I think I made a new friend the other day. This is a cool thing, in my book, and it made me think about how difficult it seems to make friends as we get older. I have tons of acquaintances, for example, and even people I’ve hung out with a few times here and there, but to get to the actual “friend” place, it really takes some time and effort.
Who has time for that in their fifties?
Friendship has always been important to me. I think for people like me who grew up as an only child (my brother, Matt, and I are basically 26 years apart), we find our siblings in our friends. I’m really blessed to have a great group of friends in this life. Many of which I’ve known for a very long time and some that are relatively new to my world but feel as if I’ve always known them.
After sitting with my new, hopefully, friend the other night, I had to think about how truly wonderful it is to sit and talk with someone and realize they are worth the effort to get to know. With time being so precious (it really is), it’s hard to carve out the time to make a lasting friendship, but isn’t it worth it?
If you’re reading this, there is a good chance you are a friend of mine. Hence, “Letters to My Friends” is the title of all these blogs so far. I want you to know more about me and I want to know more about myself, I suppose, so it’s a win-win (or lose, depending on how entertained you are). But back to friendship.
I have always valued my friends a lot. Y’all are important to me because of the gift you have given and continue to give. Just being around a lot of gives me the energy to keep going and doing and creating. I will keep doing my best to be a good friend.
Facebook memories are sometimes such a random gift. Apparently the Cromags played in town seven years ago last night. 2/11/15. I totally spaced that yet I’m pretty sure I wrote about it. I interviewed their singer, John Joseph, a few times over the years. He was always super nice, and we had long conversations. The first time we chatted I told him how I was in North Side Kings, and we were supposed to come out and play in NYC with them at CBGB before it closed. He was way cool about that and when we’ve chatted again, he’s always remembered that I’m Tommy Quiet from NSK.
Danny started calling me Tommy Quiet early on in my days with the band. I’m guessing it was because I didn’t say a whole lot and just played my parts. I loved being in that band. It was a total pleasure to rock with all those guys and be able to just play the bass and sing a little back up. I didn’t have to book any gigs or write any songs…just play.
Anyhow, I digress… during one call with John Joseph he said, “I’m not going to talk about former members of the Cromags, okay?” I was fine with that, of course, and told him I had no desire to write that kind of piece, and then he proceeded to talk about the former members of the band for about 45 minutes. I was fascinated and enjoying the conversation, but it was also utterly useless. I’ve got the recording somewhere. Cromags fans would die laughing, I’m sure, or be super butt hurt.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I should probably talk about how I ended up in NSK.
I always liked them and got a charge out of them every time I went to see them early on. I had been friends with Luke for awhile from playing shows and such and my ex-wife is good friends with him, too. When he told me that Richie was moving from bass to drums, I threw my name in the hat and they invited me to come jam.
At the time, I was still doing Hillbilly Devilspeak full-time and doing PTWKAF, too, so I didn’t really have time for a third band but figured out a way to make it work. We had a practice room that HD and Pinky were sharing so why not move NSK in there? We would all practice on Tuesday nights, so I would do the early shift with pinky, then NSK would show up, and then hillbilly would practice last. It was a long night for me, but it was all done at once.
This must’ve been around 2001, I think, maybe 2002.
The NSK shows were so different from Pinky or Hillbilly. All those bands were popular around town at the time and could pull decent crowds, but NSK fans were so much more active. I loved it when people would do the hardcore dance and such or beat the hell out of each other (lovingly, of course) in the pit. We had a lot of fun, and it was fun for me to learn a different style of music.
Danny was patient with me, at first, and it was a bit intimidating because Richie had been the bass player and I wanted to make sure and be respectful of his parts, but I got the first handful of songs down quickly. The first gig I played with NSK was at Jugheads on McDowell and I was nervous.
Now, I like being nervous before a show. I like the energy it gives me and the little chip on the shoulder it lends, but this time I had real doubts, too. I didn’t know if anyone would take me seriously as a “hardcore” bass player. I wondered if people would let me be part of NSK or think, “it’s that guy from those other bands filling in.”
As I write this, I realize that the first half of this blog and the last half are important to each other. I made good friends being in NSK and I’m very thankful for that. Those dudes will be my brothers forever.
More on NSK this year, for sure. There are some great stories…funny, sad, rock and roll, and all that goes along with it.
See you tomorrow.
Some NSK songs for you...