Saturday, April 2, 2011

Strauss gets his groove on: the Great Waltz (1938)

A long, strange trip

This falls under the category of why the hell am I doing this. You fall down the rabbit hole of a past you didn't even enjoy very much, and it's dreamlike and strange and every once in a while you hear a street name like Grand Avenue and a synapse fires with a sizzling SNAP.

I did find out a bit about Bob Sass, my first boy friend in Chatham. Nobody else approved of him because he was glum and a serious musician. At the time he was playing French horn, but when I finally tracked him down on a meticulous site called Chatham Music Archive, he was listed as playing "flugel horn, French horn, trombone, saxophone, etc.", in a high school rock band. I particularly like that "etc." part.

There were gazillions of little bands in Chatham in 1968 (apparently: I was surprised at how many). Among the very few names that jumped out at me were Sylvia Tyson (a high school friend of my sister's who was then known as Sylvia Fricker) and Paul Shaffer, who quickly moved on to greener pastures.

But this Bob, this first boy friend who made me lie down on the grass with him which I didn't really want to do, was in this band, Cold Sweat, led by one Leroy Hurst (from Windsor, formerly with Little Leroy and the Citations). Aside from Leroy, Bob seemed to do everything else.

Then came a heartbreaking story which may or may not be true: for after all, bands are volatile and break up, and high school bands from 1968 are known to blow apart in an explosion of bongs and beer cans. "Bruce Robertson took over on vocals for the last 3 or four months. In September of 1968 the groups (sic) van hit a steer on the highway near Lucan on the way home from a gig in Wingham. Bruce Robertson was killed and three other members of the band were hospitalized. The band never re-formed."

Well, I just don't know. Because it has an aura of Spinal Tap about it. Of the drummers exploding or something. Or kind of like The Rutles, which I think is funnier. But then again, maybe it did happen and I am being insensitive.

At least it wasn't Bob.