Musical History - The New Hampshire Years

Musical History - The New Hampshire Years (1976-1980)

This period was one of transition - both geographical and mental. I moved from my first house in Wilmington, MA that I had bought with my first wife, Claire, to a newer, larger house in Bedford, NH with my then-girlfriend, Jude. The new house afforded me much more space for the studio as it was a split level home with the studio room downstairs and all the living space upstairs. The studio was a good-sized room (16'x22') with a fireplace and cedar shingling on the exterior walls which gave some nice ambient texture to the sound. I made myself busy moving all my recording equipment and record albums (yes, I know) into the studio and locating them in the most advantages areas.

However, work (now back with my previous employer, Eric Frey) was also making more demands on my time. We were developing a new language, CYBOS, based on Forth which provided a machine-independent platform and were developing new applications using it for local retailers, NY-based financial institutions, publishers and, eventually, the government. This meant I had less time to devote to music since I was also in charge of recruiting new programmer trainees for our growing company as well. However, I remembered that, according to the study I helped with at IBM, the best indicator for programming aptitude is music; the best programmers either play a musical instrument (or multiples) or have a deep appreciation for music usually resulting in their having a large collection of recorded music. Using that as a guideline I managed to assemble not only a core team of talented programmers but a company band as well.

Among the band members were Robert "Bobbie" Hynes on vocals, Lee Haynes on drums, John ??? (brother of coworker) on guitar and vocals and I forget who played bass. We also had "Wild" Bill Stetson who was an ex-roadie and semi-driver for one of the New England based bands who was a great source of, uh, let's say inspiration... We would get together on a semi-regular basis to practice and just hang out away from work - in some ways that helped us work together better too!

I was also still doing demos for local artists but, with the more limited time available, this soon became unworkable. As our company and business grew it bacame necessary for me to spend more and more time in NYC. Finally, it got to the point where I was spending 2-3 weeks in the city, flying home on a weekend to do laundary and renew acquaintance with the significant other and then fly back to the city first-thing on Monday morning. It was a rigorous schedule which took it's toll on everyone involved - but also had some unexpected side benefits...

Let The Collecting Begin

As everyone who has every been around a guitar player for any length of time knows, when away from home you need to have a "travel guitar". Now, as it turns out, NYC had a very nice (and extensive) music district crowded with stores both large and small selling new and used instruments. I was beginning to read that the vintage instrument market was beginning to show significant growth in terms of demand and this was starting to drive prices up as well. But in the city there was also a lot of competition and, as some well know, the prices listed on used instruments is always negotiable...

So, when I realized I was going to be spending weeks at a time in NYC I knew I "had" to have a guitar there to leave in the suite and have to play during my (semi-non-existant) free time. So I rummaged through the stores in the music district one Saturday and picked up an early ('65) Guild M-20 since it was a small-bodied guitar and wouldn't take up much space in the room. After a while I grew tired of the crappy original tuners so I took the guitar back with me to NH and put it in the shop to have them replaced with "pretty" gold Grovers (not keeping the originals, of course...) to complement the dark mahogany top and body. But this left me without a guitar in the city - what to do??!!! Of course I did. Next trip back to the city I went looking for a replacement - this time acquiring an almost mint condition 1967 Gibson ES-335-12". This was a fine replacement and was even quieter than the M-20 had been! On the next trip home I checked on the progress of the M-20 (now referred to as my "travel guitar") and found it was almost ready so I browsed around the shop while they put the finishing touches on it. Turns out they had a new, recent walnut-finish 1978 Gibson ES-335 just hanging there on the wall, all lonely and feeling neglected. I played it a while and something magical happened - it transformed from being their guitar to being MY guitar!!! Later that summer (or the next summer, I forget...) I was visiting friends at Lake Winnepesockee and took along my "travel guitar", now repleat with its new tuners. One of the other guests there looked at it and said, "You know, I have a guitar that looks almost identical to that one and I never play it; would you be interested in it?". Needless to say, I was, and within a month another magical moment occurred and I now had a nice 1963 Guild M-20 to go along with my travel guitar (this one I kept in its original condition and case...

Well, you're beginning to get the picture of what turned into being a reoccuring phenomena. Other instruments acquired during this period were my 1967 Hagstrom 8-string bass, my 1963 Gibson ES-345 (at the same time that Bobbie Hynes got his 1974 Fender Telecaster Deluxe, since bequethed to me) and my 1929 National Triolian (given to me by Paul Blanco, also a company band member). All the time I'm reminding myself and my significant other that they are all "investments" and may well return a tidy profit at some time in the future. That is all so true but, unfortunately, to realize that profit one must actually SELL the instrument...

The "Rites Of Spring" Continues

During this entire period, I was able to continue with the tradition begun at the Wilmington house of having an annual music party with all my musical friends bring food and instruments to the house for a day and night of music and fun. As with the preceeding events, the performances given were recorded and kept for posterity, each performer receiving a copy on cassette (I KNOW!!!) as a momento of my thanks. I still have the masters and am working to get them transferred to a more permanent medium. We'll see how that goes...

This section is still to be written as it will require some thought in order to present all that is important and pertenent, eliminating all that is not. There's some good things in this period (as well as some not so good things) but it all combines into an interesting period... Please stay tuned and tell me if you are waiting (with bated or unbated breath) for this section to appear!

As always, you can send your comments and suggestions (maybe other, related links I might enjoy) to the address below... Have fun!


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Changes last made on: Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 9:06am