San Francisco/Fresno/San Francisco
When did you begin seriously listening to Top 40 radio?
Probably at the age of five or six. No, sooner than
that. My Auntie Mary used to baby sit us when we (Jerry
and I) were tiny and she used to watch American Bandstand.
I also have a clear memory of being six or so and vacationing
at my Grandparents' house and being allowed to leave the
radio on all the time. We'd listen to "Somewhere Beyond
the Sea" and "Mule Skinner Blues". I also remember "Honeycomb"
being played alot, as well as "Corina Corina". Bobby Darin,
Elvis, Johnny Horton, Doris Day, Perry Como, the McGuire
sisters, Mr. Aker Bilk... It was wonderfully eclectic.
What station and where?
Well, in San Francisco I remember KEWB, or KFWB? I
can't remember if the other station was KYA or KFRC. In
Fresno it was KMAKE or KYNO. KYNO was the most popular station.
The big DJ was Sam Schwann. But he seemed ancient and out
of it to me. Jerry and I were renegades and we liked the
A.M. alternative: KMAKE. They used to publish their KMAKERS
Dozen (a top thirteen list--these guys were wild)and then
they included information on every song on their play list.
We used to ride our bicycles for miles to get these when
they came out every week. We still have a collection of
them from the early and mid-sixties. We listened to KMAKE
and poured over their weekly publication like some people
study the Torah. A few years ago a writer friend of mine
called me to find out who sang the original "Mockingbird".
I knew in an instant that it was Charlie and Inez Foxx.
It even stunned me until I remembered the hundreds of boy
hours spent lying on my bed reading the KMAKERS Dozen.
For better or worse, earliest songs etched in your memory?
The answer would probably be different if I thought about
this tomorrow, but at the moment: "Singing the Blues" by
Guy Mitchell. I just looked it up in "Rock On" (I own volume
one and two. The only titles I have in my collection by
Mr. Norm N. Nite. I have spent an enormous amount of time
since we've started these reunion shows, going through these
books reading bios, trying to find a sketch idea, or pouring
over the song titles in the back trying to come up with
a joke for the talent show. It kills me. Last year we got
a huge laugh on "Vice-President Dick Cheney will be out
here to sing "Baby, baby I Can't Hear My Heart Beat." And
then that joke that took me so long to come up with can
never be used again! But I digress...) "Rock On Volume One"
tells me that it was released in 1956. Maybe I was listening
to the radio at four. Other songs are: "Mission Bell" by
Donny Brooks, "Only the Lonely" by Roy Orbison, "The Twelfth
of Never" by Johnny Mathis, "The Green Door" by Jim Lowe,
"Good Golly Miss Molly" by Little Richard, "Dreamin" by
Johnny Burnette, "The Witch Doctor" by Alvin and the Chipmunks.
By the way, getting back to the dedications, I also loved
"O.J. Simpson will be out here to sing: 'It's Too Late To
Turn Black Now' and the one we did when Mike Tyson was in
prison for rape: "Mike Tyson will be out here to sing: "Release
Me And Let Me Love Again". These aren't easy to come up
with folks. Having to come up with them again for the june
show, I just wanted a few of my favorites to live a little
longer on the website. Oh, I almost forgot an important
early song: "Apple Pink and Cherry Blossom White". It reminds
me of when we first moved to Fresno and we went to this
godawful public pool on Blackstone Ave. I felt like I was
in exlie. Napoleon in a redneck Elba. I was six and I remember
just standing in a shady corner, feeling depressed, watching
people who felt good about being in Fresno have fun in this
giant, probably pee-filled pool. There was a juke box on
the other side of the pool that kept playing that song.
I would feel vaguely ill at ease for years whenever I heard
the song. Now, of course, my feelings about it have changed
because it means that Jose and Rene are about to join us.
If stranded in the jungle, ten songs you would take:
This is an impossible question to answer and yet ironically,
"It's Impossible" isn't one of my choices. In no particular
order: "What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding?"
by Elvis Costello. "Somewhere Across the Sea" by Bobby Darin.
