Friday, January 23, 2015

The Bad Boyz Hit The Shore For Vacation

The river rat bad boyz not only did some bad stuff near the Delaware River, some of them hit the Jersey Shore to make more of a mess.  The bad boyz hit the shore on vacation and left their mark.

I was fortunate enough to spend every summer on Long Beach Island were my parents bought a home right smack on the bay.  We had a dock and a couple of boats that we used the entire summer.

My routine was each morning I would get in my row boat and row to the bridge and back before having my morning breakfast, I guess it was about a mile total back and forth, but indeed great exercise.

One of my best friend/brother at the time was in college and his parents had a sail boat docked directly across the cove of where I lived.

One day he and his college buddies came to Long Beach Island and started to hit the sauce a bit to early I thought.  I was having my healthy breakfast one morning and saw a boat pull up to my dock.  I went out and there he was my friend and is college buddies ready to hit the bay for some morning water skiing.

My best friend asked me to come along, and I agreed.  I finished my breakfast and jumped into their speedboat not knowing that in a hour or so of fun in the sun would turn disastrous .

Everyone was taking turns doing a little water skiing and they ask me if I was interested in doing some skiing and I told them no I'm good for now.

It was my best friend's turn to ski and the last skier of the morning I might add.  It all started out great until that alcohol started to kick in and everyone was getting a little crazy and dangerous.  I have to admit I was getting a bit upset of how they were handling the boat, because I knew something was going to go wrong, and it did.

In the distance I saw a row boat with two Chinese men having a great time fishing. As we got closer the guy driving the speedboat decided to go to the right of the fishermen and in turn my friend decides he was going to the left. BAD MOVE HERE!

My friend saw that something was about to happen, so he raised the ski rope up as far as he could thinking it would pass over the heads of the fishermen, BUT JUST not high enough.
This will give you an idea of how it all panned out.


God was indeed looking out for those fishermen, and for us, the Cyprus Garden Florida Skiers.

So after I crapped my pants I asked the driver Please take me back to my dock and call it a day for skiing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The River Rat Bad Boyz Go Rock N Roll

My parents bought me my first guitar when I was 7 years old. They never forgot the look on my face when I opened my Christmas present, and it was my first guitar.

It was called a SilverTone I believe and was bought at Sears.  I was thrilled and started messing around with it , but had no idea how to play although I knew I wanted to learn that guitar and be a rock n roller like all those bands I listened to everyday.

Shortly my parents signed me up for guitar lesson.  I was so happy.  Now I could learn and be able to play those songs I listened to.  I never knew how hard it was to play that guitar.  I got so frustrated because I wanted to be able to play like those rock bands. I had it in my mind, but the chords just didn't come out through my fingers.

I practiced and practiced each day.  Each week my dad would take me to my guitar instructor.  In the beginning it was fun, but as time passed my instructor would say, "here play this." As I was trying my hardest to play these notes and chords, my instructor was on the phone talking to his friends and never minded me.

Before I knew it my half hour of instructions were over and I didn't learn squat.  I wanted to learn and play songs like the big guys. I was very inpatient to say the least.  I couldn't learn fast enough and my instructor didn't spend much time teaching me.  I told my dad that the instructor was on the phone during most of my half hour lesson.

At that time the cost was $3.25 per half hour, and there were guys and gals waiting in line for their lesson. It was like a Doctors office lol. NEXT please, he would shout out.

After some time passed I said screw this, I will learn guitar myself.  He gave me the basics of music, but I had a long way to go, especially learning music and playing guitar myself.

In the meantime, my best friend, that was one of the Bad Boyz on the block got a drum set and took lessons too. Not sure how his lessons went, but they had to be better than what I learned.

Now we had one guitar and a drum set. Now, we will need one more guitar player and a singer. One of the guys at school played a mean guitar and could make it smoke. He played some awesome melody and I became good with all the chords. So we hooked up one day in my basement as started jamming and learning together.

We started to purchase some equipment, little by little, such as microphones, mic stands, and I bought a 100 watt VOX amp. We did the best we could considering our money was limited. After a few weeks we said, "Now all we need is a lead singer."

There were a few pretty young girls on our block and the surrounding blocks, but we decided to ask a girl 2 houses away.  She was thrilled we ask her and said she would love to sing with us. I said, were in, we have the musical equipment and four great people to make this happen. The birth a another rock n roll band.

