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THHB Bootlegs

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Calico Skies - Pooch - July 2012

This was recorded during the rehearsals for my 50th birthday celebration: the infamous Poochapalooza show. We were known as the M9s for that concert. The rest of the band had left for the night and I asked Vinnie to record this live in the studio as "nature intended". We did it in two takes; this was the second one. I just learned it there on the spot - both the simplified guitar part and the lyric. It was a lot of fun even though it was basically rushed. I later performed the song acoustically at Poochapalooza. It's always carried a special place for me; so pretty and heartfelt.

Calico Skies - Pooch
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Jodi's Shoes - THHB - July 2016

If you read the "Making of New Moon Smile" you are aware of the effort we put into this single track. The effort was monumental but it was a blast to see it take place. I have to say we get the most comments on this song. As mentioned it was written very quickly but the demo and studio recording continued over several months. It was quite an experience to see the song take shape and I enjoyed playing the bass on it (first time ever for me). The song itself was close to 70 tracks. You may also know that when we started recording it I got the tempo wrong - 137 beats per minute instead of the correct 148 beats per minute. OOOOOPSIE! Well we spent three sessions on the take with the wrong tempo before it was discovered.....so that was scrapped. What I have here for you is the scratch vocal and the acoustic and electric guitars at the slower tempo. This is literally how the song started. Yours truly played the electric while THHB's axman Joe Pisano did the honors on the acoustic. Enjoy this and then listen to the final New Moon Smile version. I think you will be amazed.

Jodi's Shoes 137 BPM - THHB
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Running on Empty- Change at Jamaica- October 2011

This track is from the third Change at Jamaica rehearsals for our third holiday show - the concert that never happened as our drummer Mike Draper was involved in a car accident and was not able to play drums for a significant period. This was recorded on October 17, 2011 and the wholes CD makes me feel like this was going to be our best show yet. We definitely had reached a high point as a band.

 

The line up of for this recording was: Bass/Back Up Vocals: Scott Kletzkin Congas: Omar Smith Drums: Mike Draper Keyboards/Back Up Vocals: Craig Renfrow Lead Guitar: Gary Dunn Rhythm Guitar/Lead Vocals: Michael J. Puccio

Running on Empty - Change at Jamaica
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It's Only Love - Home Recording - December 2017

No one is more supportive of THHB than my lovely Nancy. She is at every rehearsal and session and her smile brightens up whatever we are working on that day. For her birthday in January I wanted to do something different and nice and she had mentioned she loved The Beatles "It's Only Love" (a song which John Lennon wrote and hated).  Listening to it I realized I could do it on my studio software at home (which is how I write my originals - I record a demo at home and have the musicians take a listen). On this I am playing three guitars, the bass and keyboards as well as all the vocals. The drums are provided by my Beat Buddy box. It's a little ruff as compared to what Vinnie can do but I was happy with it as was Nancy.

It's Only Love - Home Recording
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New Moon Smile - THHB - June 2016

When it came to recording "New Moon Smile" I was a tad nervous as it was an original. I was of course concerned that my band mates would not like it...that is was weak or had silly lyrics. Before we settled in to record it I wanted to have a rehearsal in studio to see how it sounded. We ran through it a few times and I was thrilled that everyone on the track was into it and took it as seriously as any of the covers on the album. It was a thrill to hear something that I conceived take shape and grow through the efforts of my friends in the studio. This is the second or third time through so it is still raw but it is live and was fun to do.

The line up of for this recording was: Bass: Mike Hutt  Drums: Mike Draper Keyboards: Craig Renfrow Rhythm Guitar: Joe Pisano  Lead Guitar/Lead Vocals: Michael J. Puccio

New Moon Smile - THHB
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Back in the USSR - Decades - February 2007

Ten years before we started New Moon Smile I had my first experience recording with Vinnie at Hard Drive Studios. Our band Decades had three singers and we each picked a song from our set list for our demo; I picked "Back in the USSR" as I was very comfortable doing it and I liked the Beach Boy inspired backups. The sessions were a lot quicker and the approach was a tad different; we tended to play as a band and then make fixes/overdubs after the fact. I remember it being very tedious at times...but it was fast tracked compared to the New Moon Smile sessions! But perfection as we all know takes time and effort.

