As is the custom in Croudeland, I celebrate Mom’s Day & Dad’s Day on the show with a special CD giveaway (sonic not financial).
In addition to the June airwaves being colored by special vinyl – a special tribute to my own Dad who is no longer with us. He provided me wiith my first seedplanting-guitar-love in 1960. Tony Mottola is still a shredder in my book--no one does the Neopolitan Tarentella like he does--so that track is in honor of Dad.
Back in those days we had a hybrid stereo in the living room consisting of 2 different amps, different speakers, etc. As a kid I thought that was normal. But it slowly got into my blood. When I began acquiring my own tastes in audio equipment, its no secret where that love came from. Not that I didn’t have my own fallible opinions. I remember thinking the “cassette” format had its debut & swan song in a burst of ill conceived creativity. Funny to be a kid and a die hard reel-to-reel purist. That is, until Dad brought home a new stereo Fischer cassette deck–love at first sound. Adusting the needles separately on the VU meters–it was its exotic look and technology that won me over.
He also bought me my first guitar for Christmas that year of entering high school. I wanted to be Eric Clapton overnight. That didn’t work... the guitar was really unplayable after the first fret--the string span rivaled the 59th street bridge in NY, so I shelved it. Well... not completely. I remember taking the strings off and using them as fuses to electrically detonate firecrackers with my Lionel train transformer. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. I also did other creative stuff like using a hand crank magneto Dad gave me for a birthday present to make an electric chair out of a lawn chair. Ask my sister. I made an 8mm episode of Mission: Impossible with that and left over 4th of July colored smoke bombs. Amazing I survived into my present decade of years.
But if not for that first guitar, I may have not pursued playing when I was 28 and got the bug back. This time it bit deeply and I’ve never been the same. There’s also a circuitous route in there with tubes. My Dad could fix anything tube related. From TVs to stereos. Even my first real guitar amp wihen the filter caps blew out a year from warranty. At present my fave guitar amps are all tube. I’ve learned to treasure the nuances and differences of KT66, EL84 and 6L6 power tubes in three separate amps. And related–the best stereo receiver I ever had was from a WRFK yard sale for $15. When that blew–Dad fixed.
On this Father’s Day, I’ll remember how my Italian Dad loved pasta with minimal or no sauce--lots of black pepper. Teaching me how to make a backyard barbecue with a charcoal chimney fashioned out of large tomato juice can--years before it became hip. Only eating pepper steak–nothing else–when we visited the local Chinese eatery on holidays. The feel of his medals from WWII. How he raised a son who is an Anglophile even though he couldnt stand England (infected with malaria in Africa during the war and having the disease reach full bloom in cold, rainy Albion), picking me up at high school when his job permitted so I wouldn’t have to carry my French Horn on two city buses. You get the idea. This blog could go on forever. What I took for granted as a kid so many times is now preserved in the Halls of Memory.
Got a Dad still here? Love him. If he’s gone, its still not too late. Oddly, one of the most moving lines re: fatherhood came from a fictional scenario. When Agent Scully attended her Dad’s funeral in The X Files, she was unsure of his love given her choice of vocations. When asking her mother that painful question, her mother rightly replied, “He was your father.”
The Electric Croude airs late Saturday at 12 midnight EDT on WCVE Public Radio. Simul streaming of show on ideastations.org/radio.
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