Mr. Magistro's house.
It was Ria.  She was in Delaware and had every intention of continuing to drive south until she was in our livingroom.
Huh????

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