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Rowayton Music
Three Bands
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Chapter 1 - Blue Light
Chapter 2 - Dave's Room
Chapter 3 - Airfix
Chapter 4 - Blue Monday
Chapter 5 - The Boston Years
Chapter 6 - The December Projects
Chapter 7 - Pinkney Park
Chapter 8 - Grass Roots
Chapter 9 - The Albums
October Palace
Leftovers and Other Exotic Foods
New Shoes
Chapter 10

For Dave and Tom, of course


I was planning on doing something like this for a long time. I knew the tapes we had were apt to deteriorate and I probably hadn’t listened to any of this music for five years. That standard of seventies technology, the audio cassette is what most of our stuff was recorded on. In some cases, we even resorted to previously-recorded cassettes. (I think one series was recorded over foreign language tapes.) This was the ultimate consideration. The formats of film and magnetic tape are getting harder to preserve. Preserving this on digital means we can aggregate a lot of material and spread it around to those who want it.

Looking at this collection as a whole, the story plays out as three essential bands; Airfix began in 1972, Blue Monday in 1973 and Noyes & the Boyes in the fall of 1978 (arguably a combination of the first two groups).

In August, 2010, I found myself without a job for the first time in years. Since I was still getting severance pay, I had the chance to enjoy a couple of months and get things done that needed doing. This included organizing and trying to preserve the tapes, pictures and documents that were sitting in a closet. By this time, Harry Hussey was also concerned with preservation of the past. He had digitized some of our work and put it online and had even written a brief history of the collective bands. I talked with him about digitizing the entire archive. He had the technology and the time; I had the material and now had the time. I started writing an outline and collating information (especially people/dates/places) in mid-August. In mid-September, Harry and I spent two days digitally recording over thirty hours of tapes, and 660 photographs and documents, amassing and digitizing as much as we could before I started a new job in October. It took longer than that. As I write this, ten months later, we’re still building the site.

In the end, this effort has been more painful than I ever imagined. I never had to delve into a familiar past this way, listening to not just music, but voices, examining photos in digital detail, remembering time, place, context, feeling. Most of the past was pleasant, but it still hurt to visit, if only for the longing it created. I felt like Scrooge did, visiting his past with the First Spirit; I could see and hear, but no longer be part of these events. I was glad to get this done.

Take from this whatever you want. The connecting history you’re reading the introduction to is essentially my memoir of the bands and their work between 1971 (when Dave Procter and I first started playing) and 1991 (when Tom May died).

I’ve tried to be as factual as possible based on the evidence of the surviving tapes, some documentation, photos and our faulty memories. I’ve tried to correlate time and place, who was there, the music we made. I’ve kept the focus on the three important bands, Airfix, Blue Monday, Noyes & the Boyes and show other important collaborations. Not mentioned here are the other non-musical projects and activities that shaped us all.

I had long been a “keeper” of audio copies and originals. Even when people did other projects, they’d often send me a copy “for the vault.” I had a few pictures as well, but not nearly enough to cover the first twenty years of our music. Also, there was a need to coordinate all this material, determine dates, even identify people in photos. (Digital technology helped here, too. I was able to identify people and find amazing detail in these photos. I encourage you to enlarge some of them when you look through these files; be amazed at what you can see, in the background as well as the foreground.) Harry Hussey has been my partner in all this. Suffice to say, it couldn’t have been done without him since he had both the technical knowledge (digital recording, HTML) and the intimate knowledge of this time. (He was, after all, there for most of this.) Harry’s built the architectural vision of making (in the end) forty hours of music and conversation, and over 900 photos and documents accessible.

Many other people helped with memories and photos.

  • Russ Bailus shot some of the earliest photos of Airfix, including the iconic 7/74 photo used as the title page for this site. Alas, some of his best work documenting these bands has been lost, but he provided hundreds of photos we used for this and other documentation.
  • Mike Burns provided some unique early pictures and memories.
  • Dave Hopkins had a huge archive of 1,000 slides. We culled these down to 432 worth scanning, including 230 specific to this project.
  • Josh Kramer had a small but valuable stockpile of tapes, including the original Bridges master cassette
  • Martina Laetsch supplied some photos and letters that were helpful in covering the under-documented Boston years.
  • Joy Lebow had some fantastic photos, including some dated 1973. These are among the earliest we could find. She also had an entire file of lyrics and chords from her brother Dave. I’ve included some of those as scanned documents.
  • Mark Lebow provided some information about the early years of Blue Monday. He had some rare tapes, a fictionalized account of a Blue Monday gig (their first), but importantly, he had also preserved the legendary “Parlour E” sign from Dave’s room.
  • Mary Beth Lemoine of King-Low Heywood School gave me a scan of Dave Procter’s King School senior yearbook page, an important resource.
  • Sharon Pack had few photos, but also some good memories.
  • Randy Stone, formerly of the Buzzereds supplied photos of Tom May and that band and clarified certain dates.
  • Patti Targtaglia sent some photos including some earlier shots of Dave Procter. She also provided some very good information and memories about the “early years” through emails and conversations.
  • Bill Tucker was patient and gracious, allowing us to scan and rescan many photos and documents.
  • Kate Tisdall Wells supplied some photos, but her personal timeline helped to date some events and ID some photos from the late 1970’s.
Others have helped confirm or correct information. We hope other photos, even tapes might emerge and we’ll add them if they do. The band members were also involved in other creative projects. Someday we may add sections on this work.

Like I said, the best evidence available, but in the end, the opinions and mistakes are mine.

Greg Smith

Darien, CT

May, 2011