You may have noticed that I reversed the dating order of the updates to the more traditional " newest first" used on most blogs .
News came of the death of Chris Cavallaro. Chris figured prominently for a few years in the history of the Clams as his Tower Studios served as a local base for Band. Starting in late 1980 with the original band, and working through '83 with the Fernandez/Biringer and Mandel/Graf line-ups.
Well it's been more than a year, here's a picture of the current drummer for the Clams, Joe Schulman, wearing an Eddie Manion T-shirt.
I may as well post the latest photo of the rest of the band as well, from a year or so ago.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that A.W.L. part two is finally out.
That leaves only the finished but languishing "Famous Last Words" to complete the saga. And maybe a couple of random singles if Gelbs' elbow will allow him to sing them. (Don't ask)
07/06/14A couple of things over the next few days...
First, I should mention the passing of Jeff Ressner. He was friends with Gary's brother Billy, and so was a fan of the band. He actually liked the band better when they were "the Pets" and acted much goofier. It was at his request that Gary had me post "You Knock Me Out". Jeff wrote for Rolling Stone and Time, among other publications. You can read a little about his career here .
Gary is releasing his version of Dylan's "Boots Of Spanish Leather" as a Clam single on the 15th.
I'm going to add several things over the next few days.A lot of music and some old photographs and some video that Gary gave me. Here's a teaser.
This is a photo Ed Manion posted on facebook of the original darkside; that's future Clam Dave Anderson in the front.
Gary has posted several of the new recordings (oh! yeah, there are new recordings) on facebook as MP4s, I've dumped them onto the "concert video page". He has also been posting pictures of his guitars on facebook.
I've placed the thumbs for the new recordings in the store.
Let's talk about the new music.There are three Pet Clam singles and two Applegate solo records.
These will probably be the last solo records Gary does; his Grit Brothers Band is now the same band as the Clams, so he says he will just release everything as B.F.P.C.F.O.S.
The Clams now consist of Richie, Gary, Mario, Jan Taler, and Joe Schulman. The latter with, and sometimes without, Mario were the Grit Brothers.
Gary sent me this picture of Dave Anderson, who seems to have taken up biking. Dave tends to get into things when he gets interested, is there a senior tour de France?
Gary also posted (on facebook) some teenage pictures of Dave and Mario and himself in Lakewood
This would be the second incarnation of the band. Originally it was Al, Dave, Gary, and Jimmy on Keyboard and vocals. If you substitute Gelb For Jimmy, it's the original "Pets". That would have been '74, summer/fall. By spring Al was gone,eventually to Idaho, and John Ettinghaus came on to play drums and sing (yes, a singing drummer) and he brought his buddy Don Vandenburg to play sax. When John left, (he had an actual job) A young drummer from Tuckerton named Tim Tooker joined on drums, and Mario came on as a second Keyboardist. That was a hot band. According to Jimmy, that band would have fallen apart in '76, which seems right, since that would leave a year for Gary and Dave to form their unnamed original band that was their first foray into recording and then in '78 start the Clams behind Richie. By the way, Don was the saxophonist on several clam recordings (i.e. "Looking For A Look").
A new video is up on YouTube. "The World Is Filled With Rain", a song by Jan Taler and Gary. Gary dedicated the video to Damian, a token of his sadness.You can find it here... twifwr. I will post it on this site as well.
If this seems like a long way away from CBGB and the 1980's... well it was.
I've done a few small things. Notably I've found (Well, Gary was given) the photograph that forms the final image of "Family Album" from "REDEMPTION SONG". "REDEMPTION SONG" should be up on Pandora by now so all you Pandoraites can check out the song. I added it to the page for the album but I'll put it here as well.
The description in the lyric actually seems to be a combination of two Yellowstone photos from 1977 that had been jumbled up in Gary's mind. Here's the other one.
Thanks to Denise Pecoraro for getting the pics to me (through Gary).Yes, she is the Denise of "Hey Denise".
I have found something else that has been lost a long time... well sort of. I found a copy of the Genya Ravan Produced "High School Girls" single from 1979-1980. It doesn't seem to be the finished mix but it is close. It is certainly the best (only) studio version of the song I've heard. I'll put it on the "HSG" page. If you get a chance to listen to it; see if you agree with me that the band had a very different sound in 1979 than in 1980 when the Handshake record was recorded. This cut has an almost Detroit/ MC5/ even Alice Cooper kind of feel. Very different from the kind of introspective lyrics and music found on "THE PET CLAMS". Gary seemed to be writing lyrics to fit the larger than life character Gelb had created. This is what the band sounded like when the GTO deal and the trip to England was in play. In fact there is some vague memory of the HSG single not being realeased because GTO wanted it. It does make me wonder what that GTO record would've sounded like. Another thought is; what could have caused such a change in their sound and direction? Lyrically it's pretty easy to see that Gary was dealing with the collapse of his seven year relationship with Denise Pecoraro ("The Road To Jerusalem") and the beginning of one with his eventual wife JoAnne ("Revisions Of Johanna"). Musically, the guys were one year tighter, so that probably accounts for some of the more sophisticated things they were doing. To find the HSG page... start with "Songs From Purgatory", then go to "Student Of Love", then to "High School Girls".
Gelb and Gary attended the premiere of "CBGB" in Asbury last Sunday. They took part in a question and answer period on stage afterward. They both really liked the movie, although I know Gary didn't expect to. It ends a few months before this story begins, but everything put out about CBs ends right when the Clams walk in the door. Here's a pic of the Q&A.
Check this out,there's a photoshop users site that runs contests and we won. See it
Sad news...Word has come of the death of Damian Cordisco, Pet Clam producer and drummer. He was just 49 years old, more than a decade younger than his sometime bandmates. Dame was a big part of "THE STORY OF MY LIFE", being a musician, an engineer, and a co-producer with Applegate. He was an important part of the reformation of the Clams as well; he held the drummers' chair until he graciously moved over to the producers' role and let Brian take over percussion. He "got" the Clams and got good work out of them. Listen to "MY TRUE STORY", that's Dame on the board. He was also an accomplished Martial artist and instructor. Although, it's been almost 10 years since he'd recorded the band; Gary had, in the last few months, been mulling over getting ahold of him for something, more than just an occaisional email, maybe a cut on "FAMOUS" ala the Al Spero work on "Redemption". Of course, He procrastinated. ... and now this news.
And it's just been a few weeks since Rich and his family had to get through the death of his brother, Mickey. Mickey Gelbstein , Rich's older brother is the guy who made up a lot of the gizmos and trinkets that went with the release of the Handshake record. He was a Lakewood legend.
A lot of sadness this autumn.
On a happier note, one time Pet Clam chanteuse Terri Thatcher has made contact with the band. Gary got her some cds so she can hear herself sing. She is still singing around if I understand her facebook posts correctly.
I have been remiss. A big update will follow.
Okay , let's get started...Some of you may have found the new music in other places on the web; a video here, internet radio there. So yes, the band in various variations is making music, and has been since the last update.
Yes there is a new video... two actually, I will post them this week, and four or five new songs. I will post older versions of a couple of the songs that Gary remastered,in preperation for doing studio recordings. For now you can see the vids on youtube if you must. There are two other videos finished except for Richie's performances. The new songs (most of them anyway) are for "FAMOUS LAST WORDS", which really might be the last Clam recording. AWL part II should be out this year, Applegate promised me. Then "LAST WORDS".
In the meantime,he gave me four remixed old unreleased demos to post, so there is something new to listen to. Here they are... I'll move them around to where they belong in the story later; I won't make you look for them now. Red-Headed Sonny, The Jazz Age (gives way to the thirties), 18, I Can"t Help You.
Here's a treat, a photo of gelbstein circa 1959. (He's in the middle.)
It's not that nothin' is happenin'...it's just not happenin' here. Tomorrow is 2013 and still no release for "A WASTED LIFE PART II". There is a new video on YOUTUBE, "Stevens Room", from the awl2 album. I will post it here in a few days.That's two vids from the unreleased recording; "The Continuing Cost Of War" is on awl2 as well.
Gary has given me a remixed "Johnny Panic etc." from awl part tre, so you who were disappointed in the mix can hear it here for free in a better state. This was a byproduct of his work an a studio version of the song (finally).Here's the remix Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams.
Here's the tentative artwork for the studio version.
One reason for the lack of new things here is Gary's preoccupation with what used to be Jango internet radio. Now it is called Radio Airplay I think. Gary has been trying to build an international fan base and he claims he's having some success. If you use that service; look up the Clams.
See you next year!
The video for "God and Dr. Hawking" is up here and in the usual places. Gelb seems to have shaved his head for it. That's a joke but you won't get it unless you see the video.
The Post article is on line; you can find it here.
The Clams were briefly mentioned in a New York Post article about Eddie Manion joining the E Street Band today. Here's the story.
I got an email through this site from a Post reporter looking for the "Clam who worked most with Eddie." I passed it on to Gary who tried to direct the reporter to Dave. (Whenever Gary runs into Eddie, which is only like two or three times a decade, the first thing Eddie asks is "How's Dave?" or "Is Dave playing any music?".) Way back when the band first started and Manion played a couple of gigs with them; he did out of respect for Anderson's musicianship, not Spero's or Applegate's. But the reporter wanted the "Clam that worked with Manion". Well, the only time Eddie worked with the Clams; Dave wasn't in the band.
When Gary talked to the reporter, he got the idea that the guy didn't know a lot about Manion's work... not that Gary is any expert... but he tried to give a thumbnail sketch of Eddie's musical life. He didn't ask anything about working with the Clams.
So the moral of the story is don't talk to reporters.
The article came out today... the old adage about "spelling my name right" is obviously true. Gary is listed as "Gary Appleton". During the interview the reporter asks what title he should give Gary, and Gary responded (as he always does) "half-assed bass guitarist". The writer said he would consider that but would rather use "founding member of the Big Fat etc." Gary okayed that as true. In the article that's been changed to "founder of" which I'm sure will not sit well with Dave and Richie. So the gist of that part of the article is that Eddie's best friend, Gary Appleton, who founded the Clams, and who is an expert on the Asbury Scene, is not surprised that Eddie got the gig.
12/31/11...HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Big Update...pretty big anyway. John Fernandez sent in some pictures of the band circa 1981-82.
Like I said ... a little less gray. I'll put the rest on the "songs from purgatory" page; that's where they would fall chronologically. Interestingly they, like the other pics on the page already, are from the Dirt Club in Orange New Jersey. The band must've played there more than I remember... Dirt was like a triple A CBs, and the guys were comfortable playing there. Uncle Dirt was sort of like a Hilly character.(maybe a little more Maynard G. Krebs-ish?)
This was the period when the band was playing a lot and had clothes, and equipment, and songs on the radio. They look quite professional. In actuality they had already crested and were starting a slow denouement.
