Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Won't You See Me Tonight?


By the fall of '97, I had my own bedsit flat in North Halls. I waited to play the bounce-around sublet game until '98. I was also beginning to gig as a solo act around State College. I even bothered to play the Cafe 210 West, State College's equivalent of the Khyber or the Arlene Grocery. Still, I felt the gigs were rather tepid. I needed a band to bring the whole enterprise to life. I wrote Why Won't You See Me Tonight, as I had written Leaving Me Lonely, for Carrie Thomas. The song was unconventionally structured, but catchy enough that I started playing it at gigs. Other facets of my life at the time- my academic career at PSU and my work with Outlaw Playwrights, for example- were in a state of flux. Neither could really be resolved until I transferred to U of Penn later. I did, however, have the bright idea then that it was finally time to enter a professional recording studio. Since there were none in State College, to my knowledge, I scouted out Philly and came up with East Side Studios in Manayunk as a likely bet. Arrangements were made for me to do an eight-hour session over Thanksgiving break in November.

The session which produced Why Won't You See Me Tonight was a day-into-night session. Jim Boggia happened to be at the helm in Manayunk that day. Adding harmonium to the song was Jim's idea, and he played the part himself. The work was brisk and I left that night with a DAT tape...remember those? The East Side session became my calling card for my last year in State College. My friend Krystal Houghton also bothered to play it on the radio a number of times from East Halls. When I got the opportunity to put out Darkyr Sooner in 2000, Why Won't You See Me Tonight was an obvious choice for inclusion. It was my first real studio moment. That it was done from Manayunk is also interesting to me; Manayunk being where Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum was stationed for most of his adult life. I did, in fact, meet Jeremy in Manayunk at roughly the same time as the East Side session, and established a bunch of common interests. The coffee-shop La Tazza in Manayunk, on Cotton Street, was huge then, and Jeremy was putting out 'd' magazine with his cohorts. So, the seeds of what The Philly Free School was to be were starting to be in place.

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