John Hovorka's Test Site


Anything I happen to think of may get posted here. If you have any comments about this page, write to me at

By the way, the location shown above is not too far north of Rome, New York. Just poke around on Google Maps for awhile and you can probably find it.


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Peace Bridge by John Hovorka is finally released as a CD TODAY. It is on this web site and I have copies of it back from the manufacturer.

and you can order it here.


And will soon be at least mentioned on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @john_hovorka

Also the second John Hovorka And The Dawn Of Mechanized Farming album is just about done. We are having a meeting about its cover art and text in July. Then I will get it manufactured and so on.

At least it now tentatively has a name.



Happy Earth Day! Or at least I hope so. Here is yet another Bandcamp release by The 2x4's, their studio album is now available at

So now my most recent album and my first one are now available there.

Meanwhile the second John Hovorka And The Dawn of Mechanized Farming album which we started recording about 3 years ago is getting ever closer to completion. All tracks are approved by everyone involved. So "all" it needs now is mastering, artwork, songs put in an order, and a name, then off to a pressing plant (is that really what these outfits are still called?) it goes.


I completed my new solo album as shown above and put it up on Bandcamp at

It has 11 tracks. I have never done this upload or used Bandcamp before and I hope it works. Or you can listen to mp3s of its tracks posted below, down the page just a bit.

This album is named after the bridge that connects Buffalo, NY with Canada. My mom told me all about the opening ceremony they had when The Peace Bridge opened. It was really a big deal and she was there. All the school children in Buffalo drew pictures of the bridge. Then I found a ticket book for THE PEACE BRIDGE in my parent's old stuff. I thought I'd use it for album cover art but decided against it. But OK, here are some images of that. (actual size)

Also I plan to release this as a CD soon. And then if Bandcamp works OK this will be followed by the new John Hovorka And The Dawn Of Mechanized Farming album (not yet named but almost completed), and their first album, and The 2x4's studio album. And then more. Also very soon I expect to get a few copies of The 2x4's studio album CD back up for sale here again.


I just added Corporations and The Dawn Of Mechanized Farming to this all. I recorded them last weekend then put them up because it is at least important to me to have versions of all of my new songs up, and out, the ones that are released noplace, released someplace. At some point the band John Hovorka And The Dawn Of Mechanized Farming will also release these as part of their 12-song album, and the sooner the better. But some of the tracks for that still need work, and then there will be the song order, the mastering, the artwork, and I guess the manufacturing of some CDs of the results. And more, the usual uploading of files to typical Internet media...

But if I sound disinterested in such media, which probably means bandcamp and may well mean itunes and spotify and so on, at least these aren't The Internet Of Things. Because the only Internet Of Things I have any interest in would be say, dumping some homemade soup into a computer and pushing send to deliver it to a friend. And I'm not talking about drones. I mean into the computer, kind of like on Star Trek only not people, just food, maybe stationery supplies or bandaids, stuff like that. Imagine soup pouring out of a computer screen. I can.


Happy New Year! Well, I hope... I just made a video of Zero Sum Game and posted it on Youtube. Having done that, I see that this video is a much closer look at me and my "creative" thought processes than usual and also more autobiographical content than usual. It's all right there in my own handwriting, from back when I wrote it, writing the lyrics down as they came out of my brain... Then the additional illustrations are what I came up with fast yesterday, without putting much thought into it. These illustrations are actually about, just for example, my reaction to getting a zero grade on a quiz in first grade, which actually happened, then (very long after that) moving to New York and getting fleeced (although not too bad...) on some peg board gambling machine near 42nd Street. Zero Sum Games indeed! Then what an awful new town to be in. But I kept thinking, there has to be some way to make something of this, doesn't there? Anyhow I'm sure not going back because what would I do there where I came from? Paint more walls or something? So I stayed in New York and I finally started a new band back then in 1988. Then the rest was history...


The new version of Change of Status, at least intended to be the same as the old one except with vocals backed down 1/2 dB, is now up. And that completes my edits of the music tracks, so far as I know. Also a release of my solo album on Bandcamp, to start with, is likely. Also I am listening to the"DOMF 2" most recent mixes from Joe.


I got the right version of The Big One up with the louder drum hit at its beginning (see track links below for the results of this). Now I just want to see about bringing the vocal volume down a bit on Change Of Status. So I will let you know when I get that done and up here. Also I have some mastering software around here that I have never used because I couldn't understand it, so I'm going to see if I can get that going and find a use for it.

Marc asked me for the track notes for "DOMF 2" (why do I keep imagining a picture of us standing off to the side of a burning zeppelin every time I say that?) so I dug those up and emailed them to him. I like the way the tracks sound, overall, and I think that Joe has done a great job on them. Determining whether the changes in them match the track notes we gave to Joe sounds like a way down on the list type of thing to me, since I just want to know, do these tracks jump out at me or leave me flat? That is really the only question for me. (By the way, the answer is yes they jump out at me!) I don't care if it just sounds, as Tom Martel of The 2x4's used to say, like cavemen beating on rocks, so long as it sounds any good. But one must ask, so I will. And then, and so on from there. Maybe I'll start with that. Or else with making a list of things that need to be done. The artwork. The song orders. Do I want to release these as CD's (probably) or also in what other format? What is Bandcamp? How does one get on Spotify? How does iTunes work? And so on.


I started putting up tracks for the new John Hovorka solo album back on September 23rd. I'm gonna reserve the right to change anything on this blog that I find redundant and boring, and right now that means my song-by-song description of everything I have put up here since then. So I just deleted almost all of that.

Here is a complete list of all the new songs, so far. A few of these may need some kind of remix before I release this as a CD or whatever people do nowadays, but for now, these are done and updated.


I'm Not A Scientist

Industrial Way

Machine Beer

Change of Status

Zero Sum Game

Get A Job

This Is Your Country

The Big One


The Dawn Of Mechanized Farming

I expect to be turning this into an album, with a name, cover art, etc. very soon.

Also I have put up some videos of these songs on Youtube:

I'm Not A Scientist


Zero Sum Game

(The Youtube video of Industrial Way is going to be temporarily down while I install the remixed music track for the video part of it.)

I will be putting up some more videos on Youtube soon, and some other info can maybe also be found at @John_Hovorka on Twitter

Other news is that the John Hovorka And The Dawn Of Mechanized Farming album is finally almost completely mixed. So that should be out soon.

And I will continue to update this, more and more...

Speaking of which, I just completed updating this to this point and realized that the wrong take of The Big One is up. It is missing one stronger drum hit at the beginning of the song. So far as I know, the rest of this is OK now.


I'm working on the new John Hovorka solo album so here are first versions of 3 new songs I just recorded for it. These are probably not the final versions. I have between 9 and 12 songs for this.

As I make progress on this project I will post the results of that here. Also any related efforts, like I'm working on some videos for these songs that I am putting on Youtube.

To start with there is this:


Industrial Way

I'm Not A Scientist

And the Youtube Video of I'm Not A Scientist

And to find all of these in a list go to Metal Snowball Records Homepage.

Also another thing I did sort of recently was my first show in 3 years back on June 21st in front of Main Drag Music in Brooklyn for Make Music New York. It went really well. I was a bit nervous about the new material, like it's the kind of stuff where I get concerned that some of these songs might bother some people, although maybe that's just due to my self-consciousness. Some people liked it a lot.

As I recall, the set was:


The Industrial Way

I'm Not A Scientist


Change Of Status

This Is Your Country

Machine Beer

Wilderness Man

Bridgeport Lathe

Little Cities

Dirt Road

Meawhile back in the days of old, going back a decade or so, or this is actually a

historic novel about 1988, so even farther back...


John Hovorka wrote a novel. It is about the rock and roll scene of the 1980's.
To find out more about it and to buy it, CLICK HERE

For electronic repair products, some of which can be used to repair music equipment, please try my company, Fixit Products. We are the master distributor of Anders Products Wire Glue and other Anders Products. We can be found at

6/07: John Hovorka interview. by Dave Bromwich and Rebecca Stimson. SEE BELOW!
Well, a ways below now...

5/07: The 2x4's studio album, recorded in 1980, finally released!
Here is some info about The 2x4's for you to have a look at.


Turbines at Church of Boston 5/1/10

Turbines reunion last Saturday night! A celebration of Johnny D's, a place full of bands and beer back in the mid-80's. This reunion event was at a club called Church of Boston, and featured Moose and the Mudbugs, The Classic Ruins, The Prime Movers, and the Turbines. It all went great and Jack and I are already talking about doing another Turbines show soon. Meanwhile here is our extremely anachronistic set list, nothing new, just a solid selection of Turbines songs.

Highway 51


Roy's Motel
Rock In My Pocket

Hangin' Tough
Big Motor Man
Rules Of The Road
Stray Dog
She's My Witch
Eye For An Eye

Skull & Crossbones
That's The Way
Wah Hey!
Little Pig
I Get Excited

Also here is a link to a digital camera type video of a couple of these Turbines songs that can be found on youtube.
Please click here...


Finally, I'm writing here, yet again. Today is hot and humid so I want to stay in and continue to write some new songs. Then after I write them I want to get some more shows. But meanwhile, here is an essay I wrote about how I got into rock and roll music to begin with.

My First Day As A Rock And Roller, Or Alternatively
How Hearing The Song Henry VIII By Herman's Hermits
Too Much Almost Made Me Hate Rock And Roll

For whatever reason, I have been thinking back to my first day as a rock and roller. There actually was such a thing for me because before that I didn't care about rock and roll at all, then after that, it was the only thing I cared about.

I had glimmers of interest in rock and roll before that day in the summer of 1965, probably starting with the first time I ever heard Surfin' Bird by The Trashmen back in 1962. I made my friend Marc play it for me 3 times in a row. But with few exceptions1
[I don't know how to get superscript in Dreamweaver...], that kind of music did not interest me any more or less than anything else did. By the time I was 12 I had branched out from the classical music that my parents were listening to. But what I got into was old jazz like Cab Calloway and Fats Waller. Then a year later, seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show did nothing for me at all. Not long after that I was kind of intrigued by The Rolling Stones on some teen show on TV doing Heart Of Stone, somewhere around the end of 1964 or the beginning of 1965, their grim, surly appearance, and also by The Shangri-Las. They also impressed me. But basically rock and roll was about things I didn't want anything to do with. Occasionally I thought positively of it, like the time I heard House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals in a dimly lit cavernous discount store called Zayre's which was right down the street from some housing projects, that resonated with me. And I liked Help Me Rhonda by The Beach Boys when they played it at a beach party on the shores of Cayuga Lake after I graduated from junior high school. It was pretty much our "class song" and one of the greaser kids who had a Honda and liked to break into places had an alternative version that went, "Help Me Honda, Help Me Get Out Of The State".

My life without much rock and roll continued with Boy Scout camp, by the shores of Seneca Lake in New York State in the summer of 1965. There I heard two songs on the radio in the mess hall, over and over again. I was intrigued by "Here Comes The Night" by Them, although I could not understand why anyone would put up with having problems like that song was about. (It seemed like this song was about a guy's entire life revolving around seeing his girlfriend walking around with some other guy.) But I hated Henry VIII by Hermans Hermits. One day I was in that mess hall washing the dishes and they played that song twice in a row on the radio. (No I'm not kidding. They actually did.) Its incessant inanity made me want to never hear rock and roll, ever again!

This morning I looked at some Top 40 song charts from 1965 on the Internet in hopes that they would provide me with some information about the day that I suddenly from-out-of-no-place became a rock and roll fanatic. On looking over these Top 40 Charts, the first thing I noticed was that this occurred later that summer than I had thought, towards the end of August. I remember how it started. What I don't remember is that the song that finally got me was way up on the charts at the same time as Henry VIII, but apparently due to the strength of my repulsion for Henry VIII, I was mentally blocked from even noticing the song I became obsessed just with a few weeks later.

Here is an excerpt from my huge unfinished and quite possibly never to be finished John Hovorka Autobiography Project that describes this point in my life.

"I was on one of my long bike hikes near Geneva, NY that I took back in those days. I was quite a ways down Pre-Emption Road just past Billsboro Corners, but not quite as far as Bellona. In other words, I was absolutely in the middle of no place. I was surrounded by cabbage fields. I stopped to take a break under some trees. It was windy, so the cabbage leaves in a field all looked like they were waving at me. I tuned in my little transistor radio. There was The Rolling Stones doing Satisfaction, a song that had always sounded repellent to me, up until that moment. It hardly even sounded like music to me. Very cold! What was this about? A pounding repetition that made me think of robots. I had no idea what to make of this song but I wanted to hear it again. So that was the breaking point for me. Because it was at exactly that moment that I turned into a rock and roller, and a really bad student. I simply fell into the fascination of it. Nothing else made any difference to me at all anymore."

But how does a fascination with one song lead to "all this"? Well, I wanted to hear this song a lot, all the time, so I figured I would go to the local record store, Cass Records, and buy a copy of it. But that single was on its way back down in the charts just that week so they didn't have it. I had to hear this song or else. So I turned on my radio a lot. They never played it again, at least for a week or so. But I was determined so I kept the radio on. And then given the chance, I never turned the radio off, for the next few years at least. (I could have gotten the album I guess, but on a budget consisting of mowing lawns for 25 cents an hour, spending $3 for an album was too expensive! I mean yes, I was fascinated with this song but I was only willing to work 4 hours to get it, not 12.)

One might figure that this rock and roll on the radio trend might be a short-lived fad for me since I had never previously shown any predisposition at all to listening to current hit songs all of the time. I can't explain that, and it might be too much to ask for any kind of explanation. But it does raise a question. What songs were on the radio during the week of August 29, 1965?

I'm looking at this chart, and there are a few songs out of that Top 40 list that I don't remember, specifically Number 23, You'd Better Come Home by Petula Clark, Number 25, Take Me Back by Little Anthony And The Imperials, Number 37, Shake And Fingerpop by Junior Walker and the All Stars, Number 39, Sugar Dumpling by Sam Cooke, and Number 40, I Don't Want To Lose You (boy that sounds like a loser song!) by Chad & Jeremy. Also I note looking at some of the charts previous to that one that I heard a few other songs that week.