There is also a new video "THE CONTINUING COST OF WAR." The song is not out yet, but Gary put the video on Youtube and Myspace and Facebook, so I guess he'll get around to giving it to me. I'll put it with the other videos. Gelb says that they are working on a video for "God and Dr.Hawking" as well...all 2001, Kubricky freak-out shit.
Gary wants everyone who reads this and is on Facebook to "like" the Clams... as an incentive; he's modified the store to play complete songs for previews. So all you cheap bastards who've never heard a particular Clam song because it wasn't posted here free can listen to your heart's content. Try "John Milton In Hell" if you haven't heard it.
This much html is gonna take me a couple of days; what with the drinking and all. But by 2012 there should be never before seen pictures and video (if you haven't seen it everywhere else) in a couple of spots on the site.
As I was placing the new pics in purgatory; I realized that the old ones weren't from dirt but were from CBGB. If you want to see a dirt pic scroll down this page to 1/14/08. (I knew that there were others!)
I also have to get "THE STORY OF MY LIFE" up at the store.
Evelyn Gelbstein gave me a couple of things. James Wolcott has a new book out about the lower east side in the Seventies. She sent me the New York Times review. It's called "Lucking Out" and from the review I'd say it covers the period just before the (then) "Pets" stumbled into town. It seems to convey the feel the scene down there had at the time, and it probably does get to '78 if not later. It might be a cool read in an acid flashback kind of way.
She also reminded me, after the death of Joe Frazier a few weeks ago, that Richie had written "You Knock Me Out" (see downloads) for Frazier. It seems the original (Blue Rock) producers who signed Gelb had a connection to the retired champ who was pursuing a singing career. This would've been right about the time Gelb's backup musicians became (with him) a band. Am I doing (this) alot? Anyway Gelb went and met Joe and sang to him and with him, (while the champ was riding a stationary bike.) In the end, the only ones who ever recorded it were "the Pets". But it is a sort of comment on the "wasted life" theme, so many notable artists and celebrities drifted in and out of (however briefly) the Clams' strange story. Gelbstein back stage with Albert Brooks, Anderson and Springsteen, Hilly and Joey Ramone, Gelb singing Folk Songs with Al Kooper in college, Spero and Gary trying to give Steve Forbert a ride and him looking at them like they were crazy stalkers, Bruce Willis, so many wierd cameos in a rather uneventful story. You'd think one of the Clams would've become famous. Mario was for a little while the keyboardist in a post Steel Mill Springsteen /VanZandt band. He brought back a fragment of a song called "I followed her home"(or maybe "I walked her home") that they had been working on over by the surfboard factory; and played it for Gary. Mario left that band and moved to Tenn; but he still remembers the song. Applegate has been threatening to finish it with Mario for 20 years and release a Springsteen, VanZandt, Cicerello, and Applegate Pet Clam song. How many people live lives like that? Do you have a forty year old Springsteen fragment laying around? Anyway... so long Champ, you should've sung the song. Gelb could've used the money.
The Forbert story is funny. He was still managed by Hilly at the time, as were The Dead Boys, so the Pets thought of them as stable mates. Forbert was up and coming and "Romeo's Tune" was a bona fide hit. So he was a big deal down Bowery way. What the future Clams didn't know was that both Stiv and the boys, and Forbert were leaving Hilly. I've mentioned Gary and Spero driving around the village in their yellow construction pickup truck...Al threatening homeless people with an axe..."Wanna Shave?" and asking every girl within earshot "How Much?". Well one day they see Forbert over by Cooper Union and Gary drives up on the side walk and says "get in we'll give you a lift." Spero is yelling that "Hilly is our manager too!" as Steve attempts an escape. He finally figured out that this was the"Pets" and talked his way out of the truck. The kicker is that a couple of months later after he'd split from Hilly; part of the deal was he had to do a show at CBGB. Hilly had the Clams open for him and they were hot that night, they caught Forbert napping and blew him away. His quote to Hilly the next day was "You set me up." Would Hilly do that?
And it is funny thinking back thirty five years, most music fans don't know who Steve Forbert is, or couldn't hum a Dead Boys song if they were holding the music. Why should anyone care about minor rock and roll artists from the 1970s or, let's face it; about an even more minor act like the Clams? The answer is... they shouldn't care. It doesn't really matter. But it did happen. There should be some record somewhere just in case. For instance; here's a story you probably don't know. There used to be a side door, and a back door at CBGB. Hilly used to have a bouncer in the very back of the club to keep people from letting their friends in for free. There was an Alley between the flophouse and the club that wound around back and the side door opened into that narrow alley. When Hilly expanded everything in the 90s the alley disappeared. Long before that, in 1979 or 80, Hilly had Spero and Applegate cement block in the side door. That was actually a drag, because the boys could fit the yellow pickup down the alley and load the gear in and out through the side door; which was just to the left of the stage (looking towards the back of the club.) That cut out the long walk down the narrow aisle to get to the stage. That haul wasn't so bad coming into the empty club; but loading out at 2:00 in the morning on a Saturday could be a drag.
One very cold winter's weekend Al found a dead bum in the alley. It was about three degrees out and the poor guy had frozen to death. Now the story that came out of this was that the Clams propped the body up in a chair on the stage and played the gig as a five piece. Of course this isn't true, Hilly wouldn't have let them do that even if they had wanted to. The police came and took the guy away and that was that, so the Clams never had a dead body on the stage even though you might hear that they did. The body was in the alley.
But more important than the stories is the music. Even the bad bands were doing something cool. And most bands had at least one good song. There was a band called (I think) John King and the Cats; who opened for the Clams one weekend... they had a song something like "You Took The Other Way", that was just brilliant. There was a band from Caldwell N.J. called the Method that had a half a dozen good songs ("What's A Girl To Do"). In the end there is barely a trace. Hence this website, at least the B.F.P.C.F.O.S will have a place to store their songs.
And we are probably getting near the end. The Itunes song count is well above 100. The Fernandez pictures close a big gap in the story. Once part two of "Wasted" is done, nothing else is planned. Applegate has a couple of solo things "in the can" as they used to say...but neither of them are original music. So no bang; just whimper.
Clams are on Facebook now. Gary had me set up a page for him (them). CDBaby really bugs you to put up a Facebook store for marketing and stuff; so Gary finally gave in and hired me. It didn't take long but don't tell him; he thinks it's a lot of work. As most of you know, you have to have a personal page before you can set up a band page; so I made one for Gary too. All of you FOG (friends of Gary) who are now contacting me...Hello! Yes I'm running both pages, but as I do with communications through this site; I will pass any messages on to the guys. If you are on Facebook; "like" the Clams.
A couple of things...One of the things the site has been missing is a photo of John Fernandez. Here's a picture of John I found.
Johnny looks about the same as he did back in the day; with a little gray showing. (Not as much as Applegate.) Mario has run into John at blues clubs around the shore and claims John says he has pictures of the Clams back when it was his and Jimmy's band. Now he has a blues band called "the Incinerators". You can find them here.
John and Gary were fairly close for three or four years. For a while, their then girlfriends were roommates, and after they both were married they lived about a half a mile apart in Brick N.J. Interestingly, the roommate business was before John joined the band; and the Brick stuff was after he'd left. Johnny built guitars and always had some nice ones in his collection. John and Gary hooked Ken Widis up with John's good friend in a band that had Phil Attardo as the drummer. When that band broke down Gary brought Ken and Phil into the Clams. The story's all here if you look for it.
Here's a clip of Gelb doing a new song for "A.W.L. part 2".WAR!
"LAURA NYRO" is out as a single. I should have that video I mentioned up as well shortly
"THE STORY OF MY LIFE" is back from the factory. It should start showing up around the interweb in a few weeks. "A.W.L. PART 2" is essentially finished and will go out to be printed shortly. It's getting near the end of the year so there's a real possibility that it's release will drift over to 2012. I know I claimed it was finished a month ago; but Gary and Richie added a new song. I have some video Gary shot of the session on his Iphone, but it's sideways and I have to edit and dub it. That's the same session that Gelb did the "NYRO" vocal by the way and I added an update to that page as well. ("LAURA NYRO " will be a single and not on "PART 2").
THE STORY OF MY LIFE is out for mastering and so will available in a couple of weeks. Applegate has shown me a completed AWL PART II, so that should be coming along presently. I have an interesting page going up tracing a new song from conception to completion; it's called "Laura Nyro" and the guys are sending me the step by step work they are doing on it.
Well... summer's almost gone; winter's coming on etc. Still no "The Story Of My Life", there is a mixing issue with one track that Gary can't seem to get past. As I remember there always seems to be an issue with a song or two that holds up these projects.
Gary has released a single "Pretty In Pink" the Phsyco Furs song from 1981. This is a by- product of his remake of "The Notorious Byrd Brothers" that he is doing with Jan Taler and Joe Schulman (and sometimes Mario). That too is finished except for mixing one song.
Gary threw a couple of acoustic guitars in the back of his truck in August and went wandering out through the midwest; supposedly to play some pickup gigs at coffee houses and maybe hit some college radio stations. He did give me a few pictures but it looks more like tourism than work. He did stop by the University Of Pittsburgh, and Northern Michigan University on the Upper Pennisula. More likely he was looking for the "Big Two Hearted River."
From the first picture I'd say he also made it to Indiana. Two pics from Hemingways' birthplace outside of Chicago Quick update... "new" single (new from 1982) "NO HAPPY ENDINGS"
From the first picture I'd say he also made it to Indiana.
Two pics from Hemingways' birthplace outside of Chicago
Quick update... "new" single (new from 1982) "NO HAPPY ENDINGS"
I found this picture from Big Man's (referencing a couple of updates back). It was dated Aug. 1982 so my guess was about a year off. This would've been right around the opening of the club.
For those of you who think we make all this stuff up here's a mention from 1984 in People Magazine. I actually remember the squirrels, and the Clams did some gigs with Echo back in the day. I don't recall them playing with anybody named "King Lear" though.
I thought I should make some mention of the death of Clarence Clemons. There is a Clam connection worth noting. Clarence wasn't an "Upstage" guy, he actually was the last of the original E Streeters to hook up with Springsteen. The other originals except for Nitro, had all been in Steel Mill. Nitro had played with Bruce on other projects...I think he was in Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom. So while Dave and Mario were well known to the other band members; I don't think they knew Clarence.
The Clam connection starts when Clemons opened his club in Red Bank, Big Man's West. He had the Pet Clams play there from the very beginning...I'm guessing '83. This was the Graf/Attardo/Widis version of the band; but they were still kinda on the radio once in a while and so sort of known. The place was a real old fashioned night club with a big stage and a lot of class. The Clams were the only real "shore" New York band, and the fact that they were semi-local fit in well, when a spot opened up. They actually ended up being the go-to guys for the club; playing there often (notably with Ronnie Spector). She invited Gary and Gelb back to her dressing room after the gig, so that's where the Clams met the Ronnettes.
