Armed & Amplified
Joe Canzano was playing in New Jersey and New York City as a solo acoustic guy. Every Tuesday night he was at the Cove Lounge in Roselle. Once in while he'd get a better night. One Saturday he got a gig there, opening up for a bunch of bands. It rained very hard - some kind of hurricane, and none of the bands showed up. Then the sound guy, whose name was Ed (he eventually married a girl named Lisa who used to come down a lot), decided to go next door to the bowling alley. Then the bartender did the same, and Joe was up there playing to a totally empty room. Joe's comments: 'Yes, I remember it well. I could see the whole room and it was empty. Still, I hung on to the hope that my whole life would be sweeter than the average sardine.' Every Monday Joe went to CBGBs in Manhatten to play over at the 'acoustic side,' which was a record store attached to the main club. There was a girl behind the counter who was a 'ball point pen artist.' She was good, too - and let's face it, pens are cheaper than paint. The bartender was in a band called the Goats. He played some raunchy, rootsy stuff that conjured up images of a farm animal known to consume grass and maybe smoke it. Joe decided to put together a band and make a record. He already knew drummer Rob Eastlund through a previous band, and he recruited Eric Rachel to play all the bass parts on the record. For the live shows, they got bass player Rob Pearl. The record Armed and Amplified was added to over 200 college radio stations in the U.S. Some station in Alaska played it a lot. The band played a bunch of interesting gigs, and then sort of changed a bit for the next record, 'Guitars, Stars, and Candy Bars.'