But starting with Number 38, You Tell Me Why by The Beau Brummels, I liked it a lot, and I still like it a lot now.

Moving right along here, at Number 36, Eve Of Destruction by Barry McGuire, was an immediate hit with me then and I still like it now. It reminded me of suburbs.

Number 35, I Like It Like That by The Dave Clark 5. I did not like this one, and I still don't like it now. Number 34, Looking Through The Eyes Of Love by Gene Pitney. Back then I thought it was annoying, not to mention, depressing. Now I like it just fine, although it's not rock and roll. I still find it depressing.

Number 33, Houston by Dean Martin. Not rock and roll either. But I liked it a lot then and I still like it lot now.

Number 32, Ju Ju Hand by Sam The Sham And The Pharoahs did not move me then and still doesn't now. Just not the song for me, that's all.

Number 31, Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows by Lesley Gore. Not what I was looking for then, but no problem with it, nor now.

Number 30, I Want Candy by The Strangeloves. This was great. It still is.

Number 29, Action by Freddy Cannon. Yeah! Too short, but sweet! This song pretty much defined what I wanted out of life at the time. I mean, what more could there be? Oh yeah, Paul Revere and the Raiders playing the same song in a swimming pool.

Number 28, Heart Full Of Soul by The Yardbirds. I didn't know what to make of this song. I thought ""soul" was good, so why was this song apparently trying to say that it's bad? This song does have great guitar solo, which I immediately picked up on, back then.

Number 27, The In Crowd by the Ramsey Lewis Trio. It's easy to forget how much not-rock was on the charts back in those days. Pleasant enough, though.

Number 26, Cara Mia by Jay And The Americans. That was fine with me, and still is.

Number 24, It Ain't Me Babe by The Turtles. At first I was perplexed by negative sounding Bob-Dylan-written songs. My first reaction to hearing The Byrds doing Mr. Tambourine Man a few months before that was bad, and my reaction to first hearing Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan was worse. Yet strangely after I heard the Bob Dylan version of Mr. Tambourine Man I no longer thought this stuff sounded terrible, in fact, I liked it. Meanwhile, back towards the beginning of that "process", the Turtles doing It Ain't Me Babe sounded to me like something straight out of suburbia, almost like surf music except inland. This song gave me images of huge suburbs, kind of like a nightmare, except not entirely unpleasant.

Number 22, In the Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett. I remember hearing this but it didn't make much of an impression on me. A year and a half later I was a Wilson Pickett fanatic, but in August 1965, not yet.

Number 21, Since I Lost My Baby by The Temptations was fine with me. It was not what I was looking for at the time (more like what I was looking for a year later) but I thought it was OK.

Number 20, the Tracks Of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. I was always drawn in by his singing, and he is one of the few celebrities that I would actually like to meet because I think he's just plain amazing. Meanwhile, although this "tracks of my tears" concept was a bit creepy to me I liked this song anyway.

Number 19. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones. Out in Geneva, NY which had a playlist that seemed to play by its own rules, this was not on the radio by then, but I was getting some kind of satisfaction out of some what I was hearing. Where does Mohair Sam by Charlie Rich fit in with all this chart-wise? I liked that one a lot, and also Seventh Son by Johnny Rivers.

Number 18, Save Your Heart For Me by Gary Lewis & The Playboys. This song was so lame that it ruined the idea of accordions in rock music for me right up to the present day. Plus I hate songs like this. The only band that could pull this lyrical theme off without sounding terminally wimpy was The Four Seasons.

Number 17, I'm A Fool by Dino, Desi & Billy. Not too exciting then and I wouldn't want to waste my eardrums on it now.

Number 16, Nothing But Heartaches, by The Supremes. Fine with me…

Number 15, All I Really Want To Do by Cher. Fine with me…

Number 14, I'm Henry VIII I Am. One of the good things about WGVA in Geneva, NY was that sometimes they did drop songs before they fell off of other charts. I knew a DJ there, my English teacher, Mr. Vogt. Maybe he got sick of it.

Number 13, Baby I'm Yours by Barbara Lewis. Not in the rock and roll category, maybe barely in the R&B category, nonetheless I liked it then and I like it now.

Number 12, Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me by Mel Carter. Fine with me…

Number 11, Down In The Boondocks by Billie Joe Royal. I liked this one. It was kind of like if you took Geneva, NY and moved it 500 miles south and also it was slightly worse than it actually was. So lyrically, yeah. I got the impression something bad was going to happen in this story.

Number 10. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, Part 1 by James Brown. What could I think? What is this? Uh, totally impossible to ignore. After a few days I started to like it a lot. And I still do!

Number 9, Don't Just Stand There by Patty Duke. This never did much for me. I still don't like it. I actually have this record. I found it abandoned on the streets of my neighborhood.

Number 8, You Were On My Mind by the We 5. I thought some of the lyrics were odd. "I went down to the corner, just to ease my pain" made a certain amount of sense to me if I thought about it very hard. But did they really sing, "I had wounds to bind"? I must have that wrong. It doesn't seem possible. Anyhow I liked this song then and I still like it now.

Number 7, Help! by The Beatles. I bought this single. I played its flip side, I'm Down, hundreds of times at top volume on my parent's stereo when they were out. I went to see the movie twice. Then I went out to find all their other music, which was not hard to do since it was all over the place back then.

Number 6, It's The Same Old Song by the 4 Tops. I liked it a lot then and I like it now.

Number 5, California Girls by The Beach Boys. I liked it OK but I liked their more rockin' stuff better back then.

Number 4, Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers. At some point I finally got into the Righteous Brothers to some extent. Months later I liked Soul & Inspiration by them. This one did not catch on with me then. I associated it with ads for Stridex Medicated Pads. The Righteous Brothers were on TV a lot. First there would be them, two skinny, pale white guys with crewcuts mournfully singing. Then there would be a medicated pad ad. Then there would be some lame filler band called The Shindogs, then more medicated pads. Maybe it was good ad strategy for selling acne pads but it failed to sell me on the Righteous Brothers. I like that song OK now.

Number 3, What's New Pussycat? By Tom Jones. This song was played so much that it was completely unbelievable to me. Oh I liked it… And I wouldn't mind hearing it right now. (It's in that stack over there with that aformentioned Patty Duke record.)

Number 2, Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan. Although I found this song totally unbearable for the first 2 months it was on the charts, eventually I gave in to this propaganda-like assault on my senses and just said, yeah… Months later I was buying his albums. But who can resist a song title like From A Buick 6? Not me!

Number 1, I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher. The part of this song that I liked best was that piano break in the middle where they stopped singing for 4 bars. What I really liked by them then was Baby Don't Go that was getting airplay at exactly the same time. I have no idea what that song was about or why it isn't on this chart.

Was this really enough to get me in to rock and roll to the point where I never got out? Maybe or maybe not, but like a bad lengthy infomercial in the middle of the night, how about these other inducements? From the following September 5, 1965 chart I note that I may have also heard the following new songs that week.

Number 39 9/5/65 chart: Who'll Be The Next In Line? by The Kinks. Sort of like an answer song to Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones in its cold approach. Hard for me to like, but impossible for me to ignore. Plus then it made me notice all those other songs by The Kinks.

Number 38 9/5/65 chart: Summer Nights by Marianne Faithfull. I was floored. I almost still am. One of the greatest songs ever.

Number 37 9/5/65 chart: Agent Double O Soul by Edwin Starr. I could not get enough of this. Also it was not on the charts long enough. I definitely wanted more of this.

Number 36 9/5/65 chart: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place by The Animals. This was great. It still is.

Number 34 9/5/65 chart: Hang On Sloopy by The McCoys. Not to be denied, then or now!

Number 31 9/5/65 chart: Catch Us If You Can by The Dave Clark 5. I never thought much of them until I heard this song. (After that I backtracked to hear their earlier stuff.) This song was great, especially that drum sound, who can beat that?

Also from the weeks before that there were some still lingering All I Really Want To Do by The Byrds, which struck me as not being terrible "like their version of Mr. Tambourine Man was", then I rather quickly warmed up to them. Ride Your Pony by Lee Dorsey, I liked that one a lot, too. Then there were songs that lingered around upstate a lot, although not necessarily in towns of any size, like there was no shortage of Bobby Vinton, Bobby Tillotson, or Bobby Goldsboro in Geneva, NY. More positively, there was also plenty of Roy Orbison, and country and western, Buck Owens, Little Jimmy Dickens, and what made a huge impression on me was The Statler Brothers. And soon there was plenty more rattling around my head. But this answers my question about what was on the radio on August 29, 1965 OK I guess.

1 In addition to the ones I already mentioned, the pre-8/29/65 rock and roll songs that got my attention were: In 1955 my mother brought me into Mister Donut on Route Two in Cambridge, Mass. to get some donuts. I was very interested in the teenagers who were standing around the jukebox, the power they seemed to possess. The music coming out of the jukebox was probably rhythm and blues music from that era, something like Shake, Rattle and Roll by Joe Turner. It left a strong impression on me, the beat, the shouting, the incessant repetition. It wasn't something that I could put in context at the time. When one is 4 years old, what is? My mom pulled me away from it. But I never forgot about it, that tough looking guy in the soft sweater with long hair on the front of his head, slouching in front of the jukebox, swaying to the beat like he was hypnotized. There he was, and so was I. So maybe I was a rock and roller almost from the first moment that anyone was, except that it took me about a decade to realize it. On the other hand, there was plenty of rock and roll that disturbed me at best, between then and August 1965. For example, there was a Neil Sedaka song I don't remember which one, but I was standing alone in the middle of a playground when I was in grade school with this song in my head and I did not like it. Also back in those days, there was Johnny Angel by Shelley Fabares, and I Will Follow Him by Little Peggy March. All of these songs made me think that being a teenager was going to be an all-out nightmare! On a brighter side of things, when I got ill with the mumps my mom lent me a radio and on WCOP 1150 I heard: Bobby Bare doing All American Boy, where first he has an argument with his dad about his love for rock and roll, then he becomes successful at playing it in Memphis, then Uncle Sam says, "Gimme that guitar. Take this rifle. Gonna cut your hair off!" My parents hated rock and roll but they did have a record of Ballin' the Jack by Emil Coleman and his Orchestra, which was rock and roll so far as I am concerned. I played that one over and over again. In 1962 in Lexington Mass. I was invited to a teen party, a twist party. There I heard and danced to The Twist by Chubby Checker and The Peppermint Twist by Joey Dee And The Starlighters. The day after we arrived in Geneva, NY in 1963 the song on the radio was Shop Around by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. Mama Said by Jan Bradley figured in all of this someplace, probably later I think. The Locomotion by Little Eva and Blame It On The Bossa Nova by Edie Gorme (does that count as rock and roll? That organ break in the middle makes me say yes), Suspicion by Terry Stafford, She Loves You by The Beatles, I Wanna Hold Your Hand by the Beatles, Beatle VI album in its entirety around when it came out, Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs even though I didn't know the name of the band at the time I heard it, Time Is On My Side by The Rolling Stones, Downtown by Petula Clark, Land Of 1,000 Dances by Cannibal And The Headhunters which I became aware of early 1965 because all the kids were talking about it, and also about Wooly Bully by Sam The Sham and the Pharoahs, and I'm Telling You Now and Do the Freddie by Freddie and The Dreamers. And I was kind of interested in It Hurts To Be In Love by Gene Pitney, although I also thought it was a bit creepy. And I heard lots of songs by The Searchers over the PA systems of stores (which I identified as theirs afterwards), and also Red River Rock. Also I was vaguely aware of Elvis Presley. And that is the end of this short list. I recall no other rock and roll songs that I heard before 8/29/65, at all.


I'm lining up some solo shows and starting to record an "acoustic" album. Also Empire State, the long-awaited Hovorka album recorded back in 1988 - 1989 has finally been released. More on this soon, because it's such a big deal to me that I want to make a big deal about it. But meanwhile, it is available here on this web site by clicking on the usual buttons, Catalog and Orders as can be seen at the top of this page.


The poster shown above was for the show I did last night at Laila in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I used it as a handout, as a poster in various stores and as an attachment for the show email. By the way, if you want to be on my emailing list, write to me at and I will send you info about my upcoming shows. The photo used in this poster is of a highway near Provincetown, MA on Cape Cod. It was taken by my brother, George. The show went very well for me. I even got an encore. So I am planning to do more of these, preferably a lot more, all over the place. (The moment I woke up this morning I wished I was doing another one someplace tonight.) Meanwhile, working with The Young Bialys who were also on this bill was great, as usual. I love that band. And it was great to see Joe Marabotto up on stage with them on lead guitar.

Here is list of the songs I did at this show. Usually I don't follow a set list when I do solo shows but this time I did. Colin requested Wilderness Man for an encore song and also Alcohol Beast during the set. Thank you, Colin.

3/8/08 John Hovorka solo show at Laila set list

(the dates these songs were written and which of my albums they can be found are shown in parentheses)

Eyes Shut Tight
(1998, Chalk Pyramids)

(1998, Chalk Pyramids)

In The Long Run
(1983, Drive All Night)

The Dawn of Mechanized Farming (2004, will be on my next album)

Machine Beer
(2004, will be on my next album)

The Ballad Of Sheriff John Castle
(1996, Drive All Night)

(2002, will be on my next album)

The Red Trucks
(1983, will be on my next album)

Bridgeport Lathe
(1979, The 2x4's, Drive All Night)

Iron Line
(1982, Noise Pencil, Drive All Night)

My True Story
(1994, Drive All Night)

Alcohol Beast
(1996, Drive All Night)

Wah Hey! (1983, Turbines Last Dance Before Highway, Hovorka Greenland)

Wilderness Man
(1994, Hovorka Greenland) (This was the encore song of the set)


Well it's about time I said something here. Ken left the band and we are looking for a new drummer. So if you know of anyone who might be good for that, please let me know. Meanwhile I am looking forward to doing a solo show next Saturday night at Laila Lounge. Also there is some possibility of me doing solo shows in Cambridge, Massachusetts sort of soon, as well as in Buffalo, NY and Cleveland, Ohio in July. And in the Brooklyn, New York area, yeah. So I will have more info about that soon, I hope.


