Win Patrick & J. Free; 2003

Win Patrick & J. Free; 2003
[photo by Megan Heinzen]

Dancing In The Dark
version 1.0 - the experiment


Win Patrick : guitar, vocals
J. Free : vocals, guitar
Cris Patrick: drums
Eric Weitzel: drums
Cubby Henderson: conga
Bitsy Byron: additional vocals

It's crazy - you write a little chapter of history, and then one day you discover something in a box that changes everything. In this case, a tape containing two live performances by an early version of Dancing In The Dark, which suggested that this band was really on to something.

I have no photos of the early line-up, and the only notes provided on the tape are song titles and a couples of dates, from shows we played at the Seventh Street Entry. I don't remember a lot of the details of how it got started, but I'd be willing to bet it was Win's idea. I was game as long as I could play whatever I wanted on guitar - even if it exceeded my ability at the time. All I knew was that I didn't want to play conventional rock guitar cliches, and these tapes suggest I was successful in that respect.

I think the set from August 28th was our first show ever. We had a few basic musical themes and partially written songs, but most of what we did was improvised on stage that night. That might be the most apparent during tracks 4 and 5. Win's brother Cris was on loan that night from his "hardcore" band Todlachen (which also featured a 16-year old pre-AmRep Tom Hazelmeyer). Things That Fall Down were the headlining act on this night - the "Ha!" at the end of track 4 is their bass player, Garrison White. It was great to hear Cubby playing conga on this recording. He was an old pal of Win's, and we shared a love of the music of Roland Kirk. He kept all of his Kirk LPs in a milk crate, and declared that if his apartment ever caught on fire and he could only grab one thing, it would be that crate of Kirk albums. Cubby told me that Kirk claimed "jazz" was a white man's term for the music he played. I don't think Cubby knew what to make of the music Win and I played, but he definitely added a lot of energy to that set.

1st Ave calendar; September 1982

1st Avenue calendar; September 1982
[courtesy Michelle Strauss Ohnstad]

I have even less information about the set from September 18th, although I suspect that Eric was still on bass, and Jim Meyer may have been on drums at this point. My guitar histrionics had toned down a bit, and I was attempting more "structured" parts, although they still weren't very conventional. "Modern Cowboy" and "Friends" were both updated versions of songs I originally wrote for The Sacred Version, and "Music To Spy By" was a song Win co-wrote with two of my old bandmates from that group, under the nom de plume The Burkes (although allegedly, that band never actually existed).

This established a new strategy for the band, as Win and I began combining our individual songs together. The result was slightly longer songs with interesting chord pattern changes, and occasional recurring themes. It worked pretty well, although it really wasn't that thought out at the time - it was just something we did to keep the groove of the songs moving along. "Stay Ahead" started out as a guitar theme I had been recycling for a while, in my attempt to play something in the same vein as The Contortions. Win provided the original lyrics and the name of the song, and my initial lyrics were re-worked from another old song performed in The Sacred Version, called "Cut It Out". Those lyrics were eventully combined with the one and only rap lyric I ever wrote, which I had intended to use as an official "theme" for the band, while commenting on the local music scene at that time. The more or less "definitive" version was featured on the cassette release from the subsequent version of Dancing In The Dark - version 2.0.

Dancing In The Dark v.1.0

>>> Seventh Street Entry 28 August 1982 <<<

Dancing In The Dark v.1.0

>>> Seventh Street Entry 18 September 1982 <<<

Words & music © Wendell Patrick / Dancing In The Dark; 1982
Cocktails After Six © Karen Masantz / Wendell Patrick; 1982
Stay Ahead - music: J. Free; words: Wendell Patrick / J. Free; © 1982
Texas Fall Down Massacre - based on the Things That Fall Down Theme,
© Things That Fall Down; 1980
Modern Cowboy; Friends - words: J. Free; music: Wendell Patrick; © 1982
Music To Spy By © Shawn Pike / Tim Mitchell / Wendell Patrick; 1982

Recorded by Karen Masantz.
Digitally transferred and mastered by J. Free from a 1st-gen copy of the original tape.

Photo of Win & J., April 2003; by Megan J. Heinzen