Depression & Anxiety

There seems to be no reason that I can think of that leaves me feeling this blue.  I have lots to be thankful for.  I have a terrific, loving and supportive partner.  I am a member of a rock band where I play keyboards.  I get to live in a nice condo with a back yard and a small above ground pool.  We have a pair of folding bikes that I tale rides on around the neighborhood.

I have been diagnosed with bipolar depression and have felt this way many more times than I can count.  I started feeling these depressions when I was about 14 or 15 and they got worse as I attended college in the early 70's.  Of course then there were no ant-depression medications and my melancholia was treated by "talk therapy".  Mostly I would be told to engage in activities and try to control my mind set and mood with positive thinking.  I read many self help books as well.  When I was in NYC for my first few years I participated in Primal type therapy.  It wasn't the real thing but I got to release a lot of energy and yelled and screamed a did everyone else in the room.

I am under the care of a psychiatrist at the AHP center and am currently taking Effexor in low 75mg doses.  Tomorrow I will see him and am going to ask if going on a anti-anxiety medication might take the edge off just a bit.  Plus I want to ask him if going back on Lithium may be the answer.  I was doing fine on Lithium for about 12 years just had some bad side effects.  I lost four of my lower molars due to roots desolving.

I really miss singing with a vocal group like the Starry Knights.  My band is only instrumental and I only get to sing 96 tears and House of the Rising sun.  It's gratifying, but I long to sing in tight harmony again in a quartet.  It's the kind of sound that makes people notice and I miss the cheers and whoops and applause we used to get.  Not every venue was as welcoming but 85% of the time it was a real rush. 

It's been next to impossible to fing singers in the area who want to sing in a doo-wop group.  Lord knows ....I have tried. 
  • Current Mood
    depressed depressed

The Del Mars

Playing for over a month now in a surf band called the Del Mars.  Rehearsing weekly with two gigs in June.  Playing my NORD keyboard and having a blast.
  • Current Mood

Repeating the same mistakes

Yup...lost another singer just before our first gig!  Turns out he was growing marijuana in Humboldt County and very likely illegals paid by "carltel" people are stealing crops from the local growers.  So he and his 45 magnum are living in his shack protecting his investment...which also is illegal.

So we are down to Danny, Todd and myself.  I feel we are all on the same level professionally and are planning to meet each week to work on developing our "triad skills."  The new guy will have to meet our level and standards...including his looks.

I'm not so sure if this Doo-wop thing is going to survive in California.  Guys who understand it are rare.

I plan to get my NORD and find a cover band to play with.  It's time to work up to other's standards.
  • Current Music

Quit the cigs without the "patch"

I think it was more a money issue than a health issue.  I was paying up to $6.00 a pack for American Spirit Lights.  All other cigs are stinking with additives.  They don't even smell like cigarettes anymore.  I should know, having been a smoker since 1968.

The PayPal funds continue to grow so I can pay for the 6 RCA 45 record changers I gave to Willie Bosco to fix.  Willie is the "guru" of 45 RPM record players.  He lives up in Garberville CA and if anyone has had the opportunity to drive up that far, you know how gorgeous it is.

These 45RPM record players, plus 2 or 3 more I had fully restored, will be placed for sale on my eBay Store.  I will also feature Pre-war Lionel train sets, Miller Hi Ho Santa figures, Glolite Santa figures and various vintage Christmas decorations.  I will also sell Coleman Lanterns from the 50's and 60's, as well as Dietz Lanterns from the same period.

All profits go to buy a NORD ELECTRO II, the best sounding light keyboard that gives you realistic Hammond B3 and Rhodes Piano sound.  I also need a bigger amp to power it.

I want to eventually play in a cover band with guys my age.  I want to play it all.  Any record that had the Hammond B3  used in it.  I also play rhythm (Fender Stratocaster) guitar and tenor sax.

I gunna have some fun!!!!!!  Make mo munnie!!!!!!

Sex? Drugs? Rockn' Roll!!!!

I just put on a VANILLA FUDGE  CD to put a soundtrack to this entry.  I got to thinking about Ann and how she broke my heart at the tender age of  14.  She was the younger sister of a guy named Tommy, who was a friend at our swim club.  He also was lead guitarist of THE SPOTS, a 5 man rock band.  I was always in awe of Tommy and strangely  drawn to him admiring his being in a rock band and a "babe magnet" with his terminal cuteness.  Well so was his little sister, Ann.  So when I heard that she liked me I was enthralled and yet very awkward about it all.  I found it hard to speak to her, but still gave her a miniature Abington HS ring on a chain.  I guess that meant we were going steady?  So I went off to our up state PA cottage for two weeks of creek canoe paddling, swimming, sweet corn and camp outs with my  friend, Al, also a swim club buddy.  My parents let me invite a friend every summer.  Al and I talked about my heart throb over Ann and about forming our own rock band.  Al played bass.

