Throwback: Fake cover for imaginary album by faux band. Really!

Back in the late 1970s, our two bedroom, one-bath apartment in Adelphi, Md., was always rocking.

Yes, Twenty, Aggo and I were eyebrows deep into two years of hard university time within those walls in the cockroach-inhabitated complex we used to lovingly call Residential Plaza, dropping their officious P from the first name because that it surely wasn’t.

Studying, though, was reserved for the libraries and lounges and classrooms a couple miles up the busy suburban roads to the College Park campus. That’s where we spent our days and a good portion of the early evenings, too, attending courses to get our bachelor’s in journalism after transferring down from the tiny upstate State University of New York at Morrisville two-year college to the humungous University of Maryland. After the classes ended, we’d work at the daily campus newspaper, the Diamondback, covering sports teams and editing stories and laying out the section.

Aggo puts on an album in Adelphi, Md.

Aggo puts on an album in Adelphi, Md.

But once home, to these smallish rooms with the bugs who scattered under the kitchen appliances once you flipped the light on, we were overjoyed. At Morrisville we’d all lived in dorm rooms way smaller, eaten meals from trays in the dining halls, showered, brushed our teeth and accomplished all that business en masse in dormitory wings big enough for dozens. This was the life. Even after Twenty’s older brother Rick — Termite to keep the nicknames going — moved down from New York, too, got a job and made us four.

We played the stereo, always, as loud as we dared without drawing knocks from the neighbors. It was mine, and the brand was Technics. The speakers were from a company named Becker. At Morrisville, when the weather turned warm for two or three days in May, I’d stack both in the lone room window, and crank my music out across the quad, and the Beckers boomed it far from my Stewart Hall and past Twenty’s West and to the girls’ Helyar, where I wanted them to be heard the most.

In the Maryland apartment, Aggo and I favored Steely Dan and Bruce Springsteen, as well as a band we’d partied to live in the Long Island bars, The Good Rats. Twenty and Term went big for the New Riders of the Purple Sage and Mountain. We’d all wail along air-band style for all of them, and way more, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Billy Joel …

Visitor Zanne gets an important position.

Visitor Zanne gets an important position.

And this was a prime time for Southern Rock, so we really got into the guitar work of the Outlaws. “Green Grass and High Tides” was a blistering favorite, because we’d seen them play live in Hamilton Hall the year before in Morrisville. “This Old Cowboy” and “Twenty-Four Hours at a Time” from the Marshall Tucker Band had our hearts. We were destined to see them come spring at Merriweather Post Pavillion just north apiece.

Then one night we decided if the four of us were going to be a band, we’d call play Southern Rock, bowing to Huey Thomasson of the Outlaws and Doug Gray of Tucker and CDB’s Charlie Daniels his own self. Hell, we’d call ourselves Cattle Crossing.

I’d gotten a camera for Christmas, and it was loaded with black-and-white film.

Cattle Crossing is, clockwise from top left: Term, Bialz, Aggo and Twenty.

Cattle Crossing is, clockwise from top left: Term, Bialz, Aggo and Twenty.

I handed it to our friend Suzanne — Zanne, to us then — and told her that she had the honor of taking the photo for the Catttle Crossing album cover. Staff photographer!

I decided I was the drummer. I played nothing. In fact, none of us played a lick of a thing. But my father was a drummer in a polka band on Long Island, a weekend warrior for wedding receptions and other big parties. I’d loaded his kit in and out of the family car since I was old enough to lift the bass drum. Besides, I was very percussive. I had dibs on the drums. I thought I had the drummer’s look down cold. Nobody ever argued that point after the picture came back.

I carried this photo in my wallet for three decades.

I’d like to thank my friend Marissa Bergen and her blog Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth. The Rock and Roll Supermom inspired this post with her poem Stupid of the Shrapnel Elevatorh.

What was your favorite style of music and band when you were young? Did you ever pose for a fake album cover? If you were to start an imaginary band, what would you name it, and why?

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85 thoughts on “Throwback: Fake cover for imaginary album by faux band. Really!

  1. I loved coming across this post, Mark, for real. I often think of fake band names but usually don’t remember them, because I never write them down. How about this, off the top of my head? “The Dangling Participles.”

