NEW YORK CITY 1979-1990
I continued to play different shows and work with many different artists in Colorado and had just heard about Merle Bergani and Larry Sims from Loggins and Messina putting a band together and they were looking for a keyboard player but I decided to go back home for a quick visit with my family first.
After a couple of weeks I was ready to return to Colorado when Corky Laing, Mountain Drummer, asked me to stop in NYC and check out this guitar player Stu Daye, he was working with to see if I was interested in playing with them. I went to NYC and ended up staying there for the next 10 years! We formed a band called THE MIX.
Here's a typical band gone wrong story of the 70's and 80's for all of you. An Incredible Band!! Great Music!! Great Chemistry!! Great Fans!! Great Producer!! Great Management!! Great Album!! Great Potential!! Really STUPID, GREEDY PEOPLE! 3 Years it took to make this band happen. A lot of my money was spent as well as others. Managed by David Krebs of Krebs Communications in NYC, Manager for Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Michael Bolton, AC/DC. Corky and his wife and I lived in John Sebastian's Grandmothers apartment for most of the time we were doing this band. Corky ex drummer from the band Mountain and an incredible rock drummer. Stu Daye a punk rocker brilliant writer and guitarist, who lived and slept in a fur safe in Manhattan and was also where we rehearsed every day. And the Bass player, David, a talented musician who played Paul McCartney in Beatlemania on Broadway. And me ... a wide eyed, peace loving, hippie keyboard player from Colorado who only cared about the music! … what a MIX!! So, we rehearsed and recorded and played all over the east coast, a lot of shows in NYC at CBGB's, Great Gildersleves, Trax, Paradise in Boston and up and down the coast etc ...We opened for Aerosmith on the Mystery Club Tours and eventually got Producer, Bassist Felix Papalardi of Mountain and producer of Eric Clapton's Cream, Youngblood's and a host of others to produce our first album. We went to Criteria Studios in Florida, the Bee Gees Studio, and made our first and only album entitled AMERICAN GLUE! A great album!! When we returned from Florida I moved in with Felix and Gail Papalardi on the east side in Manhattan while the record was being released on Word of Mouth Records an independent label. The record sounded incredible and quickly started getting airplay. The major labels started to gain interest in the band and a deal was in the making. But this was the beginning of the end of the band. When this kind of money starts being talked about the wolves come out of the woodwork and people get stupid and greedy! We had yet to sign agreements amongst the band members and basically two members decided that they wanted to own 95% of everything!
I need to interject something here. This band was special...but none of them really understood the dynamics of what made the band what it was. It wasn't just about Corky or Stu or David or I individually. It was truly about the mixture of personalities that held these 4 very weird people together. And it was the individual personalities and musical choices they each made that were at the root of the magic they created when they all played together and worked together as a whole! A Mix
The day I received their contract I was still living with Felix and Gail. I couldn't believe that after 3 years of all our hard work together and spending all of my money that the two of them decided it was all about them and that the bass player and I would split 5% for the same amount of time and energy and work we had and would put in. Felix read the contract and laughed. He said that it was the same contract that he and Leslie West gave to Corky when they hired him to play in Mountain and that I shouldn't sign it! I called David Krebs and he told me to get a hold of David Graham and that we should stand together to force them to split everything. So, I called David, but it was too late, David had just signed the contract. After much soul searching and very little sleep, I realized I could not spend the next several years of my life being treated as less valuable than any of the three of them. I told them that the only way I'd sign a contract is if everything is split equally amongst all the members of the band, everyone gets 25%. They didn't agree, so I quit. It was hard to do as I really loved the band and the music we made. It was one of those special bands that every musician dreams of being part of. But as fate would have it, several months later the three of them got in a fight and broke up and went their separate ways and management dropped the band and afterwards signed my show "A Tale of Two Cities"! Go figure. Greed is a nasty thing that clouds judgement and actions. And maybe I was the Glue in the Mix that held them all together … I guess we'll never know cause it all fell apart.
