Unpretty, Plainview, Long Island, NY 1992

Sam Jacobs of Brooklyn, New York send in this historic nugget:

We were four fifteen year old kids with the dream of playing in a band. Josh & I met Kevin & Jay at a USY dance and put the wheels in motion to make our dreams a reality. I played bass and sang, Josh played guitar, Jay played drums, and Kevin was multi talented jumping between keyboards and bass. Two bass players? Sure, why not?

Josh's mom drove us to our first practice in Lindenhurst - a 20 minute drive from where we grew up in Plainview that took us over an hour using Kevin's stupid directions. We set up in the basement of Jay's dad's house. It was a dingy room with old, smoke soaked sofas and discolored paneling. We made a lot of noise that afternoon, but managed to lay the foundations for three original songs Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Running, and Dilemma. We decided to call ourselves Unpretty and came up with the slogan We're not ugly, we're just Unpretty.

We continued over the new few months bouncing back and forth between Jay's basement or garage in Lindenhurst to Josh's mom's house in Plainview, and even booked some time in a West Babylon rehearsal space called Split Decision Studios. Lindenhurst became our stomping ground though. We'd stay overnight at Jay's house - we'd go out with their friends walking along the railroad tracks jumping form the good side to the bad, smoked Swisher Sweets and Herbal tea rolled up to look like joints. We may have snuck some booze, but I don't recall. We jammed out on the Ramones and watched a lot of 120 Minutes for inspiration. We took a field trip to the city to see Ned's Atomic Dustbin at Roseland. It was awesome.

We signed up to play Plainview JFK High School's Battle of the Bands, which turned out wasn't even really a battle, but a festival that went on to showcase about six or seven local bands in one night. Each band was given about 20 minutes to play. That afternoon we were practicing at Josh's house. We nailed our three originals and the Ramones Blitzkrieg Bop, but were still coming up short on time. That's when we wrote a little diddy called I Love Life. Jay started with a drum beat, I joined in with a simple three note Ramones style bass line, then Josh & Kevin fell into place with guitar parts (oh yeah, Kevin played that too) and we had the makings of our biggest hit of the show:

I love life how 'bout you?

I love life, how 'bout you?

I need a life, how 'bout you?

Get a life! Oh, screw you!

We were psyched to play, but before we could we'd have to solve a little equipment problem. Kevin decided we should all play through this old school PA he had instead of our old school, underpowered amps. It sounded like a good idea at the time. However, once we got to the auditorium the PA crapped out. We borrowed amps from the other bands. Kevin didn't even plug in for one song. I made up some of the lyrics I'd forgotten. We looked punk. We felt punk too, especially when the school security guard checked my water bottle for booze.

That was as good as it got. Other bands break up because of musical differences or because of women trouble. Our end came when mine & Josh's grades started to slip leading our parents to force us to put the band on hold for a while. On hold ultimately became a breakup. Unfortunately neither Josh nor I have heard from Kevin or Jay in years. Josh and I remain close friends, I will be best man at his wedding this November. He works for a movie studio, and here I am writing memoirs like this one.

2 comments:

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Nybor said...

Hey unpretty! Didnt you guys cover a Bush song too? Good times.