Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

The Rogue Rock Writer, Half in the Bag, Submersed in the Scene

Archive for the ‘New Brunswick’ Category

Through Sound and Time: 2005

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(This year I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries as to what happened to Through Sound and Time. If you’re not hip to this section of the blog, it’s a personal reflection of what I was listening to and reading at the time. I started in 1991 with my first CD purchase and I’m upto 2005, I’ve tried to write this post several times but I always felt nauseous as I started. Anyhow, it’s important I do this so we can move on and eventually get to the good stuff … Enjoy?)

Here I am on the final leg of my retrospective journey of literature and music. It’s been a while since I did a Through Sound and Time post. I guess one of the reasons is because I’m scared. Scared? What could that mean? Scared of what? The truth is 2005 and 2006 were a sort of dark age for me musically socially and frankly I didn’t read much. It’s hard to think about that time. I guess I sort of lost the faith for a bit. I focused on other things. So I figured that I’d tackle the next couple of year the way George Lucas handled Star Wars episodes 4 – 6. or as I like to think of them: The Fall of Anakin Skywalker. Here goes…

2005 new years I remember thinking to myself that this was the same year that the Transformers Movie (1985), the Cartoon not the Michael Bay shit storm, happened. Slightly disappointed that I had neither a sentient car or a gun that became a giant robot, I began to listen to a lot of bad emo music. Bands like Brand New, Funeral, Atreyu y’know that sort of stuff. The kind of music that’s about such clever topics as “my shitty ex” or “those friends of mine that aren’t friends” or (my personal favorite) “my vampire girlfriend”. Yea it wasn’t being being me during this era.

In March I had a girlfriend … Really my first relationship. Her name was Lisa she was a really nice girl. My job at rafferty’s was boring the fuck outta me and I finally moved back in with some friends in New Brunswick. Life at the old man’s was sorta too slow for me. So I spent the next few months trying to figure a way outta this town. Between the constant boozing and the existential stasis, I was pretty sick of NB. Many of my friends had moved and I was hungry for a change.

May 28th 2005 (remember this date) I broke up with my G/f and got the fuck outta Dodge. Moved back to my dad’s to regroup. A month later, bought a White ’88 cadillac for $200, then spent the summer on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

A man alone on the road for the first time, since my grandfather passed away, it was nice to just have some time to myself. I knew I was gonna save some money living with my cousin Angela in the South. It was just trying to figure out what to do with that money once I left.

That was a great Summer. It was a stupid summer but it was good for me. I got a job waiting tables at Out Back Steakhouse, and helping a family friend’s Restaurant as a busboy dish washer for in between. Outback never opened til 4pm so that gave me the daytime to spend alone on the beach. Cousin Angela was pretty busy so I spent a lot of the summer by myself or hanging out with Aunt Pam or Cousin Jon Tyler. I’m the eldest Clark in my generation, Angela and JT were Pam’s kids (my dad’s sister) so they were Longs. Both about ten years older than me, JT got me into Punk Rock when I was younger. He used to send me his old punk clothes. Anyhow I spent my days on the beach reading the Wheel of Time. Talk about epic 10 books long this series makes the lord of the rings look like level 1. Rich fantasy world, incredible character development, and tons of political intrigue.

In June I realized my Magic: The Gathering ban had been lifted. I spent a few bucks playing the online version of the game. By the end of the month I wasn’t really feeling it. In August I had saved enough money for an entire semester of school, so I decided that was gonna be my focus. Back to Camden and finish school in the next year.

Halloween I was Shaun of the Dead… It was a little early though not everyone got it. In late October I started dating a girl. I had a job at Applebee’s then Don Pablo’s and ended the year back at Ritz Camera. Since I was back in South Jersey I reconnected with many of my friends from the comic shop. I spent new years making out with my girlfriend drunk on a friend’s couch. It was a pretty standard New Years.

(Well that wasn’t so bad I guess, though ill say it was certainly a transition year. I stepped down a notch and focused on school the year ended well. I’m glad it’s over though aside from the Summer it was a pretty slow year.)

Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

Written by rockertycoon

April 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

Road Trip: Ben Franklin, Nico Blues, Meet/Pause and

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Remember that song Holiday Road from the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies?  Well everytime I get into a car to go to a show that song plays in my head.  It makes for an interesting car ride.  Sadly, I don’t even have that song on my ipod and most folks still don’t have hookups for iPods in their cars.

That’s all sort of besides the point though.  I noticed that Ben Franklin was playing a show in my old home of New Brunswick at McCormick’s Pub.  I had never actually been to McCormick’s and I’d heard it was shutting down so I thought to myself this is a perfect time to hitch a ride and check it out.  (I normally move to a town just after the local scene spot closes down, New Brunswick was the Melody Bar, Uncle Joe’s in Jersey City and even Head Biter’s closed on rt 45 just before I turned 18.  There’s nothing worse than that look of disappointment you get when people find out you never went to a scene spot, so I figure I’d circumvent that hideous mouth agape look forever and head down to NB.)  After a quick inquiry on Facebook Eric Moeller of SpillPeak Media offered a ride.  I met him in Hoboken and we hit the Bruns for rock, college pay priced drinks and grease truck sandwiches.

We entered McCormick’s Pub, which looks like any house I threw shows in town during the earlier part of the decade.  Upon entrance, it pretty much looked like it.  Basically, McCormicks is what would have happened to you house had your dad and mom never met.  Bar in the front 15ft or so, then juke box and pool in the back.  (The pool table moved to the side for the bands).  Random paraphernalia of times past scattered about the place.  Including but not upto a picture of Elvis left handed that Adam of Ben Franklin pointed out.  After internet inquiry we surmised that it had to have been printed backwards.  The only instance of Left and Elvis on the internet was that “Elvis LEFT the building.”  We ordered our drinks and folks began to shuffle in as Civil Suits started up.

Pat Sigmund (Lead Guitar),Karthik Rao (Vocals / Keys / Guitar), Karan Nair (Bass / Vocals) and Ben Rose (Percussion) are native to New Brunswick.  Like a Roadhouse Grunge band they had a good crowd of youngsters jamming out.  I got a video and some pics.  They were the first to play and thusly the first to take on the wrath of the owner.  Who I think was just being an asshole for show.  Something about clearing a way for the fire lane, hey I know what it’s like running a show in this town illegally, I can only imagine that legally the fuzz is that much harder on you.  So I get his anal-retentiveness about everything.  Billy Gray of Ben Franklin just laughed, “I think this is his thing.”  I wasn’t sure but fuckit, I wasn’t playing what did I care?
Meet/Pause played second they had learned from the previous bands hazing and went directly into their set, noting the short time for each set.  There was little banter and only a few stops for letting everyone know who they were.  Scott Thompson (guitar, vox, keys) Graeme Gardner (drums, backing vox) Keith Laviola (guitar, keys) Sean Favre (bass, backing vox) make up this New Brunswick indie rock gang.  They’ve been making their way around VFW’s and even up to NYC a few times kinda sounds like Devon Williams fronting for Mars Volta.  Check out the video!
Ben Franklin got up after a fair share of free liquor.  If you’ve been reading the blog as of late, I’ve been borderline stalking these guys.  That said, they can’t fucking get enough of me.  or wait switch that reverse it!  Self described gonzo rock, that’s a great visual.  Billy “Dr. Teeth” Gray (vox, guitar), Sarah “Animal” Tomek (drums) Eddie “Sgt. Floyd Pepper” Garza & Adam “Janice” Copeland (I hope Sarah and Adam can take a joke)  are Ben Franklin.  Fresh from the release of their new E.P.: Urgency Killing Horse Records is putting these four to work!  If you check out Had it Coming you can totally see that electric mayhem ensued!
Both Mike Sylvia of KHR and Eric Moeller talked up Nico Blues.  I was introduced to Reed Adler (guitar) as I entered the Pub.  These dudes have some balls!  And a hell of a stage presence!  The Owner got back on the mic for what I thought was another “hassle the band rant”, but nope instead he informed us that the ladies were looking to dance and that we oughta oblige them.  This monologue took on a life of it’s very own as Nico Blues’ Nodded to each other and went into a birthday classic that I think was called “GET OFF THE MIC!”  They went into Unprofessional a song that the chorus kinda mocked the owner on, “This is not for you.”  Well played!  I picked up some video of  Weighed Options!  Look to hear much more about The Nico Blues as I find out more.
After the show, Eric looked like he was gonna pass out from starvation.  I suggested he hit PJ’s Grill!  I haven’t had a Fat Knight in years.  Suffice it to say.  They are still just as tasty as ever.  Cheesesteak, Mozzarella Sticks, Chicken Fingers and fries on a hero roll… that’s a meal any five year old can get behind.  Sated, we made our way back to North Jersey.  It was a good night for the rock scene, it appears it’s still alive in The Dirty Bruns!
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Written by rockertycoon