During the opening weeks of the club the band had their best gig there. Here's a semi-funny story. Springsteen comes to the gig to hear his old friend Dave play. However Dave had been gone fom the band for over a year. This was the first gig he had come to himself. So Bruce meets Dave at the bar and says something to the effect of "Aren't you playing?" and Dave says "no". And Anderson and Springsteen stand at the bar drinking watching Applegate play guitar. That had to be a let down for all concerned.
The club closed after a few years and the Clam connection to Clemons faded away.
There is also a new Clam single out (any day now) "My Love Becomes"; a Gelbstein song done by Richie, Mario, Gary and Al. Semi-interesting story, Mario had this cool new synth that could take voices and "doo-wop" them or even "beach boy" them. He and Gary were fooling around with it and Gary said "man, I know Gelb has an old doo-wop type song we can use this on." And he did; it's actually pretty cool in a campy sort of way. Gelb is old enough to have survived the Doo-wop era.(He actually did sing in some vocal groups as a kid, and he claims to have worked with Johnny Cymbal of "Mr. Bassman" fame.)
Cindy Anderson took offense to my casual comment a few weeks back that Dave and John Fernandes "were essentially a wash." I think she read it out of context in the sense that I was discussing "Live" bands. When John replaced Dave; (I mean to say when Dave left) John was basically playing and singing the parts that Dave had written. Most of the material was from the Handshake record or the "Ten Song Tape"; And John's job was to play and sing Dave's parts; which he was perfectly capable of doing. The biggest difference in the band at that point was Jimmys' addition to keyboards. He was much better than Gelb. (or just about anybody... listen to "In Belfast") The original band could not have done that... not because of Dave; but because of Richie (I don't want to make too little of Richie's contribution either... He wrote "In Belfast" after all.)
Later when John got into the studio, he would demonstrate his creativity; but initially he was supposed to sound like Dave. He was playing Dave's parts.
Here's something I found, a poster from a gig with the Go Gos; it's a Go Gos poster really but it mentions the Clams.
Hey, six bucks and fifty cents was a lot of money in those days.
These last couple of updates have been more or less continuous; I haven't changed the date each time I logged on and added a little bit. That can be confusing for anyone checking in periodically so I added a new date. "Pet Clams Live" is out now and in our store and the real stores as well. Gary's goal of having a hundred or so songs on Itunes is for all intents and purposes accomplished. This record will put the Clam total at 97. If you add Garys' and Gelbs'(soon to be released for the latter) solo work they are already well over the hundred mark. If you only count BFPCFOS proper; then "The Story Of My Life" (which is finished) will push them up to 110. The general consenus is that once "TSOML" and "AWL part II" are done; there will be a couple of old singles (ala "Ring Of Fire") and a couple of new ones... and then anything else will be posted here for free. That should put the commercially available songs at around 125. That would be a pretty large catalog for most bands, but it's probably only about half of the 250 or so Clam songs I can document. Some close to the band put the number at 400; but as I've said elsewhere, I've done some heavy counting and I can get to maybe 200 plus.
Katie Applegate chastised me for not making a bigger deal about Pandora Internet Radio. Apparently It's quite a big deal with a certain age group. I didn't know what it was really... But! IF YOU HAVE OR USE PANDORA INTERNET RADIO ADD THE CLAMS TO YOUR LISTS OR STATIONS or however it works. Is that better Kate?
I found a photographer's blog from the 80s who had a shot of Gary And Gelb circa 1981.
He even has some shots of "the Colours"(sic) an expatriate English band Hilly managed for a while.(And a lot of the old gang too!)sadly gone dark(11-28-13)
I found this artist on the web, Will Mclean. He has a sketch titled "Big Fat Pet Clams From Outer Space". Take a look, I assume it has something to do with the band name. Although I suppose it could have occurred to him out of the blue.
"A.W.L. PART III PET CLAMS LIVE" is finished give me a week or so to add it to the store ( and itunes etc.)
I've got a page of notes up on it already. "THE STORY OF MY LIFE" will be next it looks like; followed by A.W.L. II eventually.
So everything should be done this year.
A few more notes about "LIVE"... Gary wanted me to mention Dave and Cindy's help with the 90's era music and dates. They provided Gary with the '92 cbgb and a very good Brighton gig that couldn't be used. When I say that the "MY TRUE STORY" Clams might have been the best Clams ever; well you'd believe me if you heard that Long Branch gig. The trouble was that Terri's mike was so hot through the board that everything distorts whenever she sings. When she's not singing...Wow! Brian and Dave are tearin' up the place. Gary promises that if he can ever figure out a way to cool that mike down, he'll give me the tape. I'd give it it's own page. What a night that must've been.
But that does pose an interesting question...Which Pet Clams were best? Most of the band's few fans would tell you the original. But the Fernandez version of the band... well if you leave writing out of it, John and Dave were essentially a wash; (they both were quality guitar players and harmony singers) and Jimmy added a ton to keyboard (as opposed to Rich.) And he added a 4th voice to the chorus as well. That's a lot of firepower. I've come to think of it as all one band, take the long view. But the MTS version could play like ringin' a bell.
We are nearing the tenth anniversary for this site, I can't wait to see what you're gonna get me.
Damian Cordisco checked in thru the site. He has a newly upgraded studio and was enticing the boys to attempt a new project. I'll fill in more details in a few days... good to hear from Dame!
We're just past the thirtieth anniversary (3/16/81) of the release of the Handshake record. I found Billboards' 1981 review. It was another nice one. I'm a little played on researching that old record; especially with the new stuff out and coming out, and now that the anniversary is past, I'd like to get on with it. (Unless I find something else cool from the old days!)
Applegate surprised me with the quick release of an old single "Ring Of Fire". Maybe because it now seems mildly prophetic if you consider what is happening in Japan currently. I believe this was recorded at Tower around 1983(?)... the session that included "Time Of Troubles". I'm assuming he had this done for "A WASTED LIFE"; but ran out of room on the recording. Otherwise I would've known something about it.
It should be available for downloading any day (or week). It can take time for the various markets to post new songs. Nice cover, by the way, Gelb on fire like Joan of Arkansas or something.
The Ides of anything I'd guess
The Clams are on Pandora internet radio now. "My True Story" was accepted by their music genome thing. If you have Pandora you can get their songs added to your station or however it works.
I heard from Dan Einhorn (through the site); he emailed some ramblings about early Clam adventures. Danny is a friend of Gary's brother Bill. And so he was around back in the '80s when some of this nonsense went down. Like Bill he headed west some twenty years ago. He was also friends with Tim Hardin in the singer's later years and spent time with him just days before the tragic overdose. How many people can say they knew both Gelbstein and Hardin? Probably just one.
I've done a little housekeeping... trying to keep ahead of the creeping corruption that mutates sitting html. The index page has been slightly re-arranged. It works the same still. Hit the "Clam it " button and follow the links or just pick a topic and take a look. And I added some cool flying clams. I know that they're goofy.
"Baby Come Home" is now available in all the usual places. I'll add it to the store in a day or two.
Merry Christmas As soon as he'd put "Redemption Song" to bed; Applegate left for the jungles of Central America.
Never mind that there are three more unfinished projects floundering around in his studio. Richie split
for Memphis where he found the music scene while bustling, a little disappointing. I've got to get "R.S."
up on the store before they get back and yell...maybe I'll do it today, after this update. Here are some pictures the guys have sent me from their adventures. I'm afraid to say that the guys are starting to show their age. I wonder why
I still look so young and vibrant? Probably because I don't drink as much as
Richie and Gary...I won't mention some of their other vices! 10/18/10 I've put up a page for the newly arrived "Redemption Song". 10/12/10 As good a time as any for an update, Bob Haddad's (one time Clam manager)
birthday. It has been an eventful summer. "Redemption Song" will be back from the factory
any day. In a week or three it'll be up for sale. Charles Levinson whose has
managed to entwine his life around and through the Clam story turned 70 in August. Here are a couple of pictures
from his celebration. Here's an interesting picture with Clam connections. Ronnie Contreras,(gangway road crew) Eddie Manion,( some time Clam producer)
Lynn Cohen, (Steve Greenberg's cousin) and Jan "Shotgun" Taler (from Gary's "Gray on Gray" solo recording) Eddie got a bunch of old Lakewood cronies into an Asbury Jukes show. Besides "Redemption Song" there should shortly be a new digital single available in the usual places (cdbaby,itunes, amazon, etc.)
Gelb, Gary, Mario, and Al have finished a song called "Baby come home". I believe that
the plan is to allow me to post these singles (in slightly different versions) here as well. All new recordings
will be released digitally. That doesn't conflict with Gary's plan to release a live cd, plus "The Story Of My Life", plus AWL
(part II) as regular cds. The digital only business will apply to new recordings...however few there are to be. The boys have already put this plan in action with
the "Waiting For Nothing" single. If you've bothered to actually explore the site and find some of the pages I've hidden around you may have noticed several
black and white photographs of the guys when they were teenage rockers. Almost all of those were taken by Joe McCabe, a fellow traveler in
those days who owned a camera. Props to Joe. 7/16/10 Happy Birthday to Dave Anderson, first of all. Here's a mention of the Clams in Billboard from December 1980. In the what's new and swinging section
there's a note that "The Big fat Pet Clams From Outer Space" are recording.
Here's the whole page
Or check it out yourself. This is a little bit of an interesting footnote; in that it shows that as late as December of 1980 the band was still
going by the "big fat outerspace" name. The album had been done in Oct. (Glen may have still be mixing; more likely
the P.A.'s note took a couple of weeks to get into the column) But by March they were going by just "The Pet Clams." Although there is at least one billboard mention of "The Pet Clams" from November of that year. In keeping with our fascination with the Handshake record; here's an ad from billboard promoting
"The Pet Clams". This ad highlights one of Handshake's weaknesses. They were not a niche company; they were pushing artists
from all types of music. Urban Heroes were a dutch new wave band,
Revelation was a Dance/Disco outfit, and
Terry Gregory actually had a hit on the country charts. In hindsight it may
have been more prudent to work on one scene at a time. 4/16/10 I was turned on to an article in the Reading Pa. paper (the eagle) from
May 4,1980. It is entitled "An essay on punks" and it mentions our boys.
I'd never seen this one before. It's a strange find after almost exactly thirty years.
I've excerpted the mention of BFPCFOS for you Could it be that thirty years ago, American punks were pogoing to the Spero beat?
That's somehow not how I remember it; although it may have seemed like that out in Amish
country. The article is actually a review of a Johnny Rotten show, masked with a comment on
(what was then) Punk culture. 2/14/10 Christopher wrote another quick note about our boys just yesterday,
You can find it the same way as before,(search for big fat pet clams etc. and scroll down to 2/13.)
