Wednesday, August 29, 2012


     It was 1973, and I was in my usual state at Clearview trouble. The Principal, the Honorable Raymond L. Troxtell, was displeased with my boyish antics
and refusal to work and play well with others, and took what he thought, I'm sure, was devastating action-he banned me from the Junior Prom.

     ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHH! 'Twas kryptonite to my very tuchus, to not be allowed to dress up in a silly pastel-colored monkey suit, and sashay around with some teen nullandvoid for several hours; a crushing blow.

     The next day, when I arrived at school, I noticed signs in strategic spots, advertizing a Talent Show that would, in addition to being a break from the usual routine at Camp Placebo, serve as an audition for the Prom Night gig; bands were required to contact ol' Uncle Ray to be put on the list.

     Sensing an opportunity, I dashed to the payphone at the end of the hall, and called my friend Mike's house, getting his sister Sylvie on the phone. I told her about the gig, and asked her to get a message to Mike, who attended Admiral King, to call the Principal at Clearview.

     When I caught up with Mike at his home later, he told me that he and the Fabulous Techniques were the first ones on the list for the audition, and would have the headline spot; the show would be in two weeks.

     Showtime came, and the auditorium was packed. There were two bands from Clearview, plus the Techniques, auditioning.

     The other bands were okay-Iron Horse, fronted by my classmate George Pratt, was particularly good, but that was nothing to when the Techniques took the stage, and blew off the roof with this....

     The place EXPLODED! The lads were funkin' up the joint, Micheal's drums detonating like cannons, the horns swirling to the sky, guitars and bass driving like a stampede.

     Then, they took it down a notch, and the lead singer, James "Brougham" Hitchens, knelt at the edge of the stage, and crooned this little number....

securing the spot for the gig.

     The night of the Prom, I'm unloading Mike's kit from the Econoline, and I'm waiting....sure enough, no sooner do I get inside the door than the Hon. Raymond L. comes barging up, all irate authority.

      "Mr. Hopewell", he barked, "you were specifically banned from attending this school function-"
"I'm not", I replied, "I'm working; I'm WITH THE BAND!" I got to trip on the music, the food, the girls, the whole Prom trip itself, without having to dress up, or any of that Archie and Veronica jazz.

     As it turned out, I not only helped my friends get a really good gig, but I was instrumental (NPI) in the formation of another band.

     George and the members of Iron Horse were at the Prom, natch, and were talking shop with the Techniques between sets.  Within three years, Iron Horse had broken up, and Mike and his cousin, Nate, a guitar player, had split the Techniques. Eventually, they got together with George, a friend of his named Tegan, and a friend of Mike's (who became a friend of mine, Dave Rathmore) to form another band, Ruby Enterprise., which I roadied for, and hung out with.

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