The Amazing Mark Weiss, Rock Photographer Extraordinaire, took these photos of the band one night after a date at TRAX in NYC. His note on the back of one said it all!
My Calendar the year The Mix ended. JAN-AUG
I have to clarify something before I finish this. Even though Corky was responsible for the demise of the MIX … I still love the guy and will always appreciate the time we played music together. I hated David but really respected Stu! Actually, one night Corky and I worked at some other famous guy's apartment. We wrote this song together that night and called it "Highlite". We rehearsed it with the band and eventually recorded it, but it never made the album. But I always liked this tune that Cork and I created together. Even if we were both a tad high when we wrote it!!
Highlite - Corky Laing & Chris Meredith The Mix
I stayed with Felix and Gail Papalardi for several months after the Mix ended. Their relationship had become strained as Felix was moving forward with his career and Gail had become less involved. Remember Gail and Felix wrote a lot the songs together on the Cream Disraeli Gears album! . There were a lot of drugs around and the two of them argued incessantly. One morning I woke up to Gail screaming and Felix was chasing her around the apartment swinging a guitar at her. I made the mistake of stepping in-between them and Gail cold cocked me in the jaw and knocked me out cold! When I came too the two of them were over me apologizing profusely. Way too much Whiskey and heroine in that apartment.
A few months had passed since the demise of the Mix and one day Felix came into my room and asked me if I wanted to be part of a Mountain Reunion and would I still work with Corky. Of course I said yes, and a week later we all went to this small studio downtown called Rocket Studios for our first rehearsals.
Felix and I arrived first to get everything setup and Leslie and Corky Came later in the day. When Leslie arrived I remember him setting up his guitar rig and he used this Guitar with modules that plugged into the back of the body. When he first turned everything on and started to play I was taken back not only by how monstrous his sound was and how cool he sounded but the volume made my ears bleed haha. Those boys played LOUD MUSIC even for me! So I recorded the rehearsals and they are kind of funny. We would play for like 5 minutes and then Felix and Leslie would argue about it for an hour. Then we'd play five more minutes and then they'd argue again for about an hour. This went on for a whole week of rehearsals until they both realized that it was not going to work because they both wanted something totally different and so Mountain was never revived. Corky never said a word!
Felix wrote for a TV Show called Hot Hero Sandwich. He gave me one of the songs he wrote from the show to play on my next project.
A great picture Felix gave me of him conducting a recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the early 80's David Krebs had bought a club on the upper east side called Privates. A lot of up and coming bands would play there including Cyndi Lauper when she was in Blue Angel. David had decided to do a live radio broadcast there and Felix was the producer. America Live was a live radio concert special sponsored by CCC at Privates on November 3, 1980, the night before the 1980 election. It was broadcast simultaneously to the leading rock stations in 10 or 15 cities, including Detroit, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia. It was to be taped for broadcast the following day to 30 stations. America Live was intended to help the youth audience understand the importance of voting. Aerosmith , The Mix and many other bands played that night. I played keyboards with the Liberty Blues Band (the same guys who did Hot Hero Sandwich) conducted by Felix. We played up in the balcony and every time we finished a song I would climb down a column to the main stage to play with everyone else.
Privates NYC with Me on Piano, Rascals, Felix Cavalier on Organ, David Gross on Bass, David Dolan on Drums, Blues Magoo's, Bruce Kulick on Guitar and Marge Raymond and Richie Supa singing.
At the end of March, 1983 I finally moved out of Felix and Gails apartment and back up to the west side of Manhattan and two weeks later Gail Shot Felix Dead lying in his bed! What a loss! There was a big trial and Gail served a couple of years and years later they found Gail dead in her apartment in Mexico. What a waste it was!
I still miss you Fe!!
