Ahhhhh. Good old episode 4, “We’re Getting the Band Back Together.” The title is a throwback to the old Blues Brothers line “We’re putting the Band back together”. My overall concept for the episode and for the season was that it was time for Neptune to finally try and get into the music scene in New York. Neptune did a fantastic job getting into the ganja business quickly, and also I wanted him to get sick of it quickly, too.
In Episode 4, he gets his band together, starting with meeting his grandpa (Peter Leahey) who is spunky, homeless, and lives in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village of Manhattan. It was a beautiful day when we shot this scene, 65 degrees with a slight fall breeze, and I remember enjoying New York at that moment. I then looked down by my foot to see an old petrified decaying rat which I tried to ignore as we shot, but I gotta be honest, I did throw up in my mouth a little. I’m from San Fran originally, so I react to these everyday NY occurrences like an effeminate five-year-old.
If you’re wondering why Neptune refers to Buddha so much, I just thought it was funny to have a stoner always referencing Buddha, throwing the name around as much as we throw around Jesus. By the end of the scene, Neptune’s grandpa gives him a new guitar and assures him that Buddha will send him musicians for a band.
Chad Shapiro and Alan Gilbert return as Ricardo and Steve in this episode. We have some great broadway singing in here. Alan has lived on 51st street right near Broadway and the theatre district in Midtown for the past 30 years, and has been in tons of shows. Many a nights after a gig and many beers, Alan entertained the crowd by singing show tunes into the wee hours of the morning. Steve and Ricardo hook Neptune up with a singer named “Junior” to help start the band.
I make my first appearance in the series as Junior. The idea for this old school Rat Pack styled singer, was that I always thought Sinatra was hilarious because he was such an asshole. Sort of like a grumpy old grandpa you just have to laugh at. I throw in a little over the top mix of Phil Hartman’s impersonation of Sinatra in “the Sinatra group” and you have the motivation for Junior. Also in the band are “Frenchie” played by Ramzi Khoury, who is also a fantastic singer songwriter from the Bay and now in NYC. Frenchie is funny to me because he never understands anyone. I had a really good french friend who - although he lived in the US for 41 years - would always say at least 50 times a day...”what are you saying?..Zees is bullsheet!” On Bass, we have the “Wylie,” a super chill ladies man played by Diallo House. Diallo House is our bass player on the theme song Vineyard Gypsy, and is all over NYC playing regularly. Check his jazz group every Saturday night at 1am until the sun comes up at Smalls Jazz club in the West Village.
We finish up the episode with the band playing the entire theme song entitled “Vineyard Gypsy,” which I wrote when we stayed for a long cold month in January on Martha’s Vineyard.
Enjoy the episode!