stiv bators

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Frank Secich at The Record Collector, Bordentown, New Jersey

Published January 9, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9476Frank Secich (photo by Maryanne Mistretta)

Today was a dream come true meeting musician/songwriter/producer/author, Frank Secich. I’ve been a fan of his music since I was a teenager. He played (and wrote songs) on one of my favorite teenage albums, “Disconnected” by Stiv Bators. Frank also played in Club Wow, Blue Ash, The Deadbeat Poets, The Infidels and more.

A few years ago we met on FaceBook and Frank was kind enough to endorse my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X).

And, I became a fan of his newest band, The Deadbeat Poets.

I also interviewed Frank for this blog: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/interview-with-frank-secich-musiciansongwriterproducer/

So you can just imagine how super excited to learn that Frank Secich was going to be at The Record Collector in Bordentown promoting his new book “Circumstantial Evidence” (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/circumstantial-evidence-frank-secich/1122604553)

As soon as I walked in the store, I was greeted with a great big, “Maryanne!” by Frank! He’s so cool and down-to-earth. I also met his son, Jake, who was very kind to take our photograph, and other great people. The vibe was awesome as fans and friends listened to Frank share stories about Stiv Bators and a cool story about Michael Monroe (of Hanoi Rocks who recorded Frank’s song “A Million Miles Away” – please do not confuse with The Plimsouls song, both songs are fab, but I do like Frank’s better *wink*). Frank also spoke of the stories behind his songs. These humorous adventures are included in the book “Circumstantial Evidence.”

Frank played, acoustic, “A Million Miles Away,” “It’s Cold Outside,” “Circumstantial Evidence” and some songs by Deadbeat Poets.

As I’m writing this blog, I have the “Circumstantial Evidence” book in my hands, waiting to be read!

SAM_9471Frank Secich and Maryanne Mistretta (Photo by Jake Secich)

Milford Library Reading/Signing “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist”

Published June 21, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_4973Me (blue dress) and Jennifer (far left) and new friends!

SAM_4974

A small, but awesome, turn out at Milford Library last night for the “Guest List” reading. We all talked about Lou Christie, Divine, WNEW-AM, Glen Jones Radio Show, The Ramones, Stiv Bators, and of course, The Plasmatics and more!

Milford = another gorgeous New Jersey town I fell in love with. A place I’d love to move with my husband before others discover it’s greatness.

Thanks sooooo much to Jennifer for having me here! “On the Guest List” now has a home in Milford Library!

To purchase “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” visit Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Frank Secich (Musician/Songwriter/Producer)

Published December 18, 2013 by Maryanne

Frank SeicheFrank Secich (photo by John Koury)

Not too long ago on Face Book, WDVR DJ Deirdre Gilmartin recommended Frank Secich as a friend. Then I was thrilled to find out Frank not only played on a Stiv Bators albums (including “Disconnected” which is one of my favorite albums of all time!) but he also wrote quite a few songs I absolutely loved since I was 18-years-old and STILL LOVE: “A Million Miles Away” and “Evil Boy.” In fact, I played “Evil Boy” when I deejayed John Holmstrom’s 50th Birthday Bash back in 2001!

I quickly learned Frank is a super great guy and I loved his song, “Johnny Sincere” from his newest band, Deadbeat Poets (around since 2006). The first time I heard “Johnny Sincere” I loved it so much I played it three times in a row. Frank and I became Face Book friends and he was cool enough to read my upcoming book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” and endorse it.

In return, I thought it would awesome to interview Frank for this blog. We had a great chat on the phone and I look forward to seeing Deadbeat Poets perform when they come back to New Jersey!

Like many other musicians growing up in the 1960s, Frank Secich got into playing music after seeing the Beatles perform on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” His first instrument was the harmonica. Frank grew up in Pennsylvania and had a grandfather who was a bassist and uncles who were musicians. He picked up the guitar when he was 14 after seeing Bob Dylan in 1965.

