Juvenilia Paraphernalia #1

This morning I stumbled upon my old MySpace account, and was able to retrieve some sketches, paintings and photographs I had thought long lost. Scrolling through the veritable treasure trove, I recalled some sketches I did for a would-be concept album; but I’m getting ahead of myself.

I had received a mandolin from my parents for my seventeenth birthday, and I would waste no time in trying to record as soon as possible, even before I really knew any chords. I fumbled through the mandolin chord book (a birthday add on, of course) and went to town. Since I’m a December birthday, I was on break from school and had plenty of opportunity to practice and experiment. A few days later I borrowed a FOSTEX Analog 4-Track Recorder form a good friend and laid down the structure for my concept idea.

“Mr. Toad Infatuated,” Original Illustration by Matthew Pinkus, 1997

If you know me at all, you know all about my obsession with Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows.” This book was my most requested bedtime reading as a child, and I was infatuated with the detailed and fantastical illustrations of Michael Hague. I knew my goal in life was to someday make the book mine! I was going to set it to music in some way. I still have this dream, and I know one day I will write my definitive Oeuvre and rest in peace knowing my work on Earth was done. Phew, pretty dramatic stuff!

For your listening enjoyment, I’ve included below a lost track from my juvenilia recordings of my first “Wind in the Willows” attempt. This recording is a copy of a copy of a copy of a tape I had my dear friend Nate Pottker restore for me. This recording is what was to be the grand Overture, and is an instrumental with four tracks of mandolin. It’s in pretty bad shape and the music is a little rough around the edges, but I still listen fondly to the memory of my seventeen year old self, sitting on my bed in my parents home; headphones on, mandolin in hand and a future full of unlimited musical possibilities!

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