Chapter One

The Seeds

 

    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.

    The 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.

    Now 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.