Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Navy Ambassadors: Long Island Sound

"How you look is as important as how you sound."

As much as we wanted to be appreciated solely for our musicianship, we understood that Job One was to stand proudly before the public as representives of the Navy.

Throughout the fall of 1977, Navy Band Newport's rock group Long Island Sound achieved a perfect balance of appearance and musicality. Consider the opening of our typical high school performance:

  1. Principal introduces band.
  2. Soundman plays tape of "The William Tell Overture."
  3. From various corners of the auditorium, band members rush to stage, creating the impression that they're thrilled to be playing a 0830 show at Podunk High.
  4. Fog machine pours smoke onto stage.
  5. As Lone Ranger musics fades, band opens with "Theme From Rocky."
  6. At beginning of trumpet solo, students in front row begin choking on airborne chemicals from fog machine.
  7. At final, sustained high F# of trumpet solo, performer decides to jam bell of instrument directly against the microphone "so it'll cut through."
  8. At final, sustained high F# of trumpet solo, soundman decides to maximize gain on trumpet microphone "so it'll cut through."
  9. Final, sustained high F# of trumpet solo cuts though 500 pairs of eardrums like a machete through a wet pack of Lucky Strikes. Freshmen run crying from their seats, math teachers drop to the floor with heart attacks.

Undeniably, Long Island Sound looked as good as it sounded. It is noteworthy that we played in many schools, but never in the same school twice.

Monday, June 26, 2006

My Bands and Shipmates

Click these links (or scroll down) for rosters of the bands I was stationed with:

Navy Band San Francisco
Navy Band Newport, 1977-1978
School of Music Staff, 1979-1981
Navy Band Newport, 1982-1985
Seventh Fleet Band, 1986-1987

When possible, I've included names and nicknames and instruments, even for CPOs and bandmasters who were not performing.

This is to make this site more friendly for internet searching. For example, although Terry Chesson, a chief, did not play in a band during my 1977-78 tour, his shipmates from other tours would reasonably use the search terms Terry Chesson saxophone or Terrence Chesson saxophone.

Also, for internet search purposes, I have omitted ranks. Although J.J. Connor was a master chief during my tour in San Francisco, a shipmate from his first band would not likely search for "MUCM J.J. Connor."

(Actually, J.J.'s earliest shipmates would probably try to communicate with him using smoke signals, pocket mirrors and semaphore flags. That's not the point.)

The band rosters are as complete as memory allows; that's not saying much.

So, if you were stationed with me, but your name does not appear on the appropriate roster, you have 3 options:

  1. Whine about it. Whip yourself into a frenzy of red-hot resentment. How dare Frank Mullen forget you? He owes you so much, the damn SOB, how dare he...etc., etc.
  2. Get over it. Tell yourself, "Big deal; my life is in no way diminished by the fact that Frank Mullen has forgotten about me--even though I pulled him out of a few jams, and you'd think he'd remember me, after all I did for that rotten bum, etc . etc ."
  3. Do something about it. Email me and identify yourself ("Hi, Frank, remember the night we set off fire alarm in the barracks because we felt tremors and thought an earthquake had hit, but it turned out to be Chuck Looper snoring next door?")