The Tin Whistle

counterculture history and conspiracy theory

The Plan to Make Rock History: Phase 2

with 5 comments

I guess you could say Phase 2 of the Soul Assassins’ plans to make rock history began in a rehearsal studio in the East Village, when I met four people for the first time, three of whom would become longtime friends. We must have been operating on a very high magic-factor, ’cause a Hollywood screenwriter could not have concocted a better set of characters for our script.

Where to begin?

Ok, Allegra’s friend, Abbey Lavine, she’s the super hottie on the left. Notice the Betty Page haircut (long before that craze took off). In fact, Abbey once played Betty in an independent film. She was a literary scholar and librarian. A brainiac. She was also semi-famous as the world’s greatest female 8-track music collector and appeared in a documentary on the subject. She was also a go-go dancer at a Queens strip club when she needed the money, but she vetoed the idea of me coming to see that performance once so I won’t be offering up any photos along those lines. Abbey was the first vegan I ever met and she knew garage rock history as good as I did! She hailed from Boston originally, and her crowd from Boston included Dino Sorbello, who was sort of the unofficial king of the garage scene at the time. He courted Abbey for years, and even won her heart for a while, and they lived as king and queen of garage rock on Sixth Street. Some of the best bands at the time were from Boston (Lyres), and the best after-parties were always at Dino’s, where the band could crash when the sun came up. But enough about Dino. Abbey had a very sharp wit, and sometimes put some camp into her go-go dancing. I particularly remember her “bunny” moves with paws outstretched. I do have video on that move.

Kimona 117 (above, far right) had a voice, though, nobody could fuck with. The second she started singing, the energy in the room shifted, with her at the center of gravity. We instantly hailed her as the female alpha in the band  just based on voice alone. She also had great style and a voluptuous figure. Kimona wasn’t comfortable and at-home with the music the way Abby was: she had yet to get her schooling in garage rock history, but that would come easy. You can see in the picture she has not yet assumed the regal bearing of garage rock goddess she would soon attain. Kimona was struck by many tragedies, unfortunately, and was struggling with a law-suit and bad-news boyfriend the day we met her. One of her best friends was on crack. So we quickly pulled Kimona out of that scene and she became our hang-out-every-day side-kick. We all knew instantly we had a diamond, not even in the rough, she was pretty polished even back then.

Drummer is always the hardest position to fill in any band. I got a whiff of the reason why when, for a micro-second, I was going to play organ and guitar in the Soul Assassins, before I figured out all the shit I was going to have to drag around to the gigs. Well, that shit doesn’t even come close to what a drummer needs to drag around to the gigs. Brian Morse had been the real thing, a former drummer for the Finchley Boys, the most famous garage rock band of central Illinois. But Brian could not shake a stick compared with the pad-pounding Dave Rodway! Holy cow, that guy had some crazy energy and the strength of Hercules! Dave was also an accomplished martial arts expert and his idea of a fun thing was to sleep on a bed of rocks. He avoided mattresses like the plague. It softened him up too much! Dave was a rock! I’ve never seen anybody so chiseled before or since. He was the dream drummer for any rock band, and of course, other bands instantly wanted to steal him away. Dave had a blast at the rehearsal, though. He had his pick of any band, any style he wanted to go for, but he went for us. He told me that day he loved playing off my rhythm guitar. That’s Mr. Brandel on the right. I don’t think he’s been properly introduced yet.

But the Joan-Jett lookalike in the middle (top photo)? That’s Kimona’s friend  Joia Morello, who left town the day after doing one gig with us. And wouldn’t you know it, Abby knew a garage rock goddess who wanted to join. And she was a blonde, which might go good with Abby’s black, and Kimona’s red. And she would actually evolve into the greatest of all the East Village garage rock goddesses, the favorite runway model for the top designers looking to achieve that magic “East Village” effect. But you’ll have to wait for the next episode of this blog to meet her.

If you like these stories please check out the Soul Assassins Greatest Hits on bandcamp, just click the link at the top-right. Also subscribe to my email alerts so you don’t miss any future posts. And please check out my free eBooks on smashwords. And thanks for stopping by. And….

Written by Steven Hager

February 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. wonderful article.
    Too many kind words🙂
    I await the next move for the Soul Assassins!

    Dave Rodway

    February 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm

  2. Hey Steve & Kimona

    Tell me if this is correct…

    I met Kimona through an independent filmmaker – Carl Haber who contacted me to art direct a music video in ’84 or ’85 I think. He was doing a video (that made it onto MTV) with her and Jed’s band for a song called S.O.A. (state of the art). Taub (when we were in SOTA Productions at the time – again state of the art) reluctantly let me go and art direct it. The former art director had quit the production so I had to wing it.

    I came up with a glass shot where Kimona writes SOA in paint, a cheap way of writing in thin air type of effect. Kimona – you were maybe 19? I also ran into you and Carl at a nightclub some time after the shoot – remember?

    Kimona’s agent called me at High Times in ’89 to get Kimona into the Go-Go girl of the month.
    I got Jon brown to shoot it in Soho. Then we went to the office after the shoot – or was it later(?) and that’s where you first met her Steve – at HT – not in a recording studio. I seem to remember you offered her the lead Assassinette job on the spot, and Kimona I think you kind of had a funny teasing reply… like a maybe…

    At any rate what you wrote is terrific Steve.
    …setting the stage for a band comeback are ya?

    Flick Ford

    February 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm

  3. oh, here you are! wow, Steve! i LOVE that you are putting this history into writing…with pix & everything! what Flick wrote to us (via email) was right; he & i met through Carl Haber, who was directing my music video, State of the Art. Carl hired Flick as Art Director. Flick then got me for High Times’ “Party Magazine” Go-go Girl of the Month…was it February ’89? Flick, i was not 19 years old, but thank you ;.)
    …and the rest is history, which i am SO glad you’ll be recounting for all of us to enjoy. p.s.: the “Joan Jett” gal is my old buddy, Joia Morello, who, by the way, just became a grandmother!!! omG, time flies! xoK


    February 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: