Truck Stop Troubadour Volume 13- The Origins of Frankenstein Dog ( 6.5) -See Us Run

Well this is the kind of story that will not make me any new friends, but it needs to be told because it happened.  There is no changing the past.  The function of the past is to realize it as honestly as possible and learn from it.  I call this 6.5 because it happened simultaneously with moving into the Tramontana house on 208 and practically moments before me and Magistro left--literally in the middle of the night---for Charlotte, NC.  It's actually ironic that the first Frankenstein Dog album was called "See Us Run" because that is precisely what we did.
Right after that fateful night where we played at CBGB for Genya Ravan, our drummer Stevie D. had a meltdown and went the way of the Indian from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.  Chris Magistro had this incredibly impractical and lovely idea to ask Bob Parrillo to play drums for us.  Bob Parrillo was a virtuoso drum prodigy from Medford, NY who played in a band with Michael Bergeman (see part one of this series) and the accomplished bass and lead guitarist Sean Kupisz.  His level of playing was light years ahead of where I was, but we were close growing up on Long Island and it was more his loyalty as a friend than the "challenge" of playing my style of music that led him to even entertain the idea. With nothing but the prodding from Magistro, I called Bob and asked him if he'd consider it.
Bob's response was a request for me to send him recent material on cassette and he would listen to it and decide if it was something he could deal with.
I decided to slap together a rough copy of the proposed album See Us Run...that way he'd have every track I wanted to record in the studio and in the order I wanted to do them in.
As this was going on, I believe Chris, Fabrizio and I had about $600 saved plus a reel of two inch Ampex tape and we planned to stay within that budget.
The day before our studio date, in what I remember as a blinding snow storm, Bob Parrlllo showed up at the Tramontana house with his kit and he set up.  We played every song on the album and, of course, Bob played each one as if he was there since they had been written.  His playing was flawless, creative and appropriate.  Between Chris' fretless and inventive bass lines and Parrillo's progressive approach, Frankenstein Dog took on a whole new sound.  I remember this particular song called "Child's Scream" where Bob's left hand on the ride cymbal never stopped playing this one particular pattern--from the moment the song began until it ended.  All the while, his right hand was playing a completely different pattern and both his legs were occupied with two other things.  I had never played with anyone like him in my entire life.  
We went to the studio in Rosendale, NY the next day and if my memory serves me, there was a couple hours devoted to setting up and miking everything and then approximately three hours where--as a three piece--Bob, Chris and I tracked all ten songs perfectly and usually in one take.  We stayed within budget and we all left the studio feeling hopeful and joyous that the first Frankenstein Dog album was on its way to being an auditory masterpiece. 
The next step was going to be Fabrizio going in and tracking his leads and that was to be followed with mixing.
Now right here is where everything began to crumble down around us.  We showed up a week later to listen to the work Fabrizio did and also to begin the mixing and when we got there everything began to spin out of control.  Me and Chris were not even slightly happy with the lead guitar work but even more than that, we learned that Fab was there for seven or eight hours tracking and re-tracking them.  We were so god damn angry that it is really, even now, difficult to convey.  We managed to set up the studio and track the entire foundation of the album as a live three piece in less time.
The more we ruminated over this, the more we began to see dirty pool.  We were pretty sure that Fab was fucked up during the entire thing and the studio owners just kept allowing him to track and track and re-track for hours as our bill steadily climbed way beyond what we could afford.  So the money we had on us to cover the mixing became the money to pay for that lead guitar session...and I don't think we planned on spending that much time mixing the whole thing, so we were most likely short on that end too.
But the studio owners allowed us to go ahead and mix the record and owe them the rest of the money.  We asked if it'd be ok if we took a cassette copy of the mixes with us and they agreed.
Me and Chris decided to call Tod at Magnetic North and turn that cassette into a CD one off.  Then we handmade a hundred See Us Run cassettes off that CD.
Needless to say, we left NY still owing that money to the studio owners but in our minds, we didn't feel it was something that we had to pay for.  We were convinced that the owners knew he was far too fucked up to realize the sort of tab he was running up trying to track thoses leads.
Now twenty plus years later, I will say this: this was most likely the first in a series of reputation building maneuvers that Chris and I were involved in that led to our being known as half musicians, half crooks.
I still remember Jack Rosenthal telling us that he gave all the proceeds from our cassettes he had at Jack's Rhythms to those studio owners and I also remember that they wound up tracking over our two inch tape.
If I had the wisdom that I have now, I would've found a way to pay for those hours and considered it an expensive education but I am entirely willing to accept the fact that I was some kind of motherfucker in my early twenties.  I walked around believing that if you so much as tapped me on the shoulder, I had every right to hit you over the head with a hammer..  I lived.  I learned.
Regardless, the album was incredible.

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