Hello Marge, Ermou Crew and everybody at BIA 🙂
Greetings from Kassel, Germany! It’s been a struggle to get out of Naples, but I finally did it. It was a great ride, but it was simply time to go. I’m not sure how to explain it, but that’s how it goes when you’re used to bouncing around I guess. Anyway, it’s been a long time coming, but with all the emotions wrapped up in my Italian experience it was a little difficult to sort things out. Now that I’ve spent some time in Switzerland and Germany- places where there is silence and big green parks to chill out in- I can straighten out my thoughts and actually put them down.
Sooo, here we go..
As you might remember, I hooked up with a band called La Terza Classe (The Third Class) based on the passengers who rode the third class section of the Titanic where the poorest passengers traveled. Since many of those passengers were common folk from Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, their traditional folk music was played to pass the time. As they arrived in America, this form of traditional music eventually transformed into Bluegrass Music, rooted in Appalacian Music, which then branched out into Dixieland and Jazz Music (yes, I understand that I am making this quite simplified, but I am sure that a quick search on Wikipedia will fill in the gaps for me). The other members of the band grew up listening to this type of music which was a favorite of many of their parents, also musicians and fans of music. Funny enough, I was the only American in the group… and a Northerner at that!
From our first week together, we began playing in a few bars and social centers around Naples, were hired for birthday parties and weddings and became ‘famous’ enough to be invited to paly at some local community events. It was rare to walk the streets of Naples without hearing “hey, Terza Classe!” or even “hey, Detroit!” being shouted out in greeting. Though every artist has an ego, and I think it’s fair to say that mine is a little bigger than average ;), it was surprising and uplifting every time this happened. We made a name for ourselves by putting on a great show.
However, it wasn’t all fun and games. This winter was one of the wettest and coldest I have experienced in a long time. The humidity was difficult to deal with, not to mention playing in a normal tone, rather than the half tone down (D+) that I am used to. It took a while, but I believe I was able to strengthen my voice and sing deeper than I ever have.
On top of all that, Bluegrass is a type of music that is played fast… almost the faster the better. You can’t imagine the number of times I nearly broke my teeth or swallowed my kazoo trying to put it in my mouth and not lose the beat until Vals gave me a harmonica collar. There was even a time or two I had to fight with a fan to get my kazoo back after it had flown from my hand into the crowd. The fans always thought I was playing the rock star and throwing them a souvenir!
The most incredible part of all of this, though, was how we as a band grew together. There were fights and disagreements from time to time as is natural when so many alpha males are involved, but we always overcame them and could talk things out and continue to concentrate on the important things. I am grateful for the patience of the guys for my apparent lack of ability to keep a single rhythm going throughout an entire song. But all of this made us stronger and better and was reflected in our performances.
This was the first time I had ever played in a band in this way, and I have taken only positive experiences with me. I have learned so much and improved (I hope) with my musical abilities that I am now eager to get on with my new album and continue rocking my European Tour. Until then, I encourage anyone and everyone who might visit Naples to search out La Terza Classe and pass along my greetings. You can usually find them on Via Scarlatti and/or Via Luca Giordano in Vomero, or along the street referred to as Sparcanapoli from Piazza San Dominico to Piazza Gesu. Just look for the big crowd of people dancing and having a good time and you’ll more than likely find Terza Classe in the middle of it all. In the evenings, from time to time, you can also find them in Piazza Bellini performing in any number of ways from fully equipped to a capella, sometimes with a drink in their hands, but always with beautiful women around.
It was a great ride as I’ve said and I am looking forward to a reunion concert either here in Germany or back in Naples. I cannot thank you boys enough… Lallo Gallo, Rafello Bello, Enrico Morano, Pierpaolo, Vals and Biadgio!
As for playing in Naples, the areas I mentioned are the two most effective places for ‘working’ where we had played, but Via Toledo/ Via Roma or along the seaside from Castello del Uovo to Lungomare are other places to check out. As always, it just depends on the artist and their luck as to where is the best to play. The law states that anyone can perform for 2 hours in any spot and though I don’t know the actual hours one is allowed to play, it’s pretty self-explanatory- from about 10:30 until 20:30 is when the traffic is heaviest on the streets.
So I have left Italy and La Terza Classe taking with me a life-changing experience and one that will surely make it into my book if I ever get around to writing one. In terms of any music that I will write based on these experiences, well I guess you’ll just have to keep yourselves updated here or keep checking MTV 😉
As always, I am thankful for our fans here on Busking In Athens from around the world. I will try to keep updating my travels without so much time in-between, but sometimes, when you get caught up in an adventure, you must first step outside to catch your breath and pinch yourself to make sure you’re not sleeping before you can share it with anyone.
I would also like to give a big thanks to the friends I made through Couch Surfing, the parents and families of the band members who cooked for us and let us sleep in their houses when our rehearsals got too late, and the fans who continued to support us and search us out on the streets. there are too many to name here, but you know who you are, and can see in my smile how much I (and the band as well) appreciate your love
Sooo until the next time, keep your eyes and ears open for La Terza Classe, Detroit Jimmy or any one of the many great artists here from BIA and beyond.
Keep playing hard, singing loud and remember….
SMILE DAMNIT! 😉
Detroit Jimmy signing off
for more information on Detroit Jimmy, La Terza Classe or Busking In Athens check out their respective Facebook pages or go to www.buskinginathens.com