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Rombox: Are we on tape?
Peter Cross: Sure, why not, I love tape, I eat tape, I live for more tape; in fact, my entire life is a quest for better ADAT tape.
RB: Are you a serious artist?
PC: No, I cannot draw at all, and my painting is hopeless.
RB: Mr. Cross, may I call you Peter?
PC: Please do, because if you don’t, I may forget who I am, and I need all the help I can get these days.
RB: Peter, were you actually born in the West Village, NYC?
PC: Yeah, at 50 West 9th Street to be exact, and my first food was pizza, not breast milk, although I did later develop an almost obsessive obsession with the latter (not the milk).
RB: How cool, Peter, you grew up in the West Village?
PC: No, I moved to the suburbs at age 2 to escape the crowds.
RB: Then you are a suburbanite, Peter?
PC: Worse than that.
RB: How did the rock and roll business ever let a twerp like you inside?
PC: Pure accident. I was just barely learning drums, playing along to Young Rascals songs (yeah, Dino Dinelli) with just a snare drum, high hat, and one cymbal, when I got a phone call from “THE DOLPHINS” ! ! ! wooooooooooooo…, the hottest band around 'cause they had a regional top 10 hit record called “Surfing East Coast”, a blatant rip-off of the Beach Boys Surfing USA, and they had just lost their drummer, auditioned several losers, and did not know where else to turn. I went down for the audition, and they asked me to play only 3 songs with them. Can you imagine that? Well, dig this! The first song was “Good Lovin”, the second was “Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore”, and the third one was “Do You Feel It”…. all 3 off the first Young Rascals album! I got the job, of course. The Dolphins played up and down the East Coast, mostly as second act to headliners, but because our equipment was already set up, we often backed up headliners such as The Drifters, Little Anthony (who was getting littler all the time by then), and so help me lord, I believe I backed up the Coasters, although I could not swear in court that they were the real Coasters because I distinctly remember there were a bunch of fake Coasters at the time. I have a memory (but no mammary) of a resort called "Grossingers", a gross enough example of jewelry and Jewery at its best in the Catskill Mountains (hey, no offense, I’m Jewish by ancestry), and I seem to recall falling off my drum stool over the performance of Charlie Brown and Poison Ivy. It is possible that I am inventing some of this, because I suffer from “long term mammary loss”, but the essence of the story is true…. I think…. I’m reasonably sure… at least for now, but I reserve the Right to change my testimony at any future date, so help me Leflaw.
RB: Ok, so you joined The Dolphins, Porpoises, whatever… then what? You better say something really interesting in the next 30 seconds or the Rombox Interest Meter is going to cut off your oxygen flow, and I do not wish to be associated with your bad odor.
PC: Um…(thinking fast)…. The Dolphins changed into the Chains, which in turn changed into the first public version of STEAM, with the SMASH #1 HIT entitled ……. ahem…. cough, cough…. “ NA NA, HEY HEY, KISS ‘EM GOODBYE ”, an unbelievably poetic understatement that sold 5-1/2 million records internationally and maintained residuals to its immortal producer, Paul Leka, for all time as far as I know. Paul also produced “Green Tambourine”, so let us not condemn him out of hand for complete lack of lyrical content, please. For his unique use of the tambourine alone in creating yet another totally forgettable one-hit wonder, Paul deserves to be cleverly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and then I will immediately set Paul’s balls solidly into a bed of acrylic modified, quick setting, epoxy grout.
RB: Your 30 seconds is up, and that was not INTERESTING ENOUGH.
PC: ssssshhhhhhhhoooooooot. I was at Woodstock, BEHIND the stage, with Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farm.
RB: Can you prove it?
PC: I recently stayed with Wavy Gravy at his Camp Win-a-Rainbow in Layton, Ca., but he doesn't even remember Woodstock, much less me. Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane), who teaches guitar at Wavy's camp, remembers me very well, but you would not recognize him at all these days. My sister was at Woodstock with me, but she is now a Buddhist Monk in Paris, France, and runs the Zen Centre de Paris, and you can call her if you want to. Rombox, you don’t think a Buddhist Monk would lie about a thing like that, do you?
RB: No, just checking your credentials……. please hold…….......
PC: I hate being put on hold. If it wasn’t the Rombox, I would definitely hang up.
RB: Ok, we’re back, and you apparently passed our credit check.
