A friend who recently started writing a personal column for our paper here in Richmond asked if there’d been any reaction from readers. I told him no, but that didn’t mean people weren’t reading it.
By David Knopf
It’s not uncommon to want some positive strokes, but you learn after you do this for 86 years as I have that if you don’t write for your own satisfaction you’re in big trouble. I tack on my email address at the end of these columns just in case Random House wants to reach me.
So when I turned in a recent column about hoping to hit the road in retirement with my Unpopular Music Tour, I didn’t expect feedback.
Then I heard from Mark Prellberg, a local guy. Mark’s friend Tom Sorrells told him about the column and forwarded the link.
Tom isn’t a Random House agent, but he and Mark are “1960s garage rock fans & historians, probably the only two crazies in this part of the world who are passionate about these sounds,” Mark said.
The “these sounds” refer to “I’m Gonna Get You,” a song I mentioned in the column that my high school band recorded. The record created some buzz, actually more of a faint whimper, and we got to travel around some.
Usually something like Mark’s note would stop at “thanks for the memories,” but darn if he didn’t name the group (Mustache Wax), where we were from (Bronx, N.Y.), our label (Inner Records) and the year we recorded (1965).
My days here in the present typically end with an episode of “Criminal Minds,” a few guitar chords and lots of yawning and snacking, so this was like chugging enough energy drink to bring Elvis back to life.
I knew Mark was my age, maybe even older since he called our band “a combo,” so I called him. (Historical note: This is how barbaric pre-Tweeters and texters communicated.)
I thanked him, of course, and told him he was right about the band name. But how did he know? It wasn’t like Mustache Wax was well-known.
He told me “I’m Gonna Get You” was in a bootleg compilation of psychedelic garage-band songs. I learned later that these re-releases are popular in the garage-band historian community. He said most of the people who like the songs weren’t even alive when they were recorded.
I tried to find the album we were on, but couldn’t until on a whim I looked on YouTube. It had been uploaded, not once but twice! An Englishman named Colin Mason at Flower Bomb Songs had a copy of the 45 and digitized it so garage band muck-abouts from Oslo to Orrick could hear it.
I emailed Colin to tell him more about the band. His website had an image of our record and described it as “a memorable folk rock jangler” that had been a Billboard magazine “Spotlight” new release in 1965. If I recall, we even charted at “Bubbling Under the Top 100.”
(If you’re looking for ways to kill time — and I know you are because you’re reading this — you can see the post at http://www.expo67-cavestones.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=mustache+wax and listen to the song at www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwJPrIuBRXo)
There were even several reader comments, including “That’s a corker there,” by someone called Joe Whimster.
Colin referred to the song in an email as “brilliant,” an Englishism used to pretty much describe anything with a pulse.
I’ve listened to “I’m Gonna Get You” on headphones several times and our jingle-jangle, Byrds-inspired number still has some punch.
A brilliant corker, indeed. Fab, even. Thanks, boys. You made my day.
If you think you can top this or just want to say “Hey,” write David or firstname.lastname@example.org.