Back in the USSR - Decades
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The One I Love - Change at Jamaica - December 12, 2018

This is a video from the rehearsals for the Concert for Chris. This was actually the last practice before the show itself. "The One I Love" by REM has always been a fave of mine to perform - mostly because there is only one verse - easy to memorize the words! Anyway this clip provides a nice example of a studio performance,

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I'm Not in Love - THHB - February 17, 2016

The file name for this track is "NOT IN LOVE- 1st TAKE-MP3 Pooch 2-17". This was the third song started for "New Moon Smile" and this was just seventeen days after the first session on January 30, 2016. The track was done live with all five of us playing it together and this is really in its roughest form. It grew by leaps and bounds as we added many tracks to it: more keyboards, percussion, saxophone and backing vocals. NOTE: I have said many times Craig really shines on this track and the session where we laid four different keyboard tracks down all played by him is a very fond memory for me.

I'm Not in Love - THHB
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Behind the Wall of Sleep - Change at Jamaica - November 14, 2018

This is a recording from the rehearsals for the Concert for Chris. Joe Pisano emerges from the shadows of Hard Drive Studios to handle the lead vocals on the Smithereens' "Behind the Wall of Sleep". Joe does an excellent job and Gary's solo is spot on. Having played live three times in the last three months this is one of my favorite songs to play.

Behind the Wall of Sleep - Change at Jamaica
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Short Skirt, Long Jacket - The M9s - November 24, 2012

These next two videos come from my 50th birthday extravaganza the infamous Poochaploza show held November 24, 2012. This song by Cake was definitely out of character for me but was definitely a crowd favorite that night. I did forget the first few lines but I am getting older right? Despite that it is still one of my fave performances of all time!

Behind the Wall of Sleep - Change at Jamaica - November 14, 2018

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Whatever Gets You Thru the Night - The M9s - November 24, 2012

Always a huge favorite of mine and included in 2018's New Moon Smile this was the second time I did it live. It was definitely a trip and and we did it pretty tight....maybe a little loose in the middle! Again it was a crowd pleaser and it was a thrill to do it in front of a hundred folks.

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Our House - Home Recording - January 2019

So once again Nan's birthday rolled around - it seems to happen every year. So in order to spoil her I decided to do another home recording of a song she loved - CSN's "Our House". It's all piano and I don't play piano  but those of you who know Big Mike know these little things NEVER stand in my way. Luckily it was not a very hard song and after ten hours of practice and recording I had the piano done.....the rest even went faster! LOL. Needless to see by the end I was cursing Graham Nash and I KNOW I spent more time recording my version then CSN did on theirs. Shout out to Vinnie and Joe Pisano for lending their ears to this project. Happy Bday Nan....you are officially spoiled.

Our House - Home Recording
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Black Magic Woman/Gypsey Queen - Change at Jamaica- October 2011

Another track from the third Change at Jamaica rehearsals for our third holiday show - the concert that never happened as our drummer Mike Draper was involved in a car accident and was not able to play drums for a significant period. Definitely expanding ourselves a bit with these two Santana favorites that the band just cooked on.

 

The line up of for this recording was: Bass/Back Up Vocals: Scott Kletzkin Congas: Omar Smith Drums: Mike Draper Keyboards/Back Up Vocals: Craig Renfrow Lead Guitar: Gary Dunn Rhythm Guitar/Lead Vocals: Michael J. Puccio

Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen - Cange at Jamaica
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Strawberry Fields Forever - The M9s- November 24, 2012

Simply my favorite song EVER. John Lennon's lyrics were never more poetic and his voice never so well suited as it is on the Beatles version of this song. We could not not replicate the recording live  and the song itself was released in the key of "approximately Bb"...meaning they recorded it in B and A and meshed the two versions together....in the key of "approximately Bb". We just did a simple arrangement at Poochapalooza and I got to live out a dream of playing it live....something John himself never got to do.

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Differrent Time, Different Place - Change at Jamaica - November 14, 2018

I wanted to include one of the original compositions from Hello Brooklyn in the concert for Chris. I had never played a composition of mine live with a full band. This song has an interesting history as I started it and then let it lie for 6 months; I don't think it ever would have been finished EXCEPT I showed the lyrics to Nancy and she was like "Michael you need to put this on the album". She liked that it was story song about bad timing in two people's lives. We have all been there. Nancy (God bless her she does listen to the songs intently) has said to me a lot of my songs tie back to remembering the past. Vinnie has always said to me write what you feel, what you experience. This is definitely one of those times. Anyway I selected it for the show as it was pretty straight forward and has a bounce to it. The final album version will be markedly different but I like this rehearsal version as well.

Different Time, Different Place - Change at Jamaica
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Ziggy Stardust - False Alarm - November 26, 2004

I always felt that if you liked 40% of your band's set list you were doing great. Sometimes your bandmates throw out a song you would never think to do. This was one of those. I was never a big Bowie fan but I have to say once I sat down to study and learn the song I totally enjoyed doing it. Chris Halka does an outstanding job on the understated lead guitar parts; these are just audible but critcal to the feel of the song.

