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for January 22, 2002

Places That Are Gone
by Sean Carolan

One of the nice things that makes burning your own mix CDs light years better than making cassettes, is that you can kind of throw a bunch of songs onto a disc without thinking too much about them. The end result is that your mixed CDs can still surprise you, whereas your chances of that happening while listening to a cassette you mixed are about the same as successfully tickling yourself.

Driving to the Dollar Bill Benefit last Friday, I was listening to a CD filled with songs I thought that my daughter might like. It kept exhibiting an uncanny knack for playing the song that was most appropriate for that exact moment in time.

So as Propellerheads' "History Repeating" percolated out of the player, I pulled into the Tradewinds' parking lot, chuckling at the synchronicity.

Walking in, the Whirling Dervishes had taken the place previously occupied by Everlounge, and by the time they started playing "Tan", I'd found a comfortable place at the bar with folks I hadn't seen in years. (Unfortunately, the show started earlier than I could manage to arrive, and I found that I'd completely missed The Blases, another Jersey band from the eighties who, like the Dervishes, never got the break they should have.)

It was probably around this time that I started paying more attention to my company than to the music. There were:

  • Mike Sauter, now at 90.5 The Night, attempting to chronicle war stories of the good old days. Unfortunately, when he stuck his microphone in my direction, my mind went blank. (There were good old days, weren't there?)
  • Jeff Raspe, also now at The Night and at this publication right hyar, happily snapping shots of us geezers doing some power geezing.
  • Rich Robinson, who agreed with me that this was likely the best FM106.3 promotion we'd been at. Shame the station couldn't have survived to see it.
  • Rob Acampora, reticent at first, owing to his tenure at the pretender to the alternative throne, G-106.3. Rob, don't worry - we know it wasn't your fault.
  • Loretta Windas, who, when the conversation turned to our respective ages back in the day, remembered the time she had Jim Szwede play Game Theory's "24" for that particular birthday. (Of course I knew the song; it was on the CD I was listening to on the way in. Creepy, huh?)
  • Stiffy Biceptz and Lenny Lounge, classic scenesters, were in the house as well, holding their own courts as they are wont to do.
  • At the risk of lumping them in with The Professor and Mary Ann, I also saw Bruce McDonald, Glenn Vistica, Leo Zaccari and lotsa other rock stars from the old station. The place was awash in cloistered notoriety. (Note: my wife says I should leave the following to those more involved with the proceedings, but should they wish to, those people are welcome to use this space to ask the musical question, "Where the hell was Matt Pinfield?!?")
As the bands played on, and drinks were drunk, thoughts of Brigadoon were impossible to escape. Then again, that's probably only because I appear in clubs every so many years - this sort of thing might happen every week for all I know. So much for being the Nero Wolfe of music punditry.

A moment was taken to memorialize Bill Benfer, in whose name the night had been planned. I saw a few misty eyes reacting to the slide show they prepared. As John Easdale had said earlier in the day, it's rare for someone in radio, or in sales, not to mention both, to touch this many people, but there's the proof. There is rumor of a similar event being planned for March; I hope it's as successful and, ultimately, as helpful for Bill and his family as this one more than likely was. Adding to the proceeds, a table full of FM106.3-related paraphernalia was chinese-auctioned, which only added to the number of shockingly anachronistic t-shirts spotted in the crowd.

Ultimately, the night wound up exactly the way you'd expect it to, with John Easdale and his east-coast band ripping into the Dramarama classics "Last Cigarette" and "Anything, Anything". Particle dynamics being what they are, bodies started bumping into other bodies at an ever increasing rate, and the night ended properly in a froth.

I left the forcibly emptied Tradewinds and pointed the car homeward. Tommy Keene's "Places That Are Gone" came up on the CD player.


©2002 Sean Carolan

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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