He seemed to like "My True Story" and "O.L.P.B." The boys sent him the cds for
his "Wasted" write up, (which they appreciated). Speaking of things like that; I had
to pass along a request for a "The Pet Clams" cd from a reviewer in the U.K. So maybe people are starting to notice... Somebody gave me a photo of Brian and his family getting some kind of award for their philanthropy. 2/9/10 Pet Clams is up at the store and CDbaby. I'll make a little page for it presently. Happy New Year! Applegate turned me on to a review of "Wasted Life" that I hadn't seen.
It's pretty interesting in that it's looks at the record in the context of
the era it was created in. In a way it attempts to find a place for the
Clams in the history of the music of the 1980's and also kind of explains
why they are habitually overlooked when writers examine the eastside punk
scene. I would probably agree with all but a few minor points, and it really
is nice to get someone else's perspective for a change. You can find it
A picture of Gary wandering around the San Jacinto battlefield where Sam Huston avenged
the Alamo. I'm supposed to be getting some pictures of Richie in Denmark; but they have not shown up yet. "THE PET CLAMS" is back from the factory and I'll have a link up at the store in a couple of weeks.
(I have to wait for CDbaby to get it's part done.) Gary made a video for "Lets Go Get Some Beer" from public domain footage. He's experimenting with
video now. I put it on the "concert video" page. "A Wasted Life... (part one)" is finished and available. I'll put up a link at the store soon. And maybe a page
with some notes too... Gary's solo record "Gray on Gray" is also out. Mario plays on most of it; and Dave also plays on one song.
By the first of the year, if not sooner, the thirty year anniversary edition of "The Pet Clams"
will be online. (It's finished now.) And at just about the same time "Redemption Song" should finally be done.
It's a much bigger record than it started out to be. (It, however, is not finished as of yet.) One of the orignal clams, Al Spero has done some recording with Gary and so could be said to be returning to the fold,
or from exile. Al is playing the part of the prodigal from the old song they used to do. At least one track on "Redemption" might contain the four original "Pets". I've added a couple (three actually) very early Clam recordings... outakes
from the "wasted life" project. I put them on the "unreleased classics" page for now.
I think that page may need a new name since several of the songs will soon be released.
"Any day now, any day now..." Here's an unusual photo...It's Dave and Gary with their sometime friend and mentor Roger Mcguinn.
I'd guess it's from maybe ten or twelve years ago. Roger hasn't been around that much lately. There's quite a bit going on... I'll add a few updates in the next few days.
The band is recording in bits and pieces; some Clam music, some solo stuff. It's all
pretty good. Dave is playing again... and it's always good when he picks up a guitar. One of the things they are doing is re-releasing the original Handshake record; well,
sort of. Gary and Dave (and particularly) Mario are tweaking and adding a little here and there
to sort of re-imagine the record. More than just a digital re-master, it's a re-conception of the piece
for it's thirty year anniversary. As of now you can only find that record on ebay on vinyl, it was never released on cd.
It will be now. I've heard a little of the re-mix and it stands up pretty well. And...Al Spero was a GOOD drummer. There's a new song on the redemption song page. The photos above were taken by Buck
at that session. Here's a partial list of what the band is up to: 1. Redemption Song will be done very shortly, it needs only a couple of more songs; and they may
already be done (or at least written). 2. Gray on Gray This is a second Applegate solo record done this time with Shotgun Taler, Joe Schulman, and Mario. Oh, and a guest performance
from Dave. The concept includes a couple of Dylan covers, and versions of Gary's and Gelb's Dylanish tunes. "Love Minus Zero/ No Limit"
is very cool. 3. The Pet Clams as I mentioned above; this is just about finished. 4.A Wasted Life (part one)... The Big Fat Pet Clams From Outer Space 1977-1990 This
is sort of a greatest hits record covering Blue Rock and Trod Nossel up to just before or just
after "the story of my life". Greatest hits really isn't the right word of course; the band never sold more than
twenty or thirty thousand records of any kind. Let's descibe it as an anthology instead. 5. An un-named possible Anderson solo recording. Several tracks are finished, but Dave has been
somewhat vague about his intentions...possibly because he is still considering what he wants to do. Refering back to the Handshake record above; here's a review from the Boston Globe someone sent me (from 1981.)
See I'm not making this up... other people thought they were good too. I take some pride in the mention the Clams got in the new book aptly titled
" the band name book." It would seem from context that the author used this site
for his research. If you do a web search for pet clams in space, you find us. In order to find a good photo of Steve, I asked around some old Lakewood guys and came up with some interesting stuff; including this picture of a young Dave practicing on his Les Paul TV, in the late seventies...(that was the original
clam guitar.) Also a nice one came in from the Gelbsteins in Italy. Applegate is wintering with his daughter ashore in the U.S. Some others I put on Stevie's page. 9/9/8 There are two more songs added to the "redemption song" page. Work continues. I've added a page on the death of Steven Greenberg. Stevie was a close friend of Dave and Gary. He was Gary's first song-writing partner.
He was an orginal member of Anderson's first original band; the upstage group named "quiver". He was also a founding member of "Magpie". If you've listened to O.L.P.B., he was the Steven of "Steven's Room". From that lyric you can get an idea of how much he was a part of Anderson's and Applegate's formative years. A couple of things... AND ONE WEEK AFTER THAT OLPB is now for sale, so it's gone from this site. You can follow the link from the store to find it. Or you can download stuff too if you have that software on your machine. I've started a page on "Redemption Song" or "Absolution"; (whatever it will eventually be called) and I think there is now
a Clam Myspace profile. I found a website for the Rudies. They were the Clam's "brother" band at CBs all those years ago. The two bands split the bill
it would seem like a hundred times (it was probably a dozen) back in those days. Every "powerpunk" band (think Greenday) that's around nowadays sounds exactly like the Rudies did back then. They were ahead of their time in that respect. In the pecking
order of CBs at the time; the Rudies were probably a close third behind the Shirts and the Clams. The paranoid Pet Clams did not view them as enemies though,
and so became sort of friendly with them. Their bass player even lent Gary his bass one time.(Applegate had gotten tired of bringing
both his Rick and his Tele, and the Fender broke a string.) It was a Musicman Stingray and Gary has lusted after one ever since. During the dark days after Hilly's CBGB Theater closed; circa 1979
and 1980, into 1981, the Rudies and the Clams were what was happening at CBGB,(The Shirts were actually TOURING! If you can imagine that)don't let anyone tell you differently.
June 13 2009
HOLDA DA MAYO sic (2009)
Beware the Ides of March! 2009
NEW YEAR'S DAY 2009
Richie has flirted with taking his caberet act out to the clubs. It was always fun to see him do it. I also added the seminal crowd (when there was one) favorite " High School Girls" to the site, see if you can find it... (hint, I put it in with the other "student of love" songs)
FOUR DAYS LATER
As soon as he'd put "Redemption Song" to bed; Applegate left for the jungles of Central America. Never mind that there are three more unfinished projects floundering around in his studio. Richie split for Memphis where he found the music scene while bustling, a little disappointing. I've got to get "R.S." up on the store before they get back and yell...maybe I'll do it today, after this update.
Here are some pictures the guys have sent me from their adventures.
I'm afraid to say that the guys are starting to show their age. I wonder why I still look so young and vibrant? Probably because I don't drink as much as Richie and Gary...I won't mention some of their other vices!
I've put up a page for the newly arrived "Redemption Song".
As good a time as any for an update, Bob Haddad's (one time Clam manager) birthday.
It has been an eventful summer. "Redemption Song" will be back from the factory any day. In a week or three it'll be up for sale. Charles Levinson whose has managed to entwine his life around and through the Clam story turned 70 in August. Here are a couple of pictures from his celebration.
Here's an interesting picture with Clam connections. Ronnie Contreras,(gangway road crew) Eddie Manion,( some time Clam producer) Lynn Cohen, (Steve Greenberg's cousin) and Jan "Shotgun" Taler (from Gary's "Gray on Gray" solo recording)
Eddie got a bunch of old Lakewood cronies into an Asbury Jukes show.
Besides "Redemption Song" there should shortly be a new digital single available in the usual places (cdbaby,itunes, amazon, etc.) Gelb, Gary, Mario, and Al have finished a song called "Baby come home". I believe that the plan is to allow me to post these singles (in slightly different versions) here as well. All new recordings will be released digitally. That doesn't conflict with Gary's plan to release a live cd, plus "The Story Of My Life", plus AWL (part II) as regular cds. The digital only business will apply to new recordings...however few there are to be. The boys have already put this plan in action with the "Waiting For Nothing" single.
If you've bothered to actually explore the site and find some of the pages I've hidden around you may have noticed several black and white photographs of the guys when they were teenage rockers. Almost all of those were taken by Joe McCabe, a fellow traveler in those days who owned a camera. Props to Joe.
Happy Birthday to Dave Anderson, first of all.
Here's a mention of the Clams in Billboard from December 1980. In the what's new and swinging section there's a note that "The Big fat Pet Clams From Outer Space" are recording.
Here's the whole page
Or check it out yourself.
This is a little bit of an interesting footnote; in that it shows that as late as December of 1980 the band was still going by the "big fat outerspace" name. The album had been done in Oct. (Glen may have still be mixing; more likely the P.A.'s note took a couple of weeks to get into the column) But by March they were going by just "The Pet Clams."
Although there is at least one billboard mention of "The Pet Clams" from November of that year.(notice in this STUDIO TRACK column Hilly is producing the recording, which was "The Pet Clams", for CBGB Omfug records.)
In keeping with our fascination with the Handshake record; here's an ad from billboard promoting "The Pet Clams".
This ad highlights one of Handshake's weaknesses. They were not a niche company; they were pushing artists from all types of music. Urban Heroes were a dutch new wave band, Revelation was a Dance/Disco outfit, and Terry Gregory actually had a hit on the country charts. In hindsight it may have been more prudent to work on one scene at a time.
I was turned on to an article in the Reading Pa. paper (the eagle) from May 4,1980. It is entitled "An essay on punks" and it mentions our boys. I'd never seen this one before. It's a strange find after almost exactly thirty years.
I've excerpted the mention of BFPCFOS for you
Could it be that thirty years ago, American punks were pogoing to the Spero beat? That's somehow not how I remember it; although it may have seemed like that out in Amish country. The article is actually a review of a Johnny Rotten show, masked with a comment on (what was then) Punk culture.
Christopher wrote another quick note about our boys just yesterday,
You can find it the same way as before,(search for big fat pet clams etc. and scroll down to 2/13.) He seemed to like "My True Story" and "O.L.P.B." The boys sent him the cds for his "Wasted" write up, (which they appreciated). Speaking of things like that; I had to pass along a request for a "The Pet Clams" cd from a reviewer in the U.K.