I got back to the club two weeks later to receive my ring and chain back from Ann.  I found the courage to ask her why and that I thought she wanted it.  She just flippantly replied, "well...I did THEN."  At that moment, this 14 year old internalized a vow to myself, that I would never let a girl hurt me again.   And that's exactly  what transpired for the next  4 to 5 years.  Oh  sure,  I had  some  real  knockouts  as girlfriends  in HS, but  I  managed to  dump just about  all  of them  in pretty short order.   Then there was the "clincher",  Joan.   I really thought  I might fall  for her and asked her to go steady  one night.   She said, "oh  that's sweet, but I am waiting for Rich to ask me first."  THAT did it!!!!  Rich was this rude, football captain and a real "jerk."  She wanted that neanderthal?  Fine!

Here's the rub.  I had a best friend from my junior year into my senior year named Danny.  He was this skinny, cute freckled faced kid with curly brown hair.  Sure.  Danny latched on to me, being that I finally reached my time and "right of passage" as a "babe magnet myself.  Plus I was in the second hottest rock band at HS.  Danny and I became close when we sang in the church choir every Sunday.  We both ditched the sermon to go smoke by the church door.  I found myself mystically drawn to Danny and found myself missing him when he got "gounded."  We used to double date and would drop off our dates afterwards and would talk these long talks in front of his house.  Never EVER did I make a serious pass at him.  I wouldn't know how!  So we would kid around at parties pretending we were gay.  Well Danny and I starred together with our best friend, Margaret, in STAR SPANGLED GIRL by Neil Simon.  It was produced by our church youth group, of which I was elected president, and was performed for two full house nights at our HS theatre.  We raised a lot of money, but the strain on Danny and I was too much.  He obviously resented my being elected president of the church youth group and the rehearsals became stressful, to the point that he would arrive drunk!  Later he insisted that his acting and character was funnier and got more laughs and praise than me.  Go figure.  So I resigned from the presidency of the group and went to talk with him in the woods behind his house that night after the meeting.  He said our friendship (best friends) was over.  I was crushed....way worse than my 14 year old hurt over Ann.

College at CMU was a long distance LTR with Jeff, who was still back in HS as a senior.  My heart used to leap with every letter from him.  We had a very professional relationship as a piano / vocal act in Bucks County PA clubs and restaurants.  Very classy.  So were we.  Perfect gentlemen.  I always had Jeff as a friend, up until his death this year at age 54.  I always thought he would be the one to see me go first.

I always maintained a straight appearance and demeanor.  When I became a professional actor in NYC, my agent once told me that my hair got too blond that summer and that it "read" GAY!!!!   Ohhhh shit!!!!  I said to myself.  So I was told to go get L'Oreal  Preference hair color to get me back to my headshot's hair shade.  I was told no more commercial or film submissions till I came back to prove I did it.  You best believe I did!

I suppose this tells  the tale of a kid who tried damn hard to conform.  So any asshole who tries to tell me that being Gay is a choice....can go to Hell!!!


Who Knew?

It was 1979 and me and the boys were singing at Gimbels NYC, hired for a promotion campaign.  I didn't usually pay attention to who came up to chat with us during breaks or between numbers.  I always had my mind on my job and the group's sounding good.  I never noticed this huge guy chatting with our baritone, Jay Larkin (now V.P of SHOWTIME  Sports & Events).

After the show, Jay said, "How'd you fellas like backstage passes and tickets to the WHO concert tonight at the Garden?"  I was perplexed. Then he said, "All we gotta do is sing happy birthday to their new drummer, Kenny Jones, as soon as they come off stage!"  "OMG ....Wah!!! Yer shittin' me!!", I said to Jay.  He said the big guy was the WHO's security manager and he said it would be "Folkin' Fantastic" if we were to sing happy birthday to Kenny, when they rolled out the cake as soon as they exited the stage.

So we went to my apartment and crammed a doo-wop rendition of happy Birthday and by 7:30 we were backstage at the garden and the WHO was already on stage.  So we decided to scarf down some shrimp and other various "snacks" and then go up top to our seats.

We entered the main arena just as they began "We won't get fooled again."  Wow!!! There, before my eyes was Pete Townsend swinging his windmill guitar strokes and Roger Daltry jumping into the air.  The crowd went nuts. 

