OK, I'll try not to jump around so much. I'll just talk about the first band--Suspended Animation. Your first band is like your first fuck--you never forget it. I had a great time imagining we would be rock stars. I thought we were going to be like Pink Floyd because Paul was a very creative Syd Barrett-like figure and Rich could make any weird sound on his keyboards and we played a lot of original music. And Ray, our sound guy, recorded a lot of rehearsals and gigs on cassette tapes. I loved listening to those. Not long ago he gave me a box of old tapes and I went through it but I had copies of most of the stuff already. I remember the first gig we played, with Dave McGranahan, who sang with us for a while and played harp. It was at a place in Hodgkins called the Family Tree, or something like that. I remember we had a decent turnout but we ran out of material. We huddled in the men's room and decided we could fake our way through Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy" (I'm a Man), so we did. We played a few other places, like this club called the Showcase in Lyons, and some parties.
For a short time in high school a second keyboardist named Bill Small played with us. We went into the studio once, a place called Old Plank Studios in Naperville, and recorded four songs with the late great producer Phil Bonnett. Back then just finding someplace to rehearse was a challenge. We eventually ended up in the basement of a friend, Tom Weber, whose Mom didn't mind us playing there. I went out with his sister Mary for a while. We had a good thing going but you know how it goes. Musicians get tired of each other, especially at that age. I remember times when I was a complete asshole. One time I remember we were playing in Ron's living room and Paul had invited Miro to play keyboards and I just didn't want anything to do with that and I went over and unplugged him from the PA! (Sorry, Miro.) Anyway I left the group to play with these other guys, these brothers Chris and Mike Schullo, I think their name was. We called ourselves The Intruders. We didn't play any gigs and that lasted only a summer. By this time I was in college and I met Chuck Pelkie and played in a little band with him for a few months, but we didn't play any gigs either. While I was gone Paul's girlfriend Maggie Callahan joined the group and Rich played bass parts on his keyboard. Several years later, in 1988, Rich, Ron and me got together with a different guitarist, John Callabrese, and played together again as Suspended Animation (II). More on that later.