This was a very late night recording at the bar Heckle and Jeckle’s on Long Island, New York. I always had our sound man throw a mic out and hook up the cassette recorder to tape the performance. Funny to say cassette recorder, now that is really dating the times. This recording is towards the end of the Lampshades tenure as a band. We were still playing out a lot but the band started going into different directions and band mates started pursuing different parts in their lives. I remember Ken got married, I started to lose interest and frankly we all just faded out and stopped playing as the band ,”The Lampshades”. When we played out at bars and clubs we still incorporated some cover music that we liked and had fun with. This song “Mustang Sally” is a rhythm and blues (R&B) song written and first recorded by Mack Rice in 1965. Ken really liked this song and it was a fun song to play and sing on stage. Ken did the lead vocals and myself, Gary and Jim did the back up vocals. Really liked the harmonies and as said we just had fun playing it – Listen at the end of the recording you will identify that there was only a few souls left in audience at the bar as it was the last song of the last set of the night.

Enjoy!

 

Cover photo by: Darren Nunis
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On a business trip to Chicago a few years back, I had a riff that was sticking in my head from the start of my trip. I was only going to be in Chicago for about 4 days. I’ll tell you something about the windy city, there are plenty of cool blues and jazz clubs that you have to go to, to immerse yourself in the flavor of the city. I was privileged and able to go to just 2 in my 4 day stay. The first one is called B.L.U.E.S., in which is a small club with a tiny intimate stage that packs them in nightly to hear some real great players. Lot’s of local musicians play there as well as some up and coming newbies – don’t miss that club. Another club I was able to check out was Rosa’s Lounge in which , I thought was blues at it’s best. There is so many other clubs I would liked to have visited–but alas 4 days and on a business trip, I just could not do it, as they say it, “there’s always next time”. Well back to the riff in my head. As said, the whole trip and my club hopping brought me around to thinking how I can tie this riff into a song. So with the riff in my head, I wanted to get back home to my studio to see what I could work out. Wait a second – if I have a riff, what about some lyric’s? My trip to Chicago was coming to an end and I summoned up an Uber on my Iphone to take me back to the airport and home. The Uber picked me up and we proceeded to drive through town and onto the freeway towards Midway airport. Then I saw it – First one billboard than another ” Pink Monkey” it was a strip club – I fell in love!!!!!  (not only with the strip club by the name Pink Monkey)19740099808_07bae95806

Now I got my inspiration mojo to start feverishly writing. I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper from my brief case and started to Pen the lyric’s – Ohh – The Pink Monkey – as I got to the plane it struck me from where my journey started and where I would end back to. New York to Chicago (and a layover in) Baltimore to get back to New York the words just flowed out as I sat in (BWI) Baltimore Airport waiting for my flight back to New York.

Please Enjoy 

“The Pink Monkey”

19740099808_07bae95806

On a business trip to Chicago a few years back, I had a riff that was sticking in my head from the start of my trip. I was only going to be in Chicago for about 4 days. I’ll tell you something about the windy city, there are plenty of cool blues and jazz clubs that you have to go to, to immerse yourself in the flavor of the city. I was privileged and able to go to just 2 in my 4 day stay. The first one is called B.L.U.E.S., in which is a small club with a tiny intimate stage that packs them in nightly to hear some real great players. Lot’s of local musicians play there as well as some up and coming newbies – don’t miss that club. Another club I was able to check out was Rosa’s Lounge in which , I thought was blues at it’s best. There is so many other clubs I would liked to have visited–but alas 4 days and on a business trip, I just could not do it, as they say it, “there’s always next time”. Well back to the riff in my head. As said, the whole trip and my club hopping brought me around to thinking how I can tie this riff into a song. So with the riff in my head, I wanted to get back home to my studio to see what I could work out. Wait a second – if I have a riff, what about some lyric’s? My trip to Chicago was coming to an end and I summoned up an Uber on my Iphone to take me back to the airport and home. The Uber picked me up and we proceeded to drive through town and onto the freeway towards Midway airport. Then I saw it – First one billboard than another ” Pink Monkey” it was a strip club – I fell in love!!!!!  (not only with the strip club by the name Pink Monkey)

Now I got my inspiration mojo to start feverishly writing. I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper from my brief case and started to Pen the lyric’s – Ohh – The Pink Monkey – as I got to the plane it struck me from where my journey started and where I would end back to. New York to Chicago (and a layover in) Baltimore to get back to New York the words just flowed out as I sat in (BWI) Baltimore Airport waiting for my flight back to New York.

