Rock and Roll!

A retrospective of the various bands I had played with throughout my younger days.


Abstract


An early Abstract lineup, c.1984 -
Seated: Tim Hines
Standing: Geoff Trowbridge, Mark Warlick,
Rich Trowbridge, Joe Spano
Too Much Time On My Hands
Abstract was the first "real" band that was born out of the musical skills shared by my family and friends. We formed in 1983 when I was thirteen, and by 1985 we were playing parties, teen clubs and even (gasp!) a wedding reception for a young couple. This cover of the hit by Styx was recorded in early 1986 at a "battle of the bands" hosted by our high school in my junior year.


Wasted
Here's a little-known song from Def Leppard's first album, "On Through the Night." We recorded this (along with quite a few other heavy-metal staples) in the fall of 1986 after our second keyboardist, Craig Gildner, left for college. It's a fine example of just how rhythmically tight we were despite being so young.


What You Need
Abstract's lineup went through several changes as members left to join other bands, or moved out of state. This recording of the popular INXS song was made in my basement shortly before the band's final gig (and breakup following high school graduation) in 1987.


Xzotik


L to R: Robbie Ritchie, Geoff Trowbridge,
Rich Trowbridge, Tony Stover, James DeMorrow
Less than a year after my cousin Rich and I had graduated high school, Abstract's original lead guitarist returned from California, and before we knew it, we'd reformed the band, this time choosing a name that was simply a bizarre phonetic spelling of "exotic." This band actually had a pretty good following, playing clubs and festivals all over the Michiana area, and even opening for signed recording acts such as the band Nitro.

(You Can Still) Rock In America
and...
Still Of the Night
These two tracks were recorded circa 1988 in a studio, but in only a single take, so for all intents and purposes they are live recordings. These were covers of songs by Night Ranger and Whitesnake (respectively).

Later we got back the drummer we'd had in Abstract, Robbie Ritchie, and with that lineup we self-produced and distributed an album, titled (in keeping with the tendency toward bizarre phonetic spelling) "Uhpinyah"—selling a few hundred copies at shows and in local record stores:

  1. Shock
  2. Uhpinyah
  3. She Wants Love
  4. Take Control
  5. Just Want To Love You
  6. Go
  7. I've Got A Reason
  8. Make Me Feel Alive
  9. Lonely Road


Tom Sawyer
We started playing pretty regularly at a club in Sturgis, Michigan called "The Nail," where this Rush cover was recorded, probably in 1989.

Eventually Bob left the band and I was drafted to play keys when it became apparent that good keyboardists were a rare breed while bass players were a dime a dozen. So a guy named Tony Stover became the new bassist, and that's the lineup seen in the pic at the top of this page.

By this time I was working nights, going to IUSB during the day, and rehearsing with the band in the evening. If you're wondering when I found time to sleep... well, truth be told, I didn't all that much. Then one day while driving home, I fell asleep and wrapped my car around a telephone pole. Not long afterward, I got wise and decided to settle down and get married.


Four and Twenty Elders

A couple years later, my cousin Rich hooked back up with Jeff Cooper and guitarist Mark Darnell, both of whom I knew from high school and had played with in the jazz band, and they formed a Christian band called "Get Altared". By 1993, Jeff had left, and the remaining members wanted to get a wider audience for the band, so Rich and Mark phoned me up to see how I would feel about playing keyboards in clubs again. Joined by drummer Matt Campagnoli and bassist Bryan Chris, we formed the band 4&20 Elders.

Dream On
This recording of the classic Aerosmith song was made during a rehearsal in Mark's garage, and is an example of a work-in-progress—Mark really didn't know the guitar licks at this point, but pressed on like a trooper. I'm uploading it here anyway to showcase my really cool keyboard arrangement, as well as the fact that, yes, Rich really can hit that note near the end.

The rest of these songs were recorded during a single performance at Santino's Restaurant in Elkhart, circa 1994.

Burning Down the House
The Talking Heads tune

Carry On Wayward Son
This is the only known recording of us performing the classic Kansas song, which is unfortunate, because the tape runs out just halfway through.

Come Sail Away
The Styx classic, which Eric Cartman hates though he can't help but sing it all the way through if prompted.

Late Night Theme
The theme from Late Night With David Letterman—the original arrangement, used back when it was still on NBC. A terrific song to open a set with, especially when a band has the chops that this one did.

Under Pressure
I was so proud of the fact that not only did we attempt a few Queen songs, we pulled them off with aplomb. That's me singing the David Bowie parts.

All of the above:

Regrettably, I had to leave the band in late '94 when the schedule simply got to be too much to handle. The band took advantage of the hiatus to record an album—which (I believe) is still available on CDbaby.com—and opened for a few acts such as Robin Trower.

The band began gigging again when they developed a very fine system for sequencing the keyboard parts. Later, Mark left and Rich took over full-time guitar duty in addition to the lead vocal, and the band is still going strong as a three-piece.


Reunion Community Worship Group

These songs were recorded while I was part of a Christian worship group that performed for a small assembly on Sundays, and occasionally for a larger community gathering on weekdays called "The Meeting Place." Note that these recordings (from 1997) were made directly off the soundboard and thus the mix is not terribly good (and at times downright awful):

  1. Flood (orig. recorded by Jars of Clay)
  2. King (orig. recorded by King's X)
  3. Fill Me Up (orig. recorded by Brian Doerksen)
  4. His Banner Over Me (orig. recorded by Kevin Prosch)
  5. All Honor (orig. recorded by Ron Kenoly)
  6. Not Just For The Dead (orig. recorded by King's X)
  7. Shine (orig. recorded by Collective Soul)
  8. Shot of Love (orig. recorded by King's X)
  9. I Need You Father (written by Matt Campagnoli)
  10. More (orig. recorded by Brian Doerksen)

I play keys on all of these recordings. The songs also feature my cousin Rich Trowbridge on guitar and lead vocal, Matt Campagnoli on drums, and Brian Chris on bass, all of whom are current members of Four and Twenty Elders. And tracks 6 through 8 also feature James DeMorrow on lead guitar, which accounts for three of the five original members of Xzotik and Abstract. (Other members of the group included the pastor on acoustic guitar, Brian's sister on vocal, and many others whose names I can't possibly remember.)

The group disbanded when the pastor of our assembly, Reunion Community, decided to merge with the larger organization who ran The Meeting Place... and since they already had their own worship group, we were all unceremoniously shunted aside. And everything we enjoyed about the smaller assembly was swallowed up and spit out by the larger, more "traditional" congregation with their wacked-out fundamentalist values. This is Reason #132 Why Church Sucks.


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