Five Firsts: Marty McDermott of the Reverberators
NAME: Marty McDermott
BAND AFFILIATION: The Reverberators
INSTRUMENT: Guitar, harmonica, mandolin
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … It’s with a good dose of embarrassment that I admit that the first record I ever bought (a 45 single) was “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen. However, I can redeem myself by disclosing that the first LP I purchased was “Led Zeppelin II” – one of my favorites that I played to its slow and scratchy demise. I’ve never replaced it in CD, but I should – it still holds up (in my humble opinion). I’m still a fan of Robert Plant and his recent work with T Bone Burnett and the revival of Band of Joy!
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … This was good one – second year of high school I took the bus and subway with some friends from Queens to Manhattan to the Academy of Music (became something else later – I think the Palladium) to see a triple bill – Frampton’s Camel (Peter Frampton was freshly out of Humble Pie and started his own group – they had a big radio hit with a version of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”), the J. Geils Band (played a smokin’ set that blew my sox off – pretty much a run through of the “Full House” album, if I recall) and the headliner – a band (maybe some of you remember) named Focus. They were a Dutch band that had a big hit with a very cool song called “Hocus Pocus” (yeah, I know – “Hocus Pocus” by Focus) that featured yodeling and some serious, screaming guitar work.
3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS …Well, I did take piano lessons early on from an elderly Polish lady in the neighborhood. I didn’t like the lessons, but I admit now that the experience was the first formal musical training I had and served as a good foundation for things to come later. My first real guitar though was a Harmony solid body electric with a small tube amp. My father, who was a NYC cop, came home with another policeman who he bought the guitar from (I think for 25 bucks) as a present for me because he knew I was interested in playing. I remember this guy sitting on the couch in my living room playing and singing Bing Crosby-type tunes. He had a nice voice. I kept the guitar for awhile (it was kind of a Jazzmaster clone), until I upgraded to a new Tele (regrettably, I let that one go a couple of years later – another story for another day).
4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Not sure which came first, but I played a butchered version of “American Pie” one time for a group on a school ski trip. I also auditioned for a singer position in a friend’s band – I sang “Eleanor Rigby” after drinking a quart of Colt 45… the audition didn’t go very well, needless to say. Thankfully my mojo, technique and stage presence have improved a bit with time – not to mention my tastes in spirits (heed the lesson and work hard, my young friends).
5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS…The first real band was called Hot Grease. We were three-piece – guitar, bass and drums. My drummer Anthony – who had a fantastic singing voice – was going through a “greaser” phase at the time. He had a lot of friends, and we got to play doo-wops at a lot of parties that year – plus some local and high school dances… great memories!!
Marty McDermott performs solo at 8pm on Friday at American Glory BBQ in Hudson and then joins his bandmates in the Reverberators for shows at the Main Street Tavern in Valatie (Saturday) and Pinhead Susan’s in Schenectady (Saturday, March 19). Also, the latest Reverberators CD, “Almost Home,” is available on their website, CD Baby, I-Tunes, Last Vestige Music and other electronic media outlets.