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    • Beth, I can’t wait for “Candy Dish” to drop. Not on the floor. You know what I mean. What a great idea! You are so creative. That’s so much better than a dusty old B&W snapshot, but I’m glad we posed and I kept it around all these years. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I always love it when a band has a crazy ass drummer who can not be contained from hitting everything within reach to keep the beat going. I can almost totally see you pretending to go to town on an imaginary drum set…

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  3. Hey Mark, you were rocking the 70’s “stache”…so many memories evoked here. Lots of speakers were aimed at campus crowds; mostly early Zeppelin for us. But from my husband’s window, it was “Up Against the Wall” by David Peel and the Lower East Side.( I married him anyway). Fun post this a.m. Thanks. โ˜บ Van

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  4. “My father was a drummer in a polka band on Long Island.” That’s the first sentence of a book. Autobiography or novel, take your pick.
    My friends used to hate riding in my car (borrowed from Mom) in high school because I always had a cassette tape of big band music or The Ink Spots, or something equally uncool in the deck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like that one, Scott. ๐Ÿ™‚ Lots of memories from dad Frank’s musical exploits for the book, or to extrapolate in the novel, that’s for sure. How about the fact that he pulled them out, set them up on our patio, and played solo for an hour at my high school graduation party? A real crowd-gatherer there, huh?

      Hey, I would have dug your musical tastes in Herkimer County. Frank got me into Sinatra and big band, and I fell into the oldies on my own. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. So glad I could be the inspiration for this one and thank you for the shout out. The band story for me is obvious but also recalls when my sister and I first moved to NYC and the girl who lived there before us didn’t believe in killing animals at all and called of the exterminator. The cockroaches (thankfully small) were so prevalent they never went away and would crawl all over us at all times including while we slept. Of course, we quickly got some of that fogging stuff and boric acid and, oh yeah, got the exterminator back in for the monthly treatments!!

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  6. What fun! Sounds like my wild days in the barracks at my first base! We were listening to BTO, I remember because I bought my first 8 track player from the girl who vacated the room. I was a wild child back then. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  7. That is hilarious. It may be grainy, but at least you have it preserved for posterity. Your would-be band, the Technics. There’s a JC Mellancamp lyric where he says, “The boys try to look so hard.” You all were doing a good job of that. So there was a dorm called Helyar? Or a hall? That sounds like “Hell, yeah.” Like an invitation to party.

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    • Hell-yeah Hall. I like that pronunciation you came up with, Kerbey! We actually said it Hell-Yer Hall, but it was still a pretty good party place for an all-girlls’ dorm. Get this: All boys were supposed to be out of the dorm by 11 p.m. No intervisitation. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, the 70s in a State University school. Uh-huh.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love that you were the drummer. Also love the line about your dad being a drummer in a polka band. Um Pa Pa. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve never been musically inclined. That said, a friend of my was the original bass player for Metal Church. He plays blues and jazz now. And one of my former co-workers played in Iron Butterfly. And one of my favorite former neighbors was a disc jockey at a local radio station. Which means I live vicariously through other people’s music.

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    • Living vicariously through others’ music was Cattle Crossings’ best trait, so you fit right in with our band, Fannie!

      I like your friends’ roster. Iron Butterfly!! Inna Gadda da Vida! What a classic. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • It was really funny when I found out he was part of Iron Butterfly. It was the aha moment when he was explaining how they wrote Inna Gadda Da Vida that I finally put two and two together. He got a really good laugh over it.

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  9. Love this post and the picture of your band Mark. You’re right, you’re the obvious drummer! I liked all sorts of bands, but when I pictured the possibility of being in a band, I fancied myself as an Ann Wilson type from the band Heart. I never took an intentional band photo but a photo I shared in a recent post about all the cars I’ve had, I always thought the one with the 63 Chevy would have made a cool album cover. โค
    Diana xo

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    • That photo with you and your classic car would be a great classic rock album cover, Diana. And if you want to type yourself after a rock singer, my friend, you started at the top with Ann Wilson of Heart. That famous album got worn out during my SUNY Morrisville days, for sure. ‘Crazy on You’ and ‘Barracuda,’ well, how hot were they?

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  10. Ha ha! “In Morrisville, when the weather turned warm for two or three days in May…” How true! LOVED your story Mark-O, as I shared many of those upstate experiences with you. Likewise, I was all air guitar and dashboard percussion through college and for most of my life. Then something really crazy happened about three years ago. As another hockey season came to an end, a few of us 50-year-old music lovers sat around the locker room and BS-ed about starting a band to take up the slack of not playing hockey any more. Mind you, NONE of us had ever played a musical instrument before (unless you include my harmonica). I couple of guys were chewing tobacco and expectorating into garbage pails, and I said, “I’ve got the perfect name if we ever start a band… The SPITunes!” And so, young squire, three years hence – Sculls and Ice learned how to play leads, Chowdah plays the rhythm, Doc tickles the ivories, JDubbs mans the bass, and just like you, I play the skins! At 50-plus, we made our dream come true! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8nrB43YAKY

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    • Oh, my! JJ, you did it! The SPITunes!! Greatest name for a bunch of old chewers ever. Way to go, beat-keeper. I am so proud of you.

