Truck Stop Troubadour Volume 12- The Origins of Frankenstein Dog (Part 4)

One night in early November 1994, I saw Chris Magistro outside on Main Street in New Paltz and I ran up to him and told him that my band was really coming along and mentioned that if there was any way I could open for The Hotheads at some point, I'd be eternally grateful.  He matter of factly mentioned that they were playing Cabaloosa that very night and we could play a twenty minute set before they went on.  We then proceeded to run to my apartment, grab all the gear I had and run back across the street to set up.  I must've been inebriated by the time I left because I left more than 50% of my gear behind--this includes my Tascam multitrack.  For two or three weeks I asked everyone I knew if they saw Chris and nobody had.  Besides that, there was no way of knowing that he even thought to take it for me.
Well one night I was doing that sweater fall walk to Hoffman's for cigarettes and coffee and there was Chris...and YES! he had my gear.
It's funny how there are moments that stay in your mind forever and one such moment was when I was fumbling with my keys at the door of the apartment on Church St and Chris told me that I reminded him of himself when he was twelve..."just excited about everything".  I was.  But mind you I also just spent three weeks without the ability to record, nor did I know if I still owned this stuff, so it was very exciting.
 I brought him up to smoke and listen to all the new material I was working on. It was then the truth came out.  It was December and he was living in a mini school bus in the Oasis parking lot. He'd come out only to forage for food and cigarettes.
I told him straight out to live at my place.  I figured that I worked at night anyway so he could sleep in my bed and when I got up in the afternoons we could work on new material. And little by little, what I wanted to have happen was actually taking place.  Chris and I were becoming close.
What was truly interesting was what was happening to my songs.  Chris, in preparation for touring with La Vista Hotheads became a ravenous student of bass.  He took four lessons with this guy in Woodstock, a few with this guy on the Lower East Side...then this other person from West Saugerties. He was at the cutting edge of what the new music scene was evolving into.
So even though my song were folky, formulaic and simple, he added a rhythmic element that was unique and novel.  A little bit of contention began to grow.  I was living with my current bass player Dana at the time and his style caused my songs to sound hokey and dated. Chris took the mature approach.  He told Dana he just wanted to write some bass lines and he'd be our drummer in the interim.
We actually played our first gig at CBGB with me, Fabrizio on lead guitar, Dana on bass and Chris on drums.
I'm sure you can guess that this arrangement did not last too long.  The more Chris and I wrote and recorded together, the less Dana seemed like a good option.  One day, feeling the weight of the pressure, Dana finally packed his stuff and left.
At that point Chris moved into the apartment downstairs with a girl named Ria who was a recent transplant from FIT.  It was a platonic arrangement.  I stayed upstairs working on new material until it was apparent that I could not afford the place by myself.
So by April 22 1995--my 25th birthday--Me, Chris, and Ria were living together in the apartment downstairs.  Chris lived in the practice room with all the instruments and I lived in the room with Ria.  And so a whole new chapter began. 

3 comments

  • Eileen

    Eileen

    Another great story!

    Another great story!

  • James

    James

    in those days you would physically appear like your head was going to explode. Great music then and now.

    in those days you would physically appear like your head was going to explode. Great music then and now.

  • Rebecca

    Rebecca

    Sweet! My early days in NP, and I remember you living with Ria in Rosendale as well.

    Sweet! My early days in NP, and I remember you living with Ria in Rosendale as well.

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