It's hard to get an accurate read on exactly what occurred between the individual members of the Clams and Jack. A divide developed between Dave and Jack on one side and Gary, Gelb, and Al on the other. This contributed to Dave's growing dissatisfaction and his eventual leaving. There aren't a lot of "facts" to talk about here, twenty years have clouded the memories of the participants to varying degrees. Here's the best story I can put together.
No one can deny Jack's place in the Clam story. Whoever wants to claim credit for the move to New York, it was Jack who made the call. Jack had also booked the pony gig. He had done this kind of work for Dave and Gary as far back as the alright bros. band. Jack had been friends with Applegate since elementary school, and Anderson since junior high. He had moved back and forth between Lakewood and Conn. every few years; and developed contacts in the music business in New Haven. Gary and Dave hated the business end of music, and were glad to have a friend who was willing to do it.
When the band first formed, no one knew what to expect. Everyone was working on "spec" so percentages of the band's future earnings were doled out. Jack was promised 15 or 20 percent (making him either a full partner, or just below a full partner in the band ). He was not given any musical say and not given any piece of publishing (which even the bumpkin Clams knew was where the money was).
They did not expect to meet a professional manager like Hilly Kristal.
Faced with the opportunity offered by Hilly, the band knew things had to change. Even Jack understood. Jack became a defacto "Road Manager". With friends Billy McCarthy (former magpie bassist) and Ron Contreras (original Pets bassist) they formed the "gangway!" road crew. Gary was the fourth member, he never escaped the equipment moving end of playing. There was an implied promise that Jack would continue his position of equity in the band.
As things began to happen, those imaginary percentages began to become real numbers. Money seemed just around the corner, contracts were being signed, deals were taking shape. Jack wanted to firm up the band's commitment to him.
And Gelb hedged. Under pressure from his wife (who didn't really know Jack before the band formed) and Charles Levinson (who felt that he had arranged the CBGB connection somehow) Richie decided he wasn't going to give Cortes one fifth of the Clam's future earnings. Evelyn Gelbstein had invested real money in the formation of the band, Jack had only invested time. Charlie had invested time in the band, he didn't see what was so special about Jack.
Dave,on the other hand, wanted the deal settled. He and Jack had been roomates and travelling companions. He felt no qualms about giving Cortes an even split. Al, who wasn't in on any publishing, certainly didn't want to give anybody any of his share. This left Gary in a very bad position. He had been friends with Jack longer then anyone. While he was no longer as close to him as Dave was, he still considered Jack a friend. Gary tried to delay a decision. He made the point that they were arguing over nothing, no money had come in yet. But the time had come to finalize this matter, it could not be avoided.
Hilly, who only took 10 or 15 percent, couldn't believe this was even an issue. He wasn't going to let Richie make that kind of a deal with Jack, he thought it was stupid to even consider it. The issue couldn't be resolved as long as Gary backed up Dave, it was two against two. And then Gary sided with Richie. Gary, in defense of his duplicity, now states that he really believed it was a make or break deal as far as Richie was concerned. He says he knows that Richie was never going to agree to it. Whether Gelbstein was really breaking up the band as it neared success over this issue is debatable. Gary seemed to believe that Richie would.
Someone, maybe Charlie, maybe Gary, brokered a deal where Jack would be payed for his work. No longer a partner, he was now an employee. This compromise had the undesired effect of making Jack the only member (with the rest of the road crew) of the organization making any money. Everything the band made from a concert went to the road crew. This really infuriated Al.
Dave never really trusted Gary again, at least not for a decade or so. He held Gary more at fault than Richie. In truth Gary's vote must have seemed the "unkindest cut". Jack stayed on until Dave left the band, although his duties became less and less. The other members of the "Gangway!" crew had drifted away by the time the album came out.
In a strange turn of events, Gary is now closer to Jack than Dave is. He has gotten drunk with his old grade school buddy several times in the last few years, at funerals and weddings. Jack, seemingly, doesn't really remember the details of what happened. He knows that in the end no one made any money, and that he was once part of something very cool. Gary, on the other hand, views this incident as the serpent in the eden of the Clams. And he fears he may have been the snake.
Ronnie and Jack stage right
This is as close to the truth as I can get. While it may seem trivial now, twenty years ago this incident had a major effect on the band. Would it have made a difference if Applegate had kept the matter at a stalemate? Maybe, but there was a turf struggle brewing between Gary and Dave over songwriting. What Gary feared would happen, the dismemberment of the band, happened. Dave left the band. Would Richie have gone solo over Jack? Who knows?
Ron,Dave,Cindy Anderson,and Billy