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Thursday, January 16, 2020

STORY #2  

How I met Doreen... 
and put together a band.


I've been in sales my entire life and was working in the telecommunications industry when the Clapton thing started for me. So in this installment, I'll share two stories with you. First, how I met my wife (and partner in crime) of 25 years, 'Doreen'. Secondly, I'll share how we formed our first band in only 'One night' - literally, in about ten minutes! 

So... here goes.

In order to become a better vocalist, I was hanging out in karaoke places all over NJ and in NYC. There was a karaoke 'circuit' of sorts. One night I would sing at the Orange Lantern in Paramus, NJ and then another evening we'd all show up at Rivera's in Fairlawn, NJ and then I would venture into NYC on a weekly basis to take in a 'blues show' or a blues 'jam session'. I wasn't up to sitting in on a jam session just yet, but I would listen and take notes - and simply marvel at what some of the musicians and artists were doing.

Along the way I asked the owner of one of the karaoke companies to give me a 'gig' that I could run. And he did. My thought process was that I needed to get comfortable with being in front of the room, you know, actually running an event.  And so my first and only karaoke gig was in Bergenfield, NJ in a nice bar restaurant that was situated in the basement of a bowling alley (I couldn't make this up). And while the show was going on, we could hear the balls rolling down the lanes... right over our heads. Haha... It's true! 

So one night, I was setting up the equipment and a woman walked by me outside the club and she had on a pair of white sneakers that had lights in the soles which would 'blink' when she would walk.

It startled me because you didn't see a grown woman wearing shoes like that. So being the 'wise guy' that I am, I said, "Um, excuse me, aren't those shoes for kids?" This unknown woman turned to me and replied, "Yes, they are!" and she kept walking.

That was my first encounter with Doreen.(smile)

So I set up all the equipment and all the regulars show up and we begin so sing... and we're doing our karaoke thing, bowling balls and all. And the same woman with the 'blinking shoes' gets up to sing. And when she did, I simply couldn't believe my ears. It turns out that she was the best female vocalist I'd ever heard up till that point and I was in a state of awe. She sang her song and then sat down with her girlfriend. I immediately walked over to her table, placed a piece of paper and a pencil in front of her, looked her in the eye and said (in a rather assertive manner), "Give me your phone number!" Which she did a little while later, after some coaxing from her friend.

We started dating... and were singing all the time. It turns out that Doreen had been singing since she was about 3 years old and was a seasoned performer. She'd worked with bands in the past and had hosted karaoke gigs of her own. It wasn't long before we moved in together. That was nearly 26 years ago... 


But how do you start a band in one night - when you don't know any musicians?  

We did it! After a few months together, we decided that we wanted to start a band, but how do you do that when [at the time] you're a telecom salesman (me) and an administrative employee for a logistics company (Doreen)? And we literally didn't know ANY musicians. 

But someone had told us that there was a 'blues jam' at a place called CafĂ© Acapella in Hackensack, NJ on Tuesday nights. So on a random Tuesday night, we got dressed up in our 'Blues Outfits' and ventured up the road to the jam session in Hackensack. 

Now, understanding the 'back story' here is important. At that time, Eric Clapton was at the height of his fame. It was 1994, and he'd just won six Grammy Awards for his 'Unplugged Album' and had also released a 'Blues Album'. Clapton was on top of the world.
Also... purely by coincidence, Clapton had played Madison Square Garden over that weekend, and again on that Monday evening - the night before we walked into the Blues Jam. And keep in mind that the club in Hackensack was only about 10 miles from MSG. 

So when Doreen and I walked into the Blues Jam, everything 'stopped'. You could have heard a pin drop. I was dressed in all black with a long black leather overcoat and Doreen was dressed in what I called her 'Rocker Chick' all black outfit. But everything literally stopped and people were staring at us for a while.

There had to be thirty musicians in the place and another fifty patrons and they were all looking at us.

<< Gee, I wonder why? 

But by the end of this first evening, we had met several excellent guitar players, a bass player, and a wonderful drummer and we had literally assembled a band in only ONE NIGHT! hahaha... 

What fun! And the journey continues...

Meanwhile, keep rockin'...

Dan Molloy

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