John Hovorka And The Dawn Of Mechanized Farming is fully reorganized at last, the fourth version of the band over the course of nearly 5 years. Joe Kelly who used to do backing vocals, percussion, occasional keyboards and even more occasional guitar in is now working out very well on bass guitar. And Marc Bendian who used to play bass now plays guitar, quite some guitar. And I'm probably going to be putting away my 12-string Rickenbacker guitar and playing my Gibson Firebird guitar instead. And Ken is still on drums. So it sounds different, totally focused on just rock and roll and nothing else at all times. That's what we were about anyhow, so it makes sense. I'm not sure what Bill is doing now but he says he's going to come up to Massachusetts with Colin our first drummer to see us play on November 17th.

Meanwhile, I have managed to finish the CD re-release of The Price Of The Truth, a 7" EP that I did in 1980 - 1981 just after I left The 2x4's. It is stark and bleak and relentless, quite possibly relentlessly awful but nonetheless, relentless.

On a more cheerful note, the first Hovorka album, Empire State (from 1988 - 1990) is ready to be released. I need an OK from the other band members but it's done. And I think I should promote it any way I can think of. Because it's great!


Bill who plays guitar in John Hovorka and the Dawn of Mechanized Farming has left the band. Thus we are in a state of reorganization. I think this is going to go OK and work out just fine. But it's going to slow us down in terms of recording, and I'm not sure when we will be ready to play out again. By November, I hope! Meanwhile The Noise, a magazine in Boston has a very positive review of The 2x4's in it. And the rest continues apace.


The show at The Knitting Factory last night went great. The Hunting Party which featured Colin formerly of Provan and DOMF on drums did a dynamic set of melodic rock and roll. Then The Damned Shames, a new band fronted by fine guitar player Sean Condron did a shamelessly super set of original rock-a-billy tunes. And then John Hovorka And The Dawn Of Mechanized Farming just plain rocked out if I do say so myself, a longer set than usual which featured both old and new songs. Just in case you're interested in exactly what we are doing nowadays, here's the set list which includes the dates of when the songs were written and which other band have done them, where applicable.

8/10/07 DOMF at The Knitting Factory Set List

Don't Stop Now (2001)

In The Long Run (1983)

Rules Of The Road (1985, Turbines, Hovorka1, High Society)

Might Get Shot (1988, Hovorka1)

Corporations (2001)

I Can't Help (2001, Hovorka2)

Imagine The Day (2001, Hovorka2)

War Zone (2003)

Reality (2002, Hovorka2)

Expressway Girl (1990, Hovorka2, Please Release Me)

The Dawn of Mechanized Farming (2004)

Wah Hey! (1983, Turbines, Hovorka1, Hovorka2, Wah Hey!, The A-Bones, Fall Fan Dave, plus a string band from Cambridge, Mass. who did a great version of it a long time ago)

Bridgeport Lathe (1979, The 2x4's, Noise Pencil, Turbines, Hovorka1, Hovorka2, Joe Harvard, Provan, The Infestations and my apologies if I can't remember any others right now on 4 hours of sleep)

I'll Take (1989, Hovorka 1 Hovorka2, Turbines 1994 reunion show)

Drillin' (1990, Hovorka1)

Songs we did not get to included

I Get Excited (1982, Noise Pencil, Turbines)

Blocked (1998, Hovorka2)

Finally Realize (2001, Hovorka2)

Little Cities (1978, The 2x4's, Noise Pencil, Turbines, Hovorka1, Wah Hey!, Hovorka2, The Rox)

Empire State (1988, Hovorka1)

And here's the poster for that show. I figured that Pink Floyd had good luck with including cows in their art so maybe us, too.

(Note: This image was reconfigured from the original for use on this
web site)

OK, so moo-ving right along here... not only does DOMF have more shows coming up in Brooklyn and in Massachusetts but we are developing a serious intention of recording our next CD, preferably during the next few months. Also (while you are waiting for this eventuality), if you would like to hear a different take on Turbines songs, please check out the Fallfandave myspace page for links to his versions of some Turbines songs. I particularly recommend his version of "Wah Hey!" It's practically a different song I think, but I like it a lot. "Stopover at the Turbines Motel" indeed!

Uh, excuse me, I have a bit of Wah-Hey-ing to do myself now... Namely get out the guitar and write some new songs already!


So little to say, and no time! That has been my story. But enough of this dead air space already. Aside from the raw, pulsating excitement of the latest Trash Bar show, not to mention the thrill of playing at The Plough & Stars in Cambridge, Mass., also with Triple Thick a while back, there has also been The 2x4's Studio Album release back last month, AND NOW a John Hovorka magazine interview, which I have reprinted below.

The Pseud Mag John Hovorka Interview. by Dave Bromwich and Rebecca Stimson is contained in The Pseud Mag, Issue 16, June/July 2007. Dave Bromwich who edits this The Fall fanzine asked me if I'd do one, so I did. Plus there is plenty of info on The Fall and Mark E. Smith. The Table of Contents of The Pseud Mag can be found on-line at and you can order it at: The Pseud Mag, PO Box 2162, Bolton, BL6 9BT, UK. I recommend it.

by Dave Bromwich and Rebecca Stimson

This interview is justified simply because the editor is a mega fan of Boston band The Turbines [who all love the Fall btw...]

1. THE 2X4s: I was looking at your discography on the Metal Snowball site and I was surprised to see just how long you have been doing music - it says it was late 78 when you began with the 2x4s. What inspired you to start singing and playing the guitar? I have heard a couple of 2x4s tracks ... 'The Spaz' sounds a fun track ... was that the nature of the 2x4s generally ? How much 2x4s stuff did you do?

When I was 14, in 1965, I was sitting in a field in the middle of noplace in upstate New York and "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones came in on my transistor radio. It sounded cold, mechanistic and monotonous. It excited me. I rapidly became obsessed with the music and have stayed that way ever since. I started playing guitar in bands in 1967. As for singing, the first lead vocal I ever did was the song "Little Girl" by The Syndicate of Sound.

The 2x4's Story began with: I saved up enough money to get to England and other parts of Europe for about a month in 1978, and saw some bands, including The Rezillos and Stiff Little Fingers. I liked it there but I was not going to get back again soon because I had spent all my money. So I focused in on the United States and what it consisted of. A lot of fields and a lot of factories, mostly. That gave me something to write songs about.

The 2x4's had three sides to them. Tom (on bass) was a disturbingly quiet electronics technician, Steve (who played drums & devices) was extremely blue collar and not someone you'd want to have a problem with, and I was formerly working in factories but now in libraries. The Spazz was Tom's. It was great fun to do. My songwriting was not much like his. His material had some minimal amount of looseness to it while mine was more tense. But we all worked together well; it was a concept band. We called it "industrial rock". (By the time that meant something else we had already broken up.)

How much 2x4's stuff did I do? Well, we started in 1/79, really got going in 9/79 and broke up in 6/80. We played perhaps 15 shows. We ended up with 25 songs, 16 written by me, 5 by Tom, 1 by John Morrill who played drums with us for about a month, and 3 of which were covers. We did 4 recording sessions then released 2 tapes to radio stations and one single. And The 2x4's songs that I have done fairly often since then are "Bridgeport Lathe" and "Little Cities". We plan to have a studio album out soon.

2. NOISE PENCIL: I see you did a solo album after the 2x4s ended, and that included some of the members of the 2x4s, but then you hooked up with Jack Hickey and became Noise Pencil. Was this band very similar to The Turbines?

Noise Pencil was not much like the Turbines. I had just finished a 7" solo EP called "The Price of the Truth" with a band that included Tom and Cubie from The 2x4's. Although we had a great time recording it, I was somewhat disappointed by the results. So I was looking for an opportunity to do something else. Noise Pencil was it, and working with Jack was great. By the way, the all-night loft parties that we played at inspired me to write "Wah-Hey!"

3. THE TURBINES: I know your Turbines work more than anything thanks to Andy Kershaw playing it on the radio as he was a bit of a fan. But I was totally bowled over by the sound. This was your 2nd LP, and the track was Roy's Motel. I rushed out and tracked down the album in Manchester , and later eventually got hold of the first album. All brilliant stuff I must say. Did The Turbines tour a lot?

Wow, thanks! And many thanks to Andy Kershaw, too. The Turbines toured a fair amount, up and down the East Coast opening for The Blasters, The Hoodoo Gurus, X, The Gun Club, Southern Culture On The Skids, etc. And we did a nationwide tour for a couple of months, to Los Angeles then back.

4. HOW THE TURBINES FORMED: You say that The Turbines formed after seeing The Fall at The Rat in Boston in 83. Was this sheer coincidence or was you actually inspired by The Fall in some way?

It was a coincidence except for the fact that we all went to see them, which surely must indicate something, probably that we were all fans of The Fall.

5. WHY DID THE TURBINES SPLIT: Was it down to musical differences that The Turbines split or was it just lack of motivation or what?

Our tour left us completely burned out. Our record company was obviously about to drop us, our van was falling apart as we drove it, we couldn't afford to eat anything but French Fries if that, and we were barely on speaking terms. What we should have done was taken the summer off, been patient about finding a new label, then organized a European tour. But Jack and Fred became motivated to do something else. Dave wanted to reorganize the Turbines but for a variety of reasons I thought a new version of the band without Jack was not worth doing.

6. 10 YEAR RECORDING GAP: There seems to be a long gap from the late 80s after the end of The Turbines until the late 90s. Although you continued to play live. Was there a specific reason for this?

After the second Turbines album there was the first Hovorka band album (my first New York album) recorded in 1988 - 1989, harder edge than the Turbines and/but rock and roll. I didn't like the contract we were offered, and we had no money to get it done ourselves. I hope to release this one myself later this year. But yes, after we released the Hovorka "Drillin'" single in 1990, there was a 5-year recording gap. The band was doing fine with live shows (soon to be released "Hovorka Live at The Middle East 1993") but band members were either leaving or just joining up, thus we had no chance to record. After we broke up in early 1994 there was my "country music experiment", "Wah-Hey!" which was about as "country" as an industrial New Jersey swamp. In 1995 I did not play music. In 1996 I was sideman in a band called Tandy. A few good things came out of that. It forced me to practice a lot. I got to work with some incredible engineers from whom I got a lot of great ideas, at Willie Nelson's ranch in Texas. And last but not least, it made me realize that I'd better record a John Hovorka solo album ASAP!

7. NEW YORK CITY: So you moved out of Boston in 1990, to go to NYC? Was there any particular reason for this?

I moved to New York in 1987. The economy in Boston was terrible yet I got a job in New York for a higher rate of pay than I had ever gotten before in about two days. The music scene in Boston was not worthwhile to me at that moment, while in New York, I figured, who knows? What I didn't know was how much living in New York would inspire me to write.

8. LYRICS: Do you think your lyrics have become more political?

I always wrote political stuff, from the second song I ever "wrote" back in 1976, a scathing ten-minute version of "Hanky Panky" which was possibly influenced by what Patti Smith was doing at that time. But it has gotten more prevalent in the last uh, 17 years. The first Hovorka band did a song called "Next Alabama", which was against racial violence that was occurring in New York. The second Hovorka band "Greenland" album (Year 2000) had more political content than anything I had done before, mostly social-political like "The Unconcerned" "Answer Is No", "Blocked", and "Social Control", but then there's "Imprisoned Populations". My current band, John Hovorka and the Dawn of Mechanized Farming do "War Zone" which I wrote during the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, "Imagine The Day" which is about 9/11, and newer ones: "The Dawn of Mechanized Farming" which is about agribusiness, and "Corporations" which is about acquisitiveness and greed. "Music For Republican Convention Halls" (2005 solo album) is almost all instrumental because I was too disgusted to say anything coherent about that.

9. LATE 90s SOLO ALBUMS: I've not heard these albums... do you have any favourite tracks from these?

From my point of view, these solo albums, "Drive All Night", "Chalk Pyramids", and the Chalk Pyramids "remix" CD, "State Highway 946" are all basically one long album because there was no significant gap in the recording of them. I started this 3-album project in late 1996 and finished it in early 1998. This is moody and often hypnotic stuff, fairly dark, tends towards minimalism, and some of it gets very personal. Of the lot, I like "Chalk Pyramids" the best. "One I Love", "Blocked", "Angel", "Back On The Grid Parts One And Two" and "Icy River" are my favorite tracks on that. As for "Drive All Night" I like most of it a lot, as well. "Alcohol Beast", "Dirt Road" and "My True Story' are often other people's favorites on that one. As for the somewhat-related "Hovorka - Greenland" album, I like the loud rock ones, "Expressway Girl", "I'll Take" and "Cult of…" the best.

10. DAWN OF MECHANIZED FARMING: How are things going with the current DOMF band that you've had since 2003?

Since 2003, but with some gaps in our existence lasting over a year. The band is going great in terms of the music. And (since our reorganization late last year) we are off to a good start with touring, which is what we want to do; starting with regional shows. Our first out of town show in Cambridge, Massachusetts a few weeks ago went very well. We plan to record our second EP this summer.

11. IGGY: The Turbines covered 1969 on the second album, Mark E Smith is also a big fan. Whose idea was it to cover this song? And are you a big fan of Iggy?

