Ray, Ewa, Patrycja, Eric – Warsaw 1984

      Ray, Ewa, Patrycja and Eric (English and Polish)
1984 European Trip Journal Cover

When I met with Stan Borys in Lake In the Hills in the summer of 1984, I told him I’d be visiting Europe soon and I’d like to see Poland. He offered to give me the names and phone numbers for his ex-manager Ray Dabrowski, and his ex-wife Ewa, and he asked that I deliver a personal message to his daughter Patrycja. In late September with the end of my European trip nearing, I left Vienna and Western Europe, crossed the border and entered the Communist world. I had been delayed a couple days after losing my train ticket to Krakow. My entire 10 week European trip had been a contemplation of what was hopefully to come in Poland, though I had no guaranty of successfully entering into the past world of Polish rock legend Stan Borys. When I arrived in Warsaw, I managed to locate Ray Dabrowski’s office and was told he was returning from London in a day. The next day I met Ray, and we talked. He contacted Ewa, who was initially opposed to meeting the stranger, her ex-husband’s friend from Chicago. Ray persuaded her to change her mind, and a meeting was set up. The following day, I met Ray and we drove to a suburb of Warsaw where we met with Ewa and Patrycja Borys, Stan’s 13 year old daughter. Using a cassette deck loaned to me by Ray, I recorded our conversation, which is above. The morning after the meeting, I boarded a train and began my return to the States. Had I not been delayed by my lost train ticket, the meeting of Ray, Ewa, Patrycja and myself would not have taken place.


McHenry Rehearsal House

Rehearsal House, Pinto, Basement Studio

After high school, in November of 1978, John and I rented a little house in McHenry for our band St. Vitus Dance to rehearse in. We built a small studio in the basement and went to work. Muscling through suck, we developed a work ethic and an ability to grind through the hours of physical musical practice routine that was required to develop. Day jobs came and went. Auditions were ongoing. Future was unknown. The clock was ticking. We left McHenry in the summer of 1980.

      Rustling up bandmates for rehearsal

Spice Factory

Thomson & Taylor Spice Company Building

This is the loft building known as the Spice Factory where musician Tom Waicunas and I recorded 20 of his demos in 1993. It is at Cermak Road and the Chicago River. It was originally built for the Thomson and Taylor Spice Company in 1911. It is in the historic Cermak Road Bridge District between Pilsen and Chinatown. Noteworthy in the above photo is the bridge and the railroad tracks, which were the reason for the building being constructed at this location in Chicago shortly after the turn of the 19th century. In recent years, it has been used as small business and artist loft space. I was on the 3rd floor. Tom was on the 5th.

Interesting City of Chicago Landmark Designation Report.


Awake in Old Town

Piper’s Alley

In spring of ’91 I awoke in Old Town, newly separated. I set up shop in an artist loft building called Wieland Center on North Ave. It was across the street from the old Piper’s Alley location, next door to the Old Town Ale House, right around the corner from Second City, and a few blocks away from Lincoln Park where I would jog late at night.

With the end of my first marriage began a run of creativity which would send me on a journey, through several projects, successes and disappointments. Creativity was the healing process for me, and it propelled me down a path through Old Town, Pilsen and Wicker Park, eventually leading me back to Poland.

My ‘Old Town’ project consisted of 8 songs: ‘In My Hour’, ‘Resurrection,’ ‘Too Many Pieces,’ ‘Winterline,’ and ‘Apology’ are Busted Relationship songs. ‘Vineyard Homicide,’  and ‘Take Care of Love’ came out of my Chicago blues scene existence. Clouds begin to lift with ‘Homeward.’

      In My Hour
      Vineyard Homicide
      Too Many Pieces
      Take Care of Love