Save as Playlist     Clear     Source: YouTube

Share with your Friends
Modern Voices by Chris Pati And John Tabacco


Album Info

Release Date: 2016-11-08

Label: Modern Voices Records

I first met Chris Pati in 1973. It was at band rehearsal at Great Hollow Middle School in Nesconset, NY. I was faking it on clarinet secretly wanting to be part of the percussion section and Chris, who’s name was already buzzing around, was the awesome snare drum player in the group. I remember the conductor, Murray Houllif chatting with Chris’ father back stage one concert, praising his son’s extraordinary proficiency on the drums and recommending that he send his boy to some advanced school of music as soon as possible. Anyway, Chris was a year younger than me and the only time I saw him was during band rehearsal. I spoke to him a few times and we hit it off right away (can anyone say, “let’s have an Italian DNA roast!”). From the first time I heard his name I knew him. He was going to be an important influence in my life but just when, I didn’t know. The following year I was transferred to Nesaquake Junior High in St. James. Chris, because of the zoning of where he lived was still stuck at Great Hollow. We didn’t meet again until I was in 11th grade, four years later! By that time,1978, we were both attending high school at Smithtown East. Since we were both in the high school’s symphonic band we were able to hang out. Chris of course was the most exceptional music student in the school and he was assigned the task to arrange various musical events through out the school year. One such event was called CAREIN. It was a variety show that featured comedy skits, various bands, dancing etc...The proceeds went to help the homeless or ended up in some school officials pocket. Who knows? While Chris was writing out arrangements mostly because the music teachers couldn’t transcribe a damn off of records very well, I was at home playing drums and singing along with Zappa, Steely Dan, The Beatles etc. The basic influences. Even though I presumably played clarinet in band I was always practicing on the school marimba which I was actually allowed to take home one summer. My music teacher Mr. Sobol didn’t get it. “There’s already too many percussionist”. “Play that clarinet, Tabacco”!, he yelled at me several times. As my 12th grade year progressed Chris and I started to hang out more and more. One day he asked me if I would be interested in playing drums for CARE IN. I flipped out and jumped at the opportunity. Though my reading abilities always sucked, I could pick up on the cues real fast. The show was a "pisser" as kids would say back in 1979. And with the exception of me falling in love with an unbelievable flute player by the name of Linda O’Donnell, I had the time of my life. Finally, someone gave me a chance to play a drum set...Yes!.. In a group no less. The CARE IN show went off without a hitch and I was soon recognized as a decent drummer. I started to play in some local bands and the future looked bright. Later that year Chris invited me to a recording session in NYC. He was to sub for the legendary Steve Gadd, the most in demand drummer who was playing on every hit record at the time. The music to be played was of the fusion kind with lots of fast, odd rhythms and unison lines. I can’t remember the composer but the people in the studio were fairly friendly. It was a cool environment that instantly clicked for me. This was the first real studio I was ever in and I was most impressed with the little red lights on the mixing console and the groovy see through harpsichord they had in one of the live rooms. Not sure why but when Chris was playing the snare drum for the engineer to get a sound, the engineer actually asked me what I thought of the equalization on the snare. Without any hesitation I told him I thought it should have more treble and he concurred. Pin point!... That small moment gave me the confidence needed to become a recording engineer. The session went smooth and considering Chris had never heard or seen this piece of music before, he executed his drum part perfectly. The bass player, the legendary Anthony Jackson, who had just finished playing on Steely Dan’s "G a u c h o" album had a difficult time with the chart. In fact, he later talked to us and I remember him saying to Chris “It’s drummers like you that make sessions happen.” - Insert EGO BOOST here. - That summer Chris invited me to play at a music camp at Commack High School South, where I learned a little about arranging for brass and woodwinds. Chris wrote his own piece which at the time sounded pretty advanced and amazing. Especially with those Earth Wind and Fire rhythms and George Duke sounding chord changes. Me on the other hand, scribbled out a pseudo big band arrangement of Zappa’s “America Drinks and Goes Home”. It sounded surprisingly decent considering I knew nothing about orchestration and I actually got to sing it with the band. Only two negatives to this event. One : When I sang into the microphone nothing came out of the speakers. Dead mic. It was like a bad dream. You couldn’t hear me above the band but I kept on singing, enjoying the power of the music vexing the air. Two: All the kids were depressed that day because the music teacher who taught us couldn’t make the show because he had a heart attack the night before. Chris’ mom who later died that year of heart failure was in attendance and my mom was too. All in all, it was a good musical experience. That was the last time I would sing in front of an audience until 1990 when I played at the