Richard Supa is a session player and songwriter. He released four solo albums between 1971 and 1978 and his song “Chip Away The Stone” was covered by Aerosmith and Humble Pie among others. But what many may not know is that Richie was an amazing songwriter. Take a moment to search him and look at all the songs and different artists that he wrote for. Tom Jones, Pink, Aerosmith Richie Sambora, Johnny Winter and the list goes on. I met Richie during darker times in NYC when we were all doing a lot of illicits but the one thing that happened during this time is that Richie took the time to teach me what it was like to be a songwriter. Up in his NY apartment where he did his demos he showed me how to organize and catalog song ideas and how songwriting was a craft more than a crap shoot. He taught me how to become a songwriter! And for that I will forever be indebted to him. Richie is now the Creative Director of Recovery Unplugged, committed to providing the highest level of care to individuals struggling with substance abuse problems.
LINDA COMES TO NYC
During this time the most important thing in my life happened. Linda, my best friend in all the world and the love of my life came back to NYC to see me from Hawaii where she was living and dancing. Linda is the most amazing Choreographer & Dancer! While we we're in NY during this time she studied with Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham and a host of other great modern jazz dancers. We worked on many projects together. So I played music and she danced and we were married in 1981 and we are still as much in love now as we were than. Amazing!
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
After the demise of The Mix I wrote and recorded a musical dance story based on Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities. I must have spent about 4 months writing and recording in our apartment in Manhattan on a little 4 track cassette machine and a polymoog. Linda and I worked together on the concept which was to do a rock and roll story with great modern and jazz dance. When I was finished with the music I went to Leber/Krebs office and had the secretaries shut and lock the door and turn off the phones and I played the show for Steve Leber and David Krebs. They signed it that day! And for the next 20 years they continued to sign and re sign the show trying to figure out how to produce it. It went through 4-5 versions from full blown Broadway to rock opera and back again. Marvin Krause the budget man for Broadway took an entire year to draft the full blown budget for the show. By the time everything was ready to move forward Leber Krebs had split up, and the rights reverted back to me.
CITIZENS BAND - CHERYL ASHLEY
At one point during the waiting time to have budgets drawn up for the Tale of Two Cities show, I worked with Cheryl Ashley(Krebs), David's wife. We put a band together called Citizens Band. David got us a record deal at Columbia Records and we put out two singles. Side A was the Stones "Paint it Black" and I wrote the B side song called First Class Love. They also released a 45 of another tune, Rock and Roll Gypsy. We recorded this at Electric Lady Land Studios in New York , Jimi Hendrix's recording studio. An amazing studio with great sound and an incredible history of music that has been recorded there. When you walk into Electric Lady land, Jimi Hendrix had this mural done all the way down the hall to a round seating area that looked like the inside of an alien spaceship! Both Cheryl and I had great times together working on this music. We had a great band with really great musicians and she and I always found a way to get into trouble!
Unfortunately the music industry was in great flux during this time and Columbia Records never released the project. They did however pick up the next bill for the first rough recordings of Tale of Two Cities that I went on to record at the Record Plant.
High Flying - Chris Meredith & Citizens Band
Linda, Me, Cheryl & Rosetta Stone
DAVID C. GROSS
While I was working with Cheryl I met one of the best bass players around in NYC David C. Gross. David worked on a lot of projects with me during those times including Cheryl's and Citizens Band. Besides playing with Stephen Stills, Bette Midler, Aztec Two-Step and others, he has gone on to be one of the best teachers of the Bass Guitar and has now written over 14 books on the subject. If your ever interested in learning more about this instrument check out David's vast assortment of musical books and knowledge on the Bass and how to play it.
THE CBS RECORDING SESSIONS
During this time David got CBS Records to put up development money for me to go into the Record Plant with a cast of 25 singers and record a piano demo with vocals. Below are just some of the amazing people who have been part of this journey for me and have all performed on different versions of these songs for my show. I am forever grateful to all of them for lending me their talents and energy to help me bring my idea to fruition.
This guy to the left, Paul Pesko! He was our Roadie in The Mix! I remember Paul sitting on the top of anvil cases out in the hallway of SIR studios in NY shredding his guitar while we rehearsed in studio B. Paul went on to become a monster guitarist and played with many artists, like Stevie Winwood, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and the list goes on! As I was writing this I started to remember the web of all these people that are so interconnected!