So maybe people are starting to notice...
Somebody gave me a photo of Brian and his family getting some kind of award for their philanthropy.
Pet Clams is up at the store and CDbaby. I'll make a little page for it presently.
Happy New Year!
Applegate turned me on to a review of "Wasted Life" that I hadn't seen.
It's pretty interesting in that it's looks at the record in the context of
the era it was created in. In a way it attempts to find a place for the
Clams in the history of the music of the 1980's and also kind of explains
why they are habitually overlooked when writers examine the eastside punk
scene. I would probably agree with all but a few minor points, and it really
is nice to get someone else's perspective for a change. You can find it
A picture of Gary wandering around the San Jacinto battlefield where Sam Huston avenged the Alamo.
I'm supposed to be getting some pictures of Richie in Denmark; but they have not shown up yet.
"THE PET CLAMS" is back from the factory and I'll have a link up at the store in a couple of weeks. (I have to wait for CDbaby to get it's part done.)
Gary made a video for "Lets Go Get Some Beer" from public domain footage. He's experimenting with video now. I put it on the "concert video" page.
"A Wasted Life... (part one)" is finished and available. I'll put up a link at the store soon. And maybe a page with some notes too...
Gary's solo record "Gray on Gray" is also out. Mario plays on most of it; and Dave also plays on one song.
By the first of the year, if not sooner, the thirty year anniversary edition of "The Pet Clams" will be online. (It's finished now.) And at just about the same time "Redemption Song" should finally be done. It's a much bigger record than it started out to be. (It, however, is not finished as of yet.)
One of the orignal clams, Al Spero has done some recording with Gary and so could be said to be returning to the fold, or from exile. Al is playing the part of the prodigal from the old song they used to do.
At least one track on "Redemption" might contain the four original "Pets".
I've added a couple (three actually) very early Clam recordings... outakes from the "wasted life" project. I put them on the "unreleased classics" page for now. I think that page may need a new name since several of the songs will soon be released. "Any day now, any day now..."
Here's an unusual photo...It's Dave and Gary with their sometime friend and mentor Roger Mcguinn. I'd guess it's from maybe ten or twelve years ago. Roger hasn't been around that much lately.
There's quite a bit going on... I'll add a few updates in the next few days. The band is recording in bits and pieces; some Clam music, some solo stuff. It's all pretty good. Dave is playing again... and it's always good when he picks up a guitar.
One of the things they are doing is re-releasing the original Handshake record; well, sort of. Gary and Dave (and particularly) Mario are tweaking and adding a little here and there to sort of re-imagine the record. More than just a digital re-master, it's a re-conception of the piece for it's thirty year anniversary. As of now you can only find that record on ebay on vinyl, it was never released on cd. It will be now. I've heard a little of the re-mix and it stands up pretty well. And...Al Spero was a GOOD drummer.
There's a new song on the redemption song page. The photos above were taken by Buck at that session.
Here's a partial list of what the band is up to:
1. Redemption Song will be done very shortly, it needs only a couple of more songs; and they may already be done (or at least written).
2. Gray on Gray This is a second Applegate solo record done this time with Shotgun Taler, Joe Schulman, and Mario. Oh, and a guest performance from Dave. The concept includes a couple of Dylan covers, and versions of Gary's and Gelb's Dylanish tunes. "Love Minus Zero/ No Limit" is very cool.
3. The Pet Clams as I mentioned above; this is just about finished.
4.A Wasted Life (part one)... The Big Fat Pet Clams From Outer Space 1977-1990 This is sort of a greatest hits record covering Blue Rock and Trod Nossel up to just before or just after "the story of my life". Greatest hits really isn't the right word of course; the band never sold more than twenty or thirty thousand records of any kind. Let's descibe it as an anthology instead.
5. An un-named possible Anderson solo recording. Several tracks are finished, but Dave has been somewhat vague about his intentions...possibly because he is still considering what he wants to do.
Refering back to the Handshake record above; here's a review from the Boston Globe someone sent me (from 1981.)
See I'm not making this up... other people thought they were good too.
I take some pride in the mention the Clams got in the new book aptly titled " the band name book." It would seem from context that the author used this site for his research. If you do a web search for pet clams in space, you find us.
In order to find a good photo of Steve, I asked around some old Lakewood guys and came up with some interesting stuff; including this picture of a young Dave practicing on his Les Paul TV, in the late seventies...(that was the original clam guitar.)
Also a nice one came in from the Gelbsteins in Italy.
Applegate is wintering with his daughter ashore in the U.S.
Some others I put on Stevie's page.
There are two more songs added to the "redemption song" page. Work continues.
I've added a page on the death of Steven Greenberg. Stevie was a close friend of Dave and Gary. He was Gary's first song-writing partner. He was an orginal member of Anderson's first original band; the upstage group named "quiver". He was also a founding member of "Magpie".
If you've listened to O.L.P.B., he was the Steven of "Steven's Room". From that lyric you can get an idea of how much he was a part of Anderson's and Applegate's formative years.
A couple of things...
AND ONE WEEK AFTER THAT
OLPB is now for sale, so it's gone from this site. You can follow the link from the store to find it. Or you can download stuff too if you have that software on your machine.
I've started a page on "Redemption Song" or "Absolution"; (whatever it will eventually be called) and I think there is now a Clam Myspace profile.
I found a website for the Rudies. They were the Clam's "brother" band at CBs all those years ago. The two bands split the bill it would seem like a hundred times (it was probably a dozen) back in those days. Every "powerpunk" band (think Greenday) that's around nowadays sounds exactly like the Rudies did back then. They were ahead of their time in that respect. In the pecking order of CBs at the time; the Rudies were probably a close third behind the Shirts and the Clams. The paranoid Pet Clams did not view them as enemies though, and so became sort of friendly with them. Their bass player even lent Gary his bass one time.(Applegate had gotten tired of bringing both his Rick and his Tele, and the Fender broke a string.) It was a Musicman Stingray and Gary has lusted after one ever since. During the dark days after Hilly's CBGB Theater closed; circa 1979 and 1980, into 1981, the Rudies and the Clams were what was happening at CBGB,(The Shirts were actually TOURING! If you can imagine that)don't let anyone tell you differently.
I've been doing some research on Glen Kolotkin, the co-producer of the first Pet Clam record. To show you how "Clam-centric" I am, I thought it would be difficult to track down a lot on him. At the time of the record he was primarily known to the band as having engineered "I love Rock and Roll" by Joan Jett and so due to produce a record on his own. If the band had known he'd done a Byrds album they would have been totally in awe.(Dave and Gary, at least) His resume is amazing, including a Grammy for Santanna a few years ago. I know Glen as the guy who produced the Clams... it turns out that he's a recognized star behind the board. And what a nice guy. Good Job Glen! My bad for not knowing.
I've always tried to avoid refering to the solo work different band members have done, or work Clams have done with other bands. But since I've sort of broken the ice with Gary's solo recording; I'll give a plug to Mario too. He's worked for years with Jack Hoban and Rogues on the run. Being a Clam gives you lots of free time to be other things as well. Mario is on several recordings with them, you can get them at CDbaby.com.
By the way... My True Story is now available for purchase or to download. Either from the store, or from CDbaby.
I did an Interview with Gary about "MTS." You can find it Here
Oh! and the Clams are up on Itunes now.
The Store is open. As I've implied; I have mixed feelings about this but who am I to stand in the way of commerce? I don't think the Clams expect much from this; but I will concede that you scarce few lurkers out there can now own Clam music without downloading and making your own mixes. MTS will be up by the end of Feb. and so will be coming down here (as a download). Get it while it's free. The actual cd is different than what I have as Gary digitally remixed it. I have no idea when t-shirts and cup-holders will be coming.
Sometime in late spring we will be closing in on the 30th anniversary of the band. Time flies, huh? With the health and habits of some of the guys, I don't think we'll make forty.
I've also added a few pictures from Kingdom Sound Studios where the Handshake record was recorded. I put them on the page with the album...duh.
I recently heard from the aforementioned Mojo Manny. He wrote me; "RE: "I found a website of a band that claims to have Al Spero as a drummer. Mojo Manny, there are pictures of Al if you look around the site. He looks good, very clean. Like Paul's grandfather. Good to know he's still playing.....That link is now dead... Al is lost once more. I don't know if it's because the mojo went bad; or they just took down the website. HI!!...MOJOMANNY HERE!....READ THIS ON YOUR WEBSITE.......MOJO'S WEBSITE WAS DOWN FOR ABOUT A WEEK FOR RE-CONSTRUCTION....THE BAND'S DOING GREAT!!......AL SPERO HAS CHOSEN TO LEAVE OUR BAND ON HIS OWN ACCORD....WE MISS HIM... ....AL SPERO'S DRUMMING NEVER FAILED TO IMPRESS NOT JUST OUR AUDIENCE...BUT HIS BANDMATES TOO!......I'VE NEVER HEARD ANYONE PLAY "WIPEOUT" LIKE AL...DAMN!... ..HE ALWAYS SPOKE HIGHLY OF HIS TIME WITH THE CLAMS....& AFTER HEARING & SEEING THE CLAMS ON THIS WEBSITE , I KNOW WHY....GREAT STUFF!!..... ...HE'S CURRENTLY IN REHERSAL WITH A NEW SET OF TALENTED MUSICIANS....I'M SURE WE HAVEN'T HEARD THE LAST OF HIM!!... ...EVEN THOUGH HE'S NO LONGER WITH THE BAND, YA CAN HEAR AL SPERO ON OUR WEBSITE @ WWW.MOJOMANNY.COM.
They sent me a couple of photo's as well. I infer from the message that Al has once again lost his mojo. I love these mojo jokes by the way.
I've been cleaning up the place... moving some things around. I've decided against revising pages that were completed years ago; preferring to keep them as historical documents. I may make some footnotes to clarify what actually happened after the pages were posted.
The store should be open in two or three weeks, first with an Applegate solo recording, then "My True Story". It looks like "OLPB" would be next probably in late spring.
I found some information on Ron Alexenburg, and a photo.
"Ron Alexenburg, with extensive experience in the music industry, headed up promotion for recording giant Columbia Records, was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Epic Records and CEO of Infinity Records. Among his many achievements, Ron is credited with signing Michael Jackson to Epic and releasing the most successful album of all time, "Thriller". As a Professor at New York University, Ron Alexenburg taught Music Business, Music Promotion and Marketing. His Alexenburg Entertainment Group provides Artist Representation, Music Marketing services and Television representation with producers, syndication companies and major TV music awards programs." I'd say Ron looks pretty good... a little older, but aren't we all?
Former Clam Kenny Widis has released a recording. It's quite good. He spent a couple of years in the Clams as a favor to Gary; but he really always was a solo artist. One of America's great unknown singer songwriters.
