Gary met Steve Greenberg in the fourth grade and they remained best friends until they were juniors in college and geography split them up.
In the eighth grade, Gary's new friend and partner, David Anderson, rapidly also became a close friend of Steven's. Steven's basement became a
de-facto clubhouse for the wild gang that learned to rock and roll in Lakewood and along the Jersey Shore in the late sixties.
Steve was Gary's first songwriting partner; but he also wrote alone. He forced himself to become a fine guitar player, just trying
to keep pace with Dave. He may also have been Dave's first songwriting partner, they formed a short-lived original band in 1971.
I don't know if Dave and Gary had ever written together prior to that.
He was Gary's second guitar in "Myron Klum" when Dave joined and formed the band "Magpie." That really was the beginning of the road that led to the Clams.
Much of what occurred in the band's history between 1973 and 1977 was Gary's attempt to get Dave back into an original band, or to somehow create a workable band
Steve had moved to the Trenton area (after "Magpie" broke up). There he formed an original band with local people he'd met and
had a couple of years of success ala "Magpie". I don't believe they ever recorded, which was much more difficult to do back then.
In his mid-twenties Steve got married and bought a house and went into business and gradually stopped playing professionally. He never really
stopped playing; he just came to view it as a hobby. It was during this period that his old friends were going full bore with the Clams. Oddly
Stevie never liked the Clams much. I don't believe it was a matter of jealousy; I think he just didn't like Richie's voice. In his maturity
he'd come to think that a good singer sounded like what you heard on the radio.
When he fell seriously ill a few years ago Gary tried several times to get him to record some things. But sadly he was never quite strong enough
to get in the studio.
Gary and Billy McCarthy (of "Magpie") were with Steve and his family when he died. Two days later there was a sort of "Magpie" reunion; as Brian Buckelew and Dave
met Gary and Billy at the funeral home. The only one missing was Steve Cohen who no one has seen since the mid-eighties. (There was
a rumor in Lakewood that he'd been abducted by aliens, which was kind of apropos since one of his aliases was "Flyman". This kind of story
can be taken seriously in Lakewood.)
At Steve's house after all the ritual, they were looking at childhood photos. In one from the first grade, there was a young Dave Anderson,
he'd actually known Steve before Gary did. Steve changed schools after second grade and lost touch with Dave.
In Dave and Gary's song "Carol Small"; Gary's lyric claims that someday the Clams were going to bring Billy and Stevie and Flyman into the
studio with them "so you could hear Magpie." That cannot happen now.
Applegate has always said that Stevie would be the one to tell their story.
I do not know who can tell it now.
Steve and Gary in Magpie
Gary, Steve, Ronnie Contreras with his future sister in law, Mandy, and Billy McCarthy.(circa 1973)
"dreamer" by Steven Greenberg and Gary Applegate; performed by Mario and the Magpies