Ziggy Stardust - False Alarm
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Day Tripper - False Alarm - November 26, 2004

Although the Beatles by far the greatest rock band ever.....I never really push fr a lot of their songs. Certain songs are overdone and others....well there always seems to be one note that is just really hard to hit. Day Tripper is BOTH! But it is a fun song and there are some cool parts - the tambourine in the begining and the background vocals during the solo - so there you go. This rehearsal is pretty tight and it makes me want to grab my Casino and strum that lovely open E chord all over again!

Day Tripper - False Alarm
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Secret Agent Man - False Alarm - November 26, 2004

This was the first 45 RPM record I ever owned. You remember...the little records with the big holes. My dad bought it for me and I remember being 5 years old running around the apartment singing this at the top of my voice. Its a good memory if you can believe it. Over 50 years later I am still singing it.....and a friend asked me about a recent show "are you doing Secret Agent Man"....and of course we did!

Secret Agent Man - False Alarm
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The Story of My Life - Change at Jamaica- October 17, 2011

This track is from the third Change at Jamaica rehearsals for our third holiday show - the concert that never happened as our drummer Mike Draper was involved in a car accident and was not able to play drums for a significant period. This was recorded on October 17, 2011 and the wholes CD makes me feel like this was going to be our best show yet. Craig steps out of the shadows to handle the lead vocals on this Social Distortion ditty. We never did get to play this live.

 

The line up of for this recording was: Bass/Back Up Vocals: Scott Kletzkin  Drums: Mike Draper Keyboards/Lead Vocals: Craig Renfrow Lead Guitar: Gary Dunn Rhythm Guitar/Back Up Vocals: Michael J. Puccio

The Story of My Life - Change at Jamaica
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Folsom Prison Blues - Change at Jamaica Reboot - August 2014

This is a rehearsal for the Songs for Steph concert held in her memory on August 27, 2014. Steph had passed in June 2014 from breast cancer and was loved by everyone who knew her. Three bands teamed up for a night of rock and roll to raise money for her sons' college fund. CAJR had the pleasure of backing up the lovely and talented Rich Aebly on this track during the show BUT I sang in rehearsals. Just one of those rare items Ilike to share.

 

Folsom Prison Blues - Change at Jamaica Reboot
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All Day and All of the Night -THHB - May 2019

A nifty rehearsal track for the infamous June 7, 2019 show at the Front Street Pub in Massapequa, New York. For a long time I resisted doing this song but once we started playing it it was a blast.The guys knew it and it fell together pretty quick. And yes that is the lovely Nancy working the backups with Joe Pisano.

All Day and All of the Night - THHB
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Catch the Wind - Pooch - August 24, 2019

Audio from my solo acoustic performance of this classic Donovan tune - dedicated to my lovely Nancy. This was done at the infamous Rich Aebly BBQ where we partied like it was 1899. I just learned it that morning but was glad Nancy seemed to enjoy it  so much.; you can hear  her and our manager Colonel Ed Costello chatting it up.

Catch the WInd - Pooch
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All along the Watchtower - Decades - August 24, 2019

This a jam from one of the first rehearsals we had as Decades.  This has always been an all time favorite of mine but this jam is more akin tot he Dylan original than Jimi's Hendrix's better know version. I later performed Jimi's version with Change at Jamaica in 2010. Over the years I have listened to this version with great affection.

All Along The Watchtower - Decades
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All Along the Watchtower - Decades - August 13, 2006

This a jam from one of the first rehearsals we had as Decades.  This has always been an all time favorite of mine but this jam is more akin tot he Dylan original than Jimi's Hendrix's better know version. I later performed Jimi's version with Change at Jamaica in 2010. Over the years I have listened to this version with great affection.

All Along The Watchtower - Decades
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New Moon Smile (backing tracks) - THHB - December 11, 2016

I cheated here with this bootleg: its been on the New Moon Smile album page for months. It plays when the page is opened. This was the first time I heard it in such a finished format. I was shocked at how great it sounded (I know ...I know....I am partial). Most of you may think we record as a band but that's not the case. We layer the instruments one at a time over a click track (a metronome) so that everything is in time. Usually we do a rhythm gutar or a piano first and then eveything else follows. But those first instruments lay the ground work for the song and everything is added later. Often we think of things as the song is in process. I suggest you take a close listen to this track and hear all the nuances going on; it is very busy.

New Moon Smile (backing tracks) - THHB
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I Can't Explain - THHB -August 8, 2019

The Who went on at Woostock at 4:00AM on Sunday, August 17,1969. This was supposedly the last day of the festival but the schedule was now in a shambles. They performed most of Tommy which was released in May of that year. This was the first song I ever sang way back in college in May of 1985 and we learned it just for the Woodstock shows.

