Monday, August 23, 2010

The Legendary Lost Music Box Story

I was fortunate to write a story on my views of the last 20 or so years of Buffalo's original music scene for Artvoice's 20th anniversary edition this summer. I also wrote two boxes to go along with the story, depending on available space.
The first was on my favorite local recordngs, and it got placed on my Facebok page with a link here. Unfortuantely, I forgot about the second box, a remembrance of several Buffalo musicians who have died, until today.
For those of you who haven't had the chance to check Facebook, here is the story:
By Kevin J. Hosey
Too many members of Buffalo’s music community have died before their times, and many have been and remain to be effected by their passing. A few still make me pause.
Mark Freeland – There have been too few people as talented as Mark Freeland as a guitarist, singer, songwriter, all-round musician and performer, as well as visual artist. Like many of them, Mark had his demons, but he not only made peace with but beat a major one in his later years. Before that happened, despite years and years of writing positive things about Freeland, Electroman and even Pegasonics (the first album review of mine to appear in print was of Pegasonics’ “New New York” album), we had a falling out of sorts. While acquaintances, we weren’t palling-about buddies, while my now-wife Val was very close to Freeland for years. But after I gave his “Adventures in the Solar System” cassette a seriously negative review, Freeland was upset and caught up with me before an Electroman set at the Showplace Theater and, after apparently tipping a few, launched into a profanity and spittle-laced tirade before some of his band members physically dragged him away. Needless to say, we did not talk for years. In 2005, Freeland had an exhibit of his paintings at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and Val and I attended the opening. His face lit up when he saw Val and, after they hugged, he looked at me, shook my hand and invited the two of us to a bench to sit down and talk, which we did, between Freeland saying hello to other friends, for at least 30 minutes. He was thrilled to have a show at the Albright-Knox, and he talked about doing more work as well as music, to which he expressed surprised delight at new listeners to his music. A few weeks later, Val and I visited his and Carla’s apartment and had another great talk, or, he had a great talk while I smartly listened.
Tim Switala – Switala, a drummer with Pauline and the Perils, 1969 and other bands, a producer at WEDG-FM and formerly of the Tom Calderone Variety Show, was most influential with me as a writer, including at the Buffalo News and also the late, great Second Story. He is one of the persons and reasons why I started to write about music. Switala was never hesitant to criticize my work, which I appreciated; not the opinions but how I expressed the opinions and structured my writing, things that should matter to writers. He also successfully executed the only scam on me (that I know of); I received a cassette from a “local band” called the Doom Patrol, an allegedly two-person noisy band of sorts using synthesizers and percussion. While I wondered why the two members only used first names and did not leave a contact address or telephone number (pre-email days), it wasn’t particularly unusual, and I ended up listening to and reviewing it. Months later, Tim strangely asked me about the Doom Patrol and how I liked it, but said nothing else; eventually, Eric Van Rysdam confirmed that Tim was the Doom Patrol and that I had been had (it may be a bit different; EVR does not remember this part). This would have been the standout memory of Switala if he hadn’t died on my birthday before I thanked him; regardless of the date, he is missed.
Bart Mitchell – The guitarist for Nullstadt and Elk and the guitarist, singer and songwriter for Little Sheba (a great band), as well as the poet Hieronymus Dude with David Kane’s Them Jazzbeards, Mitchell fought and sadly lost to his demons. But he didn’t die without a fight, and few people I know have lived as hard as Mitchell, the first musician I had covered to any extent and knew who had died wile still being very creative.
Joe Orlowski – Known as Joe Oh! as drummer, songwriter and singer for the Real Wigs, and drummer for the two-man band Handguns with Greg Sterlace, Orlowski was about as nice a person as existed, and not just “nice” nice, as I discovered when I got to know him outside of music. Orlowski was an Eagle Scout, and truly enjoyed and lived to help people and to relieve their problems; in fact, he died when he was hit by a car while helping a disabled driver on the Kensington Expressway.


Blogger MusicMan said...

Hosey, you've always been a little dirtbag. This attack story on Freeland, one of the most highly respected music legends in WNY history, is just another example of what a worthless little twit of a loser you really are. You have zero credibility in the Buffalo area and why you still can get work here is mind boggling. What a freakin loser you are. Get a life.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Revel'd said...

I found your blog looking for Freeland's music, whom I just discovered. Very interesting and I'll be sure to keep reading

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for recognizing the irreplaceable Joe Orlowski - one of the most complete, honest, heartfelt and genuine gentlemen to ever grace this planet. Joe studied drum set with me during his elementary and high school years, and I was honored to make a humble contribution to his musicianship. Our roles, however, reversed when it came to the study of heart and humanity. I honor his memory and I thank you for doing the same.

3:28 PM  
Blogger boredinshanghai said...

I was a good friend of Joe's during our time at St Joe's and was so saddened to hear of his passing today. I always imagined he was still doing what he always loved and that when I saw him again (it's been maybe 20 years) it would be like we hadn't seen each other in a week. What a tragedy. You are right - he was one of the most genuinely nice people I met in my life and, while I try, I always come up short compared to Joe.

Rest in peace, Joe.
Mike Smith
Shanghai, China

5:35 AM  

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