"I'm Into Something Good" by Herman's Hermits. It was written
by Carole King and Gerry Goffin. I was in sixth or seventh
grade when it came out and it's just the perfect adolescent
love song. The energy and drive of the musical intro perfectly
captures for me the excitement of being twelve and finding
out that the girl you like likes you. You can't say that
about "Mule Skinner Blues". "Please Please Me" by the Beatles.
I just read that they originally wrote it as a Roy Orbison
dirge and George Martin came up with the ringing twelve
string intro and told them to rework it as an up tempo number.
That alone should qualify him for the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame. "Hard Days' Night" by the same group. Just about
anything by Van Morrison but particularly his "Moondance"
album (and yet I could go the rest of my life without hearing
"Moondance".) I also love "Domino" and "Tupelo Honey" by
Van. "It's A Shame" by the Spinners (written by Stevie Wonder)
"What's Goin' On" by Marvin Gaye. "We've Gotta Get Out of
this Place" by the Animals. The Beach Boys have been played
to death but "I Get Around" is an incredible song. I went
with my grandmother to buy it as a single and a bunch of
teenagers were listening to some piece of drek by Rene and
Rene. The store owner took off their record and put on the
copy of "I Get Around" I was buying to make sure there weren't
any skips. The teenagers groaned. In later years I've secretly
mocked them wherever they are. My taste has withstood the
test of time. However going to a record store with your
grandmother has never been cool. So let's call it a draw.
I also love "You Still Believe In Me" by Brian Wilson (although
the group was credited). "Just Like Romeo and Juliet" (I'm
going to have to look up who it's by) Maybe because it's
never played, but it's a great mid-sixties pop song.
First few records owned and why:
This one is always embarrassing for me. It's "Johnny
Jingo" by Hailey Mills. In my defense, a relative bought
it for me. That's probably also why I owned "Hound Dog Man"
by Fabian. I can't so easily explain away using my own money
to buy "Windy" by the Association. On the plus side, I was
the first in my neighborhood to own "Meet The Beatles".
I was about to make my Confirmation and my mom went to a
record store to get me a gift and asked a clerk what she
should get. He handed her "Meet the Beatles" and said that
these guys are going to be huge. So I had it a week of more
before anyone else I knew. So, the night they were on Ed
Sullivan, as eveyone succumbed to Beatlemania, I watched
with the calm confidence of one who's already indoctrinated
into the club.
One Song, a Hit the first time you heard it and why:
"A Hard Days Night". From the first chord on George's twelve
string guitar you know that you are going to be taken on
a thrilling ride and the Beatles didn't disappoint. The
strum was followed immediately by John's the furious energy
of John's verses interrupted only by McCartney's melodic
bridge. I saw the reissued version of the movie a year and
a half ago and it still made the hair stand up on the back
of my neck (one of the few areas it continues to grow with
First trace of show business in your blood:
Singing "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley" for relatives.
I was five and Jerry seven. It must've seemed a little odd
for two little boys to be singing in the first person about
stabbing their girlfriend and that by this time tomorrow
they'd be hanging from a big oak tree. I don't think we
harmonized then. I'm not sure we do now.
First performance in front of a captive audience:
That would probably be singing "Red Red Robin" with my father.
We each had our song and that was mine. Actually I was never
better and I'm still trying to work it into the show. As
far as an acting first, it would be my appearance on "Romper
Room" when I was five. I still vividly remember sitting
at a table with Miss Nancy and four or five bit players
who were also my age. There were glasses in front of us
and maybe cookies. There was also a humongous glass bottle
of milk. Miss Nancy asked me if I got to pour milk at home.
I didn't but I was on tv so to make myself seem more interesting
I said, "yes, I do." I never saw the next moment coming.
