The Crystal Legend Story
What's Going on Now?
We started having band reunions in August 2003. It began with Mick finding Brian with Google in January 2003. They hadn't been in contact since 1977 when Brian left for Germany. Anyway, Brian and Mick started talking about the old days. Brian came up with the idea of putting the band back together. He Googled Scott in April 2003 and got him on the phone. Scott hadn't played bass since college, but was excited about learning again. It was a simple matter to get Pat on board for the project. It took some time to coordinate schedules, but eventually everyone met in
for the first reunion. We've been taking turns hosting the reunions. The second one (Scott) took place on Long Island, NY
in November 2003, while the third one (Mick) was in
in April 2004. The fourth one (Pat) was July 2004 in Rockland County, NY. The latest show was at Rick's Club in Congers, NY on 7/1/05. We are getting better at picking songs to play. We try to find tunes that fit our abilities and can be put together quickly, since we see each other only a few times a year. We each learn the songs at home, then play them together at the reunions.
Brian occasionally flies to NY to visit his folks in Rockland County. On some of those trips, he and Pat would get together. During one trip around Christmas, 2000 they got together to jam with a singer/bass player and keyboard player Pat knew. It was the first time Pat had played the drums in over 20 years. So in a way, Pat actually got the ball rolling in 2000. However, at that time, we didn't discuss finding the other guys and playing together. Click here to see pictures from this jam.
What's this, you ask? Well, we've often laughed how the four of us would probably be in four different bands if we were to start now. Pat would be in an alternative rock band playing Disturbed, Korn, Mudvayne, etc. Scott would be in a 70s tribute band, playing all the hits he enjoyed as a younger man. Brian would play in an instrumental rock band in the style of Joe Satriani. Mick would prefer to be in a Neil Young tribute band and play originals using cowboy chords (open E, Am, D, C, etc.).
We can't recall how we all came together in the 70s. Mick and Brian lived close together on the same street and starting playing guitar around the same time, so they played together. Pat and Brian were both on the soccer team, but they can't remember talking about music. Who knows how we found Scott? It's all lost in the sands of time.
However, Fate and Time have conspired to throw us back together again. Despite our differences, we all find it’s a lot of fun playing together. Sure, there are "creative" differences about which songs to play. Our diversity might be a strength, although it also means none of us likes every song we play. The bond from our youth means there's no escape from Crystal Legend, until death do us part.
We've experienced overwhelming positive responses to our band reunions. Brian has a theory why that is:
- Playing in a band in just plain fun and cool. People like music, and it's good to see people our age (or older) still doing it.
- Music has power to move people. Everyone likes it. It's universal to all cultures. It's active, not passive, like watching TV. Positive activity affects people in a good way.
- The fact that we come together from all over the country shows a level of commitment one rarely hears about these days. It would be ho-hum if we all still lived in New City.
- At our age, you start to hear stories such as "Joe just had triple bypass surgery" and other sad stuff. This is one event that's positive and gives people a boost. Most of us have heard enough negative news already.
- Many guys our age get together for golf or fishing, two lame activities. To play music together, you have to practice, learn songs, be prepared, and do your part. If you stink at fishing, who cares? If you stink on guitar, the band and audience will care.
- Many people play music in high school. Most stop playing in their 20s. It's fun to see people still playing despite the years, careers, kids, etc. People enjoy those who can still deliver the goods. It reminds them of their youth.
Think of Doug Flutie. Even people who hate the San Diego Chargers admire Doug. After all, how many 41 yr olds can score two rushing touchdowns, throw for 248 yds and two more touchdowns in a NFL game as he did in 2003? We like rooting for the old guys still playing the young man’s game. By the way, Doug is a good drummer. He won Monday Night Football's musicians contest in 2003 drumming with Barenaked Ladies. Seems he's played with Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dave Matthews, and Bon Jovi, as well his own band.
- Overall, we actually play better than in high school. Believe me, you don't want to hear the old recordings.
- We now get real singers to sing for us. In the past, we'd try to sing ourselves, with sub-optimal results. We're somewhat wiser now, and realize we need good vocals to carry the show. Brian says quality vocals are 80% of a band's appeal, so a good singer makes us all sound better. We'd still love to have a great singer who is a Clarkstown North alum, wants to join the band, and take the blood oath.
None of us can remember how the band actually got started. The first known gig of the kernel of Crystal Legend was when Pat, Mick, and Brian played on the patio behind Luke Brennan's house at a party, probably in the summer of 1974. Brian distinctly remembers a rather intoxicated kid coming up to him after the band had played some 15 minute long original song and saying, "You guys are amazing. That was the greatest song ever." Click here to see pictures from that party.
Later, this same configuration played at a party in Kathy Miranda's basement (or was it Sue Gibson's?). According to Mick's traumatic memories, this performance did not get the same positive response. Neither Brian nor Pat remembers any negatives from that appearance.
We have disagreements about where we played as a band. It seems we did play a dance or two. Brian says it was at the Jr. High, Pat says it was at St. Augustine's. We played for some Sweet 16 party at Rockland Lake Manor (now Town & Country). There might have been others, but they are lost in the fog.
As with most bands, we had numerous personnel changes. Along the way, we had another guitar player named Tommy DiMinno, who moved to
. Rob Sampogna, Class of '77, played keyboards for a while. We played one show at
with Tom Vanderbeek, Class of '74, on vocals. Mick drifted in and out of the band. Brian and Pat played with another band, which had no name, as far as we can tell. It was with a singer named Mario, a bass player named Bob, and Mario's brother on guitar. Later, this group split again, with Bob and Mario playing with Brian and Mick (on drums!). We also have tapes of a show of just Brian, Scott, and Mick (on drums) playing on a 4th of July behind Mick's house.
Another high school band from back then was called Airborne. One of their guitarists, Dan Bertrand, Class of '76, actually got Scott started on bass. Odd as it might seem, at one point in 1976, Dan was going to join Crystal Legend. Other Airborne members were Craig Caselli, Reinhardt Sabadosch, Mike Beckley, John Anderson , and Bob Marsanico. Most of these guys were from the Class of '77, although John and Dan were '76ers. We used to go watch these guys perform, probably so we could learn from them. Brian remembers they used to play Golden Earring’s "Candy's Gone Bad" (Craig on vocals) and some Jethro Tull tune, maybe "Locomotive Breath." Craig seems to still have a tape recording Brian made of one of Airborne's shows.
In the fall of '75, most of Crystal Legend went off to college. Scott was a '76er, and already playing with his band
at that point. It seems we played together as Crystal Legend one last time in the summer of '76, and that was it. However, Pat and Brian did play together briefly in a band in the fall of '76 in
at Brian’s fraternity when Pat was at
and Brian was at that other school. Click here to see a 2002 picture of Brian and Eric Schmidt, the bass player from that band. Brian left for
in September '77, and that was the end of all things related to Crystal Legend.
As far as we can tell, it was Mick. Seems he was sitting around the garage at Brian's house one day reading the NY Post or something, checking out the horse races. Mick says he saw a horse with that name, and decided it would be a good band name. Why Mick was reading the horse race pages at all is the bigger mystery. Just looking for band names, we guess.