Some changes are happening here. The band is going to release some of their recordings for sale on Itunes and sites like that (starting with “My True Story”) so they’ve asked me to take down some of the downloads I have up here. They’ve already put a dozen or so other songs for free download and listening on MP3.com. An offshoot of this process will be the creation of a Pet Clam store which I suppose I will link to. They assure me this is not an attempt to make money; but more a way to draw more people to the music and so to my little website.
I guess that means they will donate any money to charity.
The cds should be available by March 2008 I would estimate. Maybe there'll be hats and t-shirts too.
I’ll try to compensate for the loss (transfer, actually) of the music by posting some more pictures of the band in its various incarnations. Yes, I know that the music is usually better than pictures of these guys… but what can I do? It seems that the music industry has devolved into the underground and if you dig there deep enough; you’ll find Pet Clams. Independent music distribution has come of age; and our boys have lots of music. Gary and Rich have promised me that if they actually do one more record (some songs have been written) they will let me post it here first for a while.
As this shift progresses the focus of the music here will be more towards the odd and obscure things that won’t be available elsewhere. I guess it’s good that Japanese and East European rockers will finally be able to find Clam music without accidentally stumbling on this site. And of course, for you audiophiles, the quality will be much improved. I’m actually replacing many of the mp3s I have here with ones of higher quality.
I got this note from Richie..."Sunday Evie and I went to NYC to a family gathering for Hilly. It was very warm and stirring. The Big Fat Pet Clams From Outer Space were mentioned twice in one of the eulogies. The eulogist actually said "I can't believe I am mentioning "The Big Fat Pet Clams from Outer Space in a eulogy" everybody laughed. Our band was loved by Hilly. Everybody remembered us, especially Genya Ravan. She remembered our little session together. Please forward this to Dave. I really missed the band on Sunday. Love Gelb."
I found a website of a band that claims to have Al Spero as a drummer. Mojo Manny, there are pictures of Al if you look around the site. He looks good, very clean. Like Paul's grandfather. Good to know he's still playing.
That link is now dead... Al is lost once more. I don't know if it's because the mojo went bad; or they just took down the website.
I've done some detective work on "THE ENGLISH DEAL". This is the road not taken; the one that many in and around the band would say "got away". The story is covered pretty well in the main narrative of this site; but I never knew who "Dick and Paul" were. I now believe that the deal was with GTO records; a division of Epic. I believe "Dick" was Dick Leahy; the head of GTO. Leahy was a legendary A&R man (certainly equal to Ron Alexenburg; if not more imposing). It is quite a feather in the boys cap that Dick Leahy came and saw them at CBs and wanted to sign them. And he heard the earlier, more popish clams, (he supposedly liked "high school girls"). GTO would've been listening to the "why did you leave me?" era of demo recordings. It's tantalizing to fantasize what might have happened had the band gone to England in '79... a record out a year earlier, (before the industry tightened up), a power base in Britain, career direction by Dick Leahy,who made Billy Ocean and Heat Wave major stars, (and who had Donna Summer on his label)... would it have made a difference? It's hard to say, the boys had a real good relationship with Handshake early on and Ron's resume was certainly solid. Still, Dick Leahy is a Macher and, at least briefly, he was a clam fan. I still don't know who "Paul" was. He must've been someone important; he got his name linked with the head of the company in every conversation. It was always "Dick and Paul".
I've always had the suspicion that the deal didn't happen because Hilly wanted to produce the record. I don't have a lot of evidence for this; but the GTO deal was a bigger deal... it involved moving to Britain for a while, where the company would have had to support the band (they wouldn't have been carpenters there). I believe it was more money all around. Handshake won out with a pretty poor deal from a financial standpoint. What they offered the Clams was creative control. That equated to Hilly producing the record and the boys holding on to the publishing. It's fun to speculate what might have happened if a Steve Lillywhite had produced and the if the boys were flush with publishing cash and touring advances. It might have settled down some of the internal antagonisms. Or led to drug over-doses... either one. I've always got the feeling from how the boys tell the story that Hilly thought he had something special and he wanted to keep control of it. This would make sense considering that he'd lost a star he'd discovered and managed just a year earlier (Steve Forbert) to more powerful management. It's possible that Hilly traded cash for control. The band (in hindsight) would've told him to take the cash.
Well, I promised alot of stuff, but it's taken me a few weeks to get going so I'll list this as a new update instead of just adding on. Do any of you remember Floyd Vivino and the "Uncle Floyd Show"? He had a cable show in the seventies and eighties and maybe even the nineties in the New York area. He was actually out of Newark. Gelbstein (and maybe Dave?) was a big fan of the show... it was a sort of punk rock Soupy Sales. The band played the show when the first recording came out and now, thanks to Dave and Cindy Anderson, I have it here. They managed to keep a copy of Charlie Levinson's video of the show for all these years. They even had it digitized awhile back which made my job alot easier. This is probably the only way to see the band as it was in 1981. And certainly the best chance to get a look at Al Spero; I have never been able to get much stuff about the band's original drummer.
Pretty much all of the video I'm starting to post is coming by way of the Andersons. The Soap show I got from Gelbstein, but it was his copy of Cindy's video. The Fast Lane stuff I had, although I didn't know what it was, but I got it from Dave and Cindy awhile ago. Speaking of the Fast Lane, I'm posting "This is not my life" on the "My True Story" page. This particular gig was probably just before those sessions and you can get a feel for what the band was about at that point in time. I'm getting the hang of video, I wish there was more to put up. Wouldn't it be cool to find the original "riding in my car" video Handshake shot to promote the album? If a copy of that still exists anywhere... get it to me!
There's not much chance of that; I don't believe the band ever even saw it. It did play on the pre-MTV late night cable show in New York that pioneered music television. A bunch of the crew at CBGB were raving about it one day after having stayed up late after closing to watch the premiere. I can make all the claims about it I want since no one has seen it.
If Gary and Gelb do record some new songs...(as they are threatening to do) maybe I'll have them shoot a video for one of the songs just like a real band would.
This will be a big one... It's been almost a year... well, over a year since the boys played CBs for the last time. But just a few hours since Richie called me with news of Hilly's death. There's a new page with some Hilly stories and a brief memorial; others will do it better than we can. None of the articles you read in these sad next few days will mention this band. Outside of their little world the Clams are considered one of Hilly's unsuccessful projects. (There were a few) But the music speaks to Hilly's faith in their songwriting and to his ear for talent. Richie remained a close friend to the end; spending the thursday before his death at the hospice with him. The big man who had approached the band after their audition had become smaller, but he was the same man. They talked about the world as it was twenty six years ago when they briefly walked that borderline together...before it all fell apart and we went back to Jersey.
I've come into posession of some video of the band from 1993. I believe it was taken by Cindy Anderson. Cindy and Dave had become involved with S.O.A.P. (Sounds of Asbury Park) I think Mario as well. They organized a series of free concerts in the bandshell on the boardwalk on Sunday(?) afternoons. The boys played at least two of them. Gary seems to recall "doing" the sound at some others. (running the board) Much of it is quite sloppily played... so I'm trying to edit out the feedback and post the best parts. It's a chance to see how good Dave Anderson can be. (even for a Sunday afternoon free concert) Here's Gary's introduction to "everyone pretends"; I think it's funny and typically Applegate.
I have also added a few songs, they are pretty easy to find. I'll put in a boatload of stuff over the next couple of days... maybe not a years' worth; but alot.
Dave saw some of the video and questioned why I hadn't used the Fast Lane footage instead. I didn't know I had it. But I did so here it is...cambodians
Here's a picture of Gary acting the expatriate ala "Papa"
For any of you in New England, Jack has opened a bar up your way. I'll link to his website. Stop in for lunch.
I was given an old article from the Asbury park press written just before the release of the Handshake record. It sort of speaks for itself, moaning like a twenty-five year old ghost.
The interview took place at tower studio. where the photo was taken as well. This was right around the ten-song tape era.
The show is here Gelbstein's Last Stand
Well It's gonna happen.The Boys are going to play CBGB on August 25th. The club will be closing soon so it's good everything came together in time for one last show. It should be something to see. I'll be there. This will mark the Clams fourth decade as a CBGB band. And it will probably be the last chance to see them live. Should be special.
Well, It's 2006.
I wanted to note the passing of Jan Amilani
I asked Gary to write something about Jan Amilani for the website. This is what he gave me. “Jan was a friend of mine and Dave and Mario and Al Spero, and for that matter… Larry Mandel and Mike Graf as well. Long before there was a Pet Clams he was part of a group of guys who thought the same goofy things were funny. He was my brother Brian’s best friend. They had a relationship much like mine and Dave’s, without the performing. They too went wandering around the country in their early twenties; and like Dave and me ended up back in Lakewood eventually. Jan was a first cousin of Janis Ian. He first played “society’s child” for me when I was twelve or thirteen, years before she hit the charts. The next time I would meet her would be at his funeral. Mario and I used to play that song in Wildfire; I would introduce it by saying “I know this girl, she’s Jan’s cousin.” There is a Clam connection to Jan as well. When he came back from his wandering… One of the last of us to stumble home; this must’ve been 1978, he camped out at Dave’s house on Finchly blvd. That house was the headquarters of the new band the pets ( the picture of the four of us in a basement … me half naked, is from that house.) Jan may have taken it, the house was full of his photographs. Maybe not though, most of his were black and white if I remember. That house was full of guitars and Dave’s paintings and Jan’s pictures and Dave’s and my wargames all scattered about. Shortly thereafter Jan split for Atlantic City and I didn’t hear from him for over a decade. He called me to get my brother Brian’s number. I talked to him a couple of times, He’d made a life in south Jersey. I saw his name on classmates .com a couple of years ago and emailed him but he didn’t answer. Probably never checked his email, that wouldn’t be out of character for the Jan I knew. Larry Mandel and a bunch of old Lakewood guys were at the funeral, telling Amilani stories. Jay Sorenson, another of my brothers’ close friends came. Ross Gertner… I used to eat brunch with Brian at his house on Sundays. He lived around the corner from Jan. A lot of guys… Jan was the kind of friend you have who even if you haven’t seen him for ten years, you run into him and it’s like you’re finishing the conversation you started yesterday.”
We'll miss you Jan
Dave and Gary and Billy at Dave and Cindy's luxury box atYankee Stadium
Gary and Billy at a Golf tournament in Pennsylvania
Gary at Hemingway's grave in Ketchem Idaho
Dave's son, (also Dave)got married a few weeks ago, here's a picture from Cindy of him and his bride Danielle
Dave's son is a fairly well known surfer, and (I think stock) car racer as well as a guitarist.