She said, "Well, Gary, why don't you pour milk for all of
us." I was stunned. I slowly stood up, grabbed the bottle
and was a little surprised I could even pick it up. I knew
I had one chance, just aim it for the glass and let's see
what happens. Expecting disaster, I just tipped the bottle
and the milk magically poured into a glass. After the first
one, the bottle weighed less, I poured milk in all the glasses,
put the bottle down and returned to my seat, assured for
the rest of my life that, yes, I'm the kinda guy who knows
how to pour milk.
Between the ages of 6 and 16 what was your favorite
I think I already answered this. But I'm reminded that
in the '66 and '67, we listened to XERB. It was, we were
told, a pirate radio station out of Mexico. The FCC would
never allow it. The D.J. was Wolfman Jack, long before his
"Midnight Special" days. It was a very rough edged show,
and the Wolfman actually seemed drunk or on something. He'd
howl at the moon and just yell at callers who would call
to talk about their love lives. Caller: "Hello, Wolfman?
My girl is..." Wolfman:"Hello? Hello?" Caller:"Yeah, I'm
here, so I was saying, my girl..." Wolfman: (a long wolf
howl) Caller:"Wolfman?" Wolfman:"Tell me, baby, does your
boogaloo float in the tub?" Caller:"What?" Wolfman:"Bye!"
Something like that. He used to play oldies which no one
played in '67. If you only listened to XERB, you would have
thought that "Angel Baby" had just been released.
Between the ages of 6 and 16 your average daily exposure
Whenever possible. The big breakthrough was getting
transistor radios with ear plugs so we could listen as we
went to sleep.
Ulterior uses of music (this one's for Julio but if
you can answer it too):
I'm with Bruce. I don't buy Julio's answer, either.
Name of first band?
Butch Whacks and the Glass Packs. What other band would
have a sketch writer/actor?
Musical repertoire of first band?
If I remember correctly it was fifties oriented rock and
Earliest musical influences and why:
Can you answer this if you don't play music? And I
think I already answered this question, too: Hailey Mills
Between ages of 6 and 16 favorite comedians?
Ten years? There were too many. First and foremost, Bob
Newhart. My Uncle Elmer had his "The Buttoned-Down Mind
of Bob Newhart" album and we played it all the time whenever
we visited him. Even the titles of the tracks were cool.
One of them was "An Infinite Number of Monkeys." Newhart
was one of two monitors in a room where an infinite number
of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters would write
the collected works of William Shakespeare. Newhart's monitor
says, "wait a minute, Charilie, I think number 17645 has
something, "To be or not to be that is the mzyxrplx...never
mind." I always enjoyed Alan King, who appeared constantly
on the Ed Sullivan Show. I remember listening to Bill Cosby's
"Why is There Air" constantly. I thought Jonathan Winters
was great. And, of course, Woody Allen. His standup comedy
was brilliantly funny. I always liked George Carlin even
before his hippie days. His Indian staff sergeant before
a raid ("there will be a rain dance tomorrow night, weather
permitting")and his first mate on Columbus' voyage ("alright,
there'll be a food eating contest monday at noon. First
guy that finds any food, wins) I still remember that stuff
fondly. We used to watch Jackie Gleason every saturday night...there
are too many to count...the Hope and Crosby "Road" pictures,
the Marx Brothers.
Punch line of earliest joke you can recall:
"Let me find my keys and I can drive us out of here."
Who or what influenced your sense of humor?
Oh, let's see. Probably early on, Warner Brothers'
cartoons, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Mad magazine. Without a
doubt, the biggest early influence was Mike Pontremoli.
He was my next door neighbor in Fresno and was five years
older than me. I've been writing comedy for a living for
oh, about twenty-three years (not counting my band apprenticeship)
and he is still one of the funniest people I've ever met.