When we formed the band "The Mix", Paul O'neill was our road manger! Paul went on to produce "Savatage and Create the Trans Siberian Orchestra with a good friend and great musician Bob Kinkel!
And Joe Cerisano and Steve Broderick who also did lead vocal tracks on Tale of Two Cities song "Think Fast" both worked in Trans Siberian Orchestra , from Pauls creation years later.
Marge Raymond, RCA recording artist from the band Flame, the most fantastic female rock singer who sang and became Madame Defarge.
And Doug Katsaoros of Michael Bolton, Richie Havens and Paul Stanley who lent his amazing voice and sang my first Sydney Carton song "If She Could Love Me"
Steve Augiri who sang the "Marquis Saint Evremonde" and went on to take Steve Perry's place in Journey.
Mitch Weissman the original Paul McCartney in Beatlemania on Broadway who sang all my Charles Darnay songs.
And Terry Mann, the great Broadway and film actor from Les Misérables, Cats and many other shows and movies who showed up everyday to play Sydney Carton on my staged readings for investors.
And Adam Brenner (Bomb) who I not only recorded with on great sessions in London and in NYC at the Record Plant but came up to the island in the dead of winter and sat in my studio with my cats that he was allergic to and played great guitar tracks on Tale while he could hardly breathe. As well as bringing his friend Brad Sinsel from TKO Band and War Babies who sang on 3 other songs for me that week.
And Ray Kenndy who wrote "Sail on Sailor" for the Beach Boys and sang for so many great artists, became a dear friend for so many years. He came to the Record Plant where Jack Douglas and I were recording and sang 3 tunes of the show for me. And what can I say about Jack Douglas! Producer for John Lennon, Areosmith, Cheap Trick and an accomplished musician as well!
And my Cousin Jon Pousette-Dart who played some amazing guitar and lent his beautiful voice to so many of my songs, and Gray Russel, Record Plant Engineer Extraordinaire, who made it all sound great and my good friend and fantastic drummer Kenny Howard who spent months later working on my material at my home studio! Your all the best and I still to this day appreciate all that you gave.
And the wonderful Steven Tyler from Aerosmith who is one of the most kindest, and generous guys you could ever meet! During the sessions we had dinner at his home one night and we got to hold his newborn daughter. Steve took the time out of his extremely busy life and came to the studio every day to work with me singing the opening song I had written called "Think Fast". You are one classy guy Steven. They broke the mold when you came out!
Think Fast - Chris Meredith - Steven Tyler - Unknown Artist
CLINTON WILDER DEVLOPMENT READINGS
The first run through of the entire show I did was with the The Clinton Wilder Development Readings at the Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City. The program was developed by Edward Albee and Clinton Wilder. They established The Playwright's Unit, an Off Broadway theater that served as a showcase for new writers and provided an opportunity for a number of playwrights to mount their first New York productions. The unit was supported originally from the profits of ''Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'' and later by the Rockefeller Foundation. Among the playwrights whose works were presented were Sam Shepard, LeRoi Jones, Jean-Claude Van Itallie, Lanford Wilson and Paul Zindel. I was given the opportunity to mount Tale of Two Cities at the MTW in 1989. The picture on the left is with the Director of this version a really nice guy named Mark Herko. Below is the front and back program.
A BROADWAY RUNTHROUGH WITH THE MANNS
Nothing came of the Clinton Wilder run throughs as it was mostly for helping new playwrights to craft their work. Another couple years passed and this time Steve Leber signed it. I had met Terrance Mann (Cats, Les Misérables Actor) and his wife Juliette.
Love Me - Chris Meredith - Sung By Terry Mann
We all became good friends and went down to a theatre in North Carolina that Terry was involved with. During that time I asked Juliette to work with me on Tale as she was an accomplished writer.
