Twisted Sistory … In The Beginning
I put my foot into it, so now I am gonna have to write something. Bear with me as I have no copy editor and only a shell of an idea about this.
It would be easy to just say that on such and such a date this or that happened and it may come down to that and my typing is hunt and peck so this could be a long process but…here it goes:
I feel that before this exercise of memory retention starts to either entertain or unravel, I want to give a ‘Cliff Notes’ sketch of an experience that really was responsible for my meeting certain important people in the TS timeline, that can fill in the holes.
I picked the one experience that, without my being there, the band would not have happened, period. I won’t dwell on this stuff, meaning that the facts will pour out and if you don’t follow closely, it will start to sound like the ‘Kevin Bacon Six Degrees of Separation’ phenomenon. I suppose a case could be made that all coincidence starts with which sperm runs into what egg. Don’t worry, I will not go down that path!
It began on the island of Bermuda, in the summer of 1969.
A friend of mine convinced me to go there. It was only $85.00 round trip from NY. He said he had a friend down there who would give us a place to crash. We got down there very quickly; it only takes 1 hour 40 minutes to fly there from Newark, NJ. It was the day before my birthday, July 19th.
Within hours I met several local musicians, who I am still friends with to this day. One of them was a bass player named David Perry.
One of the best things about Bermuda was partying on the beach all night and watching the sunrise. One morning, while watching one of those beautiful sunrises, I heard a voice that sounded like it came from Brooklyn.
It was the voice of our future soundman and one of my closest friends, Charlie ‘sixth sister’ Barreca. That’s how we met.
I stayed in Bermuda for almost a month. In fact, the day I came back to NY was one day before Woodstock. I did not go to up to the Woodstock festival because I was way too burnt out to get it together.
I went back to Bermuda many times over the next couple of years to visit and stay with David Perry.
In the spring of 1972 David called to say that he was moving to New Jersey with a girl he met in Bermuda. He called me from the house in Fords, NJ a couple of days after he got there. He asked me if I would like to come out to jam with him and a drummer who lived next door to this girl that he was living with.
The drummer’s name was Tony Petri.
That jam session led to the formation of a band called ‘Maxwell Benjamin’
However, just weeks before that band was formed, I auditioned for a band that was called ‘Wicked Lester’. The auditioning process took about 2 weeks and, of course, I didn’t get the gig
I was still a Grateful Dead fanatic at the time and I did not see the ‘Glitter’ thing coming.
Maxwell Benjamin covered a lot of Allman Bros. Music as well as current fm radio hits of the day. We all moved into a hippie commune in the mountains of Wilkes Barre PA. in July ’72.
We rehearsed for about six weeks, came back to Jersey, got our first and only gig at a club in Greenwood Lake, NY, called ‘Mothers’, and broke up after the other guitar player got beaten up in bar fight, over a girl who was trying to get her boyfriend jealous at the club. My amp was stolen as well. So much for my first bar experience.
I came back to NYC, saw David Bowie at Carnegie Hall in September, cut my hair into a shag, completely exorcised any hippie affectations, and set out to join a ‘Glitter’ band. I answered an ad in the Village Voice for a guitar player who was into glitter, make up, etc. When I called the number, who was on the other end of the line but Paul Stanley. I told him that I completely changed. He told me that they just hired a guitarist from White Plains, named Paul (Ace) Frehley. They decided to call the band Kiss and did I want to come down to a rehearsal to check them out.
I went down to their loft on 23rd street, saw them rehearse and realized that change was in the air.
So, here I am. Now it’s December of ’72, sitting in my apartment in Manhattan ,wondering how the fuck am I going to join a ‘Glitter’ band, when the phone rings.
It’s Tony Petri.
He says that he is in a new band and his agent told him that one of his other new bands, ‘called Silverstar’, was looking for a guitar player into Bowie, Reed, Mott, Slade etc. and did he have a suggestion. Tony said that he knew a guy in NYC who was really into it and gave my phone number to him. The agent called Mell Anderson, the drummer for Silverstar. Mell called me and asked if I would like to audition for his band.
I auditioned for Silverstar the week before Christmas. I was asked to join that night.
On the last Tuesday of March ’73, we walked on stage at the Satellite Lounge in Wrightstown NJ, right next to the Ft. Lee army base. The club was a former bowling alley. It could hold about 3,000 people.
On this night there were about 28.
We called the band TWISTED SISTER.