I used to just hang out on his porch when he folded papers
for his paper route and laugh myself sick. My dream was
to make Mike laugh which I did a few times. I remember Mike,
who was probably taking junior high science at the time,
retrieving a football in someone's huge rose garden and
he called time out to perform photosynthesis. He dramatically,
like a modern dance major, assumed this tree-like position
while he smiled rapturously at the sun. The team we were
playing thought it was pretty weird but I loved it. He was
brilliantly improvisational and original and a huge influence
on me. Also, Bob Sarlatte, aka the Big Fella. The Mike Pontremoli
of my early adulthood. As funny as Bob is on stage, he's
often funnier to hang out with. He was the standard I measured
myself against as I tried to learn about comedy.
How did you first hear the name BWGP?
My brother Jerry called me and told me he'd started this
band called Butch Whacks and the Glass Packs. He was very
excited about it. I remember a story where he went to go
see Bill Hailey play and went to meet him afterwards. Given
a minute he probably could have phrased this better but
he told Bill, we have a band and we're making your music
When and why did you join BWGP?
The band had played at a St. Mary's function at the
end of that school year and they started booking jobs at
frats and sororities in Berkeley. Several members of the
band went home for the summer so Jerry called me to fill
in for them. One of the shows was for a Terry McGovern party.
We also played on a flatbed truck at the San Mateo Fairgrounds.
I sang "Marie's the Name of His Latest Flame". My parents
went and my dad (from whom I get my sarcasm from) told my
mom that in the future he would pay to stay home. Anyway,
we just started getting gigs.
Earliest recollection of performing with BWGP?
My first gig with the band was at a frat in Berkeley in
late May of '71. It was a classic frat party where they'd
filled their backyard with sand and had a beach party. I
knew none of the choreography and just added my voice to
the wall of noise that was our sound. I remember a couple
of people looking at me and pointing and I thought I must
be seeming particularly amusing. I looked to my left and
realized that the rest of the front guys had their backs
to the stage and were doing some kind of choreography that
I was being left out of. I also might have had a beer that
night. My first big contribution to the band was the backflip
in "At the Hop". At my first practice in Jerry's dorm room
at SMC, Jerry was trying to flip Laz. They couldn't do it.
So I volunteered and rolled right over Jerry's back. I think
we were both more confident because we were used to him
throwing me around.
Most desperate BWGP moment:
This is an easy one. When Bob tore his achilles tendon in
the fall of '75 and couldn't perform for months. Jerry and
Larry and I met and had to figure out how to keep going
without the Big Fella who was the anchor to our entire show.
Our main player and best comic performer was suddenly not
there. I often look back at that time as a kind of litmus
test in deciding whether something I'm going through is
really all that terrible. Almost always the answer is no.
In the fall of '75, I had no money in the bank and we somehow,
(and I really don't know how we were willing to do this...I
guess the answer is we were very young)survived week to
week on what we made from the gigs we played. We were rarely
booked more than a couple of weeks in advance, so I had
no safety net. I did a Bing Crosby version of Father Duffy.
Larry did the DJ bit. I was Dick Clark and we somehow did
two fifty minute sets with about seven of us. I remember
during his convalesence, Bob came to see us at Keystone
in Berkeley. By then (I think I was in some form of denial)I
remember thinking that Bob must be surprised at how good
we were without him. Actually we weren't, but we did well
and my own sense of what I was capable of quadrupled.
Most embarrassing moment performing with BWGP:
I'm sure there are many more than I even realize today.
For starters, how about passing out while singing a Beach
Boys song at the Mother Lode. I never drank much before
that summer and we were offered free drinks all night. From
what I've been told, Laz grabbed the mike and finished the
song. Actually it's embarrassing pretty constantly to try
and learn how to be funny on the stage night after night.
If we let embarrassment be a barrier there would be no Butch
Whacks. I'll take the blame for "They're Coming to Take
Me Away" which Rob mentioned. I had a vague idea of parodying
a song that was being played on the radio in '82, "Hooked
on Classics" or something. I thought, oh, what about "Hooked
on Garbage". And so I tried to knit together a medley of
horrible pop songs and Craig (to my everlasting respect
for him and disdain with myself) went out and performed
it without bailing, or stopping and saying this isn't working.
