I had just gotten finished with my second foray into the world of touring as a "road dog"
backing musician. After that ended badly, I found myself back home. Board to tears, my
brother asked me if I wanted to go with him to NYC for an exploratory visit. Sure. Having
been on the road I figured I had seen enough big cities to be prepared for anything. Nothing
prepares you for NYC.
We took the train from our home town of Altoona Pa., into Manhattan. I can only compare
the change to jumping into the ocean in late spring or early fall. Shocking, invigorating and
cold. But not too cold. And you acclimate quickly, or drown. So off to the hotel, and out on
the town. An evening on Bleeker St. in the mid 80's would have made any musician want to
be in NYC.
The next morning the first thing I wanted to do was go to 48th St. ELECTRIC AVE !!!. I'd
heard of it many times on the road. If ya want a deal, and you want to speak to the people
who really know what they're talking about, 48th St. was the place to go. My brother was a
singer, and he already had a microphone, so he wasn't that interested in going uptown. I think
he when to Bleeker Bob's to record shop.
When you walk up the steps of the 48th street station you get Manhattan in all it's glory.
The smell of....well....you know. The noise. The grand hustle and bustle of mid town. I walked
around the corner and directly into heaven. By this point in my life I had worked in two music
stores. And seen quite a few more on the road. But HOLY COW !!! I started at Rudy's and
worked my way up the block.
By the time I got to Manny's I thought there wasn't any more to see. I was wrong. I was
lucky to start where I did because I got the best for last. When I walked in I couldn't believe
that is was louder inside than it was outside. ( it was Sat.) As I came in an older gentleman
walked up to me and asked my what I needed. I said I was just looking. Then I added that
it was my first time in NYC. He grind and patted me on the back and said, "Welcome to New
York kid.....Don't get run over." That was the first time I met Henry.
I walked around and looked at all the pictures. I was floored. All...and I mean ALL...of my
heros were up there. And the all of them were thanking Henry or Stewart or some other some
other person for the best service they could get. I felt like I was on holy ground, and for
musicians, I was. All I wanted at that point was to be so good that I could be up there.
I spent another Three years on the road, and eventually moved to NYC like my older brother
to get in the business of being a rock star. And after a short stint at 48th St Custom Guitar, was
hired to work with some of the finest people I've ever known in my life. Henry and Judy
personify class. Many times you'll hear someone say," He's a class act ". But with Henry and
Judy, it's no act. They are the real deal. Period. I am glad to have had the privilege to know
them and work there. And although I won't ever have the chance to get my picture up there, or
have my guitars hanging there. I will always work to at least deserve it.