To me The Stooges were the best band ever. As for the rest of Iggy's albums, my favorites are "New Values" and "Zombie Birdhouse", although the songs from "Soldier" get stuck in my head the most. It may have been my idea to cover "1969", but it was not my idea to put it on the album. I just went along with that. In retrospect I think we should have recorded our version of "Boss Hoss" by The Sonics and our fast no-frills version of "Can You See Me?" by Jimi Hendrix for that LP. By the way, many thanks to Joe Harvard for his engineering and production on that "Magic Fingers and Hourly Rates" (second Turbines) album! We could barely stand to be in the same room together by then, but he still managed to capture all that sound.


Happy Valentines Day! AND then there is this. No, not quite.
This show is now on Sunday February 25th.


Happy New Year! My New Years Resolution is to Rock!

Our show on 12/21 at Trash Bar here in Brooklyn, went great. And it was lots of fun. The Hi Way Stars also truly rocked, as did The Live Ones, a band I was waiting to see again for far too long. Here are some photos of the DOMF part of the show. These were taken by Monika Bolino.

John & Bill 12/21

John 12/21

Marc 12/21

Ken 12/21

Joe 12/21


We now have a web site at And a few weeks ago, our first show (in years) at The Pussycat Lounge (in exciting downtown Manhattan) went very well. From that we got various photos and even a lo-res video (as can be seen on the aforementioned web site) as well as more money than I would have anticipated... The Young Bialys also did a very good set.


John Hovorka, Corlears Hook, Manhattan 9/06
Photo by Monika Bolino


Dawn of Mechanized Farming finaly has a new drummer. His name is Ken. This is going very well. Now we need some shows. Meanwhile I saw the New York Dolls at South Street Seaport last Friday night and that was a lot of fun. Bill and Marc of DOMF made sure the fun continued, with an after-show visit to a rather stark but large bar up near the former site of The World Trade Center, then a late dinner at Union Picnic back in Williamsburg.


Maybe my band has finally found a new drummer. But "it ain't over 'til it's over" so please feel free to inquire... We are getting together this coming Tuesday, in any case. Meanwhile my real job is going well, for a change, so that puts me in a slightly more communicative mood. Well, maybe. And maybe because it feels so much like 1961 all over again (it does???), I am listening to Gene Pitney a lot. When I was a kid I found him garish and a bit creepy. Now I'm impressed by the quantity of melodrama involved. I am not quite up to (or down to) liking Bobby Vee (also circa 1961) so much, although his first hit (if indeed it was, it says it was on the back of this album cover I have here) "Suzie Baby" has a plaintive heart-felt-type rock-a-billy thing going on which I like, a lot! (Of course if you know where I can find some more circa 1961 stuff by Billy Storm or Sheila (?) and the Gothics, please let me know!) (Don't even ask if I am trying to recreate a "Cold War mood". That idea crossed my mind, but on further reflection, I have no idea.) Meanwhile, in the world of old but less old, I plan to see Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men at South Street Seaport tomorrow night, and if possible, also Mission of Burma since they are playing a block from my house, and maybe even The Reid Paley Trio at Union Pool. As for what's new, not a heck of a lot if you ask me, or at least not much that qualifies as entertainment. Too much of the collapsing infrastructure as well as various more active forms of trouble, as described in "the news media".

I got very excited by how well my series of "Brooklyn Bands Podcasts" was going but I sure could use more material. Because repeating the same 15 bands over and over again just ain't gonna work. Well, not for me anyway. The next one which I should have out in a few days has mostly new bands from the previous ones, though. And I may stick up an obscure old R&B one just for a change. To start with I have been listening to the "It's Too Late" album by Wilson Pickett (re-released by Upfront Records, originally from 1963) a lot. I have plenty more of stuff like that around here, and maybe people oughtta hear it!


Yet another Brooklyn Bands Podcast put up. Possible DOMF drummer in the near future? And finally the release of the State Highway 946 CD, within a couple of days.


Last Sunday I ran into a guy named Ken over at the bar and he said why don't I do a podcast of Brooklyn bands? That struck me as such a great idea that on Monday I did research to figure out what a podcast is, and much more importantly, how to put one up. So here it is at Brooklyn Bands Podcast 5_18_06 or find it and some brief descriptive writing about this or these at

Not too long ago I thought you could only hear podcasts on an i-pod while in fact just about any computer with a sound card and speakers will do. Although back when I first heard of podcasts my first thought was that people were using their i-pods to broadcast shows on Wi-fi. (I think that something like that would actually be interesting.)

As for whether an mp3 that does not have RSS feed and is not accessible by using
i-tuner is actually a podcast or not, I have no idea. And I really don't care. Although for the purpose of "getting this out there" of course I will set that stuff up soon. This first one is just 7 songs and includes a "Brooklyn Bands Concert Report". The next one will be at least 10 songs divided into 3 or so sets thus offering "rock & roll", then "other", then "punk-rock". Or at least that's how I see this going right now. "Stay tuned."


The other day I looked myself up on Google (under Hovorka Dawn Mechanized Farming) to see that people have written a bunch of stuff about me that I didn't know about on and it is mostly extremely even overwhelmingly complimentary (thank you!!!). But people have questions about "all this", like what they see on this site (I mean overall, like on the Catalog Page, etc.), that I might as well try to answer. For example, someone asked for "a generic description of this stuff". And that sounds like a perfectly reasonable question to me but I'm sure glad to have someone else jump in on trying to answer that first. (Although I find that "generic descriptions" almost always lead me to think "oh no, another one of those..." and sometimes I end up missing out on great music because of that.) So I really appreciate "Castaway Carm"'s part of all this, her answer to that. You can find that under April 4, 2005, but I will quote one bit, the part about my music being "americana-before-americana-was-called-americana". That sounds about right. And other people have simply said, "It rocks" and I say "Yeah but what about say, the stuff I did on Chalk Pyramids?" and they say, "It rocks even when you don't think it rocks." And some people call my recent stuff "out of category music" but I don't think it's all that esoteric. (Or is it???) Then a question, from someone else, "and maybe his stuff has changed over these 27 years he's been recording?". To which all I can say is, yeah sure, but if I'm still waking up in the morning with Duane Eddy music in my head, then it probably didn't change all that much, well, not from my point of view anyway. But all of this really begs these questions. I guess it all started when I first heard rhythm and blues on the jukebox at Mister Donut at Fresh Pond Circle in Cambridge Mass. back in 1955, and continues straight through my childhood adventures in Buffalo, NY, those steel mills and all, and then (skipping ahead a bit here) rock-a-billy tunes about industry with The 2x4's, new wave rock and roll about industry with Noise Pencil, those rockin' Turbines that some people frame in the context of industrial wastelands ("John Hovorka writes songs about places where no one ever goes and no one wants to be", someone once wrote something like that.) Then there was the Hovorka band that started out kind of like that but included a lot about my impressions of New York City when I first moved here. But after I got all used to that, the band morphed into a straight-out old-school hard rock band that did a lot of songs about "beer drinkin' and hell raisin'". (The "Hovorka Live At The Middle East" CD; I need to get that out already!)

Then that ended and around the end of 1996 or so I got all serious, well depending on what one means by serious. Anyhow I decided to do something different. I was mostly interested in describing the mood of the moment, evoking it, even (if I was making my points the way I intended). So I decided to take a chance on doing what I felt I had to do anyway. My feeling was that "the forces of vacuousness" which probably lead directly to people getting randomly gunned down in convenience stores while Lite FM tinkles in the background were "transpiring" to leave nothing but fake-everything and/or death. So I figured I might as well get real and make music that is about, or more to the point in the context of, "newly renovated" strip malls, new prefabricated slums, dating bars that are actually pool halls and vice versa, recreational drugs that are actually animal tranquilizers, regret that is actually an impetus to do things even worse, the places where factories used to be, the few remaining factories where people slave away for just above minimum wage as Lite FM drones on (I know; I worked there!), and great big fluorescent-lit rooms full of computer terminals and telephones, another increasingly common version of the same thing. And mostly I wanted to get away from making music that is a distraction from these things and other things lots like them, the stuff that I call reality. Because finally if things kept going like this there wasn't going to be anything else and who the heck wants to write still more songs about things that no longer exist? (As soon as the subject turns to sentimentality "John Hovorka has left the building". Some things about my approach to all this never change.) Anyhow this world was not about to change, or at least not in its direction, so I figured I'd better. And did anyone really want my version of "the retro-americana commodity" anyhow? I saw no evidence of it so I decided to "break free" from all that. I asked, What would make me not know what to expect of myself? How could I break out of this cycle of boredom caused by either overly repetitive or annoying "cultural stimuli", wherein supposedly things are interesting even when one knows perfectly well that they aren't? Also the idea of lugging heavy 2" tape into some studio full of bored rock and roll music engineers "on autopilot" appalled me. So to start with, how about recording digitally? I had never even thought of that before. (I bought my first CD player in 1996; maybe that made me think of that then.) So my next question was obviously, how can I make this tinny, smooth as glass new type of media work in my favor? I didn't know so I needed to find some people who did. I asked myself, Who knows the most about digital recording? And is NOT going to try get an "analog sound" by digital means, which is kind of like trying to toast toast in a washing machine if you ask me. Well, techno studio engineers, obviously. So I met some at a party full of club kids and techno music, down in the depths of The World's Greatest City very late at nite, then the rest was history. (Note: I doubt if I would do things this way again, although I have no regrets about it at all.)

Drive All Night and Chalk Pyramids were only limited in their move towards "techno music played on conventional instruments (and "programmed" entirely by hand)" by their tons of lyrics and possibly "folk" influences. (Drive All Night was a mix of bleak and possibly-pop elements, while Chalk Pyramids was just plain dark. By the way it is my favorite of my CDs.) Greenland was somewhat similar in intent, but with musicians from a hardcore punk rock background; in retrospect I love how the hard rock parts of that project (about half of it) came out. And then there was the "rock" version of this project, John Hovorka and the Dawn of Mechanized Farming. But after spending like 8 or so years at this, particularly after I took that all farther than ever with Music For Republican Convention Halls, an anti-everything-like CD, which came down particularly hard on music (not to mention what such a mind-numbing "wall of spite" might not do for my alleged "music career"), I realized that I might as well try to entertain some people for a change. ("Who knows. They might even need it. Maybe it's even a political issue?" "No John, let's not get carried away here...") So then I entered my current phase which is "I stand there with an acoustic guitar and just deliver the goods". Not that I haven't done that before, but this is going really well (with "the goods" REALLY getting "delivered" this time around) so I may be sticking with this approach for a while. Although the end result will probably be me fronting some tear-up rock and roll band. But in answer to your question, "What's it all like?" I can only say, I have no idea. But if it has all been as fascinating to me as it has been, it's gonna interest some people. And it does!

By the way, here is my (if silent) "shout out" to whoever included me as a reference to their article in Wikipedia about Wilmer Alexander & The Dukes. Thanks, but thanks for not quoting me. All I know about him and them is that I was fortunate to be there for their shows at The Teen A Go Go in Geneva, New York back in 1967 because that was life-changing stuff to me. But beyond that I know nothing, really. Although doesn't "Distributed by Master Releasing Inc. 1790 Main Street, Buffalo, New York" just about say it all?

But enough of all this writing about me. (But people had questions so how can I NOT try to answer them?)

So how about some pictures of me? I haven't put enough pictures up lately and I have some new ones of me (and hardly any of anything else), actually dozens of them. So here some.

Here I am hanging out with some hunks of granite up on Diamond Hill
in Cumberland, Rhode Island last summer.
Photo by Rolfe Anderson

And here I am playing some songs at Jennifer Gryziec's birthday party at
Grand Press in Brooklyn about a month or so ago. She requested Dirt Road,
The Red Trucks (are on the highway and I got the blues!) and Bridgeport Lathe
so I am probably playing one of those.
Photo by Monika Bolino


Back in the 60's there was a not too exciting song with the lyrics, "and the smell of incense filled the room". Today it's more like "and the smell of burned polyester or else something very much like that filled the room". Actually it has filled all the air outdoors around here, something from that huge Greenpoint Fire that we had here a few days ago, and perhaps it is still burning right now. And although I like industrial New Jersey I'm not thrilled about feeling like I am there right now. The EPA says that this air is safe, while I think that what people regard as a stench is not necessarily a matter of their acculturation, it might have more to do with instincts of self-preservation. And so on, on into the nite. The dark backyards, the distant water tower, the hazy sky, the Empire State Building rising up from behind other buildings, the still and nearly silent air, and you guessed it, The Stench! But I slept well last night anyhow.

Those recording projects are still moving forward. "State Highway 946" actually is done now and I plan to get it out by the end of next week. John Hovorka Live at Zablozki's 2/22/06 still needs some work. I hope to get it out by June anyhow. As for the rest, I'm playing at another birthday party later this month. And I am very busy; I just wish it was busy with playing more music live. So what else is new?


I am doing the final test of the master for State Highway 946 - The Chalk Pyramids Remix CD, right now. (I'm not expecting any surprises here; I have heard this stuff about 10 times in the last week or so.) Back in 1998 when I was mixing the tracks that later became the Chalk Pyramids album I noticed two things, 1) I liked a lot of the ones which have vocals as instrumentals. 2) There were some alternate mixes of tracks that I liked just as much as the ones I included on that CD. (The result is all-instrumental and all-spaced out!!!)

I am also working on turning my tape of me playing live at Zablozki's back in February into an album, solo mostly though various other singers joined me onstage sometimes. My first "multimedia" album, and also my first (and possibly last) acoustic album. It includes 15 tracks of me doing what I do, plus a digital-camera video of one of the songs, a whole bunch of pictures in jpeg format, and all the lyrics that I sang in that set.


The show at Zablozki's (in Brooklyn) last Wednesday went exceptionally well, or at least my part of it did. Solo, theoretically-acoustic, rock and roll thing that it was. And plenty of it, or at least plenty of my part of it. Unfortunately John Berry got ill (just ill, nothing serious) at the last minute so he couldn't do his set, nor could we get together at the end to do a song together like we had planned. The rehearsal for that had gone really well... Sometime we will do that, the only question is when.


