To think of all of the stupid stuff we did back then, one thing we did that
wasn’t too stupid was listen to music. And we did a lot of that as did most of the
kids our age and as most of the kids that same age are doing with the same seriousness
right now. The Beatles, The Stones, Black Sabbath, Undisputed Truth, Cornelius Brothers
& Sister Rose, The Who, Johnny Winter, Alice Cooper and on, and on, and on.
Plastic Fruit originally started on Pete’s aunt and uncle’s front porch on 18th Street
in Wyandotte, Michigan way back in 1971. We were just very young teenagers at the
time, and life was so easy, even though at the time, it didn’t really seem like it.
But, nevertheless, it still seemed just easy enough to start a band even though neither
one of us could play an instrument. But who cared. The Iron Cross was formed.
all we had to do was choose, and somehow get, instruments. Choosing wasn’t hard to
do because Pete’s hands down favorite was drums, and mine was the guitar. There.
That’s settled. But what part of the sky are they going to fall from and where should
we be standing when they do? But remember, life was easy, and there was always Santa
Claus. In the meantime I had a folk guitar from Sears (I think it was Sears) that
my Grandfather bought me when I was nine or ten, that had never really been played.
What? You're supposed to tune the guitar too? There. That sounds good enough. And
don't forget your tetanus shot. Yes, the strings were a little rusty. Pete used a
Clorox container with the top cut off and stuffed with rags as a drum pad. We used
to call the Clorox container a puke pail because that was what we used when we were
children and were sick and puking. I can hear my mother now. "Here's a puke pail
so you don't puke on your sister again." Thanks mom. The salmon patties smelled the
same way coming up as they did when they went down. And they were still warm too.
So Pete started out playing the puke pail. Now just how many drummers do you think
can lay claim to that? He also used pens as drumsticks. We melted (Yes, melted) the
caps on the pens so they wouldn't fly off and kill someone. There. We had a instant
band with instant instruments. Life was so easy, even though at the time, it didn’t
really seem like it.
We set up shop in a room in the corner of my (my parent's) basement. It looked
like it might have been a kitchen at one time many years before. It had cupboards
along one side with what looked like a space for a refrigerator. There was also a
utility sink and a peculiar square opening at the bottom of one of the inner dividing
walls. We would later find out that the peculiar square opening was there to let
the overflowing crud from the utility sink flow out of the room into the floor drain.
The Iron Cross (that was us) would practice for hours and hours and hours on end.
You have to understand though that practicing meant playing along with records and
tapes. I had a Panasonic cassette tape player and Pete had a green Sears stereo record
player. Pete got an identical cassette player a little later on and with those three
machines and a pile of mostly Beatles records and tapes, we could, and did, play
for hours. Not only that, but since we had an extra cassette recorder now, we could
record the whole production to see how it all sounded. And it sounded great. The
out of tune folk guitar with rusty strings and not a proper chord in sight along
with a puke pail stuffed full of rags having the shit beat out of it by a pair of
Bic pens with the caps melted (Yes, melted) on and The Beatles in the background
trying to keep up with us. Yep, it sounded great. But, after a while it seemed that
the four lads from Liverpool were holding back our artistic progress. You know how
it is. You play with a band too long and you start to get a little stale. So all
we could do in the meantime was to keep playing as the Fab Six and wait for our real
instruments to just appear. Then we could become the Fantastic Duo. Sorry boys. I
hope there are no hard feelings.