Here’s an email I got from a guy that came to see me 30 years ago at The Rat in Boston and got one of my home made mix tapes I was selling. He really liked the song UMCWB — Upper Middle Class White Boy.
I recorded it in November, 1988 in Astoria, Queens with Kol Marshall as part of the Java’s Jesus Jam EP project that included my stronger songs written during 85-87. It was my first studio recording ever.
The song did get played on once-hip alternative FM station WFNX-Boston at least twice from what I remember. But with no record label or publicity machine behind it, it didn’t make it into regular rotation. It’s a good song. Anyway, I’m really grateful for Tim to write below and share his Java story which now stretches into a new generation of caffeinated pop fans.
Hi Java Jel!
My 15 year old son recently found my copy of “Java’s Jesus Jam” deep in a box where I keep music.
He showed me the tape that I purchased from one night at the Rathskeller circa ’89. See pictures attached. My good friend Lorie & I used to take in your show. Had a blast…
I found your webpage and thought to drop you a note…we liked your music! The lyrics to both Upper Middle Class White Boy & Kerouac Shack came right back to me.
My 15 year old (drummer) has his (garage) band working on UMCWB. Thanks for the music.
Here’s my dad jamming in Germany with a mandolin he found during his time there in World War II. Dad and mom always supported my music and paid for piano, guitar and mandolin lessons over the years.
My dad played mandolin all his life, including a trio with Frank LoPinto on guitar and Jack Mace on bass in Dobbs Ferry, NY, and the NY Mandolin Orchestra. He also studied at the famed Mandolin School in Rhode Island and rubbed shoulders with mandolin great David Grissom.
While it’s great to write original songs over the years with input from friends and fellow musicians, playing “Blueberry Hill” and “Walk on By” on the piano can’t be beat either.
Unlike my tunes, these songs have been recorded by real record labels and picked up by dozens if not hundreds of musicians, musicals and movies. Some of Java’s sentimental favorites include “Be my Baby” by Ronnie Spector, “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by Carol King, “Umbrella” by Rihanna, ” and “Lovin Cup”, a more obscure song by the Rolling Stones off of their “Exile on Main Street” album.
Jen and I made a special birthday trip this past spring to Nashville, where we sampled the local BBQ, checked out the amazing Honky Tonk bar bands and toured the storied Ryman Audiorium, original home of the Grand ‘Ole Opry as well as Johnny Cash’s TV show in the 1960s and early 70s
Well, as part of the tour of the Ryman, you can get your picture taken on stage for $10 and you can record a song for $15. Well, I had written two songs so we splurged and spent $30 for two. They had a little broadcast booth in the auditorium, where most people did karaoke versions of “I Shall Survive” or “America the Beautiful.”
Some tunes from a Saturday March 10, 2012 session at Ryman Make a Record at the Grand Old Opry. Thanks Jen!!
Well, the success of the Altercation reunion has made the rounds on Facebook and I’ll try to link to it here. The bottom line is, we all had fun. Not much blah blah on what we’ve been doing for the past 30 years since we played at Dobbs Ferry High School in an impromptu session outside the school cafeteria in a move inspired by the Beatles rooftop jam featured in the movie Let it Be.
We scheduled our reunion rehearsal at the same movie theater where we saw Let it Be. It’s now a recording studio and rehearsal space called Stolen Moments.
Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson did a really cool Martini & Rossi commercial back in the 1970s. I’ve never fogotten it. I love Burt Bachrach! I’ve been playing a song on the piano, WALK ON BY, which is one of his big hits. I also got a Burt Bachrach vinyl record from the 70s with that song, which was made famous by Dionne Warwick. Anyway, I’m remembering all this because of Angie Dickinson’s 80th birthday today. Rock on Angie, and Rock on Burt!!
It’s been really a while since my last post, so I figured it was time for an update. Musical projects in the past year included playing as a side man in the Ed Buller Mountain Ramblers as well as contributing to a UMOUR.org musical project called SUPERSPIES. It’ll be out soon. Overall, as I age I still love the old Java stuff, but the force of gravity seems to be pulling me toward country and old folk. I know it’s trendy to do roots music, but it’s also a good bastion for grayer musicians to avoid looking ridiculous.
Also on the radar, I’d recomment reading Keith Richards’ book LIFE to anyone who’s into the Rolling Stones.
I’m also rediscovering the trendy “OH BROTHER WHERE ART THOU” soundtrack and am currently infatuated with Emmy Lou Harris, the Carter Family, and singin old songs. Part of JAVA is also really into solo jazz piano standards too so I’m all over the place.
Musically, look for more MP3 Versions of JAVA tunes to be posted soon, including a great side project from the 1990s called the RIPE. Rock on.