Finally we managed to book "The John & John Show" (see above). It will rock. Meanwhile The 2x4's will probably arise from their winter slumbers very soon. And I am traveling to Asbury Park, NJ, hopefully this coming Tuesday to get various master tapes back from Joe Harvard. So more CD releases are likely to be happening soon. Also I am apparently going to be in Buffalo, NY at a funeral soon. I don't think I have been there in the winter since I was a teenager. Sometimes the weather is not so good there. That is why.


All I know is that I must rehearse! Meanwhile, in the old albums category of my life I have taken to listening to "Zombie Birdhouse" by Iggy Pop quite a bit, as well as Chuck Berry's Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2. Also the new Rolling Stones albums is good!

AND I am now on blatantly listed as john_hovorka, so you can also look for me there. And while you are there, if the music I'm talking about above sounds like it might be just a bit too rustic, if not outright rusty to you, check out Coppermine (pun intended, I guess...) on They sound very current (enough of these metallic puns already?), rather metal, have great vocal harmonies, and if that's not enough, they are from Brooklyn. I'm impressed.


I don't have a lot to say. Maybe these pictures will say something to you. To me they "say" "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas". By the way, these were taken by Monika Bolino.

The wildlife of Providence, Rhode Island prepares for the festivities!
(Actually this one looks like it is preparing to kick your ass!)

The Long Island Railroad "Taking you where you want to go!" Well, maybe...

Ornamental towers which vaguely resemble Christmas trees..
(Baltimore's way of wishing you happy holidays!)


The Turbines short-EP entitled Early Turbines, which includes the 4 songs recorded in late 1983 has just been released. See the Catalog Page and the Order Page for more info on that. I'm planning to go out Sunday (12/18) evening to see what is more or less "The Swans". They will be at 210 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the show starts at 5 p.m. Or at least that is the info that was given to me... As for the rest, I need to get out there to buy some Christmas presents before that transit strike (MTA/New York) might get started on Tuesday. Hey, Happy Holidays!


The 11/25 show at The Abbey Lounge in Somerville, Massachusetts went extremely well. All the bands were great.

The Classic Ruins, John Hovorka (solo), The Black Clouds and Triple Thick.

Special thanks to Dave of The Black Clouds for setting this one up. And for inviting me back up there to do a show with them in February or so. As for the possible hook-up of me with The Classic Ruins "as back-up band", I will keep you posted. I mean, don't I already have 2 bands to be in? On the other hand, what a great idea! This really should happen!

The rest continues apace. Repair the amp, re-string the guitar, learn how to play my new songs, and so on. Get some Brooklyn and NYC shows already! What am I lazy? No, just busy. But, yeah!

"So what else is happening?" (I note that this is "the typical refrain of the booking agent") Uh, Jerry Reed is playing in New York a few days before Christmas. And I'd kind of like to be there!


I have been rehearsing for the show on 11/25 in Massachusetts and look forward to it very much. As my birthday is coming up on 11/22 I decided to buy myself a present, something I hardly ever do but I need it anyway to do the show. Time to retire my 1952 hand-made jazz guitar acoustic guitar, and whip out this 2005 Takamine Dreadnought electric-acoustic guitar I just bought instead! It's pretty terrific, all shiny and black, quite large, not quite up there with the 1952 Rickenbacker acoustic that I most want, on the other hand I don't have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on a guitar just now.

I would like to get the "Early Turbines" e.p. as previously described, out in time for Peter Zollo's radio show in San Franscisco - KUSF, December 11, 2 -4 p.m. PST, including on Internet Radio if you get that. This radio show is going to feature some or all of those songs plus other old Boston area stuff, like Phobia, now that was one heck of a band!

10/21/05 but not put up until 11/18/05

These long unexcused absences of me from here. I think I finally have a lead on an actual place in Manhattan for The 2x4's to play at. And I have at least tentatively decided to release an "extended play" single-like CD with the Turbines 1983 radio airplay tape sessions on it. That's "I Get Excited", "Independence Day", "Whirlpool" and "Final Line". There appears to be some interest in this specific bunch of stuff right now. Then upon playing it a lot over the last few weeks I have found that I really like it. "Early Turbines", as it were. Especially "Final Line". Never before released anywhere. I am amazed by it. It rocks hard and it appears to be about astronauts, like I'd know. Having written it I ought to know, but in regard to that one, I have no idea and I never have. ("Do the right stuff, yeah!") So who knows when that would be out but I figure in about a month. It's not exactly going to take a lot of doing; the material sounds just fine as it is and I plan to keep the cover art very simple since I don't have any, or at least not any that doesn't belong to who knows who, so thin-line jewel case and low price. Then see how that does with ya'll out there. Right now I am listening to the first Procol Harum album. Now that is one weighty artifact of distant days. This was my favorite record back when I was dropping out of B.U. No, really, I was. And it was.


I don't have much to report. Hopefully these pictures will be worth a few words. Mostly I have spent this last chunk of time working, writing and lost in thought, fairly introspective of me, I guess. Also I worked on gathering source material for my next novel. And I am coming up with a set of songs for my upcoming solo show.

A few weeks ago I managed to get as far as The Catskills with Rolfe, Brad and Paul. It was an adventure of sorts. Brad's house up there has water supplied by a cistern. Unfortunately the cistern was dry.

Here is a picture of me in Hudson, New York. "Power to the machines right on!" or what?

Here is a picture of Brad's house. We did no recording at "Big Turquoise" (not much of a color match there, oh well...) but Rolfe almost brought a guitar. Who knows, maybe next time. With the possible exception of Paul, we have all had some experience with that kind of stuff. Rolfe used to play bass for Human Sexual Response and for The Modern Lovers, not to mention that he is now in The 2x4's. Brad had a great band called Alda Reserve a long time ago in New York. He plays keyboards.

Here is a picture of Rolfe, relaxing amidst the splendor of Pratt Rocks, Zadock Pratt's monument to himself.

Oh yeah, the monuments. Go to for more info on this.
And thanks, Monika for finding this website!


The 2x4's had a great rehearsal with me in it up in Waltham, Mass. a week or so ago. We are starting to book shows now. For example, my solo show on 11/25 was originally supposed to be a 2x4's show. But then familial obligations entered the picture. Who knows what I'll do, except to say that it is going to involve NEW SONGS! I went hiking with Rolfe last Sunday and we had an unexpected photo session of sorts on Diamond Hill in Cumberland, Rhode Island (in our ongoing attempt to get new 2x4's photos for our press kit). There was a water tower up there, and lots of large concrete blocks with huge rusted screws poking out of them, covered with graffiti, left over from the ski lift that was there years ago. Whenever either of us gets this stuff developed I'll post some of it here. Meanwhile, here is a photo of Steve and Tom from 1979.

Steve Donnelly and Tom Martel of The 2x4's, October 1979

The Dawn of Mechanized Farming may still be on hold, but at least we're hanging out, like on Friday before Labor Day some of us went to Coney Island and hung out at Ruby's Bar & Grill, where some denizens of ancient disco danced up a storm. Then later we went to Sonny's in Red Hook, where a guy played Johnny Cash songs on an extremely fuzzed out sounding electric guitar.

How can I even bother to write this stuff when there is so much disaster going on out there? I have no idea.


I've been working too hard for a change. About all I can say is that this can't possibly be good for me. It's definitely not good for this ongoing account of not a heck of a lot going on. I can't even recall the last time I went anywhere outside of the neighborhood. Probably it was to deliver a Fedex for my job a few weekends ago in town. Today I have to go in town to deliver a Fedex, for work, again. I'm putting this off for a while because once I leave my apartment I'm not planning to be back until, say, long after dark, but since I have no plan beyond delivering the Fedex I may be back soon; I would like to avoid that. I read a book last week called The Education Of A Felon by Edward Bunker. It gets pretty serious, and I actually found it inspirational. He's lucky he even survived. Meanwhile what I have not found inspirational is that there's a bar I go to where they have somehow found (who knows how; I don't because to start with, I wouldn't look) a classic rock satellite radio station. And they do not turn it off often. So there it is. It's interminable, well I think... I could see this coming a long ways off. Someday there would be "The Classic Rock Station", "The 80's Station", and so on, just one of each. I guess there are others. I could do with a blues station, although I hate to think of what the programming would actually be like. But it is good that there isn't say, one station that everyone has to listen to all the time whether they wanted to or not and it couldn't ever be turned off. Back in Edward Bunker's day, in one prison they had a station that always seemed to be at least faintly audible. I don't know what they played. It was called "The American Airlines Station", or at least that's what he called it.

At least I went out to see a band a few weeks ago. Thee Eyes. They did a show that I liked a lot at Matchless, a small club here in Greenpoint. Maybe The 2x4's will play there soon. I'm going to look into it.


Suddenly I'm getting a lot more high-level Google placement out of this page than I could have possibly imagined. Just type in "hovorka dawn mechanized farming" and it's number two on the list, and even straight into my favorite subjects of the moment, The Dawn of Mechanized Farming and The 2x4's. So is that great, or is that scary? Now the number of people reading this is probably gonna jump from say 5, to say 10! (Uh oh...) So does that entail a bit more "journalistic" responsibility on my part? Honestly I never expected this. Well, so it's still just me "reporting in" from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Where it is still too hot and humid. But that was one great barbecue yesterday. Thank you Mark and Shelley!

Also thank you Shemp, whoever you are, for putting that Don't Stop Now song by Dawn of Mechanized Farming on your list of things to listen to on "Last FM". And obviously I cannot convey enough thanks to the folks at WMBR, WZBC, WMFO, and WVKR, as well as whoever else may have played it on their station, for the airplay of that EP. But my most amazed thanks have to go out to Bob Westphal at WFDU for playing Frozen Zone from my "Music For Republican Convention Halls" CD on his Shape Of Things To Come show. The thing about that CD is that I don't have any idea where to send it. I sent a copy of that one Al Franken of Air America, and theoretically one was on its way to Senator John Kerry. But it just doesn't fit in with what I see around in the world of "ambient" nor "techno" and I didn't quite think of "goth" although apparently that is a place to place it, because at heart it's more "garage rock" than anything else, if an extremely cold take on it played on instruments that 98% of those folks hate. Well I guess that if anyone describes their show as "experimental" I should send them a copy , because that one was experimental all right. As in, after I finished it I just wanted to get away from it and back to rock and roll as fast as possible. Not that there isn't going to be a follow-up to it. When I get around to it I plan to do "another one of those" about "The Environment". Imagine the possibilities. Song titles like "Silent Spring", "Ozone Depletion" and my personal favorite, "Coal, Oil, Natural Gas and Uranium".

Well I must have gotten up this early for something. Today's big one is gonna be "work on The 2x4's stuff". And there's plenty to do, that's for sure. The AC is on full blast and the coffee is taking effect! If all goes well we will be doing our first show in Boston in say late September, then Brooklyn in say late October.

Oh yeah, I haven't put up a picture in weeks. So what will that be? Hmm... Here's one of Broz, me and Ramona back in 1997 eating food at Sam Chinita's Restaurant which was 8th Avenue and 18th Street, I think, and was my favorite restaurant ever, though now it is long gone, replaced by some ultra-yuppie commercial establishment, I forget what kind, probably a restaurant/bar. We were working on my "Drive All Night" CD.

And here is another one of those. This one is of me in the basement of a factory in Paterson, New Jersey, next to "the compressors" and the 55 gallon drums of what was alleged to be "elevator oil". (That object at my feet was a vacuum pump.) This one was taken by Alan Chin.


Oh yeah, here are the results of my "Nowheresville's Greatest Hits" project, liner notes for it and for "GUM - The History Of Bubblegum Rock". You are going to have to bear with me here because these liner notes are very lengthy. Obviously this music can't be released by me because that would violate copyright laws. But meanwhile here are the liner notes for this project.

"Nowheresville's Greatest Hits"

This is an album of familiar songs done by unknown bands, a few B-sides of 45's by known bands, and various other stuff that was heard in "Nowheresville" in the sixties. To me, "Nowheresville" was Geneva, New York, a backwater little city in Upstate New York. I had always loved music, but the music that I found during the 4-1/2 years that I lived there changed my life. Although the "normal music" of the day, and the music that would eventually lead to the construction of a large museum also had a big affect on me. But this is a musical journey through a world of also-rans, could-of-beens, commercial-errors that bands that later had hits made, and total unknowns. It starts with a couple of tracks that might be a bit (?) hard to take by one of James Brown's MC's, and also includes what I used to think of as the worst record I had ever heard in my life, except that now I'm starting to like it. I did not include tracks that did absolutely nothing for me. Thus My Generation by The Stumps, and Out Of My Mind (Neil Young song) by The Improper Bostonians were not included, nor anything by The New Colony Six, or Group Therapy, to name a few. Some of what is here is beautiful-if-extremely scratchy, some of it is very ugly.

