Sunday, September 8, 2013

1984, 85,... Dreams of Eden which I practice taiji and meditation, start a new band, play clubs, record eight songs, work on a play, and quit Trash for a new job at a Mexican restaurant.

PEP, 1984, pic, Ed Ehlich, cherry red Gibson Les Paul Special.

The text in italic is quoted from a timeline I wrote in March 1986 and also from writing I did back then. Let's start off right here. You can also just go to soundcloud and have the music that I talk about here play along while you're reading. Enjoy!

This was an intense time writing, playing music, photography, working, practicing (taiji, qigong, meditation) friendships, and emotional ups and downs, a very focused and productive time for me.

"Jan/Feb 84     After we put a band together for the T&V x-mas show, Fran Powers (voc/guit), Joseph Drake (bass) and I work almost daily on new songs of mine. While reading Moby Dick, I stumble on the bible story of East of Eden and decide: this is the name for the new band. I ask Ed Steinberg to play drums for us on a cassette recording that we need to book a gig. Ed Steinberg played on the NYN single." Ed stayed in the band for most of the time of its existence.

East of Eden, Ed Steinberg, Dieter Osten, Joe Drake, Fran Powers, pic, Beckett Logan, 1984. bad posture; check sun,sun,sun.

On January 25th 1984 this lineup recorded a 5 song live cassette demo at Electric Dread Studio. I had completely forgotten about this recording until Fran presented it to me last December when I was teaching a printing workshop in NY. We were both surprised how good the band sounded, after just a few rehearsals together. The songs are 1. Mystik Mood, 2. To be Free, 3. Stay Away, 4. Let me be your Company, 5. Can't Fool the Music, 6. Komm Zu Mir, 7. Sea of Happiness. The first three are  rockers, Let me be Your Company, the 82 German pop is played as ska, Can't Fool the Music is funk and the last two are reggae with Komm Zu Mir sung also in German.
The recording shows a real sense of urgency. This tape got us our first gig at the Peppermint Lounge, which had recently been relocated from 44th St to 5th Ave and 17th St.

The author all in black. Pic Becket Logan.

"March 84       EAST OF EDEN plays its first show at the Peppermint Lounge in front of a packed house opening for the Fleshtones."  At this show we have Prince Buzz, the lead singer of  Fran and Madonna Power's band Modern Clix read the passage from the bible that ends with the words East of Eden, upon which we launch into To Be Free a 60's inspired garage rocker. Fran and Madonna are still great friends of mine. They played at my thesis show and I see them every time I am in NY. Here is another Modern Clix classic.

First EOE gig, magic marker poster, 1984.

Summer/Fall 84       Ingrid Rudefors and Ja Ja Fisher join the band as backup singers. We do a lot of well-received shows at the Peppermint Lounge and at Danceteria.
Ingrid and JaJa both worked at Trash & Vaudeville. They were not trained singers, and since we played pretty loud they often had difficulties hearing themselves. They came up with some really fun back-up lines though and were great on stage. Ingrid just send me the picture below and I have no idea where it was,

Ingrid and Ja Ja warming up before the show, or is it in a club? I don't know.
Ingrid Rudefors working at Trash and Vaudeville

Ingrid inspired the songs, Sea of Happiness and Love You So Well. Ingrid trained as an actress and eventually returned to Sweden and a career as actress, writer, director and eventually film commissioner. During this time we worked also on a play called Dreams of Eden at the Theatre of the New City on 2nd Ave and 10th St with the Czech director Jiri (sorry no last name) and the writer Byron Ayanoglu. The play was based somewhat on our story and was going to use my music and band. In Byron's words: The lives of these people portray the life of the East Village: strife, poverty, aspirations, big ambitions, violence and as a core, love, talent and youth. The rape of innocence, the end of childhood, the scream of necessity, the stage on which smallness can give way to greatness, but more often than not to the brink of destruction....This play is being workshopped using the basic premises and improvising on them. At this date (Feb. 20, 1985) this work is very much in progress, and that's where remained, when the writer returned to Canada.

All posters by the author.
Clockwise from upper left: Fran Powers, Dieter Osten, Joe Drake, Ja Ja Fisher, Ingrid Rudefors, Ed Steinberg.