That instinct of Craig's to try something has lead to many
great Butch Whacks moments. Larry mentioned our experiment
with Black face which makes me cringe now. I think we were
trying to find a new direction as the band was dying and
so we wanted to shock people with what we were willing to
do. I learned from "Hooked on Garbage" that being bad isn't
entertaining and from Jolson that being shocking isn't necessarily
the same thing as being funny. Jerry and I also used to
do this Frosted Flakes commercial during the Dick Clark
Show in the old days. It says alot to me about who I was
in those days because every night I thought, "okay, I have
to come up with something else here. I'm not doing this
again." And I just wouldn't even think about it till the
next night when I'd be doing the bit thinking, "okay, definitley
tomorrow I have to come up with something better than this."
Oh, and the Beach Boys' therapists sketch. At the time,
if you read Rolling Stone or followed pop music you'd have
known that Brian Wilson was under the spell of his therapist,
Dr. Eugene Landy. In fact Eugene Landy sang on a Brian solo
LP and took a writing credit on half the songs. Had our
audience known that information the sketch might have worked.
So the idea was that the Beach Boys' therapists were appearing
on their particular patient's behalf, on the Dick Clark
Show. So Mike, Rob and I had goatees, and pipes and discussed
each of our patient's (I think there may have been a line
about Carl being a bedwetter with Matricidal tendencies).
The audience had no idea what we were talking about. Mercifully,
after about three minutes, Dick would ask us if we were
going to sing a song. Amazingly we did it every show that
Fondest recollection of BWGP:
I'd have to think about this one for months and even then
I couldn't begin to catalogue them. The entire saga of Bill
and Craig getting us to Guatemala. I would say that trip
changed my life. I had been working for the summer (at the
corner of Ocean Ave. and Junipero Serra. It's a bank now)
in a gas station where customers got a free tank of gas
if you forgot to ask them if they wanted their car vacuumed.
The next week I was having lunch on the grounds of a luxury
hotel in Antigua, the ancient Spanish capital (we were shown
around the country by the children of the elite -- who were
our age, not nine or ten like that sounded when I reread
it) looking up at a volcano, while a marimba band played
and I definitely, consciously thought, "if this is show
business, count me in." Cross country trips with the band,
it was often the Big Fella and me driving the night owl
shift. Bruce winning the "between the sheets contest". As
we drove at night on a trip playing colleges in Ohio and
Michigan, we played the game where you mention a song title
and follow it with "between the sheets". Bruce's winner
was "Everybody Loves a Clown". It was so good we just stopped
playing. Larry opening me up to the world of the Alqonquin
Round Table, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufmann, S.J. Perleman
etc. I even found out from Larry that they paid people in
L.A. to write comedy. A friend of his sent up a script.
The first one I'd ever seen. I also have to thank Larry
for teaching me about structuring jokes, sketches, screenplays,
everything. He's been great at helping me find what is best
in often half-formed ideas. Thanks, Larry. Other fond memories
include: The first night Bob came out as "The Big Fella"
at the Coalyard on Union Street. Seeing the sparkly coat,
the spinning forty-fives, the Big Fella grin, I laughed
every night for months. Doing "Bah Doon" on a night when
the audience was really with us. Jerry and Larry and I trying
to salvage the band's future (see above) and doing so. Nights
at the "Mother Lode" and the "Sand Castle" in the summer
of '72. John was just 19, and because we took the door receipts,
he took the money and carded people. Several times that
summer he turned people away (there was always someone from
the club there)who were a year ahead of him at SI. Our first
bad review. It was in Vancouver. This guy, Don Stanley,
tore us apart, claiming we were graduates of the Three Stooges/Gene
Kinisky (a wrestler)school of comedy. Ultimately packing
the Cave (a Vancouver club that must've held seven hundred
people or more)a year later after working our butts off
on the show and getting great reviews year after year up
I'm the wrong guy to answer this one. I feel a great
deal of affection toward any sketch that has actually worked.