March 30, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Through Sound & Time: 2004

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New Years Day started in a weird manner. I woke up in that state of clarity that exists between drunk and hungover. During this time I had made a pact with my first “girlfriend” to come up to Jersey City and meet me for the day and see what I’m upto. Melissa Ritler, met me later on that day. We took a sojourn to Old Man Rafferty’s and had lunch. New year’s day is sort of a bad day for service industry workers I wanted to go in and see my co-workers and join them in solidarity.

After Lunch I have no idea how we passed the time until we made it to the bar. there’s not much more story to tell here aside from drinks with friends, smiles and a bar fight. That’s right at the bar closed there was a bar fight. I wasn’t involved but some alpha male gene inside of me bade me to enter the fray. The offending party was rendered helpless at I put him into a full nelson in a feet of dexterity and brashness that I had never quite known. I was removed from the fight mere seconds later as the barkeep broke it up and told me thank you but not to put my meager frame in danger again. It was a fun night.

So I started reading The Invisibles that year. I highly recommend. Nothing twists the mind like Grant Morrisson. But the really great thing about this book is that it turned me on to the Kinks. At the start of one of the trades, the leader of the team is running through a forest singing “Fa fa fa fa, fa fa fa fa” Later that day I downloaded David Watts. The Kinks quickly became a new fascination. I started listening to them a lot.

After the prior year’s debacle with school I took another year off, but decided to really learn a technique for photo, I spent a while relearning my craft. Reading studio photography books and looking at fashion magazines (I had a subscription to Details and GQ). The only way i can even begin to equate relearning a style of photography is to tell you to stop writing a particular way. By that I mean handwriting. Then relearn to write your ABCs. Do it with some form of class. (In 2001, after my arm healed, I actually did just that. I was sick of my handwriting looking like a bunch of squiggly lines. i learned to letter in a comic book style.) Needless to say it’s a form of zen discipline all in itself.

Emo music took off that year. Bands like Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, and Funeral for a friend put out new albums. Overall it was a good year for music not generally heard on the radio. I remember being at Olde Queens tavern and hearing a Decade under the Influence. I was simultaneously happy and disappointed that underground music had permeated the collective unconscious. I used to tell kids in my high school to mark my words punk rock would come back, like I was some kind of false prophet. When it finally took over I was too old, too opinionated and already moving on with my tastes. Yes, Rush and The Rolling Stones had took my interest. I would cringe when i mentioned classic rock and some blasphemer would bring up Springsteen, or try to talk to me about Grateful Dead.

There wasn’t much to 2004, I worked a lot, I drank a lot and I saved up to get my driver’s license back after the accident 2 years earlier. I did start to keep a journal that I filled with 100 word stories (That journal was lost in a flood), But it kept me writing and helped me learn to think in terms of story telling. there’s not much else I remember from this year, I’d consider it a dark age for a 24 year old Zac Clark

Written by rockertycoon

December 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Through Sound and Time: 2003

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I gotta be honest, 2003 was a haze of work and drink.  I was living in this house of a fraternity that was totally made up and I was drinking every night after work.  Work took a lot of my time.  Mostly because they fed me every shift.  I would pick up just to make sure I ate that day.  Being a busboy was a brand new thing for me.  I took the job only a few days after the new year.  When my roommates left for winter break I stayed in New Brunswick and worked.  Each night I came home to a cold house with no hot water.  (I bet you think I’m pulling one of those “how shitty my life was stories”, I’m definitely not.  When my roommates left the oil ran out.   Paul stayed and I stayed.  We could barely muster up rent not to mention money to eat, oil was just something that we knew would have to wait until the rest of the roommates moved back in.  Broken windows letting in the cold and no hot water for showers damned near killed us.  But we bore down those frozen weeks and huddled around a lone space heater for warmth, not to mention drank a lot of Jim Beam to stop from feeling the cold.  January was a pretty scary month.