We reworked the story and together we wrote a legit Broadway book for a Broadway presentation. I thought we had done a great job but the Broadway approach took the life out of it for me. Even though we did a full run through with an incredible cast, including Terry who played Sydney Carton for these run throughs, it always fell short as no one ever tried to do this show the way I wrote it. They all kept trying to force the show into a Broadway setting and in reality it was not a Broadway musical. It was more of a rock and roll dance special effects show that needed to be toured on a stage rather than stuck in a Broadway house in NYC. But they kept trying year after year.
At one point during this period I sent a copy of "Tale of Two Cities" to Tom Werman, record producer for epic records and producer of the Who and he sent back this letter in response.
Over the years I continued to try to mount Tale of Two Cities, And David Krebs continued to sign contracts for the show. A side note here before I end this Tale Spin of a story. Through the years it was David Krebs and his unwavering belief in me as an artist and his belief in my work that was responsible for a lot of the amazing artists that I have had the pleasure of working with! A lot of bad things have been said about David through the years but he is an incredible visionary who has always been a straight shooter, honest and fair and incredibly intelligent and a good friend who always speaks his mind and the truth and I hope to work with him again in the future. David helped so many talented people move their careers forward and he was responsible for bringing many of these artists into our lives.
Linda & I and David & Cheryl Krebs
JOESEPH PAPP & THE NIGHTINGALE & THE ROSE
Tale of Two Cities brought a whole new group of people into our lives who were involved in the theatre in NYC. Through these contacts at Musical Theatre Works I met Joseph & Gail Papp The founders of the New York Shakespeare Festival. One day I got this invite from them to write a 10 minute musical for their festival. It was quite an honor to not only be asked to write something for them let alone have it be considered for performance in NYC at the Festival but they also paid me as well! I wrote a 10 minute musical on Oscar Wildes "The Nightingale and the Rose"
During this time David Krebs called me one day and asked me if I wanted to give someone piano lessons. I had not spent a lot of time teaching but I decided it might be fun to pass on stuff that I had learned so I agreed and he gave me an address and said its for Carly Simon's and James Taylor's son Ben Taylor. I went later that day to Carly's apartment on the upper West side and she met me at the door and was such a wonderful delightful woman. We talked a bit and she showed me her apartment and then we walked down this long hallway filled with pictures of her with the Rolling Stones the Beatles and so many others it really was a whose who of musical giants. Ben's room was at the end of the hall and he was very young as I remember now , just a boy. He was quick to learn and I went there everyday for a couple of months but then got very busy with my show so I had to bow out but I will always remember the time I spent with Ben trying to impart some sort of excitement about music and the piano above and beyond what he had at his disposal. I mean come on! How can you grow up with Carly and James and not have access to total musical inspiration and great teachers!
MIKAEL KIRKE & RICK DERRINGER
In 1983 I ran in to an old friend Mikael Kirke who was getting ready to record his next album. The record was recorded at Planet Sound in NYC and I was not exactly sure who I was going to work with on the album as Mikael always had interesting players work on his music with him. And sure enough, when I got to the studio sitting in the control room was Rick Derringer from the band the McCoys. They wrote that song Hang on Sloopy and he also was in Ringo Starrs all star band. Anyway, It was a pleasure to work with him and below was the final album release.
JONATHAN STUART - PATRICK SWAYZE - TIGER WARSAW
I spent a couple years working with a guy named Jonathan Stuart, a good friend and great lyric writer who worked with Chris Brubeck, The Great Jazz Musician Dave Brubeck's son. Johnathan and I spent a couple of years in NYC together writing many songs. A couple of tunes I brought to Europe for a Girl named Monica Chen that I was recording for RCA and another tune "I'm Still Waiting", sung by Marge Raymond, made the soundtrack for the Patrick Swayze film "Tiger Warsaw". Jonathan also co-wrote a song with me for "Two Cities" called "Stand Up". Jon has gone on to form his own record label Viper Records, and is still actively involved in the music industry.