cafe, "Classy Coffee" w i t h Fuzzy Gray Logic. In the meantime, it was off to Stony Brook college come September. Just before my university induction, Chris introduced me to a little reel to reel machine that would soon change my life. It was called an AKAI GX 4000-D sound on sound machine. In a nut shell, it allowed me to overdub more than one part and thus I could assemble ideas and instantly hear back my own tunes. (For more detailed info on this subject check out The Akai Years 1979-84.) Life went on. In 1981 Chris found himself at the music department at Stony Brook University. He passed all the initial placement exams with flying colors and to this day I think he holds the record for getting the highest score. Next thing I know, he was in my counter point class and also in composition class with me and Nick DiMauro. Chris didn’t show up for much college because at that time him and his guitar playing brother John landed a development deal with Columbia Records but for reasons not to clear me, the deal fell through. Chris never returned. Occasionally during my third year of college I would see Chris mopping the floors at a cheap department store in the Smithhaven Mall called "McCrorys". Some one as talented as Chris Pati mopping floors? What chance did I have making it in the music world? It didn’t look good. After awhile, we lost contact but my friendship with Nick DiMauro grew tighter. As soon as I graduated college in 1983 I went to work for Pam Rent A Car which was a crappy job just down the road from where I lived in St.James. As mundane as it was, the job gave me money to buy all my 8 track equipment and on July, 14, 1986, I officially quit. That afternoon I found myself cleaning out my room when all of a sudden I came across a “stick'em” pink piece of paper with these words written on it : Stop pulling it. Your grandmother is spitting up Orange Fanta™ and she’s run out of lavender toilet paper. It was dated July 14th 1986! This was a note I had tacked on my wall since 1979. It was written by Chris and somehow after a few years ended up at the bottom of a bureau draw. I immediately showed this scribbled tidbit to my mother and sister. We all took it for a sign. "Call up Chris Pati", my sister would badger me for weeks on end. Eventually, few months later, with no job, no direction, I got up the nerve and called him up. At that moment he was working in a 24 track studio called BACKDOOR. I knew as soon as I made this call my life was going to change. It was a defining moment in my story - a new chapter. Of course, I was a bit nervous at first but as soon as we spoke it was like we were never apart. I heard some funky dance music playing in the back ground while Chris spoke excitedly about some holographic idea he was working on. It all sounded magical. But then again to me, Chris always had a magical, positive kind of vibe. After 15 minutes of catching up we made plans to meet. It was sometime in early January of 1987 I drove out to Backdoor Studios which was situated in this small two story house in the cruddier section of Huntington Station. I was totally broke and holding on to a cassette of some of the music Nick and I completed in my bedroom. I showed up at the studio early as usual and waited and waited. He was a bit late arriving and I felt nauseous, but in a good way. When I saw Chris he looked different because he now had a beard which gave the illusion he actually had a chin. Anyway, we shook hands and he led me to the back where the studio entrance was. (Little did I know I would learn so much here and even end up sleeping on the couch for two years.) The first thing I saw was the big MCI 24 track machine. A real recording device! It blew me away. Then he played me some of his music and I couldn’t get over the separation of his mixes. It sounded fantastic and the songs were great too. He asked to hear some stuff I recorded and I nervously played him a Dan Robinson tune Nick and I engineered. He was impressed. “Not a bad sound for 8 Tracks”, he said. Phewww, that was a relief. I then got up the nerve to play him a few original songs. Again, he was impressed and even dug the hook to “You May End Up In Wyandanch”. My mind and ego were buzzing. In fact, he later told me that I depressed him a bit because he felt he hadn’t written anything worthwhile in a long time (right!) and I obviously progressed many times over since our last encounter. Even his girlfriend at the time, Sherry Gene Waite was impressed. She actually liked my voice. This was too cool for words. I left that night feeling so inspired and wired I couldn't’ sleep. Chris had the coolest life. He recorded people, did his own tunes, made his own hours, had a great relationship with such a cool woman and he still had no problem dealing with my musical inexperience. He was nice enough to let me into his professional world. His assistant engineer had just left and I was the perfect replacement. I spent that winter learning the ropes of 24 track engineering and watching countless movies at Chris and Sherry’s apartment. It was at this apartment in Kings Park, a hundred feet away from the Long Island Railroad tracks that Chris revealed to me his dream about holograms. Apparently, he had an out of body experience that took him over the air field at Fairchild Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY. It was there that he witnessed what appeared to be a huge cube floating in space with bizarre alien symbols flashing on and off it. Something was holding him back and he was unable to turn around to see how it was projected. However, slowly each