2003 might have started off slow, but I was meeting a lot of people.  I worked in a huge restaurant, there were something like 50 or 60 people working with me.  I was never what you’d call a hard worker, but as I was being kept warm and fed as well as being paid I decided to make the very best of the situation and keep my chin up and do some “honest” work.  I came home exhausted, but I was fast making friends.  The college experience that I was so afraid I was missing out on was starting blossom.  If you’re under the age of 21 and you want to be a rockstar, and maybe learn a little about yourself I put this to you:  Forget what ever stigma you have about not working in the food industry.  The money is good (better than retail) the connections you can make hold up, and if you work in the service of others you’ll learn a lot about yourself.  That said, I was 22 when I started bussing tables.

By April I had been promoted to a waiter.  I was doing much better and the weather was warming up.  I had resolved to keep my mouth shut and work hard those first months.  In doing that some of that false altruism actually rubbed off on me.  I ingrained diligence into myself.  (As gramma used to say after she left the John, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right!” No one went into the bathroom for at least 45mins as a result of that statement).  But honest hard work became my mantra, I was promoted several times and given raises simply for being the goto guy.  If you needed a favor or an extra hand, Zac Clark was the guy.  I like to think I still operate on that level.

My friend Dan Chung turned me onto Motion City Soundtrack.  I started going to more concerts.  I can’t even remember how many weekends were spent bumming rides to Birch Hill.  I settled into a mosh pit style that is still today referred to by New Jersey Punks as “Crazy Legs”.

Summer came and the beach was a regular occurrence.  I moved in with co-workers. Tom, Cindy and I lived in a railroad apartment right on Easton Ave.  I that years warped tour was a blur it was on the beach in Asbury I think.

I spent that summer rereading Kevin Mitnick’s Art of Deception.  I picked up the rest of Icewind Dale and Read the Drow’s Legacy too by R.A. Salvatore.  His prose style combined with Lovecraft and Gaiman have influenced my fiction to it’s very core.  Also I read Get in the Van:  The First Four Years of Henry Rollins in Black Flag.  Musically I was finding out about music that I had only heard in passing.  Cock Sparer, Adolescents, Smiths, The Damned, a lot of 70’s era punk.  And let me not forget local bands like Dibs and Shade were regularly playing on my PC.

By mid summer I had my first drunken restaurant hook-up (that place was like a roman bathhouse of sexual harassment, I’m not sure how It took this long looking back.  I guess I was much more reserved back then.)   I had formed friendships with people that would later mold me into the cat I am today these people would make reoccurring appearances in my life years to come:

Kate Connolly:  She drove me to follow my dream of becoming a photographer.  At the time I was a studio trained student.  I was teaching her about lighting and how you pose and get the look you wanted from a subject.  Today she’s still teaching me things, mostly humility, when I look at her body of work.

Charlie Galvano:  Executive Chef of Old Man Rafferty’s.  LvL 90 Jedi and master of Rage.  If you’ve never seen me buckle under intense pressure, this is the guy to thank.  Every Sunday Night I expo’d that kitchen.  An 80 Table restaurant of hungover and largely stupid waiters (Not all of you but a lot of you were a special kind of pain in my ass).  It was my first taste of responsibility for everyone around me.  Mistakes were made and made often.  Many time Charlie would bark from one side of the kitchen to “SOUND OFF LIKE YOU GOT  A PAIR” it was one of those jobs that tests your ability to think fast organize your next thoughts and deal with whatever else was going on.  I fucked up a lot.  I got yelled at, I got shit on by the servers, managers and the cooks.  But I never buckled.  And after most shifts I’d go to the bar.  Charlie would be in a little after, order up a couple of shots and tell me I did a good job today.  A bold faced lie, I knew it, but it made me feel good, and it made me want to try harder.  Eventually I got good at it, I learned to ignore the yammering of the waiters asking for their food and the managers asking how long til whatever comes out, I fell into a rhythm, and my rage was quelled.  Today, if you’ve ever seen me at a show or behind a bar, I’m constantly using what I learned there.  Suppressing, no killing that anger, was one of the most Zen things I’ve learned in my time.  Charlie has most likely saved me from several black eyes and a couple nights in jail.

