cool people gravitating.

Rich always said he enjoyed hanging around our apartment because cool people gravitated to it.

It wasn’t us that made that happen; it was the fact that we were in our early 20s and most of the people we knew hadn’t moved out of their childhood houses yet; our place was a convenient place to hang out because there were no parents there, we were conveniently located, we had lots of music, and we stayed up late.

But we couldn’t deny there was some truth to what Rich said.  On virtually any given night, there were people hanging out, and there was always a discussion that yielded some wacky ideas.

One night we decided to do a multimedia thing that involved Sandy writing poetry, Rich and I composing and recording music, Matt making video.  The music Rich and I composed was each going to be done individually – Rich’s music on one CD, mine on another.  The idea was to create a multimedia experience that could be consumed one medium at a time, all simultaneously, or anywhere inbetween – so the person absorbing everything could absorb it a different way each time, if they wanted.

Another night we planned out a video for Footstone’s “Mountain Man,” to be directed by Matt, who at this point was a Cable ACE nominee for his directing work.

Another night we came up with the idea for an entire community to live and work in – a gated community, complete with recreational amenities, a theater, and a live music venue.  It was kind of a cross between a commune and a planned community.  Some of the people reading this blog regularly were supposed to live there with us, and they don’t even know it.

It was where Rich first postulated his “kill one person free” idea, where he felt that everyone should, on their 21st birthday, receive a “kill one person free” card.  Possessing such a card meant that you could, at any time, kill a person, for whatever reason.  When the police showed up, you just handed them your card, and off you went.  But if you had already used your card and killed a second person, you got the death penalty – no questions asked.  His thought was that if nobody ever knew who had used their card and who hadn’t, everyone would be much nicer to one another.  

We came up with ways to overthrow the government, we had violent arguments about politics and religion, we discussed ways to build our businesses and expand our careers.

It was a pretty creative place, our apartment.

We had crazy neighbors and exploding dumpsters.  One afternoon I was trapped in the apartment by a psychotic, drunken musclehead, who was wandering around in the street, starting fights with anyone who happened to walk by – I couldn’t leave and go back to work because the guy was standing in the middle of the road, challenging all comers.  When it snowed, people would put their furniture in the street, to mark their parking spots.  It was definitely an offbeat environment.

Our phone rang all night long.  Bands, distributors, radio stations, zines, friends, colleagues, old classmates, coworkers, family, always a long conversation, always an idea. 

It was a meeting room, an art studio, a rehearsal space, a recording studio, a nightclub, a library, a classroom, a bar, a theater, and a corporate headquarters, rolled into one 700 square foot shithole.

It was ten minutes from Hoboken and fifteen minutes from the Village, a block away from Frank and a quick car ride from Rich and Matt.  We were open all night (we even got the occasional 3AM visit from Frank or Kenny), and there was plenty of room on our living room floor to sleep.

When Sandy and I went up to Cape Cod for Christmas, 1993, Rich stayed at our apartment under the guise of “watching Skutch and Sambuca,” though we knew he wanted to get away from his roommate with Lissette for a few days.

Rich’s roommate was beginning to act bizarre, and despite the fact that Lissette actually convinced Rich to clean the Scary Place (she told him she’d never come there, because she’d never use his bathroom), the roommate was becoming unbalanced enough that Rich stayed away.  So he was at our place as frequently as possible.

It would have been unbelievably difficult not to be creative in that sort of place.

~ by Al on April 10, 2009.

2 Responses to “cool people gravitating.”

  1. please give details about the “Mountain Man” video. I don’ remember ever talking about it.

  2. It never got to the point where we talked to you guys about it.

    Ralph had mentioned to me once in passing that he’d like to do a video. At the time, Matt was working for Cablevision as a director of some of their special programs. He had access to all sorts of equipment, as well as their studios and stuff.

    When we first met Gapeseed, they had done a video for their song “Flanzer.” They sold VHS copies of it, but also distributed it to a bunch of local/indie video programs. That sounded like a cool idea and a good way to get exposure for Footstone. So we asked Matt if he’d be interested in directing a video.

    There were a few days a week that he felt like we could get a band into the studio and record some performance shots, and a few other days were he felt like he could borrow equipment and remove it from Cablevision to record elsewhere.

    We wound up moving forward with CDs so quickly that we abandoned plans to do one for “Mountain Man,” and figured we’d do one for something on “Lippy.” Then, “Lippy” got delayed forever, and by the time it came out, I don’t think Matt was working for Cablevision anymore.

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