Please Enjoy 

“The Pink Monkey”

Another treasure. After all these years – I can listen with different ears and I hear a Joe who liked writing lyrics, played little bits of show tunes, used unusual chords and sort of ‘chopped’ at the guitar. I’m still playing parts of show tunes and even MORE unusual chords and much crazier rhythms with a broader palette of sounds than I did . . . . let’s see . . . about 1985 or so? That’s 85-95 (10 years) 95-2005 (10 years) 2005-2015 (10 years) + 3 or 4 and that’s about 33 or 34 YEARS AGO!!!!!!
I started playing guitar at around 14 years old. So roughly 50 years ago. I should really be much better. I did give up playing guitar after Vinyl Flesh for about 7-8 years. But I played piano or keyboards instead so I really didn’t quit playing and totally  got into recording. I think you & I banged around a couple times over at the house you & Dena lived in. And we’re still doing it.
 There were 2 commonalities – you & Ken so there ya have it !
Enjoy – Vinyl Flesh “Archived Cassette Tapes”
“Talking in Lies”

Finding some of my old band mates, as I have lost contact with them over the years, has been a new pursuit of mine in the past few years. With the use of social media, I have been able to track down a few of them. I have re-connected with Gary Sabshon the last drummer from the Lampshades-in which I was able to go over to his house and jam it up a bit. Although compared to him, (he’s been playing all the time) I was a bit on the rusty side, but fun never the less.

Gary Sabshon
Gary Sabshon Far Right Then! Also Gary Citro (middle) and Ken Kern (between the 2 Gary’s)

 

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Gary Sabshon Now!

I have recently this year have been able to re-connect with a band mate from the Vinyl Flesh Band, Joe “Z” World (Joe Menghini). He currently lives in Florida, he is a very accomplished artist and still plays and writes music at a prolific clip.                                  Go to Pinterest.com link to see some of his art work:                            https://in.pinterest.com/guitarizt/  “Z” and I have been trading music clips and stay tuned for an upcoming CD I’m working on that will have a collaboration of music from “Z” and myself. Don’t currently have a photo of “Z” now–but here is a picture of him then!

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Joe “Z world”

I have also been able to get in contact with Gary Citro (Keyboards), Pete Fagiola (Drums & Percussion) 2 of the original members of The Lampshades and Chris Connolly one of the drummers from Vinyl Flesh. Gary is a music school teacher, I think Pete owns a restaurant and still play’s and composes, Chris is an avid bike rider!

Here are some current pictures of Gary, Pete and Chris Connolly:

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Gary Citro

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Pete Fagiola

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Chris Connolly

Have not been able to re-connect with Ken Kern whom I really miss, as he is a hell of a guitar player and just a sweetheart!

Also another band mate, that sorry to say has passed away Any Blinx.

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Andy Blinx

 

The lampshades went through many band mates until it’s final 5 was established. The first true band set up was myself, John Donnelly, Pete Fagiola, Gary Citro and Robbie Nichole’s. We wrote a few original songs but the majority of the music was cover music. The covers that we played were very eclectic, from Pink Floyd to the B52’s, Devo and the Doors.

John left the band and new member Kenny Kern joined us. Kenny was an extremely versatile musician and is a really great guitar player among the other instruments he could play he also sang very well. We continued to dabble in some original music but embarked on doing 3 sets of cover music so we could play the Long Island Bar circuit and earn some cash. Not too long into playing at some Long Island hot spots like Wooden Ships, Uncle Bob’s Rocking Fun House, Camelot Inn and some place in Massapequa in which right now the name eludes me. Soon after we started playing the circuit we had to part ways with Robbie, as he was tough to get along with and really was not a good musician or should we say his musical taste’s didn’t taste very good. Now to find another guitar player in comes Jim Tucker. Jim was a good solid rhythm man and could also sing. This group of 5, Ken, Jim, Gary, Pete and me started writing a bunch of original tunes. Still playing covers in bars and a few colleges to get cash, we began to integrated some of the original pieces into the sets. Andy Blinx a good friend, fellow musician and artist had an in at Radio City Music hall with the engineer Don Hunnerburg. So we took some of the bar cash equity to record 4 songs at the Radio City studio’s shooting to do a 45 record on our own. We invited John Kessler along to help with the production on the mix.

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Don and John at the console

Being that Andy got us the inside track to record at Radio City, the only caveat was that we had the studio from 12 midnight to 4am. Needless to say what we did to keep up – was something called sex, drugs and rock & roll!                                                                                Thank-you Mr. Blinx!

Forty five plus years ago, sitting at the dinner table with my parents I boldly exclaimed, ” I’m going to pursue a career in music”. So began the start of a journey that brought me to many people and places that few others get a chance to experience in a life.

I always liked music, although through the Kessler brothers it sparked me into diving in head first into new and exciting genres that I never knew existed. John played keyboards and Wow Bob played drums, so naturally John talked me into getting a bass guitar, a fender precision candy apple red ( very road worn) with a tree trunk “C” neck.

The fun begins as I got pulled into the New York City music scene. John taught me the engineering part of music and at 17, I was mixing bands at the famous Max’s Kansas City on park Ave. The Ramones, John Collins Band, Mink Deville, the Dead boys to name a few. In between I was playing and started my first band, we sucked. Although the influences of all the different music I heard made a profound impression on my music and the direction I would take. Finally I put together a better band, but we did not have a name. At the time there was a person Wayne County that would be hanging out and playing at Max’s. Wayne soon became Jayne County and in one of his/her songs one of the lyric lines was wearing everything but a lampshade, well it went something like that. And to tie the story together Jayne would always come over and make it a point to say hello to me. Thus the ribbing started, well Al what’s the name of your band?, Al B and the Lampshades? Not to be too pretentious, the band settled on The Lampshades.

More to come                            20160213_032849275_iOSWayne County concert poster from the late 70's20160213_032849275_iOS