Sad Sam Bethlehem (Records) High Fidelity
1.) Advertising Man (G.C. Redd, R. Lenhoff, W. Whisenhunt) 3:03 Dynatone BMI 45-3090 2.) Poverty Stricken (ditto) 2:45 Release date: unknown. Question: Is G.C. Redd, Redd Foxx? On further research, Sad Sam was one of several MC's who introduced James Brown on Live at The Apollo, Volume 2. Also, he is not to be confused with the famous baseball player named Sad Sam. I did not hear this particular record in my youth, but there was a lot of stuff similar to this on the radio.
Ruby and the Party Gang Law-ton Records (distributed by Avco Records Corp, New York, NY) 1554
3.) Hey Ruby (Shut Your Mouth) (R. Martin, J. Mobley, Bessie Martin) 2:55 (Mardix Music, Mable Lawton Music, Bessmar Music) Release date: Unknown. Who knows if I heard this record back then or not. But there was a lot of stuff like this on the air back then. In any case, this is one of my favorite "party music tracks".
Bobby Moore & the Rhythm Aces Checker (Records) 1129, Chevis Music Inc., BMI 2:53
4.) Hey, Mister DJ (Robert Moore)
5.) Searchin' for My Love (Robert Moore) 2:29 Searchin' For My Love was a huge hit in the summer of 1966. For me, it defined the summer of 1966. Meanwhile I started going out to Teen A Go Go, a local teen night club in a bad part of town. I saw some great bands there. The Heard who did Laugh With The Wind b/w Stop It Baby! On Century Records were out of Rochester, NY and so were The Humans who did Take A Taxi, also on Century Records. (If I had these records they would be on here, as well as Do The Hump by The Invictas, I Wanna Do It by Bobby Comstock, and various other stuff, but I don't because all of these Upstate regional records are hard to find.) The Heard (not to be confused with The Herd who were from England and were an early Peter Frampton band). They had long, greasy, dirty hair, and a bad attitude. Their job was to play Top 40, but they didn't do it like anyone else. They were very loud, extremely intense, and their sneering rendition of "Listen People" by Hermans Hermits gave that song a whole different sound. They seemed like they hated playing a lot of the songs that they did, but they did them all with a lot more style than the local bands did. But much I was impressed by The Heard, my favorite band to go see was "Wilmer".
Wilmer and the Dukes (originally known as Wilmer Alexander Junior and the Dukes) Aphrodisiac Records, Distributed by Master Releasing Inc. 1790 Main Street, Buffalo, New York, Produced by Gene Radice. Brass Arrangements by Gap Mangione; Full length album. APH 6001 Stereo released in early 1967.
6.) Get It (Doug Brown) Tupper Publishing, 2:40
7.) Gimme One More Chance (Ditto) 2:40 In Geneva, NY in 1967, there were two kinds of kids, the ones who went to see "Wilmer" and the ones who didn't. R&B was the province of greasers, hoodlums, and everything "cool". Showing up at the Teen A Go Go to see "Wilmer" instantly changed my social life, from almost nonexistent into "in with the in crowd", well, sort of.
The 5 Americans HBR Hanna Barbera Records, Hollywood, CA
8.) I See The Light (Ezon, Robon, Durrill) Produced by Abnak Music HBR 454 A&R Dale Hawkins, Jetstar Music, 2:10, released in late winter 1966. This band was from Chicago and went on to have a Top 40 hit with a song called "Western Union". What was this one about, some sort of religious conversion?
Count Five Double Shot (Records) "every shot counts", Hollywood, CA, Hot Shot Music, Inc. DS-104 I believe they were from Oregon
9.) They're Gonna Get You (J. Byrne) 2:25 The flip side of Psychotic Reaction. Although the A-side was a big hit in 1966, I'd say that this track defines "Nowheresville".
The Byrds Columbia 4-43424
10.) She Don't Care About Time (Gene Clark) 2:28 Produced by Terry Melcher. This is the flip side of Turn! Turn! Turn! Maybe this song is easy to get a copy of, but maybe not.
The Roamers HIT Records, 4 Star Sales Co., BMI, Record No. 140
11.) G.T.O. (no author shown) A cover of the Ronnie & the Daytonas song. I bought this at a flea market in Florida in 1985. I didn't hear this when I was a teenager, but it definitely belongs on this comp, and I seriously doubt if you are gonna find it anyplace else.
The Ohio Express Cameo Records (but with Cameo-Parkway logo)
12.) Beg, Borrow and Steal (J. Day, L. Zerato), Produced by J. Katz and J. Kasenetz. I note that these guys were "the bubblegum- rock production team" slightly later for Kama Sutra Records, including the other records by the Ohio Express. 2:15, Kaskat Music BMI, A Super K Production C-483-B Released in 1967. A band that went on to record some of the great bubblegum hits of 1968, "Yummy Yummy Yummy" and "Chewy Chewy". I was rehearsing with the first band I was ever in, Falik Distortion, in Spring 1967. The guitar player Neil's sister Evelyn brought it downstairs. I can't say that we liked it, except for the guitar solo, which we played over and over and over again. By the way, the actual band playing the instruments was probably The Shadows Of Knight
The Jordan Bros. Phillips (Records)
13.) Gimme Some Lovin' (S. Winwood) Producer Billy Carl & Joe Veneri, Island Music, Ltd., 2:42. I note that the flip side of this record was on Fingerlake Music, Inc. But although I lived in the Finger Lakes at around this time I did not know of this band. I liked the fuzz-tremolo guitar sound.
The Road Kama Sutra Records
14.) She's Not There (Chris White) KA-255, Al Gallico Music, BMI, 3:00 From Buffalo, NY. 1967 Did they actually think that they were improving this song?
SRC a.k.a. The Scott Richardson Connection Capitol Records - from the album SRC-2 15.) No Secret Destination This probably came out in 1968. Early prog rock by a Detroit band. Maybe this was "garage prog-rock".
The Druids of Stonehenge UNI (Records) 55021
16.) Painted Woman (J. Goldstein Jerry Goldstein Music, BMI Same label as The Foundations who did "Build Me Up, Buttercup" From the moment I put this record on my turntable back when I was 16 I hated it. Fortunately I only paid a quarter for it at The Family Bargain Center. But after listening to it a few times over the last few years I'm actually starting to like it.
The Panics
17) The Kangaroo
18) It Ain't What You Got
This record was not on the original version of this compilation because I thought it wasn't quite interesting enough. But on second thought, it's just plain peculiar. When was it recorded? Why was it recorded? Who did they think would buy this record? (No one did. It cost 5 cents as a cut-out.) It's sort of like "Bubblegum R&B" possibly from 1963 is my guess, and my gut feeling is that this is a Midwestern band. Something was run through a Leslie, but the overall recording quality is so bad that I can't tell if the organ or the rhythm guitar was.
Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
19) Jenny Take A Ride
With some regret, it is now time to depart from "Nowheresville", particularly since is has been so long forgotten. But only in a way, as some of its characteristics were absorbed by a bigger, stronger and much more organized musical entity called "Detroit". Which then flung its stuff back into "Nowheresville" come what may.
The Leaves
20) Hey Joe
Presumably from California. Yet another indication that things were very different someplace else. It blasted out of the radios of muscle cars, and was one of the last hits on the radio before I left Geneva, NY and (was) moved to Massachusetts.

"GUM" - The History of Bubblegum Rock

Due to my shortage of material for this one, I'm going to keep this short, but sweet. Without "Simon Says" by The 1910 Fruitgum Company or "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies, this is a seriously abbreviated take on this extremely important music genre, one that affects (or is it afflicts?) popular music to this day. Basically I guess the idea was to come up with a kind of music that incorporated all popular music influences in one place then blend them in such a way that it would appeal to the maximum-size audience possible. Anyhow, here is an essay on this subject that I wrote a few years back. (Note: This is not fully researched so please excuse any factual errors. Also the "music theory" aspect of it may well be completely fatuous. I'm not sure. It's just something that popped into my head from out of noplace, much like this music did back when.)

Bubblegum - A Major Force In Rock! (An essay I wrote in 2003)

Bubblegum Rock probably had its roots in 50's novelty songs, or earlier novelty songs for that matter, but basically it was planned. While songs like Lou Christy's "Lightnin' Strikes" (1966) followed by "Rhapsody in The Rain" (early 1967), and many others, set the groundwork for it, it did not really take off until these guys named Katz and Kasanek decided to do it full on. Evidently, in 1967, they were working in Detroit as a production team for the Cameo/Parkway label (c.f. early Bob Seger System) with a band called The Ohio Express. Others equally down in the trenches of producing rock and roll, for example Bob Crewe, who produced The Four Seasons, and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, all the folks at the Brill Building in New York, Terry Melcher out west with his "folk rock" production team, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Lou Adler, as well as many other Top 40 producers were having chart success. But Katz and Kasanek's production of Beg, Borrow and Steal by The Ohio Express was (so far as I can recall anyway) barely visible on the charts. I don't know much about the Kama Sutra record label except that they had great success with The Lovin' Spoonful. But when Katz and Kasanek joined the label and it "went bubblegum" it really took off. When The Ohio Express came out with Yummy Yummy Yummy in 1968, that was it. Bubblegum Rock instantaneously arrived. This was soon followed by their next big hit, Chewy Chewy. Meanwhile the same team came up with Simon Says by the 1910 Fruitgum Company. And that was a song you simply could not get rid of. If you turned on a radio, it was just plain there, immediately, in your face, and that was that! Then by mid-year there was The Archie's Sugar Sugar, I'm on not sure what label, and also Green Tambourine by The Lemon Pipers, on Kama Sutra. The 1910 Fruitgum Company quickly followed up with 1 2 3 Red Light, another big hit. (I also note a bit of not-on-Kama Sutra competition from Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' by The Crazy Elephants, although it is not strictly speaking "bubblegum". Also just taking a wild guess here, this song was probably an influence on the Ramones.) But by the end of the year, it was all over. Bubblegum's First Wave had passed.

1969 was a bad year for "First-Wave Bubblegum". But it was a good year for Tony Orlando and Dawn who were if not exactly "bubblegum" not dissimilar from it either. Nor was Lou Christy's comeback hit "I'm Gonna Make You Mine". In 1970 there was a bit of what I would call "second-wave bubblegum" with Kevin McNamara's "Lay A Little Lovin' On Me", and Andy Kim's remake of "Baby I Love You". But the formula was changing. These guys were promoted as solo performers, albeit as ones with no identity in particular, no longer as bands who had no identity at all. (Of course they didn't. Because in reality they were the 60's "garage rock" band The Shadows Of Knight (and who knows who else; I don't; more research is needed) backing unidentified singers.) But the changeover to "post-bubblegum", similarly "manufactured" music that was based on a "star" concept, and which has continued on all the way from 1970 to 2005, was already completed. The first "post-bubblegum star" was Bobby Sherman. 1970 was a big year for Bobby Sherman, a rock and roll guy who started out with a minimal amount of chart success in 1962. His "comeback" was huge. Who can forget "Hey little woman, please make up your mind. Come live in my world and leave your world behind." I can't. I have been waking up every morning with that song in my head for the last 35 years! Anyhow, if not for the work of early pioneers in the "bubblegum field" (now there's a song idea!) would "manufactured" bands as Abba and much later, singers like The Spice Girls and Britney Spears, have been possible? Not to mention The Osmonds, The DiFranco Family, The Cowsills (no wait that was also in 1968), The Partridge Family, every hit song of 1974, and (even) (although more like a "post-garage band" if you ask me) the Ramones? I doubt it. We owe it all to The Ohio Express, 1910 Fruitgum Company and The Lemon Pipers.

So wake up and smell the gum!

21. Yummy Yummy Yummy - The Ohio Express
22. Chewy Chewy - The Ohio Express
23. 1-2-3 Red Light - The 1910 Fruitgum Company I note in passing that the back-up singers sound exactly like Lou Christie's, as do a lot of other things about this production. So does that mean that Katz and Kasanek produced him, too? I'll have to look this up.
24. Green Tambourine - The Lemon Pipers
25. Orange Marmalade - The Lemon Pipers
26. Gimme Good Lovin' - The Crazy Elephants


Is this the hottest day of the year? It sure feels like it and that's what my air conditioner is telling me, too. It's going up to 98 or at least that's what they said on the radio. So due to lack of motivation to do anything else I got on and looked up weather in other places. Places with much nicer weather right now include not only Kansas City, Cleveland and San Diego, but also Sao Paulo, Veracruz Mexico, and even Monrovia in Liberia where today's expected high is 83. But the best weather for me that I found was in Rapid City South Dakota where it is going up to 57 today, down to 42 tonight and up to 70 tomorrow.

But the facts of what I need to do today and tomorrow remain. From my gigantic list of possible projects to work on, the things I really need to do include: 1) I have to track down a drummer who expressed an interest in joining DOMF a few months ago. 2) The 2x4's need to start doing shows soon but first I have to write to them about that so that "we're all on the same page" with that. 3) I have to get those 2x4's masters from the guy who has them so I'd better write him an email, and 4) I need to finish up the next draft of The 2x4's album cover art. 5) Also I could work because there's no shortage of that, but that's what I did last weekend and I didn't like it much. Things that I don't need to do today include 1) finding out about new bands that sound sort of like New Order like The Killers and The Bravery, 2) compulsively check every ten minutes to find out what the temperature is, 3) continue to work on an essay entitled "Why Kid Rock Is The Next Bob Dylan" even if it is true (well at least I think) that Bob Dylan is doing such a boring job of it these days that..., 4) and also I don't need to recompile the CDROM compilation that I put together a couple of years ago entitled "Nowheresville's Greatest Hits". Its subject is "bands and entertainers from the 60's that (almost) no one has ever heard of". But maybe I will do that. Well, maybe.
(Note: I did that. And it is going very well.)

Meanwhile I have received a few comments about this blog. One is that I should be updating it more often (even if it does lead to posting boring paragraphs like the above is what I say). Another is that if I put the names of other bands on this page I will get more "hits". (I say that if I go in that direction much, sooner than not I'll end up turning this into a "Page 6" gossip column type thing and then everybody's gonna hate me. But I decided to start to do that anyway. [Talk about trouble brewing!] But there is a limit. If I start writing about hanging out with so and so who runs the such and such studio where blah blah blah was produced, it's gonna get ridiculous really fast. What I mean is that personally I'm totally against "name dropping INC." If you can't make it by your own merits then I say fuck it.) But Kevin Eleven asked me an entirely reasonable question, why did I suddenly redesign this blog, aren't they supposed to be like you leave everything up on it no matter what it is? Well that's a valid point. The answer is that a few days after I started it I didn't like the direction it was going in. But OK. So if I'm gonna go around "altering my blog", then why don't I put all that stuff back? (CLUNK!) There it is, put back. (It is after the picture of a Jackman, Maine.)


Just so ya know, there is a show coming up on TV about why people don't have sex anymore. The first time I ever heard of this trend was when I read George Orwell's "1984". As a sixteen year old kid it was difficult for me to comprehend that anyone would put up with "no sex".