I Can't Explain - THHB
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White Rabbit - THHB -August 8, 2019

Right after the Who the Jefferson Airplane came on....about 6:30 in the morning. Wow! Gracie told the 400,000 plus crowd to be ready for some morning maniac music which the band promptly delivered: their set is considered among the best of the whole weeked. I do love Gracie and I do love thhis song but I thought it was a bit of a stretch until Nathan suggested we do the version by The Damned. WE kind of combined both versions and I do love Marcelo's take on Jorma's leads and Nathan's drumming on this track.

White Rabbit - THHB
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White Rabbit - THHB -August 26, 2019

Right after the Who the Jefferson Airplane came on....about 6:30 in the morning. Wow! Gracie told the 400,000 plus crowd to be ready for some morning maniac music which the band promptly delivered: their set is considered among the best of the whole weeked. I do love Gracie and I do love thhis song but I thought it was a bit of a stretch until Nathan suggested we do the version by The Damned. WE kind of combined both versions and I do love Marcelo's take on Jorma's leads and Nathan's drumming on this track.

White Rabbit - THHB
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Purple Haze - THHB - September 9, 2019

Jimi Hendrix was the final act of the Woodstock festival - following of all things Sha-na-na. By then it was 9:00AM Monday, August 18,1969 and the crowd had dwindled to a mere 30,000....but those last group of concert goers were treated to one of the most iconic performances in the history of rock which was highlighted by Jimi's understated protest against the war in Vietnam - his version of the Star Spangled Banner. The very next song was Purple Haze. We learned this for the Woodstock shows and it is one of our faves to do live.

Purple Haze - THHB
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Ticket to Ride - THHB - August 19, 2019

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Its always a little weird doing a Beatles song. We had never done "Ticket to Ride" before; I don't know why perhaps because its a little sullen. But att Nathan's behest we learned it and it became a favorite to play. I love how Nathan got that unusual drum part by Ringo down to a tee and doing the double speed ending was fun. This is ffrom one of the early rehearsal this summer.

Ticket to Ride - THHB
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New Moon Smile (Mix 2) - THHB - December 21, 2016

This is an early mix of the first song I had written since college. As opposed to recording a cover doing an original  is a bit trickier: the song may be written but the recording process often uncovers opportunities to improve upon the song. Mixing will also often change the feel of the tune. This mix does have a different vibe than the one released.

New Moon Smile (Mix 2) - THHB
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Purple Haze - THHB - August 19, 2019

From the same practice as a ticket to ride, Nancy decided to film us on her phone. Again we were in the midst of lerning it but I was amazed at how fast Marcelo got down Jimi's part. A blast to play for sure.

Pipeline - Change at Jamaica - December 13, 2010

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I filmed a live studio rehearsal for Change at Jamaica's 2010 Holiday show at LIRR. About 10 close friends were in attendance (as you can hear from the offscreen clapping). I always had an affinity for those old 60s surfing tunes. "Pipeline" is a classic example of those tunes.....although Craig added some vocals to this track. By the way...I turned 48 that day!

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It Don't Come Easy - THHB featuring Kenny Bennet - November 20, 2019

A nice rehearsal of Ringo's classic hit. I always wanted to try this song and Music for Mittens 2019 was a good opportunity. I think we performed it with a good vibe from the the opening symbols (where I am asking David to use he special tampon sticks) to the final ringing guitar note from Tom. his was the very first song played at Mittens and I think it a good choice.

It Don't Come Easy - THHB
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One Love, One Heart - Change at Jamaica  - Augustst 8, 2010

A rehearsal from fall 2011 for the LIRR Holiday show that never was. Change at Jamaica was trying some different genres and this was our attemtp t reggae. I have to see the music was really solid (we were not focusing on the vocals...just the musical groove). Gary was not there and I had trouble on the upbeat; it too quite a bit of practice to nail this puppy for me. But at this practicewe were firing on all cylinders for sure.

One Love, One Heart - Change at Jamaica
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Long Time Gone - Pooch - January 2020

Well its basically a tradition now for Nancy to wake up on her birthday and get a song in her email. As usual I play all the instruments except for drums (BTW drums are really hard....lol....just go sit behind a set and tell me its not intimidating). As usual it came down tot he wire but it was ready for her on January 26t. This is a classic tune that was done at Woodstock and as you probably know I really got into the show on its 50th ANniversay last summer.