The next step was coming up with a name for this new band. We decided on "Emerson." So a new band was born. We practiced almost everyday either in my basement and sometimes out in my garage. Oh yes, the neighbors just loved all that noise. We drove them crazy and had many complaints to our parents.

We got our first gig in the grammar school we attended.  The coordinator of all the 8th grade dances loved us and asked us to play at their 8th grade dance. Once everyone heard us they wanted us back for each dance. The four of us were thrilled to death.  We are on our way to music success!!

As we started to be liked by our playing, the audience began throwing coins on the stage. That was a awesome feeling. Our moms would be outside the auditorium watching and listening to the new fond band.  They were indeed proud of us.  You could just see it on their faces. God Bless you Dee (my mom) and Joan (the drummer's mom.)  

Over the years I stopped playing the guitar and got interested in the keyboard. I bought a KORG X3. That was one awesome keyboard.  I had no idea how to played it or even what key was what note, etc. My Grandmother played piano and organ at her church with never taking one lesson.. She played by ear and I did the same on my Korg X3 keyboard.  I put headphones on and listened to a song as I picked out the notes and chords on my keyboard.  I would go over it and over it until I learned the complete song.

So be it, I didn't need an instructor to teach me the keyboard, in fact I didn't need a guitar instructor either. I learned on my own.

As you may have figured out, the band Emerson is no longer.  We all went our own way in life, But the memories will last a life time.  

Thanks You, Gene, Gary and Rose for being a HUGE PART of my life.  I love you all like my own family!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The River Rat Bad Boy Making His First Dollar At An Early Age

Here is one of the Antique Cars my Dad had. I can not find any
photos of me and my go-cart.

I guess since I grew up on the Delaware River I will always be called the river rat, but as far as being called the river rat bad boyz, that didn't always hold true.

There was a time in my life I was a sweet innocent boy and destine to make money at an early age.  The river rat bad boy making his first dollar at an early age was done with a homemade go-cart.

At the age of three (3) my Dad designed and built a go-cart in the basement of our home.  I was always interested in cars and since my Dad collected antique cars, restored them, and entered all car shows, I was around them since I was a baby.

Even when I was two and three years old my Dad would take me to all the antique car shows, coming home each time with a trophy, mostly 1st place and a few 2nd place ones. As he saw how interested I was in cars he decided to make my first car for me.

This go-cart was awesome.  It sat 2 people side by side with a 3HP gas engine.  He installed a suicide clutch.  The clutch had to be pushed down in order for the go-cart to move, and in the event I fell out of the go-cart my foot would come of the suicide clutch and the go-cart would stop.

After the go-cart was completed in the basement of our home my Dad wanted me to take it for a spin.

So he fired up the engine and I got in the seat happy as a lark. My dad said, "just step down on the suicide pedal and you will move.  Well, I moved all right , right into the hot water heated.  Water everywhere and I was scared to death for what I did. That was my first experience behind the wheel of a motorized car, and my first accident!

My dad wasn't mad at all about the crack up I had in the basement. All was good, after all it was my first time behind the wheel so he had to give me a break on that one.

It came time to bring the go-cart up the steps from the basement. It sure was a heavy go-cart made of all metal.  My dad got our neighbor to help with bring it up the steps, as I watched of course, after all I was only three years old, and to strong at all. lol

The minute the go-cart got outside and was placed in the driveway, every boy and girl in my neighborhood came to see this new addition to the neighborhood.

My dad started up the go-cart for all to hear and drove it to the ball field across the street from our home. The boys and girls followed us to the ball field hoping that they could get a ride in my car. I took a few spins around the bases of the ball field to see how she ran, and as I was driving solo it dawned on me, "how am I going to buy all the gas for this new machine I have?"

I saw DOLLAR SIGNS in my eyes and thought, "I know, I will charge my friends one penny $.01 per lap.  Home plate to home plate. I told them as they were just staring and wishing they could get a ride. I announced to them, "if you want a ride I have to charge .01 cent per lap to pay for my gas.

They bought it and everyone scrambled home to get hands full of pennies.  They were lined up and waiting their turn for this ride from home plate to home plate.  The distance today is not far, BUT when we were young kids, home plate to home plate felt like a mile long.

I was thrilled, I had an income coming in to pay for my gas, and would have change left over. They were the good old days for sure. I always wondered why I was so cleaver at that age of 3 in making money, but today as I am 58 years old it is tough as hell to save a penny.  Many of you and those that rode on my go-cart can surely relate i'm sure.