Tuesday, January 11, 2011


A brief detour...

Some of you have requested sound samples of the Blue Reimondos, my band that backed up Alex at the gigs mentioned in the book. I've resolved to figure out how to do that but in the meantime you can hear a few songs at the Rhapsody link above.

Our track on this comp. (lead track) is actually two separate recordings spliced together and cover the beginning and end of the band until we reunited in altered form to back up Alex. The first part is "Kryptonite Tonight" – a Ramones-like concoction of a buzz-saw riff and off-the-wall comic book lyrics. Except this was 1975 and we'd never heard of the Ramones. This was recorded at a high school dance with a five-piece line-up that was still attempting to be a successful cover band on the Buffalo bar circuit. We'd start off the evening with covers and once the crowd got hopping, we'd slip in Peter LaBonne's songs. It was just way more fun to get a gym full of kids jumping around to a song like "Kryptonite Tonight" than playing "Layla." Eventually two of our members – we were all high school friends – decided that their heart's desire was to play note-for-note versions of Eagles songs and bailed. That left Peter on guitar and keys and John B. King on bass. I switched from guitar to drums because...we needed a drummer.

The second song "Tarzan, Jane Hungry" features Peter on the Farfisa and was recorded in August of 1977 in a barn. More thought went into the recording but the technology was limited to several mics and a reel to reel. We ran through a chunk of our set just to get it on tape. By now we were established as the first new wave /original / whatever band in Western New York and a buzz was growing about Peter (one of the most uniquely talented musicians on the planet). I was going away on business for a few months and our plan was to reconvene in October and make some headway on a scene that was far more receptive to original material than when we started out. But right when I returned, Peter abruptly left town for good and that was basically "all she wrote" for the Blue Reimondos proper. "Tarzan" was yet another singular song by Peter. When we played clubs, this usually came later in the evening and would inspire demented conga lines for some reason. (Both of these recordings are in truncated form.)

John B. King just uncovered some reel to reels of the Reimondos that we are going to transfer. The first is a live gig at Hobart College from October '76. We couldn't find a job in the Buffalo area so this was our first public performance, 100 miles down the Thruway. A lot of the students were from New York and we went over really well. The second is a rehearsal tape where we went through a longer version of our setlist. I'm hoping that the tapes held up all these years and the recordings are strong enough to merit sharing with listeners. Will keep you posted.

In the meantime, find a copy of Peter LaBonne's "Meditation Garden" on the Sonic Trout label and get a relatively more recent peek into his creative world. (He can also be heard playing some great leads on Richard Hell's sessions from the 80s in New Orleans with Zig Modeliste. Check out the solo on "The Hunter Was Drowned."

You can buy a used copy of "Meditation Garden" at amazon.com for under a buck. Check it out...

1 comment:

Bill said...

"Kryptonite Tonight" is a fresh sounding track. Kinda timeless actually. "Tarzan, Jane Hungry" has a kind of Todd Rundgren vibe to it it.