On August 30/84 I wrote: "I am working very hard at the moment - got up around seven -late for me because i was so tired. then meditation taiji. then billy came over and we worked on some songs. had a short talk with Ingrid on the phone, go to work (trash & vaudeville). only 4 people at the moment and very busy. incredibly intense. at the same time promoting the band. lots of things seem to open up. leo formerly with billboard, now writing for the post likes our tape and loves can't fool the music. people starting to know abut the band. got to demand a raise (at t&v). then played my whole set again. talked to joe. afterwards put pictures in my book, while listening to rare velvet underground. Now I'm getting tired. life is very exciting at the moment. the music is taking off. I'm doing a lot of taiji, meditation etc. taking lots of pictures (new camera) and..." (it gets a bit too personal here for the moment. I am not quite ready to publish certain elements of my life yet).
In 1984 I took a picture in front of a marked calendar every day of the year and also had my camera with me all the time. It was a small Olympus that slid open in the front and took great pictures. I used mostly black and white film, which I hand-rolled in a large bag into the film canister.  Becket Logan, a photographer friend custom printed each picture. I only used color film once, when Becket was on vacation, and had it commercially developed and printed. I organized all the pictures in large folders. It was a great project, just alone seeing my face change throughout the year and even the week, getting more relaxed during my days off work, was very interesting plus all the candid shots from my life. Unfortunately all of it got stolen along with two leather jackets, when I left it at Joe's house during my time in the Virgin Islands and he sublet his apartment to play music in SF for a while. Both leather jackets were hand painted and one of them, a 50's German jacket had a tiger print lining. whoooah! This caused me to paint a series of motorcycle jackets in 2007-9.

sept 6 / 84
it is cold all of the sudden
                   fall is here
             the singing of the women
           sends a chill down my spine
      the music sounded never better
a wealth of talent and beauty
        the revelations*
    it's a rock & roll circus
          E A S T     O F    E D E N
              I'm in love 
* We jokingly referred to Ingrid and Ja Ja as the revelations
October 84       We record the basic tracks and some overdubs of 8 songs in one 8 hr session at Nyack Sound. We finish 6 of these songs at Bob Coulters Studio, two of which we master to be released on Moon Records. These six songs end up on the Dieter Osten East of Eden 12" LP on Moon Records in  late 1986. We record on the same 8 track console that the Boss recorded Born to Run on. The line-up is the one in the caption of the Nov 9 PEP poster above, plus Hurricane Carla on Sax. The recording engineer is Gary Salomon. We never finished the work on Come on up and Running to You. The songs we finish are Mystik Mood, Komm zu Mir, Stay Away, Can't Fool the Music, and Sea of Happiness. Ingrid does a rap in Swedish on Komm zu Mir, which I sing mostly in German.
PEP, 1984, pic Ed Ehlich, Vivian Westwood sweater I got in Berlin 1977.
Maximum Rock'n Roll
Dec 84       The year ends with a show at Danceteria and at the Carlton Arms Hotel. We played there several times, really underground, in the boiler room. This was the beginning of the Carlton Arms transformation into a funky artist's hotel in which every room is painted completely differently.

I continue to write new songs, one of which is inspired by my friend Caty. It is on the album as Guess I'm Falling in Love.
Caty Monnier with Guess I am Falling in Love orgiginal text, 1985.

 new york 1 / 5 / 85       actually it's already the 6th because it's about 4:45 am. just getting out of work. pretty rough but not too bad. here the news, 1.  february 20th  is a big Bandito bash at Danceteria and rudy asked me if I wanted to perform. I said of course I'm dying to. 2. leila (a friend and college dejay) told me that bill mc carey played mystik mood and one other song on WFDU 89.9 fm which is WNYU during the day, on thursday night and that he is going to play more coming thursday midnight to 6. 3. fran told me that joe is going to england with the band of outsiders to open up for certain general. well, that hit in the stomach. actually, i wish joe the best, what else can i do? got to push to bring out the single now.
You might be wondering how come I write my notes at 5 AM. the reason is that I had found a new job working as night manager at Bandito a Mexican restaurant owned by Rudy, who hailed from the Czech republic. I had worked at Trash for five years, had become one of the two downstairs managers and was ready for a new challenge. Bandito was another hi energy intense job. There were two frozen margarita machines that worked very efficiently at getting the customers into alternate states very quickly. Everybody who worked there was either an artist, musician, actor, dancer or otherwise creative and the clientele matched and included everyone from cops to model agencies including some super models. Like at Trash, I made many friends and met a few collaborators at Bandito.

Actually, Fran worked there before me, and created the contact, and Joe worked there for a while too. Every month the artist Chazz Dean came in after closing time and redecorated the place, creating a completely new atmosphere.

Madonna Archer-Powers at CBGB's. Pic Brooke Smith.