Long Time Gone - Pooch
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Train in Vain - The M9s - November 12, 2012

Poochapalooza was a celebration of my 50th birthday as well as a reason to collect toys for Toys for Tots. The M9s play two sets accompanied by many guest musicians. This clip is from the last  rehearsal at Hard Drive Studios before the show and I was a bit frustrated because we started "Come Together" like 4 times and I kept forgetting the words (its not easy...you try!). This is a song that we did in college back in 1982-83....but I never sang it until Poochapalooza.

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Something - Change at Jamaica Reboot - August 25, 2014

Another rehearsal outtake from the Songs for Stephanie show. Given our sense of loss this was one of the emotional highlights of the show. We stole the arrangement from The Concert for George held in Novemeber 2020 and featured Paul McCartney doing a duet with Eric Clapton. ILike Paul I play ukelele on the track - a first for me. It also was the first time I worked with Joe Pisano on a musical project. Joe as we all know went on to become THHB's beloved "Axman".

Something - Change at Jamaica Reboot
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Boys - False Alarm - April 10, 2005

Chris Halka and I had a slew of bands from 2002 through 2008. This line up of False Alarm was the rawest one in my opinion. We played hard and fast with the rock and roll. The  music was not tight but it did rock.  Basically this was fueled by Tony our new bass player at the time. Don our drummer ably kept us going. The set list morphed along too. We added "Boys" and I learned the leads - kinda of. This live performance in front of a room full of our friends captured just how wild and willy we could be.

Boys - False Alarm
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Funny the Way It Is- Change at Jamaica  - December 16, 2010

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CAJ's second holiday show took place on December 16, 2010. As the previous year's show went over so well there was a little more pressure to be just as good. We expanded the set to 11 songs and everyone had input this time. More songs meant more rehearsal and this one proved very difficult to get tight. We did bust Draper's shoes a lot as he picked it. It's mot technically that challenging to play but it has a vibe and a feel. We almost dropped it a few times; it just never clicked but finally two weeks before the show it just came together.. At that point I thought it was our best song (Nancy loves the film of this song specifically BTW). It is a classic Dave Matthews Band song about life's little ironies. On a side note the awesome LIRR A/V squad filmed this with two cameras and then did all the editing. The result is a great film of the show - hats off to Glen and Joe.

The Rising- Change at Jamaica - August 8, 2011

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Another rehearsal outtake from the show that never happened: the CAJ Holiday Show 2011. As you recall Mike Draper was in a serious car accident and could not perform. The "Vinnie Basement Tapes" highlights some of the tracks planned for the show. But this one was missing; I don't remember why. It's also a bit odd that I have this outtake as Gary was not there; I usually did not see the point of taping anything when someone was not at the rehearsal. But I think Vinnie did this on his own....and the CD only has seven tracks on it (they usually have 20). This was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and we wanted to do this song in memorialize that tragedy. I think its rather nice and am thankful to Nnancy for pointing it out to me as a bootleg candidate.

The Rising - Change at Jamaica
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Come Together - The M9s  - November 12, 2012

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The Poochapalooza show rehearsals were drawing to a close.....and I could NOT remember the lyrics to "Come Together"....can you believe it? You try ...get one verse right...just one. Anyway...this is NOT that video. This is about 30 minutes later after I messed up 4 times in a row and regained composure. THAT video is very amusing and I am sure it will be posted at some point but not now. Tis song has a special place in my heart as it was one of the tunes that got me into the Beatles. I am glad to have a rehearsal video of it for your viewing pleasure

The Rising- Change at Jamaica - August 8, 2011

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Another rehearsal outtake from the show that never happened: the CAJ Holiday Show 2011. As you recall Mike Draper was in a serious car accident and could not perform. The "Vinnie Basement Tapes" highlights some of the tracks planned for the show. But this one was missing; I don't remember why. It's also a bit odd that I have this outtake as Gary was not there; I usually did not see the point of taping anything when someone was not at the rehearsal. But I think Vinnie did this on his own....and the CD only has seven tracks on it (they usually have 20). This was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and we wanted to do this song in memorialize that tragedy. I think its rather nice and am thankful to Nnancy for pointing it out to me as a bootleg candidate.

The Rising - Change at Jamaica
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Heart Full of Soul (Take 10 Instrumental Tracks) - THHB- July 23, 2016

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I loved working on New Moon Smile as everyone was so into it. As mentioned elsewhere this song was added after I heard it on the radio. I liked it a lot and said hey we can play that. It's straight forward and due to the miracle of tracking I played ALL the guitars on it.  On the final product I also tracked ALL the vocals.....to get what is known in the BIZ as the "Pooch" sound. AT first it was daunting as the soloist on the track was none other than Jeff Beck but with some practice I did get the feel down. And yes....we did do it a tad fast...so apologies to the Yardbirds.
 

