Sunday, September 4, 2011

True Confessions of a Rock 'n Roll Groupie!

Yes, It's true. Back in the early '80s, I was a groupie for a rock 'n roll band called Truc of America. I can't spell it properly on the 'net, because, depending on your computer, it'll come out looking like it does in the comics when someone uses bad language.

Truc (when spelled right) has a horizontal line over the U. It's French, and means a neat trick or a gadget. Or look it up here.

At the end of the '70s, I moved from the Washington, DC area back to New Jersey. Shortly afterward, a friend of mine, Tony, moved back down to where he used to live in Florida. Not too long after that, I got a letter from him inviting me so stay with the band he was doing lighting for in Cape May, NJ, where they were going to be playing for two weeks.

It was actually a bit more than two weeks, because it included three weekends, the last of which was Memorial Day Weekend. I had a blast, and so did all of us, and I got invited back many times. For several years, for the two weeks plus before Memorial Day, and the two weeks plus after Labor day I spent my "summer vacation" staying at the band house of the bar, Gloria's, where they played.

That's them doing Outta Control. And that's fairly representative of what they used to play. Except for the stuff they wrote themselves, which was past outta control, and into outrageous.

The band consisted of Norm McDonald, who did most of the vocals; Mark Fett, who did keyboard, some vocals and most of the announcing; Andy Begin, the drummer; Russ Reiser, who played guitar and did some of the vocals; and Mark Lilly, who did some vocals and guitar. They also had Tony, who was doing the lighting and Eric, who did the sound. Mark Lilly was usually called Pad by the band members because it got too confusing with two Marks in the band. Frequently, Mark Fett's girlfriend, Dinah came along, and sang a few numbers with them. And I came along with Tony.

They were really an extraordinary band because once you got into Gloria's or any other place they were playing, you just didn't leave. It was impossible to walk out on that band. It was just too much fun!

Here's Norm, playing Polly Hardon doing a song that I think he wrote. He's being introduced by Mark Fett, and you can see a few views of Russ, Pad and Andy.

That was a short version of the song.

There's more of their work up on You Tube, and I'll let you discover that for yourself.

The song they did that was my favorite was Easy Mark by Mark Fett.

Truc was even more fun to party with. Each night that they played at Gloria's, we'd come back after 2 am, and party for a couple of hours. As rockers go, they did like their parties, but really didn't do much in the way of anything illegal, which was part of why it was fun to party with them. Usually, the very worst thing they did was make too much noise.

Things they did that were illegal included setting off fireworks. Each year, they'd drive up from Florida to play at Gloria's, stay at the band house, and then continue North and West to the middle of the summer, then reverse it all and go back the same way, playing the same places on the return trip, ending up back at Gloria's, and then going back to Florida.

On their way North, they went through a bunch of states that had tons of fireworks on sale (where it was legal), and Truc would stock up.

I remember one night when they set off a fabulous show of fireworks, and then all trooped indoors for the party. The police eventually showed up, and found us all in the kitchen, quietly playing computer games!

Every single time I was there for two weeks, there was some point when one of the local police stood in the middle of the living room and had a loud nervous breakdown! Or screaming fit, depending on your viewpoint. The band never managed to do something that was actually illegal when there were police around, but they came very close to it. They definitely were a big nuisance!

In fairness, some of our parties were very quiet. They'd bring along videotapes of movies, and we'd all sit around and watch them on numerous occasions. That's where I saw Life Of Brian the first time.

I've been looking for all these people on the internet, and can't find much about them except for Norm, and I don't understand it. I've looked for other people before, and couldn't find anything on them. I'm mystified! If you look my name up, you'll find pages of stuff about me. Where did they go wrong?

Well, before I finish this post, I want to thank Leah Cruz, who posted something about Weird Al Yankovick on Facebook today and reminded me of Truc. The reason it reminded me was because Truc opened for Weird Al on several occasions.

Anyway, I hope you're having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! You won't be hearing from me tomorrow because I'm planning to go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival tomorrow!


  1. I'm from the Jersey Shore and probably was there with you many times for Truc and the Pepp Schnapps Attacks. I also ran into them at some bar in W Palm Beach, Fla. They were a great time!

  2. Yeah, peppermint schnapps stings when it gets in your eyes!

    But it's really fun!