For the next year I wrote and recorded extensively on my 4-track as there were few tempting opportunities with bands on the local scene. During this time, I also began to question if staying around was the thing to do anymore. I had pretty much exhausted all the possibilities and played with nearly everyone that I had wanted to play with in the area. In November of '92, I hooked up with Dino Fregosi, a local rock and roll institution for the past two decades. He had enjoyed notoriety in his band Dino and the Detonators (with Richie Scarlet, Ace Frehley's second guitarist) in the late '70s / early '80s and was one of the last local artists left that I had wanted to play with but hadn't yet. I respected Dino and his history and joined his current project - an Alice Cooper tribute band called "Nightmare." Though a tribute band of any kind wasn't my dream come true, I was a big Cooper fan and figured it could be fun. It was something to keep my chops up and I'd get to jam with Dino so I went for it.
Dino and the band performing "Elected."
John, me, Dino with a face full of confetti, and Dave.
Dino and his dolly during "Dead Babies."
Dino did the Alice character justice because he was just a crazy as Alice on-stage, and crazier than Alice off-stage. We did lots of gigs over the next four or five months with Dino as Alice, Dave Pitkat on guitar, John Valenti on guitar, Mike Ford on drums and, of course, myself on bass. The band had a ton of props, we really did the show right. We had two guys whose sole responsibilities were to set up the next prop or make-up or whatever. We had skulls all over the stage equipment, plenty of blood, swords, dead baby dolls, a refrigerator for Cold Ethyl, and Dino/Alice dollar bills to throw into the audience. We did Alice's straight jacket, Cold Ethyl blow up doll, and even the hangman routine. The one main difference between the way Alice does the hangman trick and the way Dino did it is that Alice has a full body harness to hold him in place when the trap door opens. Dino had a real noose around his neck that was carefully measured to pull taut just as his feet would make contact with a hidden platform under the trap door. If the roadies didn't measure off the rope to the exact length, well... you would be reading about Dino on the front page of the morning paper the next day. "Freak Accident! Freak Dies in Stage Prop Mix-up!" Fortunately, that never happened, but there was always a hint of nervous tension on stage when we got to the end of "I Love The Dead."
Dino doing the lynching routine at The Chance.
Me, Richie Scarlet, and Dino performing "18."
One of many memorable things Dino would do as Alice, was to chainsaw his way out of a wooden box at the beginning of our shows. Now this was no Hollywood stunt chainsaw with rubber teeth. Dino's was the real, gassed up, ready-to-wipe-out-rain-forests type. We were playing the Chance on one occasion and after Dino had cut himself out of the box, he waved the chainsaw high over his head, engine revving, blades spinning. As he did this, gas was pouring out of it and onto the wooden stage floor as the cap had apparently been left off the tank. I should mention at this point that The Chance had burned down a few years earlier and had only recently reopened after several years of rebuilding. We had flash pots going off during the opening number and you've never seen club personnel come running out of the woodwork to do anything like these guys scrubbing down the stage with towels as we played. It was like watching them throw themselves on the grenade to save their commander as the show rocked on. Dino was definitely a nut, one of the most lovable nuts I've had the pleasure to work with.
Dino, having a dance with Cold Ethyl the blow-up doll, and me.
We had lots of good times and I stayed with this project until the middle of March in '93 when I decided to move to Los Angeles. I was getting really antsy hanging around anymore and knew I had to bail. It was either New York City or LA. Not knowing what my financial situation was going to be, the choice was easy. New York City is the best place in the world to be if you've got a reasonable amount of money, but if you don't, it's probably one of the worst places. In LA, if you don't have any money, at least you've still got sunshine and palm trees and the ocean. So off to LA I went.
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