Heart Full of Soul - THHB
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I Won't Back Down - THHB - November 25, 2019

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A rehearsal for the 2019 Music for Mittens Show where we had the pleasure to back up the incomparable Kenny Bennet. Kenny being Kenny picked a song I totally hate which is the good thing about working with other musicians: you sometimes play tunes you may NEVER play otherwise. I gave subtle hints how I felt about this song "Hey...this song really sucks" or "I hate playing this song....shoot me now" but I don't think any of the others picked up on it. Anyway everyone else liked it so I went along and you know...when its all said and done, I hate this song.

I Won't Back Down - THHB
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Behind the Wall of Sleep - THHB - November 25, 2019

For a song I never heard a few years ago...I do end up playing it a lot...and with all different versions of TTHB! This rehearsal is from the preparation for Music for Mittens 2019. Its a great, fun rock song which audiences respond well too. I like this version as its a bit raw arounf te dges and maybe a tad too fast!

Behind the Wall of Sleep - THHB
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Let It Be Me (Take 1) - THHB - January 30, 2016

This was recorded on the first day of the New Moon Smile sessions January 30, 2016.....and we only had enough time to do it once. I had practiced many times so I was very comfortable. This is just me on my acoustic guitar; everything you hear on the finished track was added later. Vinnie is a studio whiz...its amazing what we aere able to do with Vinnie's guidance to take this simple track and make it what it ultimately became.

Let it Be Me (Take 1) - THHB
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Secret Agent Man - Shadows 58 -  November 13, 2020

Well it did not take much to get me on stage...especially with my new lemon burst Les Paul. This is now my official theme song!

Secret Agent Man - Shadows 58 -  November 13, 2020

Well it did not take much to get me on stage...especially with my new lemon burst Les Paul. This is now my official theme song!

Secret Agent Man - Shadows 58 -  November 13, 2020

Well it did not take much to get me on stage...especially with my new lemon burst Les Paul. This is now my official theme song!

Crossroads/White Room- The Provacateurs -  November 13, 2020

Well we surprised Nancy...she did not know I was going up with her on these tunes. Actually she did not seem surprised. What was surprising was that I went up for "Crossroad" having never played it before. Anyway I sounded pretty good on it - especially when I turn the volume knob down to "1".

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Somewhere Only We Know - Pooch - January 26, 2021

So the tradition continues - year four of Nancy's Birthday song. Every January 26th when she wakes up there is a birthday song in her email. She never knows the title until she opens the MP3. This was a deep cut. I know she heard it before but not as much as the other BDay songs. It was challenging as the piano part while not difficult is all over the place.....but I record one measure at a time....lol and its pretty spot on. It was a bear and I started it in June.....and finished it January...just in time.

As usual.

Somewhere Only We Know - Pooch
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Keep on Rockin' Me Baby - Change at Jamaica - November 18, 2018

One of the things about playing with new people is they sometimes push you in a different direction. I had never played with Greg Maurer before and he was our drummer for the Concert for Chris. I asked him for some songs and throw out a few Steve Miller tunes. I love a lot of Steve Miller tunes but had never attempted one. This was not an easy song to sing and this was one of the few times we actually dropped the key. But we had a lot of fun with this one.

Keep on Rockin' Me Baby Change at Jamaica - Change at Jamaica
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Fortunate Son - Shadows 58 -  February 27, 2021

Nancy and I miss live music and were glad to go see our brother band Shadows 58 go rehearse. It was a real treat and I did a few songs with them.....spontaneously of course. Luckily I always lug my Les Paul around with me......

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Heart Full of Soul - Change at Jamaica Reboot -  November 28, 2018

I am always surprised this is not heard more either on the radio or in live performances; it truly is a gem from the mid-1960s. When I first noticed it (see The Making of New Moon Smile) I was like its got to be on the album. Then after it was on the album.....I was like I got to play it live! LOL...so here is a studio rehearsal from Hard Drive.

Heart Full of Soul - Change at Jamaica
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Warm and Beautiful (early mix) -  June 14,2016

This came together so quick that there really are not many outtakes or alternate mixes. Freddie play a great piano; he is beyond stellar. And to get to do this song was really a dream come true. Like Heart Full of Soul it's simple (although there was an A+ chord in there....Freddie can explain that a lot better than me) and I think we only did two takes....which meant we either did great....or terrible and Vinnie felt we would not get better!

Warm and Beautiful - THHB
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Running on Empty - On or Close - December 15, 2011

As chronicled elsewhere the CAJ 2011 show did not happen as Draper was involved in a serious car accident which thankfully was not fatal.  Putting that dreadful thought behind us we needed to focus  on doing a show without him. We decided to go with an intimate acoustic set and enlisted the services of Rich Aebly. This is a clip from the sound check the night before the actual show.

