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Garrison: me, Roy, Kevin and Dan, circa 1979.
Garrison: me, Roy, Kevin and Dan, circa 1979.

garrison:a retrospective
garrison: 1975 to 1978 | garrison: 1979-1980 | garrison reunion: 1983

garrison: phase three
Back on hiatus,
Dan and I took some time to sort out our options. In January of 1979, we finally decided to reform the group with new personnel. A mutual friend, Dick Piersall, turned us on to guitarist extraordinaire Roy Ellingsen, late of MCA recording artists Jericho, who happened to be between groups at the time. We had originally thought of utilizing a keyboard player, but as soon as we played with Roy, our minds were quickly changed.

Garrison performing at the legendary Rising Sun in Yonkers, NY, 1979.

As an added bonus, we were able to practice at Roy's house, which he and his wife shared with it's owner, the ever-supportive Carla, lovingly nicknamed "Mofo." As we got him up to speed on our tunes, we simultaneously began to search for our new drummer. Somehow or other, we hooked up with old friend and drummer, Stu Standerwick. Things were going great for a couple of months until Stu informed us that he was unable to continue with us for personal reasons. So the drummer search began anew. We must have auditioned about 25 guys, but none of them had that "spark" that we required. As luck and fate would have it, Dan's brother James knew an incredible drummer; we played one song with Kevin Brennan, and that was it. The new Garrison was complete. This time, we made sure that we had a competent manager in place: Ginny Miller. Ginny managed to get us a lot of gigs in well-respected clubs and halls all over the place; subsequently, we enlarged our "fan" base to a much greater degree. At one point in 1979, our live sound was being handled by none other than former Patron Saint, John Doerschuk, in between his various band duties. A small world, indeed!

Back in April of 1978, to defray the costs of producing my first solo album Modern Phonography, I had put an ad in the paper to sell some of the recording gear I no longer needed. I ended up selling much of it to Ward Bennett, a top audio engineer at WNEW-TV (now Fox WYNW-TV). He and I hit it off right away; he was very interested in my recording projects, and was buying my stuff to use in the studio he was about to set up in his house. As he acquired equipment, he would try it out by recording demos with the reunited Garrison as his test subjects; we were there so often (his wife Sharon was very tolerant), he was like a member of the band!

This flyer was all over the place in 1979. We used it as a press release form, a booking sheet, a poster, etc. I took the photos of Dan, Roy and Kevin, and as I recall, Roy took the shot of me punching myself in the face.>>>

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Despite a fair amount of radio airplay and promotion, a rising fan base and some music industry interest, it wasn't to be. We played a fair number of gigs in the New York City tri-state area, but our last live gig was at the end of January, 1980; things weren't moving quite quickly enough for Kevin, who soon left Garrison and eventually migrated to Las Vegas, NV, where he still works as an extremely in-demand drummer. Dan followed suit, and moved out to Seattle, WA. (A rare QuickTime movie of Dan and I singing a bit of his song Shaky Ground in 1983, is above.)

Well, there was only one thing left for me to do. You guessed it: record another solo album, Sending Out Signals, which is, of course, a whole other story...

Following in the wake of the recent resurgence of popularity of the Patron Saints' Fohhoh Bohob, and my Modern Phonography and Sending Out Signals albums, a newly-born interest in all things Garrison has developed. We finally released the 2-CD set Garrison Anthology in 2001, which contains all of the aborted LP tracks, plus a number of live, demo and studio tracks from 1976 to 1979. I'm thinking about a Garrison Anthology 2, as well. There's plenty of stuff left to release...

garrison: 1975 to 1978 | garrison: 1979-1980 | garrison reunion: 1983

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