Mike's Big Column
PART 4: YOU'RE YELLING IN MY EAR...

It's 1979 and the band starts making some moves on their own because nothing is happening with the record companies. Bob Thompson joins the crew. He plays guitar so he becomes the guitar man and I am his assistant and all around stagehand. I will learn lots of stuff from Bobby and I helped him learn the show. At times you would need 2 guys for the guitars. If a sting breaks and Jay Jay decides to kick over the mic stands, etc. You know what I mean.

There is also a need for changing the set up on the stage. Mark was stage right (if you're looking at the audience from the stage, that's the direction) Eddie was stage left. I think Mark needed to be closer to Tony to keep the rhythm section tight. It was much easier to hear Tony in the new spot. Personally, I was extremely happy for Mark's move. he was making me deaf in my left ear. Plus it felt like you were getting punched with the vibrations that came out of the speakers. You guys in the audience thought it was loud out there, it was fuckin murder on the stage. With Eddie on my side, it was a hell of a lot more comfortable for us. But I think the girls in the front row had a dilemma. Now they didn't know who to stand in front of. It was easier before for the JJ/Mark fans because they were together on stage. Now Dee stood between them and now they had to make a choice. You could see them shuffling around for the first couple of shows before they made their choice.

I gotta tell you folks, Eddie was the easiest guy to work with. His guitar rarely went out of tune and seldomly broke a string. If there was a need to change his guitar, he let you know and it was a 1,2,3 transition. When French needed a change, holy shit. he would crouch down like a quarterback, wave at you with his right hand like 'c'mon c'mon'.You would have to run out, turn down the head volume, switch and turn back the volume and run.

I cant remember Mark really ever needing anything except when he got something in his eye. His contacts always tortured him. when he got sweat or a hair in his eye, he never asked for it but you ran to his aid. Usually he would say, "GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME" but you knew you had to stay with him till he was OK. The running joke was mark looking like he needed something. You would run over and go "what's wrong?" He would get right in your ear and scream at the top of his lungs "FREEZE FRAME," from the J.Geils band song. well, I would jump and say fuck you and go back to work. But every time he would call you over, you knew it was going to happen but you never knew for sure if he needed help or not. Eddie gets in on it. Only he was a lot smoother. He would lean towards you and wave you close and point to the guitar. When you got close he would yell in a southern drawl "Negroes."

Like I said it was 1979. A new guy is with Jay. He is wearing clogs, has toe nail polish on. I think he had nail polish on too. Jay Jay introduces him to us. It's Joe Atlantis. French tells us he is the new road manager. Jay used to do everything but he had to start delegating some responsibility to other people.

Joe was a very accommodating guy. He also took an awful verbal beating from everyone in the beginning. But over time he became very respected. He showed he had what it takes plus he lost the clogs and got rid of the polish.(LOL)

Something wasn't right in the air...........

Until next time,
Altini

Part 1: Introductions
Part 2: Animal At Emit's
Part 3: Mike's Big Guitar Debut
Part 4: You're Yelling In My Ear...
Part 5: Security, Peacekeepers and Eddie Kramer
Part 6: Never Buy Lo Mein Fron A Bait Store
Part 7: Greetings from Asbury Park
Part 8: Ah! Hito! Hiata!! It is...Garbage-Ra!!
Part 10: Goodbye, Tony, Hello, Joey... Goodbye, Joey, Hello, Richie...
Part 11: The Gemini, Big Sal and Altini's Fan Club
Part 12: 'Where's My Corned Beef Sandwich??'