During his teenage years he played in local bands at parties and record hops. “I was in a cover band, the Mother Goose Band,” Frank said, “played all Rascals, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Cream …”

When Frank was ready to move on to an original band, it was his childhood friend Stiv Bators (who lived right across the Pennsylvania border in Ohio) who took his place in the Mother Goose Band. Stiv Bators is a punk rock legend known for his work with The Dead Boys, The Wanderers, Lords of the New Church and his solo albums. Frank knew Stiv since they were teenagers. “We became friends … met at teen dances in sixty-six, sixty-seven … he was two years older” he said.

After leaving the Mother Goose Band, Frank started Blue Ash and followed his dream of writing original material. After playing together three years, they were signed to Mercury Records by Paul Nelson, who also signed The New York Dolls. (And as a side note, the Mother Goose Band often warmed up for Blue Ash).

Frank Seiche - earlyFrank Secich, 1974 (photo by Geoff Jones, colorized by Tom Sailor)

When the Dead Boys were breaking up in 1978, Stiv contacted Frank to work on some solo stuff and he worked with Stiv until 1981. He played with another Dead Boys member Jimmy Zero in a band called Club Wow from 1982 to 1985. Then Frank produced the Ohio band the Infidels from 1985 to 1990.

Since the late Stiv Bators is one of my favorite musical artists of all time, I asked Frank to share some Stiv stories. Frank just couldn’t stop laughing when he told me this gem:

“We were living in Los Angeles. Stiv was a big fan of Morey Amsterdam from ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show.’ We took our suit coats to get dry cleaned. There was a Chinese kid waiting for us, he has a real funny look on his face. He looked star struck … it was Dick Van Dyke. We met so many people [throughout music career] we were never really starstruck.

“Stiv says to the kid, ‘Give me a pencil and paper.’ He [Stiv] said, ‘Mr. Van Dyke, can I get your autograph? Mr. Van Dyke, I gotta tell ya, this is really special to me. I grew up in Ohio in an orphanage’ … getting teary-eyed … ‘the only show they let us watch was The Dick Van Dyke Show.'”

“He [Dick] said, ‘That’s nice.’

“Stiv starts crying. ‘You were like the dad I never had! As a matter of fact, you inspired me to do what I do today.’

“‘What do you do?'”

“‘I’m a singer in a punk band.'”

“‘Oh, that’s nice … take it easy guys.’ Stiv was gonna ask him if he wanted to go out to get a drink. At the time Dyke was in Alcoholics Anonymous. He [Stiv] was just a natural comedian.”

stivFrank Secich and Stiv Bators (photo by Mick Rock)

“A Million Miles Away” was one of the songs Frank wrote which Stiv Bators recorded on the Disconnected album (which when I told Frank was one of my favorite albums, he said he gets emails every day from fans who say that.) Michael Monroe, of Hanoi Rocks fame, recorded the song (not to be confused with the Hanoi Rocks song of the same name). Frank said that was his favorite cover recording of someone doing his song and is quick to note that The Records recorded one of his Blue Ash songs, “Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her).”

“Stiv would always pull my leg,” Frank said. “He said, ‘Mike Monroe recorded A Million Miles Away.'”

“I said, ‘Aw, Stiv, you’re crazy.'”

So when Frank went to see Mike Monroe perform at show, he saw outside the dressing room at least 40 girls, “dressed to the hilt, waiting to meet Mike.”

A guy Frank knew from Polygram told Mike that Frank was waiting outside and wanted to talk to him. “There I was, the forty-year-old. He comes running out, ‘I love you!’ The looks on these girls’ faces. Their jaws all dropped.”

Moving forward to 1990 Frank said he was fed up with the music business and walked away for 15 years. “Didn’t even touch the guitar,” he said.

Frank spent that time working for an insurance company and spending time with his young son. But then, “They dragged me back in!” Frank said, and laughed. And so, he began Deadbeat Poets in 2006.

In addition to Frank, members for the Deadbeat Poets are: Pete Drivere, John Koury and Terry Hartman.

