First Solo CD by CHARLIE X
Book Charlie X Solo Guitar
Book Jazz Volcano
© 2011 CharlieX
Mike and I played in band in NE PA for many years together. He was a kindrid sprit and my partner during countless jams in the early 70s with
with Dennis Exter (below).
Above is Dennis Exter, he was/is a very improvisational drummer. We would throw any type of phrase to him and he would respond with
strong tempo and the perfect beat. I jammed with him (and Mike and Ted) on a constant basis between 70 and 75 when I
left for Berklee. I keep in touch with Dennis and saw him at Ted's wake. I also keep in close touch with Jackie Exter his brother
as Jack is the third drummer I ever played with (Joe Gazey the first and Dennis the second). Jack now is a strong jazz upright
bass player in NEPA. I see Dennis occasionally and keep in touch with Jack often.
THEN...it was these guys:
1973 Bob Rosencrans (Extreme Bass), Dave Cihockie (WIGGS) vocals and John Cenera (privileged but awesome rock drummer)
I learned to become a very strong rock guitarist in my area. Maybe I was the local "Guitar Hero" at the time and built my entire reputation on
about 10 gigs that we played. Musicians from that area still talk to me about the jams we did then. This is where I learned the secrets of
Hendrix and Page. John was an extremely versatile drummer who had a strong background in many different styles. Playing Carmine Appice was
not a stretch for him. Bob was a former guitar player and strong overall musician with much more experience than my 16 yo ass.
He could cut Tim Bogart with no problem. I built my reputation as I had gotten my 100w Marshall Stack for my 16th birthday
from "Dad" and carved out a name locally that seems to still be remembered in NEPA after all these years. I dare not take the stage
at any jam in NEPA in order not to dispel my mythology! Ha!
I recently have been in touch with Bob who is a republican. We don't agree in general. John wants to jam and I would love to jam with him again
but rarely make it up to NEPA.
Wiggs and I have not actually talked in years although we currently live fairly close to each other.
Below is me with 'Hammer' at the gym at Scranton University. This concert was on August 8, 1974 the same day Richard Nixon
ran out of stories. I still have that 1964 Gibson SG special and the 100w Marshall Super lead (1970). That 74 strat I used as back up is long gone and was pure junk.
In 1975 I grew out of the NEPA scene and moved to Boston Ma to study music at the Berklee College of Music.
Below is a pic of the berk back in the day:
This was the view from my dorm window at 150 Mass Ave. Yes..that is Symphony Hall at the end of the block.
I didn't know how good I had it. My 'Dad" was paying for this. I appreciate it much more now than I did at the time.
GOOMER TIME! That's Dave Hughes (bass) and Mark Golec (keys). I keep in touch with Dave (the Goomer) and he
has a great jazz group (although he was not a 'jazzer'). Dave was my first exposure to someone with awesome sense of pitch.
Dave did not have "perfect pitch" but his relative pitch talents blew me away. I have never developed the ear that Dave had back then. Nowadays, he
is just 'otta the park' as far as hearing and bass playing is. That's him on the left. Noone has heard from Mark. I feel bad to this day as Mark Golec was
our official whipping boy during college. We (Jim, Nick , and Dave and me) focused all of our worst on Mark. He took the brunt of
some of the most creative abusers in Boston at the time! Mark...if u happen to find this site...IM SORRY!! I destroyed you on many
occasions while practicing my worst on you, and you did not deserve that treatment. Please get in touch. You were a great addition to the 7th floor of 150 (the floor That's flyin)
and we owe you ...big time.
I keep in touch with Dave and we toy often with the thought of getting together for a recording (im now in Philly, he's in Baltimore)
but we have not done it yet since I have a horrible job that takes all of my time. We never heard from Mark (unfortunately)
Above is the legendary JIM FUNICELLI (middle). The other guys are "Cosmo" who took over 'Ugis" in 1975 which was the main
spot across from Berklee in the 70s. Can anyone tell me the name of the other guy? He was a good guy also!. The 'Coz" disappeared in
the 80s. We loved u Coz Baby!! We felt famous when we went to Cosmos. Those hookers trying to pick up us college guys
were fun too! Especially when their pimps would put their heads through the storefront windows in the middle of the night in Back Bay. Anyway, here is a pic of
one of the greatest entertainers ever at Berklee. His name was Joe Cerone. I will not attempt to describe his antics, however I include this pic of him taking a picture of the John Hancock Center.
Above is a picture taken from the 150 Mass Ave dorm. This was the sidewalk directly across the street in 1975.
