Boston's Randy Roos-A Local Legend Sustains Infinitely
It started out as a nice folk 'rock kind of a group, but we all got more and more' we were always looking for music, and playing stuff with each other, and getting stoned, so we went through this whole evolution that ended up as a blend of Zappa and Weather Report at the end. Phil started writing these tunes that had rather bizarre lyrics and a lot of sections, and sometimes really comical little things happening, with outrageous soloing and a lot of different eclectic stuff'really cool. We started playing at Club Zircon in Cambridge. We had a deal playing there every Tuesday. It became kinda like what 'Club D'Elf' does now. The club would be packed with people who'd just come to see what we did next. It was pretty open and loose and we suffered from a similar problem that D'Elf has. That is, if we played in any other place in Boston, no one would come! They would get used to us being a fixture at this place. We all lived together for a summer. We rented a house together, set up a basement as a recording studio and together, we wrote an entire repertoire of material the first half of the summer. The second half we recorded it. We were really diligent. We would be on each other to practice. We would practice individually all day and then all night work as a band for a whole summer. We did two gigs that summer. I had a job with my early guitar teacher who owned a music store in Wellesley and he hired me to teach as a senior in high school. He bent policy for me, which was very nice of him. He gave our band equipment to use when we needed it, etc., and was one of the biggest supports you could ever hope for. I told him I needed to support myself for the summer. I had stopped teaching there by that time, which was going into my third year of college. He designed a program where I would teach groups of kids three half-days a week. It was torture- it wasn't for me at all- but I did it and it got me through the summer-so obviously I wasn't practicing all day on those three days.
Other people did other things. A couple of the other kids had their parents supporting them. Matt Gordy was the drummer and was studying percussion, including vibes, at the Conservatory and was quite good. He and I would practice for hours together playing tunes. Ron Mooradian , who is known for making gig bags now, was the saxophonist We were a bunch of hard working serious guys. We used two stereo tape-recorders and did overdubbing by doing sound on sound between them.
AAJ: Did you release anything?
RR: Oh no- there was nothing to release then. What would you sell? A reel-to-reel tape? Cassettes didn't even exist then! I guess they did, but very few people had a good quality cassette recorder at that time. We just didn't think about it. The way that you got your music out then was you got a record deal and someone spent 20 grand on you to go into a cheap studio in those days and you know-in those days it was a big deal to get a record contract of any sort. There weren't many records being released as a result. Now everyone who as a cd burner puts out a cd.
Another story from that time is that for one of our two gigs that summer, we went out for the night and played, and when we got back, all of our recording equipment had been stolen from the basement. It was mostly my stuff too. They took the tapes off the machines and left them, which I think it was considerate. I know who they were and they lived two doors down from us.
Anyway, one of the waitresses at the club was Lisa Kinscherf who was Richard Kinscherf 's sister. Richard later changed his name to Rick Berlin . That was one of my initial connections to Orchestra Luna . There was another bassist, Scott Chambers, who went to Tufts, a good friend of mine, who had answered a newspaper ad to play with Rick Kinscherf from this band they were going to start. He kept telling about this band with this crazy pianist/singer guy with this whacked out music and he was trying to get me interested in it and succeeded. Lisa had heard me play with Softwood, and they kept on trying to get me into the band, which they did. I was 20 at the time, the summer before my senior year at Tufts. They had management and the whole idea was to do a record. In those days, I thought I was charmed, and that, 'Ok, let's see'Softwood was good, creatively it was good and we got a thing happening' and now I think it's time for me to make a record! It's time for me to get a major recording deal!'