As some of you know, I've performed in a number of rock bands, though my first group was a folk trio. We were high-schoolers playing a student dance, doing rousing sea chanteys and battle anthems in a headlong, banjo-picking style. We excited the crowd. (I was in elementary school, age 11 or 12, when I first came up with the idea; can't say I had much of a clue yet what would excite an eventual high-school crowd.)
In early 1967, just when I'd turned 13, John Lennon quit the Beatles to form a band with me. I had two intense, emotional melodies that became hit songs. We toured the country, playing smaller halls, despite Lennon's fame. The small venues fit the sparer, more emotional music I had in mind. The two melodies did in fact exist; I remember one of them still, though I'm not sure it's all that intense and emotional anymore. Neither of the melodies ever got any words or became real songs. The only actual song of mine up to that point was a funny one called "Out on the Autostrada" that I’d composed at age 10 on a trip from Rome to Sicily. Its lyrics, in their entirety, were "Out on the Autostrada/We put some ham in their chowder," auto pronounced "ow-toe" in the Italian way, chowder pronounced "chow-duh" in the Boston way.
I don't distinctly remember the bands I put together right after the Lennon one. I'm sure there were many. I do remember that at age 16 I briefly had a band with Grace Slick. Grace was a goddess to me at the time, though a very scary one. Lots of male rock stars were up on my wall. She was the only woman among them. I was in awe of her and completely infatuated but very intimidated too. "Either go away or go all the way in" really unnerved me. She was beautiful, but I don't know how much I was attracted to her. I almost never have sex fantasies about stars, anyway. I prefer people I know. I had a masturbation daydream about Grace, once, that eventually succeeded, but it was work. I kept picturing her hard unblinking stare; I didn't know if she'd relent to actually liking me. Maybe if I were to meet the real Grace — loud, emotional ex-drunk that she's supposed to be — my fantasy life with her would improve.
( After the Grace band, I was the starCollapse )