I have been jamming with a group of great musicians near my house in Lansdowne, and our piano player's daughter
is currently at Berklee. She was nice enough to provide these pics of the same sidewalk in 2008. How things change
huh? Cosmo's is now a Wendys. Cosmo's was better! THANKS Don! Don has a piano biz so check him out at www.fixpianos.com !! Here is Berklee as it looks in 2008.
What a show. Needless to say...it was quite a departure from NEPA when I moved to Boston Ma. I quickly went from being
the young inexperience kid from NEPA to way ahead of my peers when I returned from there. I did not know at the time that
this was nothing compared to what I would experience in LA...but That's another story.
Jim Funicelli was a crazy man. However, I consider him and maybe one other person that I have met in my life so far to be a bonifide
Genius. This guy had a sense of organizing his thoughts to an unprecedented level. He could put things together that were beyond
the comprehension of all of his peers at the time. His sense of humor is the subject of awe by all who knew him to this day.
I have (and we have all tried) tried to contact Jim but have never heard from him since he quit the Berk in 1977. I helped him pack up
his car and watched him leave. It was the 'end of an era' as they say, when he left Berklee. I never met anyone like him before or
since and don't expect to. Jim...we are looking for u! Where are u ...we loved u. You made our days much better than they ever could
have been and we will never forget you. At this time...I must make the statement...I was a 'REAL" dickhead during this time.
I thrived on offending everyone. I hated Berklee. I thought it was set up ONLY for losers who couldn't learn to play their instruments
without someone holding their hand. I had NO respect for that nonsense. I did not treat people well there. I abused my friends whenever
I had the chance (or a good line). I regret this and hope to meet up with you again someday to make it right.
During my time at Berk lee...I would have my semester breaks and come home to NEPA. During one of those times, a great guitar
player named Bill Jumper (see below)
introduced me to someone who would become my very closest friend and confidant. Of anyone I ever
met in this life, I can say...This guy KNEW me. His name was Don Miller and he had a band. I joined his band on bass. I found a
60s Hofner Beatle bass for $125. I later sold it for $450. Today it would be worth over 2G! I know...
I also later acquired his 60s Gibson SG. I sold that for $300. Just shoot me now.
Don Miller is "My Only Friend" that i sing about on my CD. HIs doctor killed him. More on this later.
Above is Don Miller. His doctor, John Tomedi (not a real doctor but unfortunately plays one in real life) ignored a minor condition that Do n had
and Don just suffocated to death. Don's wife easily won the court case, but get this one....the judge did not award a dime because he was
'afraid' that the quacks malpractice rates would increase and cause this guy to move to another state. I agree...if there is one thing that
Pa needs to do ..it is to retain and reward incompetent doctors who do more harm than good. God forbid he goes somewhere else to 'practice'.
He is somewhere in Kulpmont Pa...if u see that name doing anything to u...RUN FOR UR LIFE!!!
Don was my closest friend and him and Ted Kuna (below in a very rare pic of him and his wife Jeanie also deceased)
and Jim Nilachy had a band called "Crossroads". We played at a restaurant called "Charlie Browns" in NEPA in the 70s. We drew a great following. I was on Bass, Bill Jumper on Guitar and
Don on Rhythm and Jim on drums. Jim and Bill are still out there playing. Ted and Don are dead. THis hurts. I will post details later on this.
In 1978 I quit the Berklee Music School. I was an "Applied Major" which is a focus on your instrument. I would have been only the
7th person to be accepted and make it through the program at the time. Jim Anderson was one of my teachers as was Charles Chapman.
Jim Frich was also my teacher and I can remember MANY great thing about being at Berklee. Like...seeing Bill Evans , Joe Pass
Lenny Breau, and countless others stop in for clinics. Clinics that I attended AND recorded on tape.
Any one remember this ? Pull this change ungloved hand no boundry
Shortly after Berklee, I moved to Los Angeles. I continued my association with my Berklee roommate, Nick LaCasse
in a studio partnership. Have u seen this man?
THis is Nick at Berklee. He was a comp major, and one of the smartest guys I ever met. He would sit in class with Pete Hazard
or Herb Pomeroy and hear the lecture. That night he would write big band (or small band) arrangements using all of the techniques
he heard during the lectures. He seemed to be able to assimilate the techniques and concepts immediately and with no further study. He could
apply them on the spot. Amazing guy. We worked together extensively in Los Angeles during the late 70s and early 80s and did a number
of demos for people who "just got off the boat' in LA.
