The Redcoats Are Coming!
Part Four: An In-depth '60s Garage Band Biography
Thanks to The Redcoats' producer, 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 will be told in nine monthly installments. This is the fourth installment.
Randy and I returned to our very parochial school that September, and one morning while we were getting dressed in our nice white shirts and little blue clip on ties, "The Dum Dum Song" came on the radio. I can't even describe that feeling. It seemed someone had called WOND and told them that two of the Redcoats were local kids. I still suspect Dad, of course, but he'll never own up to it.
All of a sudden the phone started ringing, and it was the DJ calling, while he was still broadcasting from the station. He wanted to talk to us on the air. We talked to him a little bit, and explained to him that we didn't have too much time because we had to get ready for school. I guess he thought that was funny, but he said okay and played the song again.
Randy and I never really thought anything like this would happen, and we never gave it too much thought. We were late for school that day, and found that the Sisters of Mercy were not very merciful when it came to being tardy. They started bugging us about the length of our hair, and they seemed to really get upset, when in my best cockney accent, I said "But we're only tryin' ta look like Jesus, Sister," and tried to look all hurt and innocent. We were told we'd either have to get haircuts, or leave the school. So we gave in and cut our hair.
In the meantime, WOND did a telephone poll on our song. It seemed that people liked it, so they started playing it more and more. The more they played it, the worse things got at school. Even the other kids started acting strangely. It was all very flattering and nice, but it was decided that we were too much of a distraction, and that we would have to leave anyway.
Randy and I had always been very active in organized sports. We knew all the kids at Pleasantville High, so we'd fit right in . . . or so we thought. But we weren't Zack and Randy Bocelle anymore. We were the Redcoats. Even the principal of that school said we were a distraction, but at least we could grow our hair back. We thought it was all pretty silly, and John said that things would settle down once they stopped playing "The Dum Dum Song" on the radio.
We went to Wildwood one weekend and were very distraught to learn that Steven would be leaving for Europe and then he'd be going to law school. Steven said that John's dad would handle the business end of things from now on. Even John's dad knew THAT wasn't going to work, so he set out in search of a professional manager.
John Spirt was the heart and soul of the Redcoats, but Steven Rappaport was the brain and wisdom. Our guidance. Mike, Randy and I, well . . . we were only the body. And the body had just lost it's brain. The Redcoats lost our Brian Epstein. It was horrible, but Steven told us we were great, and that as long as we kept on working toward our goal, he was sure we'd make it. He said he still believed in us, and told us to get back to work, so we did, but we all missed him real badly. He was always one of us. Music has an almost magical quality to it. Every once in awhile you'll hear something that really just grabs you.
John and Mike continued to write, and one day they came to us with a song they'd just finished. I don't even remember the name of the song. All I know is there was this piece of music in the middle of the song that just touched my soul. I made them stop and said, "You knowwhat? That should be a song all by itself. It's beautiful."
Neither Randy nor I ever had anything to do with the creative process before. John looked at me like I had two heads. I made them play that section quite a few times, and to this day I can't figure out why I was so taken by it, but I was. And I don't know if it's one note, or a specific combination of notes that's in tune to the strings of one's heart, but somehow John had stumbled upon just the right piece of music that just screamed out at me. I HAD to make them stop. I just had to. And being the true friends they were, they simply said okay, and went back into the other room to try.
They weren't gone very long, and when they returned, they had completed one of those songs that maybe Laurie Records was right about. They had written a song - a beautiful song - a song like no other song they'd ever written before. As fate would have it, this song would help us achieve national recognition. And as fate would have it, this song would also prove to be the death of our dream. The song was called "Suspicions." (To be continued)
To experience a bit of Redcoatmania yourself, pick up "Meet The Redcoats - Finally" on Dionysus Records http://www.dionysusrecords.com