day he would remember little bits of information concerning the projection of solid objects in space. Eventually, he put together a prospectus and a semi vague schematic of how such an operation could be done. Obviously the impact of a holographic device would certainly change the entertainment world and would also be beneficial to the medical world, the resale world etc. His first application of this new devise would be to put together a rock group and broadcast live concerts right into people’s living rooms in 3D. The name of this group was called Modern Voices. There were three members to this group. Chris, Sherry and a fellow by the name of Joe Quinlan who went on his separate way by the time I showed up. Chris had already been in contact with the late Star Trek producer Gene Roddenberry but he wasn’t sure if Chris’ ideas were quite feasible yet. He also kept in contact with a Professor Dunn who had a holographic lab in England. At one point when Chris was going to fly to England he got a message from Professor Dunn saying that his lab was destroyed by some unknown political forces and this would set him back six months. No go. Soon after Jacque Smith of 3 Dimension Ltd., a leading manufacturer of holographic pictures contacted Chris and set up an appointment to meet at the Holiday Inn in Old Westbury. Sherry and I were invited to come along. It was there we were shown the finest new holograms to reach the United States. One was of a skull. The other, a gun with a floating bullet. These are pretty common place now, but for the time they were the best the holographic world had to offer. According to Jacque we were the first Americans to see them. I forget what transpired at this meeting. Probably a lot of promises and schemes too big to actually put together in one sitting. A month passed and there was no word from Jacque. Meanwhile, Sherry and Chris’ relationship was beginning to show slight signs of deterioration but I was too distracted to notice. I just remember Sherry going to the hospital a lot and singing on the side with a girl group called "The Chicklets". She was an excellent commercial singer with a great sense of humor. When I first worked with her we sang the back ups for Chris' song "World Away". While I was singing my part I saw Sherry through the control window and I swear to God she looked like Chris’ mom who had died in 1979. I stood there teary eyed. Chris came into the room and knew what I was seeing. He said matter of fact, “She looks like my mother doesn’t she?” I went home that night feeling a little spooked. Chris had already recorded three Modern Voices songs for Sherry to sing on. I played them some ideas I had for a fourth tune. One of them was "Postcards of Places". Sherry liked the idea so I finished it and Chris was nice enough to record it and use it as a Modern Voices tune. He played the solid drum track while I laid down the Oberheim bass part. We worked well together. His exceptionally melodic guitar solo was one of the highlights of the production. At first we weren’t sure about the solo's continuity. It had a lot of ups and down. We broke for some chicken and broccoli at our favorite place called Golden Harvest and came back to listen. Yeah, it was great. I was thrilled! Now, being an expert passive aggressive sort of fellow, I found myself at the studio assisting Chris on many sessions and slowly working on my own ideas. Chris would pay me now and then for a session but basically I didn’t want anything but free recording time. I got it. Consequently, I began to spend more nights there than at my parent’s home. I would bring all my clothes over and crash on the sofa whenever a session went late. Meanwhile, the little 8 track studio in my bedroom in St. James got less and less use. Nick DiMauro and Paul Barkan went out to my parent’s house one day and took back their equipment. I came home to find a sad little note on my mixing board which read: Hey - It was fun. I enjoyed myself. I learned allot (sic). Good luck (you’re gonna need it). - Love Nickie. Joha-han, Aurevoir! Your friend Paul. Boy that was depressing. And so Nick and Paul set up shop at Nick’s home working with the talented Dan Robinson and forming a great musical improv group they called, "The Pinata Brains". Meanwhile, Chris, Sherry and I would hang out in the afternoon and watch videos about aliens or re-watch the Oscar winning movie "Amadaeus" or go to the library to do some research on patents for holographic ideas. There were none like Chris’. In fact, one time all three of us went to visit a top physicist at Stony Brook University, John Berman. It was a bizarre evening. Three musicians talking to a top physicist. Actually, Chris did most of the talking. He presented Mr. Berman his holographic perspective. Berman was quite impressed. Chris started rambling off all these physics terms and ideas and Berman just stood there and shook his head. He asked Chris if he had studied physics in college. “No”, he replied, “Only in high school”. According to Berman, Chris had a better understanding of physics than his graduate students. He also speculated that the idea of shooting lasers into the air so they could intersect and form colored dots out of phase cancellation made perfect sense but it might cause a negative effect on the air molecules. Not to mention needing a super computer to calculate the positioning of a billion dots to make up a solid looking object in space. None the less to Berman’s knowledge, no one had tried this technique and he wished Chris luck. In the weeks to follow Chris and I finished the song Time