The Redcoats Are Coming!
Part Three: The Redcoats are Here!
Thanks to The Redcoats' producer, Steven Rappaport, The Lance Monthly was able to contact the band's rhythm guitarist, Zack Bocelle. Though originally approached to participate in an email interview, Zack's first submission was so interesting and entertaining that we thought it best to print exactly as written. Zack's story is being told in nine monthly installments. This is the third part. Meet the Redcoats - FINALLY! (Editors' note: To view the previous installments, please click onto the archives link just below The Lance Monthly heading.) So the next weekend, we went back to Wildwood, and Steven had more good news. Laurie had agreed to give us 'x' amount of hours in a recording studio to make a master of "The Dum Dum Song", and another song which would be the flip-side. Steven and John had both pretty much demanded that it be Columbia, and it had to be studio A. They wanted a specific engineer . . . a special this . . . a particular that. We still didn't know what in God's name they were talking about, but they did. They said, "If Laurie agrees to even half this stuff, it means they really believe in you. It's like a test. You gotta have a record company that's going to really work for you."
Laurie agreed to meet every request made by John and Steven. Steven even had them deliver food to the studio. It was all very cool. Steven was particularly happy, because they had allotted us more than enough time to record two songs. We were so well rehearsed that we'd probably be able to record five or six. We were crazy out of our minds with excitement. Randy and I had never seen the inside of a recording studio before. We were excited and nervous all at the same time. John was in a drum booth. Mike, Randy and myself were sitting in chairs. They stuck headphones on us while we were tuning up. We could see that Steven had everything under control in the control room so we knew we were safe. John and Steven had recording experience, so they knew what to expect. We three didn't have a clue. We could hear everything - everything - perfectly. It was awesome.
We heard Steven's voice through the headphones. We heard John click his sticks, and when Mike started to play the introduction, all the nervousness just disappeared. Even though we couldn't see each other, we could hear each other. Each one of us knew that the other four brothers were there. It was like we had been working together from the day we were born. We laid down instrumental tracks, and didn't even have to listen to playbacks. We trusted Steven with that, and he would either tell us to go on to the next tune, or to repeat the one we had obviously just screwed up. There were no hurt feelings. No questions. We knew we could trust Steven with our very lives. We still can, and would. He's a wonderful human being, and he turned out to be one great producer.
And now, we knew what a producer was. Live and learn. In the time they gave us, we knocked out seven of the songs that appear on the "Meet The Redcoats" CD. John and Steven took care of the mixing process, so we learned all about that, too. It was truly a wonderful and incredible experience. What made it even more rewarding was the trust we all shared for each other's capabilities. We were friends.
We pretty much had the rest of the summer off, but we continued to practice anyway. John and Mike were still writing. We started playing Beatles songs. We knew all of them, and it was just a matter of putting them together. We lived for music. Lived for it. Looking back, I can't help but wonder, if on the long ride back from that failed audition, if John wasn't thinking, "They want a dumb dumb song. And if that's what they want, then that's what I'm gonna give 'em a dumb dumb song." Johnny's a funny, funny guy, and he could write at will . . . anything. A genius!
Playing all the Beatle songs helped us get back into character, after our brief excursion into Herman's Hermitsville. We hardly ever played "The Dum Dum Song" . . . not that it wasn't a good song. But it just wasn't us. It was just something that was done out of necessity. It was the middle of summer now. Randy and I were full time residents of the Spirt house, and when the cops would stop us from playing, we'd go up on the boardwalk and cavort. Everybody thought we were English kids . . . everybody. We told them we were "recording artists," but they didn't believe that. They just thought we were four goofy English tourists. That was soon to change.
Before the record was even released, Steven arranged for us to perform for a local DJ at an under 21 type room on the boardwalk. It was called the Starlight Ballroom. This was to be our first live performance. Until that time, all we ever did was practice and record. We attacked the Starlight Ballroom that night. We started out playing Beatles songs and the place went wild. We didn't know what was happening. All of a sudden, the same cops who stopped us from playing at nights, were now lined up at the foot of the stage to keep us from being ripped to shreds by teenie boppers. Back then, of course, there wasn't that much live entertainment around for the kids, and now all of a sudden, here's this band . . . and an English band at that. And they sound just like . . . just like the Beatles. I guess it was just too much for 'em. They loved us. It was crazy.
In my very best cockney accent, I announced that we would now play our new single, soon to be released on Laurie Records, and the place erupted again. John clicked his sticks and Mike started the introduction. Those kids were screaming so loud that I couldn't even hear him. I looked over at him, and he shrugged and started laughing. He just kept playing it over and over again, until it finally got quiet enough to hear. We had to wait for two hours after the closing of the club that night, before the police would even THINK about letting us go outside. It was hysterical. A taste of honey. A taste of Redcoat mania. We coudn't even go to the boardwalk after that night.
The record was finally released at the end of the summer. Laurie Records had a policy of no promotion [even though the label] felt that if a record had it, then it would make it. We didn't care. We each had a copy, and that was all that was important to us. We'd accomplished something - something wonderful - together . . . the five of us!
Summer was over now, and Steven took the record around to local radio stations himself. They played it quite a bit, and it was very exciting to hear our music on the radio. One of those local stations was WOND in Atlantic City, eight miles away from our home town of Absecon. The DJs found out that Randy and I were part of the group. Life was about to change. Dramatically! (to be continued)
To experience a bit of Redcoatmania yourself, pick up "Meet The Redcoats - Finally" on Dionysus Records http://www.dionysusrecords.com
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