Truck Stop Troubadour Volume 11- The Origins of Frankenstein Dog (Part 3)

I saw an ad for a full time job as an overnight desk clerk at The 87 Motel and I ran down to the Salvation Army to get a dress shirt and apply for the job. I loved the idea of working midnight to eight and having all day to focus on music.  I was thrilled when they told me I got the job.
The guy who was working the shift before me was named Jon and he had to be one of the strangest dudes I have ever met.  Odd mannerisms and facial expressions and persona.  He was twenty-five, he still lived with his parents and his entire identity was rooted in his supposed ADHD and his passion for the Asian culture and its people.
In those days, it was safe to say I was stoned almost every waking hour of everyday--from the second I opened my eyes until I went to sleep.  I was plugging away trying to write songs and I probably wrote one everyday at that point.
When I wasn't writing songs, I was floating around New Paltz, meeting other musicians, lots of girls, and staying friendly with the townsfolk.  One guy who I loved talking to everyday was Jack from Jack's Rhythms.  I met him as a senior in college when I was working at Hoffmann's Deli.  I remember buying a used copy of Dylan's Bootlegs Volume One for more money than I could probably spend and spending my nights at The 87 listening to it.  I was awestruck by the material on that collection.  Farewell Angelina, the Blood on the Tracks outtakes, and all the rest of it.  I wanted to learn all of it.
The nights I didn't work I'd be out on Main St busking and making out with whomever I was in love with that week and it just turned out to be one of those incredibly carefree summers.
Every other day I'd bring a cassette into Jack's and he's listen to it thoughtfully.
"Sounds like Dylan," he used to say.
I'd keep writing.
"Still sounds like Dylan."
And back again I'd go.
Jon, the weird dude from the 87, I learned, had prescriptions for Ritalin and Klonopin and this guy literally spent his entire work days nibbling on one and then another.  Up and down, up and down.  Noticing the state I was always in, he asked me one night if I could get him some ganga.  I gave him a joint and I could not believe my eyes when he unraveled a little bit of it and began to eat it.  He explained eating herb extended the life of the Ritalin.
Not long after this, I woke up one morning and wrote the song "Guilty of Yourself."  It, like most of what I wrote for the first five years, was a plea to--you guessed it--my college sweetheart.
I remember being really excited and going to Jack's with it.
I almost burst into tears of joy when he put it on his store stereo, looked up and said, "Yes!  Yes!  Now you have a sound!  Now you're onto something!"
Shortly after that, I came to work on two or three hours sleep and I could hardly keep my eyes open.  Jon took pity on me and gave me my first two Ritalin,
That night flew by and I spent most of it writing endless lyrics...some of the best stuff I've ever written. I felt like I discovered the keys to the universe.
The routine was to go home, sleep for three or four hours, wake up, write music to go with it and then record.
At this point, I met Dana the bass player, and it wasn't long before we got an apartment together next door to the bike shop.
That was the period I also wrote Jersey Turnpike, Smile Used To Be, Allison, Another World, Best Times, Paper, Dear Sister, All's Well in Denial and dozens more.  It was the beginning of the most meaningful and prolific periods of my creative life.
But as incredible as the writing was going, the band--Frankenstein Dog--was just that terrible.
I knew nothing about being a band leader and being as stoned as I was all the time did not help my lack of communication skills at all.  All I knew was I had a vision for these songs and it was not being met by the people I was playing with.
It was at that time that I ran into Fabrizio outside of Cabaloosa.  We were dorm mates when we both lived in Bouton Hall.  His roommate was actually Murali Coryell.
I excitedly told him, about everything I was doing and he said he wanted to hear, so the next day, he came over with acoustic Guild.  It was old and beat up but it had an incredible tone.
The musical chemistry between the two of us was obvious.  We would play inside, we'd play on Main St...we played constantly.  Now things were starting to become exciting.
One night, Fabrizio came over with this six foot tall, really skinny dude with moon boots and dreads down to his waist. I learned that his name was Chris Magistro and he just came off a tour supporting the Ramones with a band called La Vista Hotheads.  It was Garrett Uhlenbrock's band and it was one of the best in the area at the time.  He played the meanest fretless bass I had ever seen in my life.
I walked up to the 87 motel to work later that night with one thing on my mind: that guy is going to be my best friend.

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