It's very hard to find ideas that really score. I love Jose
and Rene, the Dogs, the Lettermen, Hamlet and Horatio, the
Tree Tenors, The Big Fella Show, Dick Clark, the Country
Show, Tell Laura, Elvis Camp, the Smokers, any of our lie
detector sketches (Pete Rose, Ted Kennedy, Clinton), Neil
Diamond, O.J. Jeopardy (Larry's great idea)...the list goes
Not so finest sketches:
I even have fond memories of sketches that don't work. Although
Roy Head remains a mystery to me. I really laughed in rehersal
and the audience didn't seem to get into it. I do have fond
memories of the Beach Boys' therapists. The feeling of standing
up there looking at the audience really trying to go with
us but just not getting what we were doing really makes
me smile when I think of it. We did a terrible Roseanne
sketch. I can't even call it a sketch. It wasn't even an
idea. It was an image of Bob dressed as Roseanne and I guess
I hoped we'd find something on stage. We didn't. But there
was a great moment. At one point, Bob hit me really hard
right in the neck with a loaf of french bread. I mean hard.
I saw that lightning flash, so I must've been close to passing
out. It knocked me to my knees. But right before he hit
me, I caught an image out of the corner of my eye of Bob
in a page boy hair cut, with a scowl on his face, taking
a cut with the french bread like Harmon Killebrew. Some
combination of the image, the terribleness of the sketch
and the pure violence of the moment just got to me and I
couldn't stop laughing about it for days. I smile thinking
of it now. We have done some dogs over the years, but if
not for the dogs, we wouldn't have the ones that work.
Weirdest BWGP moment (on or of stage):
How much time do you have? An early one was when we played
at Keystone Berkeley for the first time. I was an innocent
young history major from St. Mary's suddenly hanging out
in a dark, ultra hip rock club. I was looking for our dressing
room and opened a door, a guy with long hair, I think one
of Tower of Power's horn players (we were opening for them)had
his face in a plate of some kind and was snorting. He looked
up and stared at me. I looked at the white powder on the
end of his nose and made the logical assumption that this
wasn't our dressing room. Going to Guatemala alone was pretty
weird. But while there was played at the Hotel Ritz-Continental
(where we stayed--the best hotel in Guatemala city) and
one night an ex-president of the country (a friend of Arturo
Castillo's father--Arturo was a Santa Clara student and
our host) got up on stage and danced. Also while there the
power went out and we didn't speak spanish. We started striking
poses (I think it may have been Laz's idea) including Washington
Crossing the Delaware (now that I think of it I doubt they
got the reference), the Last Supper etc. There may have
been some crotch humor involved. We got bigger laughs doing
that than we did with our show. I too remember the guy sticking
his hands in the deep fryer in Canada. My memory though
was coming off stage after my bit and seeing the ambulence
crew taking the guy away and noticing Father Duffy and Raoul
the King of Rock and Roll (Walt in a Glam-rock outfit of
purple tights, silver boots, silver sparkly cape, a white
wig and a helmet that had silver plastic pieces that curved
down from his temples on each side, and five or six silver,
glittery stars ontop of little silvery spokes that bounced
as Raoul moved) among the concerned bystanders. the Raoul
hat being worn by Tina Turner. It was interesting seeing
her fantastic performance instincts. We had gone over very
well that night and so she tapped into that by coming out
for an encore wearing Raoul's headress. Walt had never made
those stars shake like that. During the early nineties a
guy who Laz kissed during "Love Potion" showed up backstage
ready to punch him out. Red, the giant Marin Hell's Angels
chapter president who would come to see us every tuesday
at the Boathouse in Sausalito. He never smiled or said anything
but the other Angel's would tell us, "Red loves you guys."