Terry is an old friend of Frank’s and Frank said they laugh about everything. “It’s the most fun band I was ever in,” he said. “I really have a good time. We’re old men and we have fun at what we’re doing.”

When asked who he’s inspired by, Frank said, “My heroes are Ray Davies, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, of course the Stones.”

Other than music, Frank said he doesn’t have too many hobbies. “I like to write, play guitar … I love going in the studio. Twelve hours in a studio seems like twelve minutes. It’s the opposite of being in school and looking at the clock. Other than that we’re just having a good time. We never argue.”

The Deadbeat Poets just finished recording for their new album which will be out in February or March 2014. “Then we’ll start touring,” Frank said.

“Johnny Sincere,” a super cool song by The Deadbeat Poets is nominated for “Coolest Song in the World” by Little Steven’s Underground Garage Station.

The competition is stiff with other great artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Joan Jett! If you like the song — and I’m sure you will — you can vote for it here once a day until Dec. 27: http://undergroundgarage.com/the-coolest-songs-in-the-world-2013.html

CBGBs Movie

Published November 8, 2013 by Maryanne

CBGB's movieI was there … in later years

I finally got to see the CBGBs movie (see my other blog about the nightmare of not being able to see it in the theater a few weeks ago): (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/cbgb-could-be-good-but-movie/)

After a friend told me it was On Demand, I just couldn’t start my day without watching it. Mainly because my friend John Holmstrom had a major role in it. He’s the creator of Punk Magazine and was played brilliantly by Josh Zuckerman. In fact, it was like the Punk magazine story was the official sidebar to the CBGBs story. And why not? Without writers and photographers, there is no story! Congrats to Holmstrom for finally getting his due — what an inspiration!

The movie is fast moving. The thing I love best about it, is that even though all of us punk rock fans know how the movie ends (with Hilly Kristal’s club becoming a success story), it was done so well that I found myself getting all goose-bumpy as I cheered him on — hoping the underdog would win, I got so lost in the movie I nearly forgot that in the end he does!

Hilly Kristal (Alan Rickman) and Cheetah Chrome (Rupert Grint) were my favorite characters. They were great to watch and their talent was phenomenal. They both were genuine with absolutely no over-acting (which is always a huge pet peeve of mine when watching movies or television).

The sound track was fantastic. They picked out the best songs from the bands that played there. I was so happy “Psycho Killer” was the Talking Heads featured song, and that they dug out “X-Offender” by Blondie.

When Patti Smith (Mickey Sumner) performs, they are out of synch with the music time line as she is doing her big hit with Bruce Springsteen, “Because the Night,” and that came out later, in 1979. BUT — the way it’s filmed, it’s more like a dream-like sequence, it doesn’t seem as if Smith is at CBGBs which allows the viewers (who know better) to imagine that Smith may even be daydreaming about the bigger and better things to come. So, bravo on that! (And I think Mickey Sumner pulled Patti off very well.)

Classic scenes include: when Cheetah Chrome (Rupert Grint) drops his pants in the middle of CBGBs to show Genya Raven (played by Stana Katic) he’s a true redhead; John Holmstrom (Josh Zuckerman) and Mary Harron (Ahna O’Reilly)  interviewing Lou Reed; and Hilly telling his daughter he was keeping all this CBGBs money in the freezer at his apartment. Good stuff!

Sweet side note, my friend Shel Stewart’s band Dorian Zero getting a mention! Go Shel!

My only disappointment was the Stiv Bators character, Justin Bartha, although Stiv’s boots were tough to fill as he was the coolest rock star ever to exist on this planet. Good try for being amazing enough to score the role, but not even close. It’s okay though, that was a tough one. Regardless, I have nothing bad to say about this movie. It’s a “right up there” bio-pic along with other great ones such as “The People Vs. Larry Flynt,” Man on the Moon” and “Walk the Line.”

I look forward to watching it again — tonite!

Oh, and about the bathroom — yes, it’s true the bathroom at CBGBs was absolutely disgusting but I must say, the bathroom at The World was equally horrific.