Back in 1969, I was on an exchange program from my small WASPy men's college in Maine, where the beer guzzling jocks of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity ruled supreme, and we anti-war music loving 'hippies' were called Freaks, (even by our own kind!).

Anyway, here I was at NYU in Greenwich Village, frittering away my parents' remaining fortunes by reading Byron and Shelley (my favorite poets, especially Shelley - the ultimate cool dude) and watching the Philosophy Professors score big points by swinging their Existentialist Chains in front of all the gullible impossibly foxy coeds, so easily impressed were they (but not by me!)

Oh yeah, I was also, without realizing it, carreening irresistably towards my destiny to be a musician - I was playing in this pretty cool band, sometimes called Fluid, sometimes called Ruster Patem, sometimes Little Brother...Our major influences were Traffic, The Band, and Procol Harum, with some Taj Mahal, Soft Machine and Stones mixed in too. But we did mostly original material, songs, and long jams, sometimes composed with hallucinogenic chisels and easels. The only credo was "make it real each time" and its corrolary, "you can't step in the same river twice" so we kind of had this unspoken rule not to ever repeat anything. Except for certain magical safe spaces discovered on other 'planets', which I guess, were okay to return to.

Now that I'm a parent myself, with a kid in college, frittering away my money (NOT REALLY! she's 10x more serious than I ever was about her studies, and works and starves herself like St. Teresa, and may one day go to Africa and REALLY resemble St. Teresa!) Anyway, when I was at NYU, the 2nd half of the year, my folx were faced with the prospect of sending NYU yet another piece of their hard earned lucre, or else 'keeping it in the family' - so they proposed this to me: I could crash with them, at their uptown crib, and they'd give ME the money that they would have paid NYU (now one of NYC's richest landlords, I hear...)...

So of course, I said, ummmmmm.

And then the band decided we needed to go into the Recording Studio to put some of our tunes down on tape - to take the next step to Fame, which seemed all but assured to us at that point in our young passionate quest. A&R Studios on 7th Avenue took our music and our money, and spit out a great tape, which we took around and began to learn about the crushing nature of the music business.

So I lived under my parents roof, at 20 for around 6 months.

And it was pretty hellish.

Anyway, one night, we'd both had enough of each other, and the fight didn't seem about to end.
So I walked out, and slept on a park bench.

So for that one night, at least, I WAS a Drifter.

Even though the bench was on Fifth Avenue.

 back to the present