These may be the end days for CBGBs, the lease is up this month. To keep up with the saga you should probably go to CB's website (which I hope will remain open as a virtual CBs).Hilly has been very prominent on local and national media trying to rally the troops. In fact, Gelb is mock mad at Hilly for a satellite radio interview with Vin Scelsa in which he mentioned every band that ever played the club but the Clams. And Vince was a Clam fan back in the day. Gelb called Hilly and whined and made Hilly feel bad.
I would hope the small following this website has will do whatever they can for CBGB.
It's always a reflective time when an era ends, and if the old punk rock palace closes, it will be a true era-ending event.
Okay, once a year is enough nowadays. Not much has happened musically, I have some photos of some of the guys at various types of leisure. (It's nice to be wealthy). Gary is slowly finishing the mixing of what was completed for OLPB, it's slow work because he's old and lazy and he is experimenting with new techniques and gear in the studio. He apparently spends most of his music time recording folk-rock songs from the 1960's. They say Reagan started downhill the same way. Hilly now has a home on the Jersey shore,and so spends more time wth Gelb. Rumor has it that CBGB is loosing it's long time lease and may be beginning a slow "bottom line" fade. That will of course leave only the virtual CB of the web (and on the front of all those t-shirts Hilly sells in Japan.)
By the way, I don't think Gelb will mind if I tell you he's a grandfather, Dr.Jen had a baby. Ditto for Mario, a granddaughter. It looks like Alex Cortes is getting married next month. (Should "In My Life" be playing behind this gossip?). Of more interest to a website about music, is the news that Al Spero and Gary have been in contact. Apparently, if Gelb can finish writing a song, and nobody gets too pissed at anybody in the meantime, there may be a new recording by the "original" band. Dave is friendly with Gary and communicates with him via computer, so in theory he could come out of musical retirement. To keep the crowds and the excitement down it would probably be done in pieces with no more than two or three of the guys in one room at one time. The song would maybe be "family album" which is one of a couple not even roughed out yet for OLPB.
As far as songs go, I am posting a finished(?) version of "Jericho". The question mark is due to both the ethereal nature of OLPB and he fact that Gary is satisfied by this mix in the studio, but unhappy with it on the web as an mp3. I suppose I should also post "Hey Denise" a twentysome year old song done last year by three of the boys, that is not intended for OLPB. I do not know why it is kept seperate from "PUNK BAND" and suspect that there is no reason for it to be. I would not be surprised to find it on a final version of the project, if there is ever a "final version" for it to be on. Both Gelb and Gary told me not to put it on OLPB, so I will comply with their wishes.
It is now included on O.L.P.B.
I have a lot of unused space here in Clamville, and I intend to use it up before I'm finished. I'm still trying to get Mr. Gelbstein to write me a bio, that I can juxtapose with the Dave and Gary (et al) story. I'm also considering a little more on "Magpie". Maybe a side site, a dead end detour cul de sac of a look at that band. Steve Greenberg ( of magpie ) knows of the location of some photos of that band, if I could get my hands on them long enough to digitize them, I could put together a nice little package. Gary, and Billy McCarthy have both played recordings of Magpie for me. It seems that back then Brian Buckelew's family had a connection with a local radio station and that situation led to a very rudimentary recording session. There are some copies of that session (it was originally mixed to 8-track) of various degrees of quality. There are also a few live recordings. Gary has digitized some Magpie music. Maybe for the next update. (next year?) Billy has been trying for almost a decade to get some or all of the members of Magpie together to re-record some of the stuff as well as some new songs. Gary recently approached Steve Greenberg about re-recording a "modern" version of their song "Dreamer". (Remember, "modern" to Applegate is somewhere around 1988.)
I may also post the unfinished work from the rock garden studio sessions done with Damian over a year ago. They can charitably be described as a failure. Dave had specified up front that he was only available for a couple of quick sessions. Without rehearsals, there was no way to have an quick disciplined session. The two main projects, Dave's "slowly left to right" and Richie's " I'm sorry " remain incomplete. Damian wanted to do "left to right" over from the beginning. Gary believed it could be saved by a masterful mix, well within his and Dames' abilities. "I'm sorry" lies unfinished primarily due to the absence of a guitar solo, (although there may be problems with Gelb's lead vocal as well). The only real successes of the sessions were Brian's overdubs of drums on "Jericho" and "Let's go get some beer!" (these were originally recorded in Gary's studio.)
That's the current state of the Clam disunion. Gelb is coaching basketball and working on show music (a childrens' show?). Dave is in a musical semi-retirement.(he claims a hand injury has hurt his legendary ability on the git-fiddle) Mario is still a working musician, both live and in his own studio. Gary is down in his basement trying to duplicate "revolution number 9" and buying old gear on ebay. Brian has picked up his drums from Gary's studio and is building one of his own. (although I have not seen it) That would be practical since Brian's son has a band. So maybe that's the plan, post a few new things on OLPB, including the incomplete rock garden things... Work on a nostalgic tribute to Magpie...Post a few pics of the fat clams...and see you next year!
Okay, I'm lazy.
Mario got himself a new motorcycle. this is the second Harley in the band. (Brian used to ride one to gigs a few years ago) for those of us who remember Al Spero's wrecked leg, we hope he'll be careful.
There is an interesting story that goes with this bike.Mario had sold his Yamaha, and was bikeless, when a guy came in with this sportster. It was a custom job and when Mario did some research, he found it had a name. It had been dubbed "wildfire", which if you've surfed this site, you know was the name of his first band. So he bought it. By the way, if you haven't gotten deep into the Clam story, it starts with the "clam it" button on page one.
Work continues on OLPB. Jericho may be nearing completion. Brian did some drum work on it and "beer". He really spiced up "beer".
An old friend of Dave's (and of Gary, of course) sent me some pictures of the guys, pre-clam. Thanks Pam! These are probably from '75 or '76. Maybe towards the end of the ALLRIGHT BROS.
The first one shows Jack, Dave and Gary. Dave later painted a picture very like this scene that hangs in Gary's studio. I might do a page of some of Dave's paintings. The second shows Gary, Jack, and the guy with all the hair in the trench coat is Billy McCarthy. Notice the dogs. Jack bred guard dogs in those days.I also got my hands on an official portrait of the pets. (they were very hairy guys) I put it in early in the story. (follow the "clam it" button) Gary asked me to add the last of the "student of love" songs. So I've placed "how it will be" on the "unreleased classics" page.
Gelb tells me he's heard from Hilly. Hilly is still rocking and rolling. He's threatening to release " Gonna Get Fooled Again" as a single this election year. The Last time that happened Reagan was not only alive, he was president. He's promised to reciprocate the link I have for CBGB.com (we are still waiting for chapter seven, Hilly) That's where we come in. And Hilly, give the boys a date, rather give the old men a date. One more gig for posterity, you know it will be big. If all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren come, they'll pack the place. Besides, the boys aren't gonna rehearse without a date, and if they don't rehearse... that runs into a lot of money.
The site is finally working in one respect. Besides the aforementioned Pam Maddox, several former Clams are checking in. Jim Beringer, the brilliant keyboard man who arranged "In Belfast" has called both Gelb and Gary. He was looking for a copy of "Belfast". Gary has promised to make a cd of all his Clam recordings, although he's welcome to download whatever he wants from here. His work on the show closer "Buddy Holly's revenge" isn't here yet, but it will be. That song was based on a Beringer practice riff. I have a good picture of Jim I've been meaning to post...BUT I'M LAZY!
not so lazy after all
Phil Attardo has also checked in. I haven't given Phil (or Al Spero) enough attention on this site. In Al's case it's because I have not been able to contact him. Phil was Dave's and Gary's drummer right before they first met Richie. After that band dissolved, Phil played drums on the original sessions with Richie when Gary was playing lead. From what I can figure out, Dave thought Phil was too young, and when Dave joined, Phil got aced out. Five years later he was Gary's first choice to replace Al (when that became necessary). Phil was a fine singer, he did the high harmonies on "student of love", and other songs from that era. Check out "how it will be"; that's Phil drumming and singing. I'm not sure Phil ever really left the band. See "songs from purgatory" for that story. It got so bad for Gary and Gelb, that the band sort of just dissapated like freon in the atomsphere. This would have been in '84-'85. I've even heard that the band just skipped a gig in New Brunswick that Haddad had booked, because Gary didn't want to tell the guys about it. When Richie and Gary began working with Damian on "the story of my life", (circa '86?) there was no need to find Phil. Damian was a drummer. He had asked for an audition to replace Al right after Phil had got the gig. There was also Jon Gelbsteins' drummer Mike Parent. Mike had a unique ability to overdub drums. When Dave came on and the band reformed, Damian was the obvious choice for drummer, he knew all the new songs, having produced them. Dave's previous relationship with Phil might have kept them from tracking him down anyway. Musicians can be picky and petty, if you didn't know. Fortunately everyone is older and more mellow now... RIGHT!
From what I can discern from Gary's stories, Phil wasn't much of an underground punk rock kind of guy. He was a more mainstream powerpop kind of guy. That's why he fit very well with the mood of the band in the early MTV '80s when punk and pop merged.That's all for now, I have more bandwidth now, so I will be adding more music. See ya later.
Okay, I promised more music and pictures... Hey it's summer, give me a break. I did add some shots to the "story of my life" page. I found some pictures the guys had given me years ago that I didn't know what they were of. Turns out they were from the "something I gotta do" session. That's an important moment in Clam history, and these photos capture it. That was the last of the "SOML" dates and marked the reunion-reformation of the present band. Late '91 or early '92.
Here's a cool story... Chris Masi, Jon Gelbstein's partner in "The bible of dreams" band, is on a nationwide tour. He's playing guitar for Jennifer Marks, who records on Sony. They open the current Cyndi Lauper tour. Chris played on the above mentioned "SOML",as a teenager. That's his solo on "the once and future king" if you want to hear him play. It's good to see a graduate of the Clam school of rock doing something with his degree. Chris has sat in, and opened and jammed with the Clams his whole life. Anyway, he's heard these stories for twenty years, so he goes up to Cyndi and asks her if she knows the " big fat pet clams from outer space". I can't do Miss Lauper's New York accent on the web, but she said" oh sure, that was with my band (blue angel) we started out together". When I passed this story on to Gary (from Gelb) He replied " oh yeah, I remember her too." I'm lookin for a good picture of Chris to post or maybe I'll just link to the "B.o.d." website.
Okay,okay,...I've been goofing off with the updates. But I'll do one now. OLPB is still a project, not much has been finished since Octobre. Damian was out of the loop for a little while but everything's ready to start up again anytime now. Richie is out of the country, and Gary took advantage of the forced layoff to go wandering. Mario briefly went incognito but he has reappeared into the world again. There are a couple of new songs posted (look around, you'll find them). Before he exiled himself from our great nation Gelb managed to get together with Hilly. That was right after the last update, but even though Richie wrote me out a nice piece about that afternoon, I've forgotten most of the details.
