In Record Store Tales #733, I revealed the name I wished to use if I ever got good enough to have a band: Joy in Blue. This week, I discovered lost recordings of the very first incarnation of the band. At least that is how I billed it on the cassette that I found.
There were three of us in my parents’ basement that day in ’92. Tim Solie on ukulele. A guy named Aaron (but not this Aaron or that Aaron) on electric guitar. Me on acoustic guitar and lead vocals. My biggest influences on this song are James Hetfield and Mike Patton, and I think you can hear that.
“(Can You Tell Me How to Get To) Sesame Street” (take two)
Written by Joe Raposo and performed by Mike, Tim & Aaron.
I was going to save it for my box set, but I’ll let you hear it for free.
I was never going to be a rock star. I knew that. I couldn’t play a song all the way through. A fella could dream, though. I carefully plotted out my super-stardom.
First I needed a name for a band. In highschool, my best friend Bob wanted to call our band Paragon. “Not Paradox,” he stressed, “but Paragon. It means we’re among the best.” We used Paragon as the name for our non-extistant band until Bob graduated highschool, at which time a real band used the name. When Bob and I went our separate ways (he sold his guitar), I settled on the name Godspeed. I wasn’t interested in doing anything “wimpy” and I wanted a name that got that across.
However, once again a real band took the name I wanted for my fake band. I needed to get more original, instead of just picking a word I liked. I came up with Joy in Blue. I liked the name because it summed up what I wanted to do with music. Listening to music is a joyful experience, but you can still get dark when expressing those inner emotions. Hence, Joy in Blue. I still like it.
I drew up some logos. Not the best ones ever, but I wanted something a kid could easily draw in a binder. Like Kiss. I even wrote some music! In 1994 I poured everything I had into a song called “Midnight”. It was roughly 20 minutes long. I had some parts recorded. The rest of it, I was unable to play — all I could do was hum it! It was meant as a Rush-like epic in eight parts. The truth is, it was easier to mash my ideas together into an eight part song than to try and write eight complete songs.
The problem with Joy in Blue was that there was nobody capable of playing the music I was hearing, a minor inconvenience. I had bigger things to plan. Album titles, projected year of releases — I plotted out the next 30 years of Joy in Blue. It was going to start with our demo tape, which would get a commercial CD release. Then three studio albums and a live record. Finally after the live record, I laid it all on the line: a double concept album! To appease the “old” fans, a few records later we’d go back to basics. I called that LP Back to the Garage, and it was to be done with the same spirit as the first demo. I knew when I wanted our box set to come out, and my solo album Sweat.
Jesus Christ…a solo album….
Think that’s all crazy? I even wrote out who I wanted to produce each album. For our early material, I wanted David Bendeth. I really liked the heavy groove he got on the Sven Gali album. I wanted to see if we could get Bob Ezrin for the concept album, and self-produce the Garage album ourselves. As we got into the tail end of our career, I realized Wolfgang Van Halen would be old enough to produce records. Therefore I pencilled in Wolfie for our last three or four albums. I also knew that I wanted us to do a proper farewell, not drag things out forever. Final albums, box sets and live recordings were planned.
All of this without being able to play more than two minutes of a song. It would have been glorious though, had I been able to figure out the music part!