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WHAT WAS IT LIKE BACK THEN? By Fritz Richmond

 Our editor asked me for    cigarette. So! That kind  the bass guitar, making
 a couple of paragraphs     of contemplation and      huge round notes that
 about the early days of    reflection. Well, this    sustained for as long as
 the Lovin' Spoonful, so    was 1963 and things were  he wanted them to. As a
 the other day I sat down   beginning to show up in   washtub bass player I
 and began to think about   New York that were not    was very envious of
 the great times I had in   available where I lived   this. On the other hand,
 the 60's whenever I'd      in Cambridge,             my instrument, the
 visit New York.            Massachusetts.            washtub bass, did not
                                                      require a separate
 When the Lovin' Spoonful   Zally, on the other       amplifier and was
 was just forming, before   hand, preferred to have   inexpensive to operate.
 it even had a name, John   a roof over his head and  Any one of the strings
 and Zally were a couple    a glass in his hand,      for his bass cost more
 of eager young Greenwich   especially in between     than a new Sears Roebuck
 Village musicians, ready   sets at the Night Owl     washtub.
 to play and ready for      Café. He introduced me
 fun. They had very         to the amazing liquid     Steve and I looked a lot
 different ideas of what    contraption known as a    alike; we were both tall
 fun was. I had good        boilermaker. In New       skinny guys with long
 times with both of them;   York, this was a shot of  red hair. One night
 sometimes the three of     bourbon and a glass of    sitting around in the
 us would do things         beer. I guess it still    Night Owl Café, we got
 together, but more often   is, but we're getting a   the idea to learn how to
 it would be one or the     little old for that kind  play each other's
 other.                     of fun any more, or are   instruments and change
                            we. The point of it,      places between The
 Having grown up in         Zally explained to me,    Lovin' Spoonful and the
 Greenwich Village, John    was the convenience of    Kweskin Jug Band.
 really knew his way        having alcohol to wash    Looking back, I can't
 around, and one day he     down your alcohol         imagine that very many
 confided to me a great     instead of water or       people would have been
 discovery he had made:     soda. Some folks poured   surprised by this, but
 The service entrance to    the bourbon into the      we talked about it every
 the tallest apartment      beer, I learned, and a    few months when we'd
 building in The Village    few would even drop the   meet .
 was never locked! I        full shot glass into the
 thought this was very      beer, creating what was   And we'd meet in the
 clever of him to have      called a depth charge;    oddest places – Detroit,
 found. This entrance       but this he eschewed as   for instance. The
 gave access to the         schoolboy antics. I       Spoonful played there 3
 freight elevator which     tried to like             times I can recall,
 went clear up to the       boilermakers but I just   because each of those
 roof. ("…Gonna meet you    couldn't keep up with     times the Kweskin Jug
 on the rooftop…") On a     Zally; and when he        Band was playing there
 warm summer evening one    switched to tequila one   too. We'd be grinding
 could go up to that        night, I felt completely  away for a week, having
 roof, walk over to the     outclassed.               a great time in some
 parapet and gaze out                                 smelly bar and The
 over the entire village.   Sometimes the three of    Spoonful would come
 Ah, those sweet warm New   us were bad boys          flying through. I could
 York nights. John          together until The        meet them for breakfast
 greatly enjoyed taking     Spoonful started          before they zoomed off
 his friends up there.      touring, then when I'd    to the airport. Ah, the
                            visit New York they'd be  power of radio. They'd
 The parapet wall was a     off in the world          play for more people in
 convenient height upon     somewhere and I'd walk    one set than we'd see
 which to rest one's        around The Village by     all week.
 elbows for lengthy         myself and stop in at a
 contemplation and          club called The Fat       Those certainly were
 reflection . ("And as I    Black Pussy Cat for a     interesting times to
 survey my dukedom I know   cup of strong coffee      reflect upon, but as
 that I am The Duke Of      from a huge machine with  they were happening it
 Earl.") It was also a      a brass eagle on the      was just the usual
 convenient height to       top.                      struggle to make a
 hold one's kit when                                  little money and make a
 rolling a…Oh, let's call   I should back up a year   few friends. Fr.
 it a                       or so to mention Steve
                            Boone. He played