Johnathan Stuart, Marge Raymond, Linda and I
FRANK ANNUNZIATA - PETER NOONE & RICHIE HAVENS
Frank Annunziata is a really wonderful guitarist and at the time he was working with Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits. Jonathan Stuart introduced us and he played guitar tracks on a lot of our songs that we wrote. One day after we finished a recording sessions he told me that Peter Noone was looking for a keyboard player and that I should come and play as he thought I would fit in with the band. So I went down the next day to audition for them and he hired me on the spot and I went on tour with him for several months. We played all over NYC and even had Peter Tork from the Monkees open a couple shows for us. During this time Frank and I also played with Richie Havens on several shows which was definitely an honor to work with such great legends including Frank haha!
THE RECORD PLANT
An amazing recording studio in NYC where some of the most iconic albums were recorded. Too many to mention but here's a link to get an idea of the history.
Just walking into this place was uplifting as you passed platinum and gold albums that hung on the walls of music and artists I had listened to my whole life! The opportunity to record here was one thing but to work with the people I got to play with here was truly a gift. I met Roy Cicala who not only owned and ran the Record Plant but was also a great producer. I got to work with Roy on several recordings and his body of work includes over 10 Platinum Records for producing, writing, engineering and management for talent from the 1970s through 2014. Since his 1968 start at Record Plant Studios in New York, he recorded and produced some of the greatest artists of modern music, including John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, Four Seasons, Madonna, Elvis Presley, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Frank Sinatra, Dire Straits, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Harry Nilsson, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Ray Charles, Queen, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Liza Minnelli, Roberta Flack, Patti La Belle, Van Morrison, Don McLean, The Who, Johnny Winter, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Frank Zappa, Lou Reed, Prince, Santana, Sarah Vaughan, Charles Mingus and many others.
And these 3 iconic people below who I also have had the pleasure of working with were part of the fabric that made the Record Plant an iconic studio and an amazing experience for me.
Still Belong To Me - Marge Raymond
Marge Raymond, singer, writer and great performer from the band Flame asked me to play on a song she had written called "You Still Belong to Me". Produced by the late great Roy Cicala , engineered by Gray Russell, recorded at Record Plant Studios, New York City. Guitar by Tommy DiRossi, keyboards by Chris Meredith. This was an amazing session that Roy produced and was an experience I will always cherish. Marge is an amazing singer and we got to work together several times through the years as she was the first and only true Madame Defarge in my show Tale of Two Cities which we also recorded all the demos for in studio A with Gray Russel at the Record Plant for Columbia Records.
When we recorded this song we used studio C upstairs. One thing I'll always remember was Roy Cicala using gaffer tape and taping over all the VU meters on the neve console. He did this because he was more interested in saturating the tape and didn't want the engineer to adjust levels by meter only. It was always about the ears and how the music felt with Roy. And I'm sure every needle on the board was pegged but it felt and sounded great!
Near the end of 1989 and then again in 2001 I worked on a record with Adam Bomb called "Pure SEX". We had met through David Krebs and had become good friends. We recorded the album in Surry London at Jacobs Studios out in the English countryside. Adam and I wrote a great ballad together for the album called "You Take Me Away".
You Take Me Away - Adam Bomb & Chris Meredith
The second album I did with Adam was "New York Times" recorded at the Record Plant in NYC. Adam always has this amazing ability to attract incredible talent to help him create his music. This amazing line up of artists that played on this second record I got to work on was a thrill for me. The time we spent in the studio was a story in itself but the musicians I got to play with I will never forget. All amazing talented people!!