Dan Chung:  Solid friendships stand the test of time.  Dan is one of those cats that has kept up with me on a semi regular basis even after the both of us moved on from New Brunswick.  And everytime we meet up to hang there’s none of that pissing contest bullshit that comes from time spent away from a friend.  It’s all about the here and now.  Every year he hosts a canoe trip in Kittatinny.  He’s a teacher these days.  He’s been a constant source of perspective, whenever I’m setting out on something new or I need some frame of reference he’s been right there with solid advice and a reminder that I’m, at my base, a genuinely good person.  It’s hard to find people that have that kind of time for old friends these days.  It’s refreshing in fact. (Dan was with me back at the start of Rockertycoon when I saw Cryptkeeper Five)

Bill Schriver: I was just becoming a waiter one summer night after hours when I was hangin out with this guy for the first time.  “You’ll be bartending soon, I’m sure of it.”  The thought had never ever crossed my mind yet.  But he was right.  ^ months later I was a bartender (not an easy task in a restaurant where everyone was looking for that promotion).  Bill and I became fast friends, we worked together twice a week and he taught me the ins and out of bartending.  He was a solid judge of character and avid about steering clear of the slippery slope of restaurant drug use.  We used to work on Saturday nights… go out get drunk and then wake up on Sunday and head to Best Buy.  Each time the idea was to spend just less than the other guy.  Bill lost that game a lot.  But I say all that to say this:  He taught me a craft that has allowed me to keep a stable rein on my social life as well as my professional career.  Whenever I’m in a slump creatively I know that I can pick up a job slinging drinks.

Derek Hayes:  How can I mention any of these people without mentioning one of the most solid cats I’ve had the privilege to know.  Derek was my food runner trainer.  He took pride in his work at the restaurant.  And when I got promoted to wait staff, he was the first to request that he personally train me.   We hung out pretty much everyday or i should say every night.  Derek was a workhorse, and though he was often trouble by home life or women, it was hard to find him without a smile on his face.  I remember several times we’d be sitting at the bar laughing at ourselves as we constantly failed with women.  You couldn’t help but forget your problem hanging out with him.  Derek, Tom (My Roommate) and I were like Gimili, Aragorn and Legalos (respectively).  You couldn’t find a more loyal, lovable loser.  I remember one night we both walked into work with black eyes when asked what happened, we point to each other in unison and said, “He got in a fight, and I had to break it up.”  We spent the next couple of shifts out of the sight of customers in the kitchen.  I still contest that he started the fight.  Derek taught me simply that loyalty is the only thing that matters in friendship.  We never let women get between us or money and several times when either one of us was down and out the other was there to a chin up.  I wish he could read this.  Derek passed in 2006, he was the first of us to go.  And everyone felt it like a shockwave.  I’ll touch on that in posts to come.

Moving on though,  summer gave way to Fall and I signed up for school and dropped out.  It’s the only time I’ve ever given up on education in my adult life.  I only include that because the shame itself drove me to start taking classes at Camden again.  I spent the holidays amongst friends, and I started working on free writing fiction.  But I didn’t yet feel as though I’d seen enough, I certainly didn’t have my voice yet.

New Years barely registers.  I think I was at Jenn Walsh’s (later to become Jen Galvano) house.  No wait I remember.  I was at Knight Club.  I drank my fill and I think both Cindy and I pecked on New Years.  (We still regret this to this day.) It was like kissing a sister.

2004 started with an interesting character from my past.

Written by rockertycoon

August 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm