Back in high school, I found out that Bernie played guitar. Now, I’ve been in and out of bands (played at several Junior High dances), and thought I was a pretty good lead guitar player. Well…Bernie’s mom dropped him off at my house and we started playing guitars in the basement. He showed me how to play the middle bit to Grand Funk Railroad’s “Inside Looking Out” guitar solo. Now that was cool. Then he started playing the intro to Alvin Lee’s “Goin’ Home” from Woodstock. That was excellent…and a hell of a lot better than I could do. I have no idea what I played that day. I just remember the sounds coming from Bernie’s guitar.
“A few months later (or was it a year?) Bernie called and asked if I would be able to play bass for his band. I recall it was some outside party. Well, of course I said yes! How could you say no to a guitar player who could actually play “Goin’ Home?”
That was my initiation into Mortimer Snerd! And even though Snerd never got around to playing “Goin’ Home” or Grand Funk Railroad, the music we played was pretty involved and took a lot of long rehearsal hours to get right. What other High School bands could play “Watcher of the Skies” or “The Knife?”
In the morning we were awakened by some really strange sounds. Turns out we were camping near a balloon festival with many hot air balloons starting up. What an amazing sight!
When Snerd performed at the campground in Somerville, we were playing Tull’s “New Day Yesterday,” and original band member Mark Yurewicz played a slide whistle for the flute solo. That was GREAT! In the morning we were awakened by some really strange sounds. Turns out we were camping near a balloon festival with many hot air balloons starting up. What an amazing sight!
Mark Yurewicz tried to get us to listen to Roxy Music. I couldn’t get into it at the time. In the late ’70s I heard “Do the Strand” and collected everything Roxy Music, Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry. Mark…You knew it all along.
Larry’s co-worker performing the saxophone solo for Pink Floyd’s “Money” was another memory I’ll never forget. That sax solo always brings a smile to my face when I hear it (either the Pink Floyd or Snerd live recording).
All of the band’s performances were always fun including the Frog Hollow Swim Club, all of the many Sayreville block dances (held each summer behind Borough Hall in the basketball courts), high school dance after high school sance and the great performance at Saint Joe’s!
I believe Mortimer Snerd was the main reason I survived High School. I always had the band to look forward to after school each day. If it wasn’t learning songs or writing songs, I was practicing…and that kept me busy. It was a great ride, definitely a time in my life that I will never forget.
On Writing Songs and Recording
After Snerd, I joined up with Pete DiBella. We worked on originals while experimenting with his reel-to-reel sound-on-sound recorder and mixing. Different musicians were involved with these songs including Ted Rachwal, who played drums for me in my post-Snerd band, South Pine, along with Bernie. Among the songs recorded were “The Question” (Bogush/Zebro) and “This for You” (Zebro). “The Question” was one of the many songs written by Zebro/Bogush while in Snerd and “This for you” was written after Snerd.
Favorite Bands Then
Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, T. Rex, Traffic and Yes.
Favorite Bands Now
Same as mentioned above plus Lucinda Williams, Goldfrapp, Garbage, Radio Head, Diana Krall, Midnight Syndicate, Roxy Music, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and many others. I’ve also been busy rediscovering other bands from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s such as the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Wishbone Ash, and Gentle Giant.
Tabletop gaming is probably the only hobby I kept up with. These games are your strategy type games (also called designer games) like Puerto Rico, Carcassonne and Ticket To Ride (to name a few) and include comical games like the Munchkin card games and the B-Movie card games (Grave Robbers From Outer Space). You won’t find these at the local Toys ‘R’ Us. These are usually found at gaming stores, comic book stores or online.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams, The Dragonriders of Pern Series by Anne McCaffery, H. P. Lovecraft stories as well as Cthulhu Mythos and Dean R. Koontz novels.