Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Journey of Easy Livin' - Beginnings

A few posts ago I mentioned that being a part of our band, Easy Livin', was some of the funnest times of my life. The summer air brings back memories of when we got started - the beginning of July, 1971.

I think it was July 3, to be exact. Looking back at a perpetual calendar, I see that July 3rd fell on a Saturday that year. We were at Duane's (parents) house, and his brother's band, Free Flight, had left all their instruments and amplifiers in the living room. And they were gone.

So there we were, in a room full of instruments that were all set up and a room full of amps that just needed to have the switches flipped.

The cast of characters - or rather, the band members: Duane Kamei, David Ritchie, Rick Fukamaki (day time), Florence Ryza (day time) and Cindy Azuma (night time) - haha, two sets, even. Oh, and me, too.

Duane knew how to play the guitar. Florence knew the piano. David and I had no musical expertise so naturally that meant we alternated banging the drums. We also tried plucking the bass with little success. Rick and Cindy sang, and so did Florence for a little bit.

The playlist: as far as we could get with Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival); Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is (Chicago); I Feel the Earth Move, and It's Too Late (Carole King). And that was all we could do.

We told Cindy her moniker would be Little Mama and Florence would be Big Mama. Florence: Hey, why am I BIG Mama?? Us: Well, uh, because Little Mama is already taken.

The whole cacophony was even memorialized on cassette tape, although its whereabouts has been unknown for over 30 years. That was more priceless than anything on a Mastercard ad but it's gone.

That's how it started. The orignal cast evolved into something different, but that day marked the beginning of Easy Livin'. Not Easy Living, or The Easy Livings, but Easy Livin'. Well, the name really came later. For the time being we uncreatively referred to ourselves as DTA, aka The Dorsey Transit Authority - even though Cindy, David and Florence went to other high schools.

You want an idea of what it was like at Duane's house that day? Proud Mary, for example? Just watch the video below but turn it completely around by 180 degrees.

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