I guess you can't see her pin clearly but the
writing on it says "Anti-Sex League". This is an
illustration of an "anti-sex rally". As the story
line goes, they are about to hook up. Well I
figure, so much for the anti-sex concept.
On the other hand, he is gonna be punished
for this, that's for sure! And as for her,
well I guess she was just "part of the system"
as if that wasn't punishment enough. (There,
that's the plot, so you don't have to read this.)

Meanwhile for lack of a better idea, here is a band that I used to like a lot when I was a teenager, and I still do. Can you name this band?


I has a dream the other night about swimming around in dirty water under a bridge. It would have been a good photo but I don't have one of that. So here is a picture of a power plant on the shores of The Ohio River instead.


I finally got to rehearse with those 2x4's again, up in Waltham, Mass. That stuff is really starting to rock! We need to play out soon. Also I went camping in northern Maine by myself. That went well. I pitched a tent then sat at a picnic table in the dark for hours. I was waiting for interesting animals to show up. It sure was quiet out there! And cold. It went down to 51 degrees. Also I went swimming in a beautiful lake, about a mile wide and four miles long, which turned out to have quite a current for such a small lake, and I climbed a mountain. Well, so much for that. It's hot here in Brooklyn and not exciting. Oh yeah, I forgot, blogs are supposed to be political aren't they? Yeah, well how about John Bolton? Yeah well how about him. I didn't think much of Michael Bolton either.


Today I continued my efforts to learn The 2x4's material for our rehearsal this coming week. Not only is it strange to come back to this music 25 years later, just in general, but it's also strange, for all of us, just how convoluted some of it is. I have joked that some of it is like "math rock using irrational numbers" but as I study such songs as "Guitar", "Aluminum", my ode to the strong possibility of a large-scale military conflict in Iran back in 1980 "Draft Registration Time", and the first song I wrote that was called "Iron Line" (a distant ancestor of my more current song "Iron Line") I am finding all of these music structures (songs) have a rather intensely applied logic to them throughout. Much like worn down obelisks poking out of barren rock fields in long-abandoned lands, there is scarcely a clue as to why anyone would write songs with structures like these, and yet the structures themselves are in fact decode-able. And I find that really heartening! Especially Tom's song, Guitar. I despaired of ever getting a grip on what that arrangement was about. But it's not all that complex. The stanzas are in pairs. The second pair of stanzas (4 per verse, usually but not always) is always with the chords reversed. Which only leaves about 5 other strange things about the arrangement, and that's not so bad. Well that's a real kick in the head. That's actually sort of easy! Or at least if it wasn't blasting along at 120 beats per minute or so, it would be.

But I can think of one reason why we all wrote and arranged stuff the way we did. We all worked in factories. So we were into precision, plus it was also a requirement of that line of business. Of course that kind of atmosphere is bound to make one feel "like a robot" to some extent, which of course meant that we needed to be able to "operate" both forward and in reverse. (A fact lost on many wannabe robotic bands but that's not our problem!) Sometimes this robotic-ness brought us happiness of a sort, like in my song "Bridgeport Lathe", boredom like in Tom's song "another day, another 8 hours, of boredom. I don't look up. From my work. "Cause it makes it worse", seriously frustrated like in my song "Recombinant Phase", or just plain fed up, like Tom's song about "put your finger in your eye while you're doing up your fly do the spazz. Spit up. Fall down. And do the spazz".

I guess it's a way of life that's fading into the past these days. Work in the factory during the week, go bowling at night, and work on your car (whether for basic transportation needs or classic-car-obsession needs we all did it) during the weekend. Then for summer vacation I usually went to Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and of course Industrial New Jersey.

Should I be giving The Dawn of Mechanized Farming equal time here or what? Yeah, obviously, but what can I say? Where we last left of we seemed to be moving in some new directions. Here's the lyrics to a new one that is starting to sound to me more than a bit like Public Image of all things.

The Dawn of Mechanized Farming

When your meat is someone else's poison
And the rains have flooded in
Your wasted time continues
But all you ever do is win
All you ever do is win
Residual benefits are there
As if in proof that you care
You live your life in suspense
As vegetation grows dense
Vegetation grows dense

It's the dawn of mechanized farming
A tractor showing up in every yard
It's the dawn of mechanized farming
Why did life used to be so hard?

When your poison is someone else's meat
Please do take a seat
You're nearly as untouched as a god
Until you feel that cattle prod
Until you feel that cattle prod
In a field where your seed has spilled
Whole continents and countries populate
Uh no, try to keep your head straight
Try to keep your head straight.

It's the dawn of mechanized farming
A combine parked on every blade of grass
It's the dawn of mechanized farming
Why does that make me want to kick some ass?

It's the dawn of mechanized farming
Silos popping up on every street
It's the dawn of mechanized farming
Why does that put me off my feed?

Copyright 2004, John Hovorka, Jr.

Meanwhile back in the past...

Local Boston bass player, feels alienated, writes some
songs about lathes and drill presses, needs to start band
(John Hovorka in his apartment, a.k.a.
"Eraserhead Villa", October 1978)

Scene from a typical 2x4's rehearsal
(Steve Donnelly, Tom Martel, September 1979)


Today's activities include getting ready for The 2x4's rehearsals in Massachusetts next week. The 2x4's were my first "original music" band back in 1978 - 1980. We intend to perform historical re-enactments of those events with original members of the band, myself and Steve, plus Rolfe Anderson who used to produce the 2x4's sessions on bass, and Matt LeBlanc on guitar. What I need to do this weekend is continue to re-learn this material.

Here is a picture of The 2x4's from back in 1979, relaxing in an abandoned factory in Lynn, Massachusetts during our photo session for the Bridgeport Lathe b/w Little Cities single.

The 2x4's John, Steve and Tom.


Here are some illustrations of things I thought about a lot when I was a kid.

The Snow Queen by
Hans Christian Anderson
("be the passenger" indeed)

Night in the city looks pretty to me?
Cracking towers. For all you aficionados of
industrial distillation processes out there.

7/12/05 Dream

I just woke up from a dream where I was sitting on the bench in front of The Brooklyn Ale House. A tiny, three foot high, shiny black, new VW pulled up at the stop sign on North 8th Street. There was a small, pretty woman sitting in the driver's seat. A little boy, maybe four years old, ran up to her and her car. He stood right next to the car, less than an inch away from touching it. Then he stayed there perfectly still for minutes on end. She didn't notice that he was there. I was afraid that if he didn't back away from the car that he would get his feet run over. Then I realized that the kid had something in common with me. When I was little the same thing happened to me, though with a few differences. When this happened to me the car was big, it was moving, and it ran over one of my feet. So I actually know what that feels like, to try to get close to a woman who is oblivious to the fact that I am there. It's not as bad as one might think, oh, I mean getting one's two biggest toes run over, by a huge yellow Fort Fairlane Station Wagon, although the woman did have to take me to the hospital and I was not walking so well for about a week. Also I was a bit older when that happened to me, almost six years old. Anyhow, in the dream, I wanted to yell at the kid to tell him to get away from the small black car with the woman in it, or to get up and do something about this. I tried to yell but no voice came out. This was just as well because while I was sleeping the window was open and people were in the courtyard below, about fifteen feet away. Then I tried to get up from the bench but I couldn't move. Then the whole scene of the kid, the woman, the street and the car looked like an illustration except moving. It turned out to be odd shaped cards being shuffled. I could see this from the point of view of the person or being that was shuffling the cards. I had a vague impression that it was a fairly old woman wearing a red kerchief who was doing this. Anyhow, what I had seen turned out to be one possibility among many. Who knows what sort of imagery that was, the black, relatively egg-shaped car, and a woman ignoring a child, because she was unable to sense that he was there. I note in passing that she also was not turning her head to check for any fast moving traffic coming up Berry Street before she went through the stop sign. And why didn't the child call out to her? Why did he just stand close to the black car and her in silence?

Jackman, Maine. 1980. My brother and I took a drive up there, climbed some mountains, and made my 1969 Chevy Nova (not pictured here) climb a mountain. That was a bad idea.

As promised, here is the stuff from my first draft of this blog, put back, just in case you're interested. This is from the 7/12/05 - 7/14/05 time period.

"Beautiful Field" Dream (2003)

I had a dream that I was waiting for a bus in the suburban looking part of "Generic American City". My dilemma was that the bus was not showing up. I had to get from one OK part of town to another quickly. But if I walked I would have to go through a bad area for about half a mile. It was the middle of the day so I figured it would be OK. I walked about two blocks down a street that I thought went to where I needed to go, but it ended. I was on top of a large hill. There was an incredibly beautiful vista of hills and lakes in front of me. In the far in the hazy distance I could see power lines and some skyscraper towers on the horizon. I had been in a different version of this place in other dreams. This landscape was more beautiful, yet it looked very dangerous. There was no evidence that people had ever been there except for one dirt road that ended at the end of a point of land that went out into the lakes. This road was fairly wide, had very neat edges and tire or bulldozer tracks on it. The entire landscape was way too neat. Its lines were way too clean. It was mostly hills covered with short grass or dirt, and not many trees. It was obvious to me that if I went down there it would be extremely difficult to get back. But I couldn't see anything obviously dangerous about it, so I walked down the hill and started across it. A woman appeared. I didn't know how I could have missed seeing her down there. She had tawny skin, long messy light brown hair, large breasts, large teeth, and eyes like those of a wild animal. I avoided her. Then an animal approached. It looked like a Chihuahua dog only much larger, about four feet in height. It began to speak to me in a nearly human voice. It said, "Ba ba wa wa, ba ba wa, wa" over and over again. It came closer. I was afraid of it. At this point I realized that I was in a dream, either that or Saturday Night Live. Nevertheless, it had me cornered on the descending ridge of this point of land. Then it began to bite me, over and over again. It had pointed teeth that were as sharp as glass. Then I woke up. It was six in the morning, and just barely light out.

It's not time for me to go to sleep yet, so check this out. I like this one. It is entirely factual from beginning to end. I wrote it about a year ago about my life in 1962 when I was eleven years old.

Johnny, Those Are Cracking Towers

Visiting my Grandma in Buffalo, New York was a regular part of my life. We drove there from Boston at least once a year. She had a Cocker Spaniel dog named Ebbie because he was black. I liked Ebbie. We went down into the basement to the "fruit cellar" together. There was no fruit, maybe a few canning jars, but there was a very old refrigerator full of RC soda pop. It was kind of dim and it smelled funny down there. I knew it was not an ancient Egyptian tomb, of course, but I liked to imagine that it was. My grandpa was there in Buffalo, too, but somehow he made a bit less of an impression on me. He was very serious and he seemed to keep to himself as much as he could. (Actually from what I've heard since, he was very sociable, but evidently, not around us.) I was impressed by the machine Shop where he was a vice president.

I can barely remember my early visits there, maybe a few glimpses of the highway there, or something. By the time I was six to ten these started to come into focus as a current memory. I looked at the trucks as we rode out, and the names of the truck companies, Spector, which was spelled sort of like an apparition, and CF which meant Continental Freightways, yet their logo looked sort of like CCCP, which might not be good advertising unless they were so far ahead of everyone else that they were preparing themselves for Life Under Communism. There were constantly more and more CF trucks.

After we got there, there was a billboard just a block away from my grandma's house, which I couldn't see from there, but I could see the light it made over the houses. It had an elf on it and it advertised a soft drink. I thought that it looked creepy when I saw it, but seeing it in my mind even though it was actually hidden from view gave me some sort of comfort, the idea that there might be something out there besides that which is kind of dull. I knew the elf was just a picture, but I felt like he was watching over us, for better or worse. The house was dimly lit on the inside, mostly by flame shaped bulbs in sconce-type fixtures, and there was more dark-stained woodwork there than I have ever seen anyplace else. When I learned how to read I read a huge series of little red books of stories with child characters with names like Corey and Nedrow. They had adventures that started in suburban backyards from the twenties, much like my Grandma's backyard but years before, then ended up in fantastic places. But these "fantastic places" began to fall flat of my expectations after the first few books. What I really liked reading was The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. She filled bad kid's eyes with bits of broken frozen ice, then they had to go through what I guess would amount to a repentance or realization to get back to the way they were to begin with. This sounded a bit threatening to me, and perhaps like it wasn't worthwhile to do anything really worth doing, like go off to ride with her on her sleigh, since it would make things worse. Still I hoped to somehow ride with her, and get out of the place where I always was.

The trip from Boston to Buffalo took about a day. First there were mileage markers that went from 138 to 1. Then there were markers that went from B-1 to B-37. And finally there were markers that went from 143 to 423. I didn't like the way the longest bunch of mileage markers came last. There was a black paved highway. Then there were concrete highways. My parent's 1955 Olds 98, a gift to them from my grandfather, made a clunk every time it hit the edge of yet one more concrete pavement slab. Who knows how many slabs there were. My dad turned on the radio to get in the classical music station out of Schenectady. That lasted a little while. Then we listened to a station out of Amsterdam, NY. They played "Just A Little Bit Of Luck" by Mitch Miller and His Orchestra. The constant repeating echoing chorus of this song was "Just a little bit, just a little bit, just a little bit, just a little bit, just a little bit, just a little bit, just a little bit of luck". I thought about luck for a minute. I guess I was not brought up to think much about luck. Still, I liked that song. Then that station got faint, too. My dad turned the radio off. I stared out of the back seat's right hand side window looking for something to look at. The flat part of the Mohawk Valley continued. I looked at the Thruway map. It said on the back that if you got tired of driving at 60 you could slow down to 50 for a while for a change of pace. That sounded like a bad idea so I didn't say anything about it. We passed the Gerber Baby Food factory in Herkimer, the LifeSavers candy factory in Canajoharie, and the typerwriter factory in Ilion. Eventually we would pass the Sylvania factory in Syracuse. I looked forward to that. It was huge and had a giant neon sign on top.

