October 1982, my first year at Jamestown Community College in Western New York State.
One of my classes was music theory. A guy in that class played bass in a punk band called “Amyl and the Accidents.” (Pictured here, from when they were on the cover on “Nite Line Magazine”, a local music rag.) He invited me to play solo electric guitar opening for that band, on Halloween at a redneck bar in Salamanca New York.
No pay, but it was “exposure.” I jumped at the chance.
The guitarist in that band, Skip Lunch (Harry Lardner), was about to become my friend for life. He’s one of the few people I’ve known that long that I still talk to.
I didn’t have a ride to the gig. I hitchhiked 35 miles there. Took me hours and several rides. Skip tells me I was barefoot and had my guitar in a garbage bag, because I didn’t have a case for it.
I don’t remember the bare feet, but don’t doubt it. I do remember carrying my guitar in a garbage bag. (Punk rock Johnny B. Goode?)
The bar was packed three hours before the music was scheduled. They weren’t there for the music. It was 25 cent draft beer night with free chicken wings. Mood was very rowdy. I was expecting to have a fight break out or get my ass kicked.
I met Skip outside and liked him instantly. We talked a little bit, and he said he was tripping. He asked me if I wanted some LSD. I said “Sure!” and he put a blotter on my tongue.
About 45 minutes later I plugged my guitar into Skip’s amp. I was starting to trip, hard. My guitar seemed sort of wobbly, like it was made of rubber. I had to have Skip help me tune it. I played my set….solo electric guitar, doing originals, plus Rush, Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols, and Bach while people threw chicken bones at me and yelled “GET OFF THE STAGE!” and “PLAY FREEBIRD!”
Then Amyl and the Accidents played. Crowd didn’t like them much either, this audience was people who thought Blondie was hardcore punk and hated it, and probably would have preferred .38 Special and Bad Company. Skip’s band did mostly originals, was more like the New York Dolls, and even covered one of their tunes.
Later we went back to Jamestown with The Accidents in their van. I sat up with Skip and his bass player and a few friends in some cold empty crappy apartment talking all night. Skip and I became fast friends. He was a year or two older than me and sort of became a mentor.
After that night I envisioned, based on what went through my head throughout that evening, a unified field theory of life that I called “The Hum of the Universe.” I told Skip about it. He dug it. I told a few friends about it. They dug it.
I wrote it up for Nite Line Magazine. I wrote for them at the time (no pay, but exposure). They published it.
I remember every detail of The Hum of the Universe.