We knew we had to be backstage again to be ready as they came off stage.  So we went back to the backstage area and positioned ourselves by the door where they would exit and suddenly someone said ..."NOW."  I was singing the lead and was heavily concentrating through the entire song.  It ended and there was thunderous applause and cheers from the rodies, crew and everyone else backstage.  I looked up and right in front of me was all four of them...not ten feet in front of me.  Roger Daltry was giving me a huge nodding grin with a thumbs up, Pete Townsend looked a bit bewildered and sweating.  Kenny Jones held his hands in a Buddhist praying pose as he mouthed a big "thank you" to us.  Someone said encore while we cut the almost pool table size cake.  So we did a rendition of Runaround Sue.  Then Kenny got clobbered with cake on top of his head and Roger Daltry looked at me, pointed and said "ah ha...YOU!)  He hit me square in the chest with a huge blob of green, purple, pink and red icing.  Then all mayhem let loose and cake flew everywhere.  The floors were a very smooth slick painted concrete, so the icing made things very slippery. The last thing I remember is Jay dragging me into the catering tent and we hid under a table of soda and booze.  But in came John Entwhistle, the bass player, with a hand full of that gooey cake in each hand and spotted us under the table.  Wham!!!!  Icing all stuck in my late 70's "big hair."  LOL

I'll cherish this memory to my last.

What's New Pussycat?

It's not unusual for me to be totally thrilled with the chance to see a star in a big venue show.  Last night I sat in the seventh row at The Mountain Vineyard theater to see Tom Jones.

I only bought one Tom Jones record in my life.  Guess which one?  Well, we were all about 13 or 14 and members of our swim club's team and we held many backyard parties each summer.  You know 45 record players and Japanese lanterns strung across the patio.  Lots of chips , soda, slow dancing and the inevitable making out in the dark behind the bushes.  Yes....duh.....I did it with girls!!

The 45 we all ran out to buy that summer was on the Parrot  Label.  We all thought it was soooo funny to lift the needle just before "cat".  That was the extent of our dirty jokes. 

I never would allow myself to admit liking Tom Jones, because my rocker band mates would have disowned me.  We were too into playing stuff like "I'm not your steppn' Stone" and "96 Tears".  Later in the 80's my vocal group mates hated this guy's audition because they complained that he sang, acted and moved like Tom Jones.  Turns out we hired him anyway and he wound up using us as his personal stepping stone and landed the Broadway show "Leader Of The Pack."  I guess slickness pays.

Anyway the show was a blast and I had a great nostalgic time.  I have heard people do "Why Why Why Delila lots of times at The Mint Karaoke lounge in SF, so it kinda' nudged me to acknowledge that song was pretty cool. 

Okay, so I shed a few snuffed back tears at his encore.  I'm a sap for commercialized emotional memories.


And unfortunately so am I.  Hopefully temporarily.  All the excitement and complications of being Artistic Director and the challenge facing me as marketing and promotions manager, has me a tad frantic.  Responding to the needs and questions of 3 new group members can be engaging to say the least.  So......I'll smoke for a short period till all quiets down and things run more smoothly.

Music, cigarrettes and performing has been my life ever since my first rock band at age 14.  No drugs ....and occasional sex.....confused and moody as I tended to be in those formative years.  Yeah .....a few heartbreaks too.  Plenty of confusion as to why I would double date with my best buddy and feel jealous over him making out with his date in the back seat in the drivein!  LOL   Ah.....yes.  Them ding dang growin' pains.

My Redneck Trailer Park Nephew in PA

Yup, y'all.  He, his woman and three toddler age boys live in a trailer on the front lawn of his wife's parent's house.  And tain't no double-wide needer!!

They live in Central Pennsylvania (better known as Alabama) in the town of  State College.  I think my nephew, Dave, mows the lawns abound the Penn State campus and shovels snow.  But bein' roun' all them fancy book learnin' folk won't help the fact that he's a ding dang dumb ass dropout with barely a GED if anything.  And to top it all off he and the woman are Evangelical, whacked out Born Again nut cases.

Well.....!!!!  Me and Todd have already been barred from entering into their humble abode.....uh....I mean ...trailer.  LOL   Seems he don't want his yunginz exposed to us Homo sinners.  LOL  Well. not so funny....actually pretty frickn' pathetic.

As you may or may not know the Cable TV show PARANORMAL STATE is about Penn State students chasing down and kicking out spooks from haunted  places.

Maybe some day we  will see a PARANORMAL STATE episode about   ....DAVE RUOFF'S HAUNTED TRAILER.

We Have A New Protege

After weeks of postings on Craigslist,  the BA A Capella Group Site, SF Weekly and East Bay Express, we finally got three excellent prospects in to audition.

For some reason, yet unknown to me, my sudden re-wording of the ad text had an impact.  I began by saying...."If you have any front man rock experience, it would be a great disservice to you as well as some other talented professionals, not to inquire about auditioning for us."

So wadda ya know.  I got 3 e-mails from prospects the next day.   Waddaya gunna do, huh?  Go fig-ya.

So we found a young pup who blew us away at his audition with a  dry (slang for a-capella) rendering of Jackie Wilsons Your Love Has Lifted me higher.

Wow,  I love to sing and to hear such a pure and honest commitment to singing creates an immediate recognition and "kinship" that came to fruition when he,  Todd and I blended in 3 part harmony.

Harmony singing is a whole language to me of emotion and feelings that can't be always expressed in words.  That's why I do ....and always have done what I do.