Smashed

Our drummer knew someone in Pennsylvania who might be able to fill in for Billy, who wouldn't be getting out of jail anytime soon. So we went to Pennsylvania and met Sal.

The members of my music group had had enough of one another.

We were on the brink of success, having just recorded two songs for Mercury Records on their Smash label. It was starting to get airplay, and then the bomb dropped: Billy, our lead guitarist and singer/songwriter, was put in jail for raping a minor.

The full album, _Children at the Crossroads,_ was almost finished, and we had to go on the road to promote the songs. Billy was the key to the success of this album, and our manager assured us that it would be right up there with "the Mamas & the Papas":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mamas_and_the_Papas. It was that kind of sound.

Although we wanted to do more than bubblegum music, this was a gateway to better times. The names of the songs were "Catch a Rainbow" and "Time for a Change." Our drummer knew someone in Pennsylvania who might be able to fill in for Billy, who wouldn't be getting out of jail anytime soon. So we went to Pennsylvania and met Sal.

His voice was not strong, and I needed someone with a strong voice to do the harmonies with the band's help. Sal's strength was his guitar playing. I wasn't sure he was the right one, but we had to start the road trip in a week, and we didn't have time to get someone else. We were all pretty depressed.

The first place we were booked was a dive in upstate New York. The crowd was expecting to hear the songs we recorded; they seemed to know them better than we did. We bombed! (The substance abuse didn't help our energy for too long.) We had to change things before the next gig.

Our drummer, Jerry, kept on top of what was happening in the music scene. He'd heard that a producer of animated films wanted a group to promote his film, a short titled _Marvin Digs._ We weren't familiar with the big shots at Paramount, but we took a chance and met with Ralph Bakshi. We were so wrapped up in our own problems that we didn't know this man had produced _Fritz the Cat_ and other big hits. Who knew?

He liked our sound, and he needed someone to write the words and music for the film. He loved our work and wanted to produce it. Small problem: We had to get out of our contract with Mercury. But money talks, and soon we were out of the contract.

The film was shown in NYC. Ralph was our manager now; bigger and better gigs were talked about. He booked us at the Electric Circus and other clubs--but again, without Billy, the group could not produce "the sound."

Weeks passed, first with no bookings and then with no Ralph. We couldn't contact him. Someone said he was sick and had to take a vacation. It was over.

If you want to hear and see _Marvin Digs,_ it's on "YouTube":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paA3d6pIwAk.

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