Oh, and the guys played a gig. Just a half dozen songs in the back room of a club for some friends. They sounded good for guys who rarely see each other. They did only one clam tune, Dave's " this is not my life ". They backed up a local female blues singer on a couple of songs, and did a couple with Debbie Calabro.
I have an open invitation out to the guys for any photographs of themselves that they have (websites run on images). Of course, only Gary (the supreme egotist) sends me any.I'm a little bit mad at Gary. I 've heard through the grapevine that he's been telling people this is his website. If it is, he owes me quite a bit in hosting fees.
Here's a picture of Gary at Hemingway's house in Key West, one of the settings of " The world goes spinning wildly "
I have some photos from the session at Damian's Rock Garden Studio. And I posted some new songs at the OLPB page. More sessions are coming so... more songs, more pictures. The clams may actually be over the hump on this project, slow steady work.
Okay, summer's over back to work. There's actually some things to talk about...Maybe.
I managed to photograph the "lions in winter" or more properly, "the wintering Clams" over labor day.
The guys are on the verge of going into Damian's studio to record "I'm sorry" and maybe another version of "slowly left to right". There has even been a partial rehearsal (Dave did not show). Brian may redo the drum tracks on a few OLPB songs there as well (Damian raves about his drum sound). The net effect of all this is the impression that OLPB may actually be finished soon. I've obtained a promise from the band to allow me to photograph them recording, so I'll have some new pictures soon.
Gary is also still talking about making cds available to fans (probably through this website). The hang-up for him seems to be getting the artwork finished to make them look pretty.
Of more solemn notice, it's sad to hear of the death of Louie Albano. Lou was the drummer of "Rockaday Johnny and the blue suede shoes". He was Gary's drummer of choice up until young Brian Buckelew came on the scene. Lou was actually the drummer for "Myron Klum", the band that became Magpie when Dave joined, until he left to play cover music. (He was Replaced by a sixteen year old Brian). Gary lost touch with him in the years after that, and does not know what music he may have made since. Very sad.
Work continues on OLPB.
Dave came over to Gary's studio and laid down tracks to "slowly, left to right." Mario was there, helping, sort of engineering. They put down a mess of stuff which Gary and Mario have been editing. Dave likes to challenge people to do things that can't be done, or at least are very difficult to do. While he was there he put down most of the guitars that have been missing from some of the otherwise completed tracks. Of course, this meant that those songs now have to be remixed and sent to Mario for his part of the production. It's not like the old days, according to the boys, when you just locked a band in a studio for a few weeks and came out with a record.
Richie came by to add backing vocals to "slowly" the next day.The end result of that dual session was about three weeks of work for Mario and Gary, (interrupted by a couple of days in the hospital for Mario) and a very haunting version of Dave's atomspheric tale of obsession and compulsion.
I myself have created another problem for the aging punkers. While testing search engine response on the site, I discovered another band that advertises itself as "the oldest living punk band." And they do seem older than our grumpy old men. I personally know that Gary wrote the lyric for "Stiv Bators" in 1994. OLPB comes from a line in the last verse in that song. I don't know when this other band began using that phrase, but I'm sure the Clams did not take it from them. Anyway when I told Gary about it, he changed the working title of the project to "death of a punk band." They may change it again (several times probably) so I'm leaving it as OLPB for now.
I've also added a page about the legendary lost songs of the bfpcfos.
One of Gary's brothers, (Billy, to be specific) emailed me and told me, that both he and Brian, (another of Gary's brothers) also served on the gangway road crew. No wonder the band never made any money.
Billy and Gary in Los Angeles a couple of years ago
for zeus, 'cause he asked upset
Oh, hi, I didn't notice you there. I've been kinda busy. There are quite a few developments in Clamdom. First, there's a big coffee table type book out called " the art of rock" containing some of the great poster art of the rock era. On page 493 there is the famous poster of alien space clams I reproduced for you all inside the website. for more info contact the publisher
There are also many rumors of the demise of CBGB. The long lease that Hilly signed in the last century is supposedly expiring and the landlord wants too much dough, or N.Y.U. wants the land for dorms. All or part of this could be true, but it would be a sad day for music if CBs were no more. Not only for the clams, I myself have spent too many nights leaning against the 2x4s at that bar. Things just keep on changing.
Former Clam keyboardist and current attorney at law, Larry Mandel, was kind enough to send over the insert from the live 33.3 single "tonight, it's alright". That was the last thing Handshake released. The insert for the lp size single was a collage of the very good reviews the band had received for their debut. It's kind of spookey to read them again, they seem so full of promise (we know how all that turned out). Larry wrote the music for "play she don't care about time" on "The Story Of My Life." It was good to hear from Larry, a very bright, kind, and good man,
Jack's daughter Andrea wants a mention on the site. She's a world-class jumper and cheerleader up in Conn. I won't pretend to know much about such things, but I hear she's very good.
Gelb and Gary went into the city recently to see Hilly's and CBGB's induction into the New York City Hall Of Fame. They finally made sure Hilly got the first copy of "twenty five years on the mystery train".
Now to the Clams, I'm adding a page for OLBP, there's enough completed to actually listen to. It seems to be growing from a simplistic ramones, clash, sexpistol, romp, into a typical Clams melodrama. There are actually some pretty serious pieces of music there. So much so that Gary and Gelb are threatening to release it out beyond this website. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but they threaten to do a lot of things.
It's been an eventful summer. Jennifer Gelbstein got hitched, Katie Applegate went off to college. Gary built a pond. Mario got a motorcycle.
Gary's also burning cds of all (almost) the clam studio work. He also wrote a little booklet with lyrics and studio logs and some new artwork.He puts it in a nice box labeled " twenty five years on the mystery train".(after the line in Dave's" time to rock") The first one was for Hilly, but the guys don't get into the city much anymore, and they don't trust Charlie to actually, positively give it to Hilly.("but the guy said he knew someone named Hilly"). If you want one, email me and I'll bug Gary to make one.
It looks like maybe we will get one more project from the Clams. "Oldest living punk band" may become a reality. Rich has finished one song, "I used to listen to the radio". Dave has several lyrics he is working on (everyone is afraid to ask how he's coming with them, for fear he has quit the band again and not told anyone.) Applegate has dusted off his basement studio and taken out the demos that were done when they first started talking about this concept. He's cleaned up the old tracks, now there are several songs just waiting for some new vocals and guitar parts to be ready. They include:
"Carol Small" Dave and Gary's song could use a new Gelb vocal and a drum track.
"Stiv Bators" a goofy short song that ends with the narrator " jaywalking in hell with Stiv from the dead boys"
"guys from north jersey" this could use a new lead guitar, Garys' frantic original could use some Anderson polish.
There are also a some new lyrics, the first in a long time. The two I've seen are "life has no meaning" (a funny short story about what went on this summer) and "Stevens' room" (about growing up in Lakewood)
I also want to say that rumors of fueds and fights between band members are not true. I want to say that but I won't.
Ed Keeney has reappeared in the world after twenty years or so, (he holds the tamborine in the sons of alexander photo). Eddie was the boys' first band leader, he introduced Dave and Gary in the 8th grade. He was also Dave's drummer in Blues Arc. He was the original long haired rocker from Lakewood and Gary says he probably would have joined the army if not for Eddies' influence. Eddie tells me that the original band was named "the moonbeams". Gary says that sounds right, he remembers a (Dave-drawn?) logo of the moon shining through bare trees on Eddies' bass drum.
An old Lakewood crony of the Clams, Shotgun from "shotgun and the ragmen" (bitter rivals of the "sons of alexander",) has opened a site for his current band "the billy shears band." Joe Schulman, who can be seen in the "sons" picture with a straw hat and a black eye (I told him not to mess with me) plays drums for those guys. Jan and Joe also joined Mario, Gary, and Dave for the rock and roll 101 high school reunion band.
Jan and Joe jam frequently with Applegate nowadays; I believe the b.s.b. is no more
I know I've been remiss with updates, but there's not a lot of exciting things happening with a semi-retired middle-aged punk band. I've been thinking about cataloging as many of the Clam songs as I can with maybe a page on "missing songs". But that seems like a lot of work. I've prodded the boys to do something with "oldest living punk band". Gary took out the lyrics and passed them around to Gelb and Dave, but so far nothing. Gary may be compiling the works of the various incarnations of the Clams into master recordings, but I have no idea what he intends to do. Most of the recordings are allready available here. Let's hope for "oldest living punk band" to be finished.
a couple of things, I've put in a brief page about the real "student of love" for anyone who may be interested.
I've also had a chance to re-examine my description of the "ten song tape". On re-listening, it really was a direct attack on handshake, and to a lesser extent, Hilly and CBs. They name Alexenburg (by name) in "facist music". It is hard to imagine a company re-signing so ungrateful a band. Graham Parker was making many of the same comments about mercury records at the time, and a CBGB band, the brains, had a minor hit with " money changes everything " at about this time. (Cindy Lauper would later cover it big-time). Were the Clams just being fashionable? Were they looking for trouble? That record was not going to be released by Ron Alexenburg. Was it a deathwish for the band? Gary's lyrics certainly attempted to alienate the people who were working with them. Why didn't the rest of the band tone him down? Did they approve? Was it just an honest attempt at describing the world they were living in, that was unfortunately a little ( a lot) too honest? I would have been insulted if someone had gone through so much trouble and work to write bad things about me. Of course, this is speculation, no one but Ron knows if he even got the joke or insult.
Well it's done, I'll have it up within the week. And I was wrong, it's no meatloaf song. It's a more convoluted tale than that.
but there will be
I've added a few more pictures of the boys around the site. I won't tell you where so that you can have the fun of finding them. I've also added a few more "early"(pre-album)songs and more will be coming through Feb.(sweeps, you know)
There are rumors of new Pet Clam music floating about. I understand that Gary, Gelb, and Mario have each finished their parts on a recording of an as yet unknown, unheard song. They are being cryptic about this, but it seems Brian can't add his part until after Dave does his guitar work, and ... well, Dave hasn't done his guitars yet. This may be (it sounds like anyway) a continuation of the aborted project Mario, Gary, Brian, and Richie were working on in 2000. It was supposedly a clamitalization of Meatloaf's and Jim Steinman's sound. More on this when I know.Charlie Levinson tells me that he and Applegate were at the Bottom Line to see Dave Edmunds' solo act recently. They were pleasantly surprised when Edmunds brought out the Miami Horns for a few numbers. As you may know, Ed Manion plays sax for the "Horns" and Gary got to spend a few moments with him after the show. If Eddie has a site, I 'll link to it if the guys don't mind. He has played a few gigs with the clams over the years so he is sort of related. For you newcomers, Ed went to Spruce Street Elementary School, Junior High, and graduated from Lakewood High School, with Dave, Gary, and Mario. He is also an alumnus of the pre-sons of alexander band "the dark side".