Gimme Three Steps/Call Me The Breeze - The Provacateurs -  June 4, 2021

The Bartinis show of June 4, 2021 was definitely one that will stand out. The Provocateurs invited me up for a few songs and stretching the envelope a bit I did these two Lynerd Skynerd songs which I had never done before. These tunes are centerpieces to their set and it was gracious that they allowed be to perform them. I think the video catches the energy of that night perfectly.

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Tough Enough - Change at Jamaica -  December 17, 2009

This was one song I always wanted to do and it was one of the easy picks for the first LIRR Diversity Day we did. I thought it fun and a good fit for my voice. A lot of the songs we did that day - "Secret Agent Man" and "Green River" come to mind - where safe picks as I had down them in the recent past; this was one that was more of a risk. It was a blast to play but strangely I have not played it since.

Tough Enough - Change at Jamaica
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C'mon Everybody - THHB -  October 4,  2019

Marcelo, Nathan and Joe who I did the 2019 THHB World Tour with have a cutting age with regard to their musical tastes. A lot of the classic rock songs we played were at my instigation. However they had been doing two Eddie Cochran songs as staples "C'mon Everybody" and "Summertime Blues". We added a third "Twenty Flight Rock" (this was the song that got Paul McCartney in the Beatles) and there you go...an Eddie trifecta. This was from the last date on the tour and as always was a crowd pleaser.

C'mon Everybody - THHB
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Crossroads - KJ Farrels Jam-  July 25, 2021

Like I said the live appearance went on all summer long.  This was a particular treat as this band included some stand out KJ Farrell's Sunday Night Jam regulars (Thanks Mike, Glen, Scott and Phil) It was the first jam in eons and while I go a lot to watch some great musicians I do not participate all that often. Well we were told everyone had to partake and I was excited to go up with these guys and do a Classic Clapton tune.

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Brand New Cadillac - False Alarm -  November 13,  2005

For some reason this edition of the myriad of bands Chris and I had in the early 2000s always played raucous and full tilt rock and rock and roll; it was really no holds barred. Originally a B side (remember those folks?) by Vince  Taylor in 1959. The Clash covered it twenty years later on their classic album London Calling. Here we took our usual refined and low key approach.

Brand New Cadillac - False Alarm
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Long Time Gone - The Provacateurs -  July 14, 2021

The Provacateurs were kind enough to let me sit in on a few songs at their Gig at the Loft in Bellmore on Friday, July 16, 2021. Unfortunately although we prepared CSN's "Long Time Gone" we did not get a chance to perform it that night. As one of Nancy's fave CSN songs and a fan of when I try to match Croz's vocals. I present it here for your viewing pleasure.

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You're the Reason (demo) - Pooch -  April 8,  2017

One of the great things about releasing the album is I have a backlog of a few dozen musical tracks - demos, alternative studio tracks and even a few live ones from Hello Brooklyn. This demo of the "You're the Reason" was the first demo completed as well as the first song started for the album. I am very proud of this track as I play everything but the drums (these are provided by my rhythmic friend Mr. Best Buddy). That's right I played acoustic, electric, bass, piano and even the French Horn (from a keyboard). Each instrument was  recorded a few measure at a time and I did use cut and paste freely on parts which were repetitive. The quality of the performance was far better than those of New Moon Smile and I mastered getting the drums on beat for this one - kind of important. And no this is NOT about Nancy who I met a few weeks after this was completed BUT it could have easily been about her.

You're The Reason (demo) - Pooch
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Hello Brooklyn (Live)  - THHB -  October 4, 2019

When we embarked on our 2019 World Tour  one of the surprises was we included the as of yet unreleased title track from Hello Brooklyn. Defintely the most raucous song I ever wrote (with the possible exception of  "Funk 62", Marcelo, Nathan and Joe also play on this track on the recorded album version (although Joe played Rhythm guitar on the studio track while Dave Brenner ably handled bass duties). It was a blast to play one of my own songs live and I was happy at the reaction it got from the crowd.

Oh by the way...PLAY LOUD!

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Billie (Instrumental Basic Track) - THHB -  November 27,  2018

So Vinnie always says you write songs about things you experience; this is certainly true for "Billie". In 2017 I had rescued a senior Shih Tzu who had been left in a kill shelter down south. I had her for eleven months before I lost her. I was devastated. All family pets (but especially our dogs) become an integral part of out lives and families. This was one of the songs that just popped out; within 3 moths we were recording it. Enter Kenny Kaplan who plays an incredible acoustic piece on this track. This is the basic accompaniment to which Kenny added some guitar fills later on. This stands on its own and Kenny does a beautiful job, hitting the perfect sweet spot of emotion.

