I plan to weigh in every other day or so with what I hope are yak-worthy thoughts, musings and reconditioned events from my alleged past, my assumed present and my delusional future. If you want to comment, I will respond almost as quickly as those spam guys who claim you can make $500/day in your underwear.
(Clockwise from cue card boy Tony Mendez: Barbara Gaines, the author, Nancy Agostini, Matt Roberts, Jude Brennan, some guy…. Total time working at the show: Over 130 years.)
….Chip Damiani, the greatest drummer no one knew about in the greatest band no one really got to know, passed away suddenly the other day.
Chip played drums for the Remains, who I wrote lovingly about in TIME WON’T LET ME. He became a friend of my brother Tom and later me. When I started the Truants, Tom told him about a gig we were doing at the Parkside Lounge and he said he might show up and surprise me. He didn’t, thank God. I told Tom, “If I had seen him, I would have just handed him my sticks and hailed a cab.”
Unlike my brother, I did not see the Remains in their prime, when they were the rockinest band in New England and were about to open for the Beatles on their last North American tour.
(L-R, Bill Briggs, Chip Damiani, Barry Tashian, Vern Fuller, ca.1965)
I saw The Remains in 1998, when they reunited for the first time in 26 years at Coney Island High on the Lower East Side where they headlined a garage festival known as Cavestomp. Chip drove down from his roofing business in Connecticut. He sat and talked with Tom, me and Mark Bloom after the show. Said he hadn’t played the Remains songs in 26 years, “but,” he added, “you know, it doesn’t matter. You’re always a drummer.” He was note-perfect and thoroughly original.
I saw him three years later, when Tom’s band, The Rising Storm opened for The Remains at the Paradise in Boston. After that, he wrote me an email or two about how much he liked my weekly column in Sports Illustrated. I’m telling you, it made me feel like I could fly.
The last time we exchanged emails was a few months ago. The Truants were working up a great Remains song, “Don’t Look Back,” and Tom said, “You need to send this to Chip.” I did. He wrote back, “You guys did a great job on DLB. Not an easy song. Took me 30 years to get it right.”
Why do the ones with humility always have to go? Honest to God, don’t we need them down here?
(BELOW…. The Truants, “Don’t Look Back,” Sept 2013)