During that time I also gigged with Mike Forbes and company. THis was a LOT of crazy rock and roll fun. I cannot tell impart the
craziness here...but it was 'the time of my life' working with Forbes. He was (and IS) one of a kind.
That's Mike on the right with some "bimbo" ...damn...it was crazy.
It was a great money maker. This is where I learned that I hated the music business.
During my LA time, i met many great musicians. Some of them are the most famous in the world. But..this is about the
people that had most impact on me. During the late 70s, I worked with a funk group called "Essence Rare" . It consisted of
3 female singers and included a great bass player (Wolcott Pugh (brother of Jim Pugh of Robert Cray Band) and Jim Tauber on
Keys who had/Has incredible ears. I recently got to see Wally in NYC with his family. It was GREAT to meet him again after all these years.
We keep in touch on email, and he was nice enough to hook me up with free tix and passes for Robert Cray Band (that's his brother on keys for RC). Here they are:
NADRA THOMAS!! WHERE ARE U!!! I never got to tell you..but you were the BEST female singer I ever heard.
Jim Tauber, who I quote as saying "Time flies when you're wasting it" is pictured below. Jim had amazing ears.
If I ever could put together a studio band or production company to crank our demos or masters, I would be honored to work with Jim
on Keys. He has some of the best ears and is the only guy I ever met who could keep me in the correct groove and rhythm. I think
a studio or virtual band consisting of ONLY myself and him would be the most formidable and productive unit any contractor
could ever hope for. We were in that position in 1978...only to completely piss off the most famous LA contractor Jules Chaiken by
forcing him to pay for our overdubs at double scale. Yes it was petty, Yes..it cost us (JIM!!!) but we were right and were dropped by Jules.
O well...his gigs sucked anyway...but damn...he made some money!
I love u Jim. I had some of the best memories of life with you. I hope you continue in music as you are a person with real talent
and ears. I know u dropped out for many years....get back in...I truly hope to work with you in the future. You are one of the few that
I can work with and wish you were local. Jim Tauber is one of the biggest names in music that I ever knew and I honor him here.
During my 'studio' days with Nick and co...I longed to have a 'real' band. I recruited some younger players which included Kevin
Burke on drums and John Castilano on bass. We formed a power trio called "The Hole Patrol".
This was the most creative band I was ever in, and by far the most creative period of my life. Kevin was a lightning rod for innovative
and musical ideas. He could build great things on a tiny sliver of an idea. At the time, I did not fully comprehend his bibliolatry and just thought
he was 'young' but he really was in tune with rock and roll and had a genuine feel for what worked and what did not work.
As I understand Kevin is an Attorney and has moved out of LA. (good for him!). Kevin ...if ur out there...I will never forget our
many conversations and jams on our all original works. I am still working those tunes such as 'Orange Song' and "Search and Seizure"
Your tune "Fantasy Girl" may appear on one of my future CDS...as I think it is a great song. Please get in touch. I have not heard from
Kevin in many years and would really love to get in touch with him, Brian and Andy Moon and ...what the hell was the bass players name who was really
into the Wankel engine? He was a GREAT guy and I always wondered what he did after I left LA. THese guys were my life support when I
lived in LA. I have not heard from any of them, but really miss them and remember some of the hilarious times we had.
Above is me around 1980 or so...maybe 78ish at a long gig I had in South Bay (actually Torrance Ca). I recently ebayed the 1966 Gibson 345 pictured here. Above that is me at a
high school in Chatworth Ca playing with a band called the 'Hole Patrol' with John Castilano (bass) and the one and only Kevin Burke on drums.
Below I with my Mom in San Diego around 1985-7 or so.
Below is me during my LA daze.
I then left Los Angeles and headed 'back east" . I worked for the Feds for a while as I could not bring the music
biz back with me. I am now a CPA and have worked with Deloitte and Touche as well as Ernst and Young.
Things are very comfortable for me now, but I still think a lot about the road I have traveled and the many people I
met along the way. I would VERY MUCH like to reestablish a dialog ..preferable a musical dialog with all of these
very talented people. Many are long lost and some are floating around in the either. Lets get in touch if you see this.
Currently I work with some great jazzers. Included here are Malcolm Ford (bass) and "P Funk" Perry (drums) shown below.
We formed "BlueTrane" back in 2000. It is an EXTREMELY versatile band. This is one band where I can say
we "play it all" . from Monk to funk. Malcolm and I do a duo (also under the BlueTrane name).
Hope to see you all in Philly sometime soon.