A few days before Christmas, 2006, I played my last gig with John Deere Green. Eleven evenings later, I was standing on the sidewalk of my daughter's apartment on Albany's Yates St. trying to understand what had just happened - why did my beautiful and loving daughter Lesley decide to take her life at the age of 25? Why was I arguing with the chief of Police about trying to get my wife there? Why was I making these sounds I'd never heard before? Sounds of grief and anger and disbelief and shock?
Those and all of the dozens of questions that followed kept me away from my drums for nearly a year and a half. I couldn't even listen to the radio, let alone sing or play one in a band. But on Father's day, 2008, my brother in law Gary persuaded me to sit in with his band a the "Bullfrog Inn" for "a couple of songs." I ended up playing for a whole set, felt that I had been awakened to the life and energy that was still in me. Not just to drum, but to work harder at answering questions and helping others avoid having to endure the same pain that I am working through.
A few months later, I was playing on stage at Northern Lights at Lesley's 27th birthday with her friends and their High School Band "Catfish." It was a Catfish reunion and they needed a Grapka in the band. Oh Lesley was there, all right, and I know she was proud of her Dad for helping to organize the "Musical Celebration of Life," (Http://www.mylegacylive.com) to honor her memory and her Legacy. But more importantly, she would have told her friends, proudly, "That's my Dad up there on the Drums." I drummed a whole set with my long time friend Jay Dugan and his original band, "The Notes."
For over two years, Jay and I were the nucleus of "The Sting," a popular Jersey Shore band. We are back, I am back, with my drums. We are getting together again on March 21 for a "rehearsal."
The songs on this site belong to the Notes and to Catfish. Over time, I will post songs from all of my bands that have been preserved on cassette tape and CD lo, these 30 years.
The dream lives on, and so will my love for Lesley - forever.
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- ► 2008 (12)