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This Polaroid was taken a long time ago before I was a father — taken by my own dad actually. It was in the small basement of our small house in Queens, New York, where I spent most of my non high school time playing my instruments, writing music, and recording.
My parents were very supportive. They put up with the loud racket of me and my friends clumsily self-teaching ourselves to become rock n roll musicians. Smells of burning incense cones I bought from black Muslims on Main Street wafted into the kitchen above the basement.
Other friends would come by and crowd the tiny rehearsal space to hear us play and hang out. I decorated the room into a little nightclub with colored lights and photographs of glam rockers like Alice Cooper, Todd Rundgren, and others I had torn from Circus magazine.
We didn’t have enough money to support my musical ambitions. Fortunately my father was skillful with wood and electronics. So he made my guitar, PA system (located at the right of the photo), bass amp, talk box, and even a synthesizer.
We’d also visit Manny’s Music on 48th Street in Manhattan and if something didn’t work, he’d buy it for less money and fix it himself in our basement.
When I listen to certain songs, my mind gets transported back to the time when they were first popular. Memories flood back. Sometimes even the smells of the season return. I wake up from the reverie several minutes later and many steps removed from the initial memory.
And the same can happen with an old Polaroid.
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