PC: Whoopie-woo, can I buy, lease, or charge Carl Gardner?
RB: You really push the envelope, don’t you Mr. Cross?
PC: If you don’t call me Peter, I may peter out.
RB: hmmmmmm. Let me check our insurance policy about petering out.
PC: And while you do, let me tell you a bit about my life in Greenwich Village.
RB: I thought you said you escaped to the suburbs?
PC: Yeah, but at age 17, I escaped the suburbs and moved back to the Village. 49 Prince Street, to be exact, right in the heart of Little Italy, with the long black sedans, guys named Large Louie, and the smell of garlic pasta intermingled with garbage of unknown origin.
RB: This is supposed to be interesting to our audience?
PC: WAIT A MINUTE…. HOLD THE PHONE….WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE, EXACTLY?
RB: Well, it is only me and this recording machine just now, but you never know how many people might eventually read what you are saying to me if the Rombox decides that you have anything worthwhile to say.
PC: Wow, this is potentially HISTORIC. I better watch my spelling and grammar for all those unfortunates who may have to study this interview for some music class, psychiatry class, west coast enlightenment through “feeling” seminar, or other accredited farce…whoops, I mean course.
RB: You do have a knack for digressing. Can we get back to the point please? HOW MANY STARS HAVE YOU MET, AND HOW MANY HAVE YOU SLEPT WITH??
PC: Over 15, and zero, respectively.
RB: You slept with NO STARS AT ALL? And you think our audience has some OTHER interest in you?????
PC: No, I guess not. But I slept with many ladies who SHOULD have been stars…. I will NEVER forget any of them, even though I do not remember any of their names. It was truly the best of times.
RB: Well then, at a very minimum, for the record, which STARS did you meet in person, please?
PC: Chronologically? To the best of my feeble recollection:
1. King Louis the 1st (“They’re Coming to Take Me Away, ho ho, he he, ha ha”), The Dolphins were second act
2. Ben E. King, The Dolphins were second act
3. Little Anthony, The Dolphins were second act
HEY ! ! ! Second act to Benny the King and Little Anthony is REALLY SOMETHING.
4. Freddy Scott, my one hit hero, possibly the greatest one hit singer of ALL TIME.
5. Peter, Paul, & Mary, at the Café Wha in the West Village; I thought they were just AWFUL, with no vocal mix at all, and so I advised them to stick to instrumentals.
6. The Left Banke, at Mercury Records on 57th St. We met in the bathroom, briefly.
7. Half the cast at Woodstock, but with half the brains. The hash was memorable.
8. Cat Stevens, in Nat Weiss’ apartment, prior to release of his first hit.
9. Jimi Hendrix, at Electric Ladyland with Gary Kelgren, at various all-night delis looking for a really fresh salad for Jimi.
10. The Eagles, at the Record Plant in LA, but only in passing in the “Rack Room”.
11. Prince, at the Record Plant in Sausalito. He told me he was going to be a big star, I listened to his music and advised him not to quit his straight job. So much for my knowledge of the record buying public.
12. Sly Stone, who had a private bedroom at the Record Plant, Sausalito, with a rather unusual bed.
13. Steven Stills, all night-er at the Record Plant, Sausalito
14. Jerry Garcia, all night-er at the Record Plant, Sausalito
15. Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and Ronnie Wood at the infamous “Clapp house” on Paradise Island, Nassau, The Bahamas (rented by Jamie and Jorje Bonnilla, the former Columbian Brothers from the little town of Medellin).
There are more, but I would rather not get any further into it at this time (legal difficulties, potential conflict of interest, etc…… you know)
RB: Our audience wants Star talk.
PC: I am Starcrost, you know.
RB: Yes, I was going to ask you about that. What the hell is Starcrost supposed to mean, anyway?
PC: I am Peter Cross. Because of my horrendous personal Karma in the last 4 years, I became “The Crossed Star", and I decided to name my Production Company “Starcrost” as a result. My studio band, which does not really exist, is “CROSSFIRE”, and my publishing company is named “Hot Crossed Buns”. I can go on with this cross thing forever I think (that is, if JESUS HIMSELF does not actively object, and if HE does, I’m outta here in a hurry and I will legally change my name to ALONJOSEPHUS SMITH and become a monk). If I host my own chat room, it will have to be named “CROSSTALK” (just as a tip-your-hat to AA), and then I suppose we will have to follow in the footsteps of Ted Turner and have a CROSSCHANNEL, and then imitate that inimitable Brandon guy with the Airline, and the Balloons, and the Virgin Stores which we will have to buy out and rename as CROSSTORES which we will fill with priceless memorabilia signed by Peter Cross just before he died.
RB: Do you plan to die?
PC: Yes, don’t you?
RB: That’s rhetorical…. I think it’s a question of how soon, isn’t it?
PC: You hit the nail squarely on the head there, Rombox.
RB: We here at Rombox live a clean life, exercise regularly, eat well, pray daily, respect the inherent integrity of all human beings, and we choose to live in Pennsylvania because our heart is with the original Pilgrims and their freedom loving slaves and children. Of course, we recognize that the Pilgrims did land somewhere off Cape Cod, and there probably were Normans or Icelanders, or Geeks prior to the Mayflower bunch, but we do have the original cracked Liberty Bell, the Ben Franklin Museum (check it out, kids), soft shell crabs, miles and miles of uncharted wilderness populated by absolutely NOBODY, except every now and then you come across a Daniel Boone type character with a very LARGE knife, who says…. “NOW THIS….. IS A KNIFE" ! ! !
PC: Hey, I spent a winter in Georgetown that I would rather forget. I kept looking for a cherry tree to chop down, but in the winter you can’t tell whether they are cherry trees or apple trees unless you know what you're talking about, and I obviously do not.
RB: You digressed again. Georgetown is in Washington, D.C.
PC: No, you digressed….. here, read the transcript…… we were talking about dying, and the next thing is, you feel the need to defend Pennsylvania, the most Intelligent of all the States in the Union, and the one Least in Need of Defense.
RB: How many Stars did you say you slept with, personally?
PC: I think we both need some sleep. This interview is concluded. What do you say we title it “Part 1” ?
RB: I will have to check with our sponsors.
PC: Take a meeting with them. Do lunch. Send me the receipt.
RB: Leflaw will be in contact with you, I’m sure.
PC: Tell Leflaw that I hope we never face off in court. It’s a potential conflict of interest because I would like to be his friend, or at least an acquaintance, maybe a co-director of a non-profit foundation, something like that.
RB: OK. This is the end of The Peter Cross Interview, Part 1.
PC: There is no end. Einstein proved it.
PC: Einstein was a very close personal friend of my grandfather, Otto Juliusberger, who was a prominent psychiatrist in Berlin, and a contemporary of Freud. Einstein brought his nephew to my grandfather for treatment of “schizophrenia” (which was probably no more than a young man with an identity crisis, but we will never know) and they became close friends. Einstein emigrated to the US in the mid 1930’s, but kept in contact with my grandparents. In 1939, my grandparents had to go into hiding to escape the Gestapo, and Einstein not only GOT THEM OUT of there, he PAID for their passage to the United States, and he SPONSORED them for citizenship. They remained close personal friends. He honored my grandparents by attending my parents wedding. I bounced on Einstein’s knee when I was too young to remember. My aunt, when she died, left boxes full of letters from Einstein to my grandfather and vice versa to the NYC public library. All I have left, is a copy of a Letter of Recommendation that Einstein wrote for my father, and it hangs on my living room wall along with a private picture of Einstein. AND THAT……. is the end of Part 1.
RB: You can’t just leave us hanging there.
PC: I’m afraid I have to, because we are about to get into really serious stuff, like the Theory of Relativity, The Unified Field Theory, The Origin of the Universe, The Reason for It All, Why It Keeps Going in the Face of Apparent Failure, and Where it Will all End???????? Stuff like that. I promise to EXPLAIN IT ALL, in Part 2.
PC: Please remind me when we resume this interview that you are entitled to three (3) questions, about ANYTHING AT ALL concerning LIFE, GOD, ETC. (B.S. intellectual questions about obscure facts are NOT included), and I will truthfully answer all three questions to the best of my ability… which is formidable. TRY ME. I challenge YOU, Rombox.
But I advise you to consult with an attorney, preferably one who can actually TUNE a guitar, can play slide WITHOUT re-tuning to open string chords, has truly LISTENED to Timmy McDonald, and knows how to resolve an A minor to a B major at the very END of a song (i.e. “A Question of Love”).