Outside CB's with son Eamonn. Pic Brooke Smith.
 Madonna wrote great songs, played bass in her and Fran's bands Modern Clix and Whole Wide World, and was quite the style icon. In 1987 her and Fran traveled and played some shows in Berlin and Hannover, Germany. Here she is with her son Eamonn, who I used to babysit and who has his own kids now. These pictures are from a magazine on the American punk scene, which partially unfolded around the Sunday afternoon shows at CBGB's. Brooke became an actress.
Jan 13/14/85       breakfast with joe, than a walk to soho and visited caty, later a glass of wine with her, caty, joe and i talked about our positions and prospects in music. joe said that he has to approach his music more professionally and that if one band moves he has to go with it. i expressed my frustrations, despair, fear, insecurity about him and fran drifting away from me...
met with rob (
Hingsley from Moon Records) friday talked about details. mystik mood//sea of happiness shall be released on march 1st. cost ca $ 1 000,- rob will front me $ 300, i have to come up with $ 700. he will leave me all the profit but i have to distribute it too. Moon records # 001. i guess i'll be very broke for a while. I don't remember any profits.
Feb 85       The single ‘Mystik Mood’ / ‘Sea of Happiness’ appears on Moon Records. We celebrate with a wild party at Bandito, a Mexican Restaurant on 2nd Ave where I work as night manager. The whole place is decorated by Chazz Dean in variations of the record cover which I designed. The old East of Eden plays for a last time. Joe is leaving to tour Europe and Fran wants to concentrate on his own band.
I wrote Mystik Mood on the roof of 23 St Marks Pl on a warm spring morning a few years back and it was a sort of anthem to lead me out of a dark period. The original groove intention was inspired by T-Rex, but the song took on its own trajectory as it should. The record is Toast 3, Mystik Mood and Toast 4, Sea of Happiness. Rob Hingsley worked at Forbidden Planet and was the main man of the Toasters.  Mystik Mood became the opening song for many gigs and I still play it with my current band Alice Neel. Here is a swampy version at a party in my current house a few years ago, the day the tsunami did not arrive. It features JQ Whitcomb on trumpet. Listen to his solo after the second chorus.
7" cover, designed by the author, 1985.

7" back cover, 1985.

Postcard for single release party at Bandito, Feb 85.

April 85       The single is getting some airplay on college radio and a favorable review appears in Rockpool magazine. With new members on guitar and bass we play at the Pyramid Club.
Pyramid, 1985

May/June 85       We play at Danceteria. There are lines around the block. A booking agent sees the show and books us for a headlining gig into the Ritz.
I reproduce this poster as a woodblock print in 2006.

The week before the Ritz show I spend in a meditation retreat that culminates with a fire walk. On the train back to NY from Boston I write Step into the Fire. 
Step Into The Fire, txt, Danceteria 1985. beloved Gibson ES 335.

Summer/Fall 85       We do shows at the Pyramid, Neither Nor and on Halloween we play two shows, one on 10th St/2nd Ave outside the Theater of the New City and one at CBGB’s.
The Broadcasters were basically a rockabilly band with Billy and Steven Roues, Blacky Pagano and Ed Steinberg. Blacky and Ed played and recorded with East of Eden. We shared also a few gigs at The Office in Nyack. Neither Nor was a short lived club between Aveneues C and D, way out east, in those days still dangerous.

can't get more basic.

Playing outside 10th St and 2nd Ave, Halloween 85.

Dec 85       We have a new bassplayer (Blacky Pagano) and a new guitarist (David Sardy) and play an all acoustic show at Bandito and a X-mas show at CBGB’s
Jan/Feb 86   Another acoustic show this time at Bandito ditto (West Village). A gig at CBGB"S is booked. It is the 2 AM slot after the headlining band. We decide to put on a Rock'n Roll Extravaganza. We ask friends to play a few songs with us. We start out with the basic two guitar, bass and drums sound and ad backup vocals, percussion, rap, violin, harmonica and more guitars. We draw a very good crowd and the show is great. We use every single microphone at CB's. The band is David Sardy, guit/voc, Dieter Osten, guit/voc, Ed Steiberg, drums, Joe Drake, bass and the guests in order of appearance are, Diana, Marina, voc, Rachel, perc, Fran + Madonna Powers, keyb, voc, Drew Mc Vety, violin, Rachel, Michael, perc, harmonica, Fred Smith, bass, Shauna Currie-Laurie, keyb, Marc Jeffrey, guit. The songs are all written by me. no covers.

CB's poster.

CB's set list

Some links for these artists: David Sardy, who went on to a great recording career and to win three Grammy Awards and multiple Brit Awards for producing Oasis among others, Shauna Currie-Laurie, who I met again for the first time last December and who still records and plays NY clubs, Marc Jeffrey from the Band of Outsiders with one of my favorite songs of theirs and a rousing version of a cream cover. Fran and Madonna Powers and Fred Smith from Televison with Marque Moon. Drew Mc Vety was a fellow Bandito worker and pulled out his violin to play on the song Lonely Saturday Night (East of Eden LP) and became a successful actor, musician, composer, playwright and chef.

Till the next time when I'll talk about the East of Eden LP, making super 8 videos, bike messengering and anything else that comes to mind.


My biggest painting (so far), has moved from the water show at the Arts at Marks to Cedar Street, one of the foremost galleries in Honolulu. I'll let you know when it is on their website. The picture below was taken just after hanging the painting. We adjusted the lights some more, so, soon hopefully a better picture
Water, 8' x 12', oil on linen on wood, dieter runge, 2007/8.

Pic, Becket Logan, 1984

1 comment:

fran said...

great times i remember with great love