The only thing I didn't like about my grandparent's house in Buffalo was that there was almost nothing to read there. But it was full of dark paneled room, alcoves, and stairways. There were candle-shaped light bulbs that were ensconced in peaked-capped dark copper holders that looked like they had something to do with elves, and wall sconces with flame shaped bulbs in them that looked like they might have something to do with mummies. Of course these were perfectly ordinary art deco furnishings when the house was built in 1921. It was all quite cozy, albeit in an odd way. Yet when I looked beyond their yard, I wondered what the city might contain. I was at an age when I was just beginning to wonder. Breakfast was corn flakes with milk and sugar, and orange juice. I would get up early to sit with my grandma and look at the birds that were out in the yard. Mostly there were robins and sparrows. But often there were cardinals and blue jays, as well. Their stove was new and fancy, a huge GE. It had a long row of not very reassuring looking rectangular buttons that lit up in different colors, blue, green, orange, and red. These did not look like normal colors. They looked like sleek, cold, artificial colors that had just been invented. My mom told me that the stove was dangerous. I believed her. When the red button was lit the electric stove burners glowed red hot. But no matter what colored light was on, or even if there was no light on at all, the stove could still burn you. So I didn't trust those buttons, I stayed away. Early in the morning my grandma always had the radio on. It played music that I neither understood nor cared about, on and on. It sounded to me like it was always the same song. It was sort of soothing. It was hard to concentrate on. As soon as breakfast was done she would start preparing dinner and making a cake. Usually dinner was a pot roast and the cake was either a sponge cake or an angel food cake. The main course always included peas in butter, lots of mashed potatoes, and Jello off to the side. After dinner, if I wasn't too stuffed to even move I would go out and play. But there wasn't anything to do out there so I just walked around the outside of the house and looked at things. I saved going over a block to watch the cars and trucks going down the brick-paved Niagara Falls Boulevard for last. I wanted to leave something to look forward to. Their driveway was paved in concrete, just like The Thruway except smaller slabs. There was a little house in the back of their house for the trashcans. My grandma said it was to keep squirrels out of the trash. If the lawn needed cutting, there was a Reo lawnmower in the garage. It was a reel mower with a gas engine. I was a bit afraid of it because it would move under its own power even if you took your hands off it. Who knows what it could mow down, maybe even me. I knew I had to trust grownups to operate such dangerous things. My grandma put canned fruit in the jello right after breakfast. Soon after that, the milkman would show up and put milk into the little cabinet on the side of the house. Sometimes I said hi to him. He seemed friendly. The neighbors weren't. They lived in a darker looking version of my grandparent's house. Its blinds were always drawn. Its lights were mostly out. By way of explanation, twenty years later in 1982, my grandma simply said, "That house belongs to The Black Hand." My brother spent a lot of time down in the basement putting old plumbing together then taking it apart. He had no interest in toys. The main thing in the yard was my grandpa's car. It was very large and long, a 1959 Olds 98. It had huge fins that looked like castle towers but very stretched out. Since he was the vice president of a large machine shop, a large, powerful new car seemed to suit him well. I had always been fascinated by little details, like what the plants and flowers outside looked like, and the way the tires in the garage got orange around their edges from sitting around too long. But when I was eleven I quickly got bored by these small pleasures. I was not used to seeing so much television. There was a show about a detective named Topper. I had seen a lot of signs advertising Topper Pilsner on the long drive to Buffalo. My father said that pilsner was a kind of beer. I didn't know much about beer. My grandpa let me taste a tiny sip of his Carling Black Label once. I thought it tasted salty yet not salty, both at the same time. I had no interest in beer. But I did wonder why this detective named Topper never drank any beer. Still, for a curious kid, one fascinating question was not enough for one day. My grandma told me about shows I might like, but the only ones I liked were a soap opera called "Quiet Storm" because I liked watching the women that were in it, and The Buffalo Evening News. My folks were dismayed that I was watching the news. They had always done their best to keep me away from it. All the stories were about murder, car crashes, and nuclear war. Dinner was great. It always was. I especially liked the Jello. What was it made of? It came in so many flavors.

But when all was said and done, I was stuffed full, I was bored, I was restless. Looking at my grandparent's photos of a convention they attended in Winnipeg could only hold my attention for so long. I turned my attention to Life Magazine. The pictures were great but there wasn't much to read. There were lots of pictures of Jacqui Kennedy. Then I turned my attention to a huge pile of Reader's Digest magazines. A lot of the articles were boring, but I managed to find a few that fascinated me. My father said, You can't believe everything you read, especially in a magazine like that! I took his advice on that. For one thing, I had no problem with being a patriotic kid, but why were so many of the articles about flag-waving patriotism? Were they trying to convince commies, the only unpatriotic people I had ever heard of at that point in my life, that they should be patriotic? Probably not. So then they must be to reassure people about something. I quickly realized that this magazine was directly mainly to old people. Reassurance seemed pointless to me. Up until I was ten I didn't give politics much thought. But as soon as I did, I realized that there was no way out of World War III. It was plain to me, if not to anyone else, that we were all going to get blown up and die horrible deaths, maybe in a year or so, but more likely in about a week, especially with that stuff in Cuba going on. But despite my concern about that, I didn't know any of the grisly details of how bad things were, or could be, in other parts of the world. I learned about these things that afternoon, in Reader's Digest. First I read an article about how women were treated in Cuban prisons. I took my father's advice and didn't believe anything in this article, but who could even think of such things? The article said that prison guards made them get naked then dance for them. Then other things happened to them. I was too naïve to read between the lines, but it was plain to me that things went downhill from there. Then there was an article about people in some Middle Eastern country being sold motor oil to use as cooking oil, then they died. That sounds crazy to me. How could anyone eat food cooked in motor oil without knowing that it was bad for them? Slowly it dawned on me that writing could be full of lies, and also evil. There was an article about cannibalistic Mau Mau head hunter tribes in Rhodesia. I thought to myself, Why go there? They obviously wanted the place to themselves. Still, I found that article chilling. I also read every horrific story about mountain climbers perishing, ship wrecks, and of course, The Communist Threat and Nazi death camps. I was horrified. Things already seemed bad enough. But now these things! By the time I got through the stack of 20 or so Reader's Digests I was terrified. Because after all, even of none of these things happened, similar things must be going on or else no one could have thought to write about them. The sun was getting low in the sky. My head was spinning. My father said, You'd better stop reading that stuff. I said, OK.

In the evening we went for a drive with my grandpa in his 1959 Olds 98. All six of us fit in it OK. It was huge. The ride was so smooth that looking out the window was almost like watching a movie. It had a speedometer that consisted of a strip of color that was green up to 35 mph, turned orange around 40, and red at 55. I had never seen anything like that. I was impressed. We got on The Thruway. I immediately realized, a feeling in my guts, that we were going farther away from Massachusetts than we already, and towards some other place. My grandpa said he wanted to visit a friend of his who ran a gelatin factory. We could take a tour. We took the Lackawanna exit. Soon there were huge steel mills all around us. The smoke was intense and there were flames coming out of huge black machines and structures. There were small train cars full of orange molten metal moving along. The air was hot. The smell was awful. Then there was a section full of decrepit housing and neon-lit bars with people standing around on the sidewalks out front. There was hardly any light at all. I could hardly even imagine that these were people. They loomed up like from out of a dream, skinny or fat, male or female, all dressed strangely, plainly or garishly, but in any case, just plain odd. They looked badly cared for, badly fed, and like they might have bad intentions. I knew that this was real yet it also seemed like it wasn't. Then the traffic light changed. I was reassured to see an ordinary traffic light working correctly on this bleak and to me extremely unusual road. We moved on. We passed a chemical factory. In back of that was an oil refinery. There were two tall towers poking out of it. They had long, orange flames on top. I asked, Grandpa, what are those? He said, Johnny, those are cracking towers. Soon we arrived at a large and extremely gloomy looking brick building. We got out of his car. As we approached the door to this building the smell became horrendous. I asked, What's that smell? My father said, Dead horses. We were greeted by a beefy looking man in a tired looking suit. He looked hardly any better than those people I had seen in front of the bars. My grandpa introduced him to us then we all went inside the gelatin factory. There was a gigantic room full of enormous iron vats. We took an elevator up to the top of the room. There was a long, wide metal catwalk over the vats. The air was chokingly bad. The man took us to a large room off to the side where the control panels were. With great pride he showed us the factory's new electronic controls. They had brightly colored buttons and meters on them.

That night I slipped on the stairs of my grandparent's house. My grandma was playing the piano and singing her old songs downstairs. I became fascinated by her sweet voice. Then I suddenly lost my grip on the railing and plunged down the last two stairs. I got an ankle sprain. It really hurt, at least for a minute, then I limped a bit for the next few days. My mother and my grandma found liniment in a bottle that looked like it was from the turn of the century. My mother poured some onto a cloth, and applied it to my ankle. Then they sent me to bed. I got up and stared out the second floor window. I couldn't see the elf on the billboard across the way, yet I could see him in my mind's eye. He looked like he was taunting me, and seemed to me like a wicked being. I thought of praying. But I was not brought up to pray. I decided to pray anyway. It helped a bit.

I had a dream about being back in Lackawanna, with the huge steel mill sheds, smoke all over the place, flames leaping out of machines, the small train cars full of molten metal moving along, and a horrendous smell in the orange colored air. Then I was above all that on the edge of a cliff, on the edge of a dark forest. A dark figure approached me with a knife in his hand. I asked, Who are you? He said, "I'm the assassin."

Then I woke up. I realized that the horrible smell was the liniment. The billboard with the elf on it was no longer lit up because it was so late at night. I wished I was back in Lackawanna, watching the train cars full of orange metal. Then I longed to see the cracking towers again, their tall, wavering, orange flames.

Last night I had no dreams that I could remember. Here is a dream I had on March 9, 2004. I just woke up from a dream about subways.

I was walking down an outdoor walkway that was about 30 feet wide. There were a lot of other people walking, too. It was probably around the start of rush hour. This walkway was about two stories above ground level. Below us, at ground level, trains that were being taken out of service were pulling in. Strangely, they were being driven at a high rate of speed off their tracks and on to huge white cloth mats, which were about as wide as tracks and continued on under the building. I was very impressed with this technology. How did it work? Then I was walking across the Williamsburgh (original spelling used) Bridge (JH dream-stock-footage). Many other people were also walking across. There was a lot of mechanical equipment involved, sort of like escalators, except I couldn't walk on them and there were lots of gears all over the place. I think it was a situation where the people who were walking had to supply the energy to run the escalators. They were somehow indirectly hooked up to them by these gear mechanisms. Men wearing top hats and other elegant 19th Century clothing were the only people riding on these escalators. Walking across this bridge was extremely tiring. Once across the bridge, the only train from there went down into a deep underground cavern, where all the subway lines in New York met. There were dozens upon dozens of platforms to choose from, although it took about 20 minutes to find one that was in use. The lighting down there didn't amount to much, and most of the few signs that were down there were wrong. Also, all the trains were labeled F or J, no matter where they actually went. So figuring out which train to take was difficult. They were labeled as to where they went only in a code, which it was possible to crack, but you had to study it very hard. I once had a dream where it took me half a night to figure this out. It's useful to do this because one of the trains will get you to Times Square in about ten minutes, while another train which is labeled almost identically goes in a huge circle around East New York then ends up back where it started about an hour later. The reason why I "know" all this is that I have had this dream about twenty times. Also, it is very hard to get on or off these trains because they never come to a complete stop and the doors open and close very fast. And because any given train only runs about once an hour, most of the people down there are running, sprinting, to catch their train. train.jpg Then I was back at the place I first mentioned, again, except now there were fewer people around and the walkway was about four stories up. The trains kept coming in, being zoomed on to these cloths, more often and much faster. Then the walkway was ten feet wide and there was no railing and it was about 15 stories above ground. Hardly anyone was around, except eventually some cheerfully adventurous college students with mountain climbing gear came up on to this walkway, now not much of a walkway, by means of a tiny fire escape-like ladder that I hadn't noticed before. And then the walkway was reduced to being four feet wide, and there were concrete posts blocking any exit from it. Then I noticed that the small ledge of concrete that I was standing on slanted downwards. So I kept sliding to the edge of the tiny concrete platform that remained, and I was about thirty floors up. I thought about using the tiny ladder to get down from there, but felt that if I did that it would scare me too much. So it seemed just about inevitable that I was going to fall from there. Then I woke up, feeling quite annoyed that my choice was either to lose sleep by getting up too early, or else continue to be stuck in this dream and probably have it turn into a falling dream. So then I managed to strike a compromise in which I was able to get back to sleep, and did not sleep well at all, but at least the platform quit being slanted towards the edge and widened to about six feet. And then an hour or so later, I woke up, still too soon, but not as under-slept as I might have been.

"Current Events" Dream Or What?

Last night I had a dream that I was in a messy urban place, like a cross between Abercrombie & Fitch and a desperate slum. Expensive looking blood-spattered clothing was thrown around all over the place. Maybe it was a recent terrorist bomb site. There was an anti-terrorism demonstration going on. Then some guys pulled long yellow guns out of their robes (yes, robes) and started randomly shooting at people. Within moments there were torn apart bodies lying all over the place. Then another gang of guys showed up. They had long black guns and looked sort of like undercover cops, although who knows who they were. Large muscular guys in dark colored sweatshirts. They said that the anti-terrorism demonstrators were promoting terrorism by protesting against it. So they started shooting up the place. Then I woke up. Usually after a mess like that, I feel like going to the bathroom. But instead I just stared at my dark apartment for about five minutes then went back to sleep. My apartment also had clothes scattered all over it, but not like Abercrombie & Fitch, more like Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollarama, or even a 99-cent store. The horror! In the dark and without my glasses on everything looked like it was pulsing, even moving. Is this place haunted? Yeah. It's haunted by me! And by my dirty clothes I guess.