Frank Secich

Deadbeat Poets

By Christopher Duda
(SugarBuzz Toronto)

SugarBuzz Magazine

A well-proportioned, generous slice from the cross-sectioned cake of Americana. Former members of The Infidels and Blue Ash serve this on a silver platter feeding you like the Roman God you are - with well-crafted songs, insightful lyrics, infectious hooks and prose. Jump aboard the kiddie train and begin your journey through puffs of steam on rusted rails of forged steel through forgotten fields filled with screams of joy.

Was the material on this CD songs that you have been playing for a period of time but not recorded or recent compositions?

All or most were recent compositions with the exception of "Elvin Dabney Professional Thief" which is a few years old. We did that song "live" when we played in England & Scotland.

It has been rumored that you sit on an arsenal of material that never was released. Are there songs from your Blue Ash, Stiv Bator's portfolio that The Deadbeat Poets would consider recording?

We did record one for Circustown. "I Thought I Knew You" was an old Blue Ash song that I started writing when I was in high school. Over the years Bill Bartolin from Blue Ash & I reworked it over & over but we never did it "live". I was playing around with it in the studio & Pete asked me what it was, as he had never heard it. Everyone liked it, so we decided to record it. I told Bill Bartolin (a few days before he died) that we had recorded it & it gave him a good laugh as that song had lingered around for so many years. There are so many good songs still in the can that Terry and I both have. I am sure some will see the light of day soon.

How did making this CD differ from making your debut CD?

We did a lot of it off the cuff. Terry and I would bring in a song and put it down acoustically. Then we all would tear it apart. Everyone had great input on how to arrange. What instruments to use ...etc. Whoever had the best idea prevailed. It was fun working that way. I'd never recorded like that before. It gave the songs a real fresh and spontaneous vibe. Nothing was pre-planned.

Are plans in place to tour in support of this release?

Yes, we are starting to get many offers. We will definitely play in NY, Philly, New Jersey & Tennessee this summer and I think we will do Toronto too. I will have dates in line by July and we will tour more in the fall.

What is the story around Elvin Dabney Professional Thief? Is it about a real person much like Green man?

Yes, Elvin is very much a real person. I have changed his name slightly. I do not know if he is still alive. When, I was growing up as a teenager, I had a friend named Clifford and he used to regale me with stories of his cousin, Elvin the Professional Thief. Elvin actually had business cards with Professional Thief printed on them. He would steal anything you wanted ...a Cadillac...a Lincoln...a diamond ring...made to order! Clifford would tell how Elvin had never been caught and had tons of money & that we should quit school and join up with him. I said, “It sounds like a trip to the penitentiary to me!" but I always loved hearing the stories, when Clifford finished a story he would always say. "Elvin's known all over the world then list all those cities then pause and add.....Buffalo!. What a character!

It is a day and age when "stars" are being discovered on you tube and in turn making millions .Meanwhile musicians who have been lauded as influential are slugging it out on the circuit and working day jobs. As someone who has been around the music scene for a number of years how do you see the future of rock and roll surviving formulated industry pap?

I am actually very positive about the music scene. Mainly, I think the internet is a great thing for promotion. Now with pro tools, anyone can record quality recordings somewhat inexpensively and find their own audience on the internet. It might take longer to be a success but the opportunities are definitely there.

Sure, there is a lot of pap & crap...but there has always been that. You Tube has great possibilities as does facebook & my space. I believe if you make good enough music, you will have many opportunities for people to hear it. It will be interesting to see where it goes over the next decade.

Do you or would you consider adding an Infidels song to your set list?

We already have. We did "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" featuring John Koury when we toured the UK. We may probably add more in the future. The Infidels had many good songs including one that Pete & I wrote called "A Thousand Years Ago". I wouldn't mind doing that "live" sometime.

What does the title Circustown refer to?

Circustown is a real place near Butler, Pa about 50 miles southeast of where I live. Circustown is a haunting place. I first discovered it 20 years ago; Most of the buildings still survive. According to what I could find out it was built after turn of the century around 1910-1915. It was a permanent summer carnival/circus/zoo built by Pittsburgh industrialists & steel magnates. They would put the poor children of their workers on trains from the slums of Pittsburgh and send them to a rural railway siding that is still at Circustown. It would give them a one-day vacation out in the country air with animals, rides, games and a good meal. There is precious little about it on the internet, so I do not really know the true story just what I have heard. It is now an abandoned ruin in a field. The photo on the cover of the CD booklet is a recent actual photo of it.

There are two different stories about why it closed down. One is that the depression came in the 1930's& it was no longer feasible and the other is that a gorilla killed a kid. There are about 30 buildings still standing. The main one is on the cover of the booklet. My son, Jacob took that photograph. The buildings are all made of corrugated steel & painted a burgundy color .They are rusting badly now. The sideshow tents are made steel and tin & look like Arabian tents and are nestled up and down the huge field .It is an unbelievably surreal place! I go there occasionally and can spend hours there. It just exudes Americana! I always thought it would be a great title for an album. In a strange way, it mirrors much of the area I grew up in like Youngstown & Western Pennsylvania. It is a sad, wonderful, magical place.

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