So hanging out with Phil, Brian, and co. was great. I kind of wonder what those guys thought of me sometimes. They were all a couple years older and had a lot more experience playing and probably life in general.
I went to my first keg party because Brian's amp died on him. They called me up looking for an amp to use. My parents were cool with it so they came and picked me and my Acoustic 134 amp up and headed off to the party. I don't remember much about the party (no I wasn't drinking). I just remember thinking it was pretty damn cool to see a live band jamming and everyone having a great time.
Mike D. was at a different high school and Mike B. was in junior high so we weren't seeing a whole lot of each other but we did manage to get together frequent enough to keep the "band" going. Mike D. got us hooked up with a drummer named Tony Morosini (sp?). So another variant of the group got going. We started experimenting with some more complex music such as Rush and Led Zeppelin. Tony loved Rush and Zeppelin because the drums were challenging and the rest of us liked them because the arrangements were interesting and we had a lot of things to learn.
Phil and Brian formed a new band with a new bassist (Randy) and drummer (Reggie) called Gallows Pole. They were a better band for sure - much more solid and tight. My parents left town for a weekend at the same time that Gallows Pole needed rehearsal space. There's no mystery as to what happened next. They basically moved in for a few days. It was pretty cool. Just a weekend of music and hanging out. Phil managed to put a guitar case through a window pane in the side door. A new window pane was procured at the local hardware store. Note that I said procured vs. purchased. I don't remember who actually didn't pay for it, I just know that a new window pane became available. When Phil and I reconnected a few years ago he sent me a CD of some of the music recorded that weekend - how cool is that!?!?!
I floated around playing with various people - nothing really went anywhere but it was always good to play. There were a lot of kids that played - Ricky Adams played drums, his twin brother played guitar, Eddie Vaio (sp?) played guitar, Scott Carter (drums), John...etc. Pretty much every other block around us in our whole area had one or more people that gave music a go in some form. This was really a fantastic time to be playing. Really, it was great.
So at this point I was hip to Kiss, a lot of 60's rock (Stones, Beatles, Hendrix, etc.), some more progressive stuff like Rush and Zeppelin. I was aware of Van Halen and some current groups but I was listening to their influences rather than them directly.
I knew there was more to learn so I started seeking out more stuff to learn. I was pretty much self taught - I could read music but very slooooooowly so that wasn't really an option. For you guitar players following along, there wasn't an abundance of instructional stuff for people wanting to learn rock/pop music - it was all the books that teach you how to play Yankee Doodle Dandy. And there were no Internet sites filled with tablature for every song you'd ever want to know. I learned to use my ears. I would put a cassette in my radio each night and press record. The reason for doing it at night was less commercials and back then they used to actually play the whole side of an album pretty often. This was basically Napster in 1980 :) The next day I just learned as much as I could. Some things were stupid songs I didn't like and others were beyond my abilities but it was still valuable to try and learn as much as I could - everything from Joan Jett to Yes and everything in between. To this day I can probably play at least part of a few thousand songs LOL.