Adam Bomb who's played with everybody!,
Steve Stevens from Billy Idol's Band,
Bobby Chiunard from Alice Cooper and Gary Moore, Billy Squier, Ted Nugent, Peter Wolf, and Cher,
Kenny Aaronson from Billy Idol, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Hall and Oates,
Alan St Jon from Twisted Sister,Ronnie Spector, Foreigner, Ted Nugent, Billy Squier, Phoebe Snow,
Nicky Hopkins member of Jerry Garcia Band, The Kinks, Jeff Beck Group and The Rolling Stones,
Mick Taylor member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the Rolling Stones,
Arno Hect of Uptown Horns, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Robert Plant, James Brown and many more,
TM Stevens member of The Pretenders and Vanilla Fudge,
Michael Lee Smith from Starz and the Hellcats,
Flo and Eddie original founding members of the Turtles and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention,
Heather Hardy from the False Prophets, Allen Ginsberg and Sam Taylor Band,
Phil Phiet from Joan Jett, Alan St. Johns from Foreigner and Alice Cooper,
Engineered by Jay Messina with albums by Aerosmith, Kiss, Miles Davis and Cheap Trick, to name a few,
and Produced by Jack Douglas, Producer of Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, John Lennon and a host of others
See the credits on album (Especially It's Only Rock n Roll cut) .
It's Only Rock & Roll - Adam Bomb
Later on in my story, under Inventing Life, I created a software & hardware company called Miacomet. The day that company officially ended, the phone rang and it was David Krebs wanting to re sign Tale of Two Cities and he wanted me to come to NYC and record a couple of songs and put a new demo together. Funny how things happen!
Stand Up - Chris Meredith - Jennifer Cella
I had recorded all of the music in my home studio without vocals and David wanted to do "Stand Up" and "In The Eyes of Love" with the incredible Jennifer Cella from the Trans Siberian Orchestra singing. So I returned to NYC and Recorded at One East Studio's. Jennifer gave great performances on both songs and a couple of weeks later I returned to NYC to meet with Jay Messina, at his mix studio in his home in NYC to have him mix and master the final tracks for me. Jay is the Best!!
THE STORY OF THE ANONYMOUS ACTOR - AND THE PANDEMIC
Before we left New York and went back to Nantucket, I had decided to go back to my original idea and retell the Tale from the point of view of a narrator on stage with the band. The character I had used was Jerry Cruncher, who was a commoner and a grave digger and he knew everyone in the story, but he was a small character in Dickens's original book. I thought having Jerry Cruncher, this colorful Cockney common Englishman, tell his version of the story would make Dickens very complex tale a lot easier to follow in a live setting and more enjoyable for a live audience. I had never had the opportunity to record anyone acting or speaking his parts over the years so I decided I would record my narration and use a voice actor. Which brings us to the brilliant Anonymous Actor!
I was looking for someone to collaborate with me on cleaning up the dialogue I had written for Jerry Cruncher and I had always wanted to record Cruncher telling the story. Anonymous was on the island at that time so I asked him to work with me on it. We spent a couple months one winter rewriting the narration from my original narration and Anonymous became Jerry Cruncher every morning as I recorded him at my home studio. He brought Jerry Cruncher to life with his now famous copyrighted phrase. "I'm steppin' out for a fag man" It was such a joy and honor to be able to work with him for those months but alas it was short lived. I signed my 5th and last contract with David Krebs once again. I recorded all the Jerry Cruncher narration with Anonymous and was ready to go to the next step, but David had personal issues so it all ended again, the contract expired, and I got the rights back to my show once again, the anonymous actor went back to his own world and so The Tale of Two Cities sat and did nothing again.
Until NOW during the pandemic!
I was sitting in my studio thinking about what I wanted to do next in my life and I started to think about just releasing the music I had written with nothing else. Linda was the one of course who pushed me haha. No story, no narration, just the music finally. I really wanted people to hear what I had created but had never been able to do so. So I decided I would re record everything and hire online singers to sing all the songs and musicians to play anything I couldn't and remix and release the show on a website that I would build myself. So this is how I spent the first 8 months of the pandemic. The next 6 months I built my own music streaming website. I really did not like the idea of giving any money from my music to Apple or Spotify or any of the huge corporations that have taken over the music industry, but I needed a way to actually sell my music online without using any of them. I didn't want to just sell MP3 Downloads of the tunes, so I decided that I would figure out a way to let people login to my website, buy a subscription and they would gain access to the songs, that would be streamed into any device ..iphone , ipads and computers. I was going to try and create my own little Apple Spotify streaming service for my own work. (An interesting idea for all other musicians out there reading this!) I still had no idea if any one would join, but I figured as a musician, I needed to try and do something to keep my work and any profit from it in my pocket and not big corporations. So I built this website and if your reading this you found it.
