Truck Stop Troubadour Volume 13- The Origins of Frankenstein Dog ( Part 7) -Charlotte

Okay, before I took that diversion to explain the recording of the first Frankenstein Dog studio record, See Us Run, our story stopped when Chris Magistro and I were at his dad's in Matthews, NC and Ria was blindly coming after us--driving an 88 Cutlass down I-95--with the express purpose of re-joining the fold.
It finally got to the point where Chris's stepmother, who did not enjoy solid mental health (did I couch that appropriately?) told me to get a handle on that "bitch" before she calls the cops.
A few days later, Ria showed up with a couple grand and we got a hotel room at the Days Inn in Charlotte, NC where she spent a few days recuperating.  In the old days this was known as taking the cure.  
It wasn't too long before the sun came out, Ria was shed of the poison, and a plan was beginning to be formulated. 
I know that Chris really resented the fact that we took great pains to escape the madness and here I was days later back with her in a hotel while he suffered at his dads and step-moms, but at the time I felt a lot of things were beyond my control.  I didn't feel like I had the energy to fight off Ria, I wasn't that great at not being in a relationship and after a few days of uncertainty when I was faced with the choice of being at someone's parents or in a hotel with Ria...well, ya know.
There was a righteous soul kitchen attached to the hotel named GA on Tryon and it was owned by a beautiful big lug named James Bazelle.  Grits and eggs for breakfast, oxtails and fried chicken for lunch, fried okra, rib eyes, peach punch, sweet tea...they had it all.
James and his wife Renee immediately fell for Ria and displayed many of her paintings on their walls.  It wasn't too long before she was making quite a bit of money off painting commissions and sales and after a week of the hotel, we moved next door to a complex known as Renaissance Place.  It was an efficiency apartment which meant it was a bedroom with a balcony and a glorified hot plate.
I became a waiter for James Bazelle and Ria started working at the catering business in Renaissance Place.  The catering business was owned by a guy named Ron, who at one time was James Bazelle's boss and mentor before James got a business loan and struck out on his own.
Ron would show up at GA on Tryon every morning and he spent the entire meal sniffing in constantly.  There was a rumor that he had a horrible coke problem but now that I am 46 and I've been around for awhile, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that that was a bullshit rumor.  The guy always had a hearty appetite and--even more than that, he was a focused and hungry restauranteur and relied on his solid standing in the community and voracious word of mouth to keep himself booked at every wedding, church function, engagement party, and reception in that part of Charlotte.  No one could touch the guy's fried chicken.  It was from another planet.
Within a month, Chris Magistro saved enough dough to get himself an apartment at Renaissance Place also and then weeks later, Bobby Parrillo moved down also and shared a place with Chris.
On Friday nights, James let us set up and play in the dining room.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Frankenstein Dog was a restaurant house band for a soul food restaurant in Charlotte.
He couldn't pay us, but he would bring out enormous platters of spaghetti and garlic bread and we had the opportunity to play all the time.
One thing we could not seem to figure out, was why we were having trouble booking any paying gigs in the area.  I think what it came down to was that even though Charlotte is a capital city, everybody knew everybody, so if you weren't hooked up in the network of bands that all originated from the high school, you didn't get booked.
So we never got Frankenstein Dog off the ground there and that was beginning to depress the hell out of me.  As a matter of fact, I got so depressed that I didn't feel like getting up for work anymore.  So I didn't.  
Me and Ria wound up getting further and further behind on our rent until the day came where we were asked politely to remove ourselves from Renaissance Place.
It was then that I had a fabulous idea.  Let's move into Ria's dad's house on Staten Island and play in Manhattan as much as we possibly could.  We were close enough to the clubs to pound the pavement and book stuff, so what did we have to lose?

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