Country Joe McDonald doing the "fish" cheer in 1975 for
a bunch of luded out Santa Cruz teenagers. The time the
Big Fella sign (an eight foot by eight foot neon sign (that,
curiously, I never saw the Big Fella help lift himself)was
turned on illuminating a darkened stage and three guys who
I think were about to jump us. It was at the fabulous "Prime
Time" in Rome, Georgia. I really think they were going to
jump us in the dark, the enormously bright sign came on,
they turned around, seemed embarrassed and left. Having
beer cans thrown at us at Santa Clara, and pizza thrown
at us in Boulder, Colorado. How about Bob inviting a guy
to sing a number during the dance set at Bimbo's who had
recently sold him a car. I'm not sure if the song at Bimbo's
was part of the negotiation. I'm not sure it wasn't. The
show we played at the Santa Clara fairgrounds when Davy
Jones of the Monkees rode by on a tricycle for some reason
or other and John Buick watched him ride off and turned
to Bob and I and said, "he's through." Since we're talking
about weird, how about Stan Grozina the owner of the Cave
in Vancouver. No story. Just Stan himself. Okay, one story.
John Buick and Perry Leonard (who did our lights) "stole"
the sculpture that was hanging in the lobby of The Cave.
They then returned it claiming they'd found it and a grateful
Stan gave them a case of German wine. Don't worry, Stan
How do you explain your role in BWGP the 19th Annual
Farwell Performance to new friends or colleagues who have
never heard of BWGP and didn't know you have a secret closet
I don't much. I live in L.A. so I don't think I get recognized
as much as I might in San Francisco. A writer I hired to
work on "Night Court" had seen us play with Boz Scaggs in
Santa Cruz. A writer on "Malcolm" had seen us in San Francisco.
So maybe more people from my world have seen us than I've
realized. Last year some old friends who'd known about the
band for a long time finally went to see us because friends
of theirs from S.F. had seen us. I've never pushed friends
to go. Somehow the idea that they'd have to fly up there
and get hotels etc, just seemed like too much effort. However
I have to remember that I've never seen the band. My friends
loved the show and are going this year. They could not believe
that I do this now or have ever done this. In fact another
couple that I know is going this year and I heard from a
mutual friend who sees us every year, "Anne Cronin cannot
believe that you get on a stage and sing." That is only
the half of it, Anne. Sometimes I feel like Anne. I can't
believe that I do this, or that I have to do this (my feeling
say, in the Fall). Then (and Jerry and Bob and I were talking
about this recently) Spring comes and like a whooping crane
suddenly deciding it would be a good idea to fly to Canada,
I start getting the feeling that it's time to maybe start
thinking of a sketch or two. Just in case I forget what
the band means to me, I've had many friends over the years
tell me how lucky I am to have something like this in my
life. More often than not I agree. I would like to add that
it isn't all as simple as maybe it's sounded in all of our
collective memories. I think it's had an even deeper effect
on all of our lives because it's been so complex an experience.
Especially in the early years it was scary, and it sucked
at times, and we were poor, and disappointed a lot and we
fought and made up (I know this is a run-on sentence, but
I just have this little tiny box to type in, and it's late
so, I'm pressing on). The fact that it wasn't all fun and
sweetness and light has served to deepen the experience.
The fact that in the present it's difficult and filled with
anxiety and tension makes me know the band is alive and
not just an artifact we're ressurecting. Finally, I'd like
to thank Jerry for that phone call in June of '71. It's
been an amazing and life-changing experience (I discovered
my love of comedy writing in the band) that wouldn't have
happened without his organizational skills. He started the
band and kept it going (the only Glasspack to make every
performance) and in 1983, he convinced everyone to start
these reunion shows. I know I wasn't the only one who thought
he was out of his mind. My first reaction was, "let's remember
why we broke up." Well, I'd forgotten how many fans we had
and we sold out the Music Hall that first year. Jerry's
crazy idea has let us keep our friendships alive and has
been a wonderful reward for all of the hardships we suffered
in the original band. I love these guys and gals.