Billie (Instrumental Basic Track) - THHB
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I Won't Back Down (Live)- THHB -  February 10,  2018

Back to the song I hate the most to play. Joe has taken over the vocals....so I hate it a little bit less....but I still hate. Am I clear.....I hate it. Anyway this is from a live performance at Bartinis and truth be told the song suits Joe's voice....mostly cause I Hate it.

I Won't Back Down - THHB
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Woodstock - THHB -  December 26,  2022

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That's right....the day after Christmas we were back in the studio - honing our craft. One of Nancy's biggest influences has been getting me into CSNY as well as the Woodstock Festival (as I always say 3 days of Peace and Music....and fifty years of making money off of it!). Anyway this song was written by Joni Mitchell and when we tried to play her version there were tons of really strange and unusual chords.....but when I got the music for CSNY's versions....Gm......C7.....more to our liking! This is a rollicking reharsal recorded as our take on it was beginning to gell.

Woodstock - THHB
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Take it Easy - The Provacateurs with Pooch -  July 7,  2021

Part of the rehearsals for the Covid shows in 2021, this was a tune I had never done before. It is a great song bu I have to admit the chord changes threw me. And as always its great to sit in with the Provacateurs....

Take it Easy - - The Provacateurs with Pooch
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China Grove - THHB -  June 19,  2023

At first I was a little hesitant to try this but after the first rehearsal I was hooked. A fun song to play. And you never hear it live anymore. Two great things going for it. We do love playing it and Darren does a great solo. Nancy is fun to watching banging the keys.....a keeper!

China Grove - The Homeless House Band
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These Boots are Made for Walking - THHB -  June 15,  2023

When we play live Nancy always interacts with the audience....she is a natural. Anyway I was looking for a vehicle for her to sing and this song came up. The guys really like playing it and she sure likes singing it. I play the trumpet section on the keys to add a little flavor to what otherwise is straightforward song.

These Boots are Made for Walking - The Homeless House Band
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Blitzkrieg Bop- THHB -  April 17,  2023

Dave has a nice voice so we needed a song for him to cut his vocal chops on.....who better to emulate that Joey Ramone! Brillant!Any way the song is a raver and a crowd pleaser for those of us who went to college in the 70s or 80s.

Blitzkrieg Bop - The Homeless House Band
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Jodi's Shoes - THHB - July 2016

If you read the "Making of New Moon Smile" you are aware of the effort we put into this single track. The effort was monumental but it was a blast to see it take place. I have to say we get the most comments on this song. As mentioned it was written very quickly but the demo and studio recording continued over several months. It was quite an experience to see the song take shape and I enjoyed playing the bass on it (first time ever for me). The song itself was close to 70 tracks. You may also know that when we started recording it I got the tempo wrong - 137 beats per minute instead of the correct 148 beats per minute. OOOOOPSIE! Well we spent three sessions on the take with the wrong tempo before it was discovered.....so that was scrapped. What I have here for you is the scratch vocal and the acoustic and electric guitars at the slower tempo. This is literally how the song started. Yours truly played the electric while THHB's axman Joe Pisano did the honors on the acoustic. Enjoy this and then listen to the final New Moon Smile version. I think you will be amazed.

Jodi's Shoes 137 BPM - THHB
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Running on Empty- Change at Jamaica- October 2011

This track is from the third Change at Jamaica rehearsals for our third holiday show - the concert that never happened as our drummer Mike Draper was involved in a car accident and was not able to play drums for a significant period. This was recorded on October 17, 2011 and the wholes CD makes me feel like this was going to be our best show yet. We definitely had reached a high point as a band.

 

The line up of for this recording was: Bass/Back Up Vocals: Scott Kletzkin Congas: Omar Smith Drums: Mike Draper Keyboards/Back Up Vocals: Craig Renfrow Lead Guitar: Gary Dunn Rhythm Guitar/Lead Vocals: Michael J. Puccio

Running on Empty - Change at Jamaica
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It's Only Love - Home Recording - December 2017

No one is more supportive of THHB than my lovely Nancy. She is at every rehearsal and session and her smile brightens up whatever we are working on that day. For her birthday in January I wanted to do something different and nice and she had mentioned she loved The Beatles "It's Only Love" (a song which John Lennon wrote and hated).  Listening to it I realized I could do it on my studio software at home (which is how I write my originals - I record a demo at home and have the musicians take a listen). On this I am playing three guitars, the bass and keyboards as well as all the vocals. The drums are provided by my Beat Buddy box. It's a little ruff as compared to what Vinnie can do but I was happy with it as was Nancy.