Compton's earliest attempt to reach Outerspace- until he found out that turbo-props stall at high altitudes...
Picture by Bill Rosser
The power of music- Music in the house. Classical, show, jazz, folk... Soundtracks: From Russia With Love and Hatari. Big boozy parties... and this guy at the piano... Handsome Jimmy. He could play it all. Took requests from a highball glass. Playing the the Hawaiin War Chant. The rumble in the jungle. This was New Canaan but they would all dance like they'd been drink'in Love Potion # 9. And Handsome Jimmy with the women around him like bees around honey... well that clinched it. That's who I wanted to be... that is if I couldn't be 007- James Bond. And then the bands... I'd hear it in the night coming off the top of this hill and I'd go to where the sound was coming from and there they were... the Earles... playing the Ventures and the Kingsmen. This was money for nothing. This is the magnet that draws you in... easy money and endless chicks digging your close to the surface emotional musk. Like my singing teacher said... singing a song and using your voice... it's a mating call. How my dad met my mom... saw her singing at the Roosevelt. Rufus saw Marzone. Wow. A star is born. Me! What a story!
So that's my story... mostly about the pursuit of pleasure. Which is why we all play and play and play... cause it feels so good. Even without the money. Why making this record was such a gift... got to do it My Way. And the art of the solo... that's key- being able to do it alone just in case you find yourself there without resources... that' the blues. Came up through the folk era... saw Jose Feliciano, Dave Van Ronk, Spyder John Koerner at the Mooncusser Coffee House in Martha's Vinyard in 1964. Single guys who lit the room just like Handsome Jimmy. My guitar playing was repertoire driven... the Kingston Trio, the Weavers, the Limelighters... You had to be ready to play the Hootenanny... Whole families sitting around and singing together. Maybe that was the last time that America sang together. The closest white people got to gospel. People believed that there was truth out there. It was awe-inspiring. Just plain awesome.
Like alot of songwriters... I cut my teeth on poetry. Projective verse. Whitman, cummings and then Creeley, Merwin, Dorn, and Olson. The idea of poetry is to take language to a new place... the idea of music was to show you the new place. The two things just go together. I was fast with words like some guys are good with a gun or their hands. More than once singing my death song kept me from getting hurt too bad. From '68 to '72 I was in a band called Gasoline. "For What It's Worth", "Five to One" and "Liv'in In the USA," and then my first experience with corporate downsizing. I was cut from one of the largest bands in the world. The new team was the Outerspace Band and they had a new guy who played guitar and wrote his own songs. This was the new ticket. So back to guitar and it took years. Penning my first tunes... that's the way it is... Europe. Tunisia. I became Elvis of the Desert. Picked up in N. Africa by AID to play bicultural centers by Jon Crockett, cultural attache to Tunis. Compton went international.
Returning stateside I lived with Bigelow blondes- not a band but it should have been- in Cambridge, Mass. Low on cash and common sense. I got tapped at last by the very band that had retired me. Batting relief for a 5 year road-weary veteran. I began to evolve or at least reinvent myself. Solo gigs in Beantown with the nefarious Red Greene- a wildly contradictory singer/songwriter. Watched the incredible Pat McGloughlin play solo at the Plough and Stars on Mass. Ave. Shades of Handsome Jimmy. Wrote great songs and played his ass off. I played the Cantab Lounge in Central Square upstairs while George Throughgood was blowing out eardrums with "Bad to the Bone" downstairs. Saw Muddy Waters at Pauls' Mall. When I came off the road my girlfriend (the one I shared my bed with) had run off with a sailor. I had a job. Working in a factory making speaker enclosures for Bose. $2.50 an hour. Not even enough to get drunk. So I managed to get hit by a car. Got alot of money for my kneecap- My first big Break. Took guitar lessons, Aikido, and rebuilt a 55 Chevy convertible. Degree in the University of ME.
By winter '77 I was in New York. Lived in storefront for 6 months while I got my bearings. Never got my bearings. But did alot of recording and playing clubs... TRA, jp's, the Bitter End, Kenny's Castways, SNAFU's- Dr. G's where asbestos was falling from the ceiling above the stage. My band told me I was great- 'cause I was paying them. George Rhodes, man and I was Sammy. And lo it came to pass that I was spending Money to play. But now my buddy mentor had a new plan- Project Trobador- I would use my Elvis of the Desert chops and proceed to sign up for the epic journey division for the next seven years- played American style music in Guatamala, Ecuador, Belize, Kenya, Dominican Republic, Japan and finally China. I wrote "Twisting In China." "The sons' of Mao are never home, they haven't got the time."
At the same time I began to hook into the songwriter scene in New York City. I played a place called Downtime on 30th street and the Sun Mountain Cafe down on 3rd street. I had this amazing piece of luck or is it synchronicity and was seen and heard by a guy named Stan from Holland. He left a note behind the bar. He made this album a reality. Feet of Clay- because it's all about mortality... how we use this time on earth. And coincidentally this album is out simultaneously with the first Outerspace Band CD- Rocket. The song "Backhoe," (that I wrote with my partner in grime, Paul Jay,) off of that album is getting airplay in Maine and Connecticut. Feet of Clay is available on CD Baby @CD Baby.com. I've played 130 nights at the BMW Bar at 7th and 22nd... that's still in NYC.
Hey- Am I handsome Jimmy yet? Handsome for sure! I mean just look at my
picture. Look ma' no surgery, yet. Is my son gonna' be creep'in down the
stairs to see me and my friends dans'in around the guitar man? Maybe. He knows
all the words to the tunes. A generation down the road and I'm still pick'in
and a grin'nin. It's so wild. And it's all true. Cross my heart. You can't
make this kind of thing up. So please buy this album and stay tuned for the
up and coming novelty singles... Clone of Myself and Ka Ka Disco by the
High Colonics. Or what about that wild producers project the SeaTones... the
late Gerard Zydens' storage locker was found inside Al Capones' Safe and lo
and behold the overdone studio masters... Are the boys of CORNSURF still
natural blonds? Were they ever? Inquiring minds want to know... So much
to sell, so little time. Yes... I have a picture of Duane Carson... signed of