So I record everything and mixed it all and had it mastered and its all ready to go and I start thinkin that maybe, I'll just listen to all the narration again that I did with the Anonymous Actor. So I pull it all up in my studio and its a massive amount of editing to get all of what I had recorded and edited down into a decent short abbreviated story so I can use it. I thought about it for several days and then decided I would add it all. I didn't think that Anonymous would care. After all, he hasn't been here for years now and the contracts with David had fallen through and I figured he'd be surprised and excited that I was going to add the stuff we did together and that we might make some money on all this! But I was wrong! OMG was I wrong haha. I had just spent one and a half years getting this all done on my own, the website, the graphics, the store on the web, all the music rerecorded, new vocals, new mix and mastering and then adding the narration and doing sound effects and everything and I was 5 Minutes away from pushing the PUBLISH button! But before I did I sent Anonymous a link to the site so he could see what a wonderful thing I had done for us.
A misunderstanding I think. Covid mania maybe. Who knows what stress was lurking about him that day. He was angry about all of it! Not sure exactly why, maybe because he wanted more than I what I offered. I'll never really know as I was never given a chance to remedy the situation or even talk with him. So, the Anonymous Actor and I parted ways. I deleted everything he had done at his request including his requesting that he remain anonymous.
There is a magic to the world and some stuff happens because it's the right thing that needs to go down in that moment and I really thought this was one of those moments!
It brought me back to my original story that I had written and actually I like it better anyway. So I reworked my show and "Two Cities" is once again all about the music and the story I originally wrote, which is the way I always wanted it to be anyway.
And to the Anonymous Actor, I wish you a long and healthy and prosperous journey through your life and may the sun shine down on you and the ones you love forever and ever!
I PUSH PUBLISH
I redid the entire site once again! I brought all my original narration back. I removed all the mixes that I had recorded with anonymous and cleaned everything back up. I had to Rerecord one song that had the old Jerry Cruncher singing on it and needed a new Jerry Cruncher voice. So, I found someone else from London online and had him record my original story narration and also found another singer online to sing the Jerry Cruncher song. I remixed and remastered all the tracks again and then I said I'm done!
Haha NOT. The phone rang again, and it was David all excited about what I was doing with my show. He must have heard through the grapevine that I had rerecorded everything and he wanted to get involved.
I sent him links to the site and he was all excited about doing this but kept asking for 30 days more and another 30 days to try and put something together and each time he called he asked me to change things again and change singers and it went on and on and on until I finally realized that I just wanted to push the PUBLISH button and let people hear what I have done not what someone else does with what Ive done. I told David it's time for me to move on and I'm so glad I did because it was making me completely crazy to not release my work once and for all! I will now live or die by my choices not everyone elses choices and maybe no one will like what I've created but at least it was the best I could do at the time, and it was my expression and my feelings and my intentions and choices not someone elses! But I must reiterate one more time before I finish all this. David Krebs is a really amazing, wonderful person who has always supported my work and I will be forever grateful for his efforts and am honored to be his friend and who knows, maybe someday we will work together again on this and do the Live Show. I actually hope that becomes a reality because there would be no one better to put this show out into the world than David!
And then ... I did it! I pushed the publish button on my work and finally after 40 years "Two Cities" is out in the world!
I hope people like it. As an artist we always want everyone to love what we do and sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. There is little one can do once you push that button though. It's on its way into the world and whatever it does it now has a life or death of its own. But regardless of thumbs up or down, I accomplished what I have been trying to accomplish for so long now! I created, composed, wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, built a website and store, designed the logos, built a streaming music server and put my work out into the world.
Now what do I do? My wife told me, "Don't follow me around haha"!
I'm sure something will reveal itself, it always seems to work that way.
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