      Hey, tomorrow, Nance and I are going over to Bandlows house for lunch with he and Carol, then to Mo’ville for Brian McDowell’s final convocation as he retires. Then on to the former Town House, and my dear wife Karen is joining us for dinner when she gets out from work. So look for another Morrisville post next week, Mr. Johnson. Wish you could be there with us. You could play some tunes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • That is just so awesome. I WISH I had the weekend free so I could buy the first round! Please deliver ample amounts of hugs and kisses for me, (and a salute for Old Man Keegan!) Very, very jealous!

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  11. Mark, I believe you would have had great fans, would have also kept the beat well, and your photo is fantastic. Interesting title or band name. I wanted to add this funny maybe interesting fact: My son was invited to be a ‘cow bell’ ringer in a group called, ‘Tipping Cows.” It was a little too close of a name to yours to not at least let you know. What if they had been your introduction band, while you were the main event?

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  12. No one has ever suggested I should join a band. I was much better at dating musicians! Haha! ๐Ÿ˜›
    I don’t know which captivated me longer in my youth, Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin. My love for Tori Amos caught me around 24 and she’s still my fave. But who can only listen to one type of music?

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  13. The post, the comments, and your replies had me smiling the whole way through, Mark!
    ๐Ÿ™‚
    I was never in a band–too nerdy–but so close, so close:
    – dated a dude who played bass for Van Morrison for a while
    – my sis Meg’s childhood friend, sis of my friend, grew up to become partner to a famous female singer I can’t name ’cause I’m tryin’ to stay anonymous–kinda
    – one of my BFs refinished a cabinet for a Maroon 5 member
    See? I was practically onstage!

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  14. Mark – this is so fun – and I have not heard of posing for a faux album cover and the shot you carried around is truly a gem. I also enjoyed the little tidbits of songs you mentioned here- fun to reminisce – ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I have you by a decade, I’m pretty sure, Y, but I think we share a lot of musical tastes nevertheless. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for having fun with my olden days along with me, my friend, because I know that you really were a musician in the Throwback, and probably still play something now, too. โค

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you are correct on both – but I know some of the older music because I had older siblings and just other exposures – and I dabble with musical instruments – but my hubs and sons are really the players around here. but if you ever make any fake cover photos again – I will get you some drum sticks to add to the mood.
        ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Hubs and sons should be ini some of your photos with band work, Y, album cover style! That could be a whole post for you. If my family men ever made an album, here’s my cover for them. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know, your blog.

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      • well marly mark – we are on your blog amigo ๐Ÿ™‚ xxoo – and guess what – my hubs is actually releasing a CD this month and it just happens that he used one of my 2014 photos for his cover. He actually used my photo by default – he went to get his own pictures but the trains he wanted are now goneโ€ฆ. and so he dug in the archives and then doctored one up. I will show you it later on this weekend-

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      • Coolest of beans that Hubs is putting out a CD this month. Maybe I have earned a listen when it’s out in addition to a view of the cover of his work on your shot. Y? HIs call. I’d wrote honestly about it, natch.

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      • well I will email you – but dude – I will send you your very own copy. ๐Ÿ™‚ -although I do want you to know it is a Christian themed CD – and I know that is not everybody’s cup of tea – but there is one guitar instrumental on there that I think you will love (I love it). anyhow, this is my hubs third CD and all three of his albums/CDs were not really passion projects – long story but especially this third CD – some of the songs have been hanging around for a couple of years and it was one of those projects that he needed to pull in all of the loose strings and finish finally – so he burned some midnight oil the last two months to get it done.

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      • I think Christian-themed music stands on its own, Y. Some of the best artists out there are in that genre. Have you and your hubs heard of Ceil Rain? It’s a Christian-themed Celtic-tinged pop-rock band that started 20 years ago in Nashville, by renowned singer-songwriter Bob Halligan Jr. Bob moved back to Syracuse and is a good friend of mine. Rick Cua is a Syracuse native who still lives in Nashville and was and is a big player in the Christian contemporary blues and more scene in the playing and label side. Oh, by the way, in the wayback, he was the bass player for a little Southern rock band by the name of the Outlaws. He’s a good friend of mine. I have been seen at Christian music concerts of many styles with my hands raised to the sky. I think that may answer your question about my acceptance of the style.

        OK, you know me and my stories. So the night before the notorious Labor Day storm here, I was reviewing the final grandstand concert at the State Fair. It’s a big Christian rock show, 6,000 or so fans for Jars of Clay and more. I write my review at the media building, drive home, wake up to the sight and news of the cyclonic windstorm that knocked so much down in the path from the fairgrounds to my backyard 35 miles east, including the huge trees between my house and my neighbor’s. Somebody camping in an RV at the fair was killed by falling debris. I was convinced that the Christian show had something to do with that storm’s timing coming a couple hours after the 90,000 people that Sunday were back home.

        Third CD! I love the idea that this one is full of songs he really needed to record. I want to hear that guitar instrumental. And enjoy your album photography. I will email you my address now. ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

        Liked by 1 person

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