Walker. This was a real techno pop idea with a middle section literally written by taking a piece of music paper and throwing darts at it. Wherever the darts landed on the paper would determine the chords to be used. It worked! We all sang on it. Modern Voices piece number five was in the can. Around this time Chris’ old friend David Plattner (Linda Goldstein’s husband (Bobby McFerrin’s manager & producer)) had just parted ways with one Yosef Oxenhandler or "Yo Blue" as he was known in the music world. Yo was a friendly, shady kind of character who played a blue electric violin. Chris had recorded some songs with him previous to my involvement at the studio. Yo made his living as an entrepreneur and was a key figure in putting together a platinum deal with some Middle East King. Chris and I were always talking about having a ridiculous studio where people could record and live at. Yo was interested too. He wanted to start up a company by the name of Chromeatone Entertainment. All he needed was a bunch of money to solidify the legal end of the deal. Those quick enough to invest at ground level would receive a decent percentage of stock in the company. Chris would be one of the officers and Yo was the President. We scouted out a beautiful mansion in Laurel Hollow (an affluent region on the North Shore of Long Island). The place had a spiral staircase, marble kitchen floor, a steel octagonal gazebo, a view of Long Island sound, thirty rooms (some with jacuzzis), the works. The whole scene was too exciting for words. My father was even impressed! Yo had the legal papers drawn up and stock certificates would be in the mail as soon as the monies were received. Chris and I managed to raise $50,000. My dad, my sister, Nick’s brother Gian, Dave Seigel, Eloff Volkerz and some other friends invested. This was it. This was going to launch Modern Voices. The stock certificates were in the mail. At this point Chris and Sherry had split up but that did not stop the studio momentum. Michael Jackson's oldest sister, Rebbie Jackson had most of the b-side of her single "Plaything" recorded at Backdoor Studios. The song was called "Distant Conversation". We were credited on the back sleeve of the 45. This was a nice feather in our cap as it was released on CBS Records. We were working with the "big boys" now! Things were looking up! NOT! The stock market crash of Octobra 20th, 1987 happened and everyone who invested in Chrometone lost their money. Ouch! Yo split to Switzerland never to be seen again. The $500,000.00 check to hold the mansion for Chrometone bounced and it was a total embarrassing nightmare. However, Backdoor Studios still managed to continue.

A fellow by the name of Herb Horton came back into the picture. Herb was an old acquaintance of Chris’. He looked like Leonard DaVinci and lived from what I could tell as a solitary figure with very few close friends. He was an extraordinary engineer able to fix and understand anything just by glimpsing a schematic. He was always in the process of designing an optical mixing console to end all mixing consoles and was keen on digital technology. He thought Chris’ ideas for projecting holograms was feasible with the right work space and money. Consequently, one night out of the blue we received a call from Herb. He was on his way to the studio with a few well to do associates. That’s how he left it on the phone. We waited that night, and sure enough Herb showed up with two fellows (one I believe was a doctor and the other I can’t remember). Herb told us that he had an invitation to visit a fellow by the name of Robert Fondiller. Herb told Rob about Chris’ hologram idea and he was interested in getting involved. It was a crystal starry night and the ride to Fondiller’s place seemed magical. Herb kept saying things about destiny and it sounded exciting. Chris and I noticed that this trip was heading toward Farmingdale, driving along Route 110. In fact, we were heading toward the air field where Chris had that amazing vision of the floating cube. The car pulled to the right and stopped at a vitamin warehouse directly across from the air field! This definitely sent chills through me. Chris just smiled. We walked into the building and were greeted by a man who appeared to be in his late 60s. This was Robert Fondiller. As it turns out, Fondiller was an aid to President Reagan and also the inventor of the battery used to power life-support systems in spacesuits on the first moonwalk. He also invented the erase key for typewriters, the wristwatch calculator, clip-on sunglasses, the first kitchen configured for use by the wheelchair-bound, a “health mobile” with medical diagnostic equipment for use in rural areas, and the “princess” telephone. Anyway, we sat down and quickly a discussion about holograms came up. Fondiller simply liked Chris’ idea, and told him he was “a bright one”. He offered Chris 2000 square feet of work space along with however many workers he needed to bring the project to fruition. Fondiller had a smile that was somewhat scary and we wondered when he was going to take off his mask and reveal the true alien that he was. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen but Chris did toss around the idea of setting up shop there. The thing that Chris wasn't too fond of was the fact that Fondiller's work space was currently being used to assemble tracking devices and other paraphernalia connected to the whole "Star Wars" program the current Reagan administration was hot on. Chris was suspicious and had little interest in inadvertently helping the government. Perhaps he felt they would steal his ideas, not give him credit and ultimately put his holographic procedure to evil use. My line of thinking was that no matter what anyone invents, the government will get a hold of it if they believe it can keep the balance of power in their favor. I told Chris he should go for it. He was cautious and didn’t want to see a quick end come to a potentially autocratic, illustrious career. I could understand that, but being on the outside it seemed so obvious that this was what was suppose to happen. The clues could not have been anymore clearer. But in the end Chris declined to follow through on Fondiller's offer. The holographic episode never came to be. Meanwhile, Sherry had left the band Modern Voices and Chris and I held some auditions for a new lead singer. One such singer who caught our eyes and our ears was Karli Ostling. Karli clicked with us right away and Chris and I wrote the song "Jewel In The Heart" for her. We managed to convince hard rocker guitarist, Paul Kayne to play the solo on it which he did while simultaneously working with Chris and me on his record with Rhett Forrester called "Even The Score". Later that year we penned "New Ways" which again featured Karli on lead vocals and Chris doing some screaming interjections. The Modern Voices concept was still in progress. Sometime around late Octobra of 1988 my sister Laura landed some tickets to attend a taping of the Geraldo Rivera Show in Manhattan. Unfortunately for her, something came up and she was unable to go so she offered the tickets to us. Sure why not? We'll take them. We thought it would be a fun break from the confinements of the studio, so off we went. It was November 3rd to be exact. Little did we know it was going to be one of the most infamous talk shows in TV history, This is the show where a skin head picks a fight with American activist Roy Innis and Geraldo gets his nose broke etc... It was a frightening scene. Chairs were flying. Geraldo was wailing on a skinhead. Good thing Chris pulled Geroldo off the kid. Being an ex-boxer Rivera would have killed him. Mayhem everywhere. My heart was racing. The amount of coverage this show got was phenomenal. And Chris and I were there! In fact, you can see the both of us sitting right behind and between Geraldo and his bloody nose. This was the birth of reality TV! And it inspired us to write "Love Over Matter" almost as soon as we got home. The song featured one of our first attempts at using the Alesis™ Drum Machine. For the time, this device had the best kick ass sampled percussion. The sounds it produced could tear your head off . We never heard anything so clear. And the sequencing on it was neanderthal. I loved it. This would be the last musical collaboration I’d do with Chris until the "Souled Out "stuff with Nick DiMauro.

During this time, no longer with Sherry Waite, Chris had moved out of his Kings Park apartment. He took residence at a friend’s house in Asharoken which was closer to Backdoor Studios. It was here that Chris became involved with the researching of an old oil painting this friend’s mother had acquired many years back from her mother. (Unbeknownst to me this woman who had the painting knew my mother!) I remember Chris coming into the studio one morning, a big smile on his face like a little kid who just got a secret new toy wanting to tell me some unbelievable news. It was unbelievable. Basically, he told me that this woman had a rare Renaissance painting stashed away, painted by one of the four greatest artist of the 15th century, and that when she sells it she would give Chris enough money to build the kind of studio we had in mind when we were dealing with Yo. Our salvation would come from the 15th century! The artist in question was Antonio Correggio and the painting was entitled "Venus Disarming Cupid". Apparently, Correggio had an interest and was a master of three dimensional rendering (check out his cathedral work "Duomo"). His work always had a holographic quality to it. So that made all sense in the world! Another clue! Correggio would fund the holographic project and the studio! Think big! On his off days Chris had been taking this woman to Manhattan to solidify the research of her book which purportedly contained the necessary proof needed to validate that she had the "real deal" hiding in a safe somewhere in her home. The version of the painting hanging in an Italian museum, was actually a fake. Chris showed me her book which did have a personal color photo of "Venus Disarming Cupid". It had Renaissance written all over it. I was impressed. Interestingly enough, this photo was different than the one I saw in a history book from the Huntington Library. The library book photo clearly depicts Cupid’s heel. In the woman’s Correggio, the heel of Cupid’s foot is not evident. In fact, this woman also came across an 18th Century metal tray from god knows where that had an etching of this painting on it. The etching doesn’t show Cupid’s heel either! So maybe there was something there. Unfortunately, when the woman went to have the painting verified scientifically by the guy who verified the Shroud Of Turin, he wanted an outrageous price for his service. The woman was turned off by this and she withdrew her dealings with this guy. What happened after that, I'm not sure. I do know that many years later I came across an article delving into the authenticity of the painting. It was titled the "Randall Venus" named after it's owner, the woman Chris helped do the research for. But nothing came of it. How annoying is that? Chris probably knows more specifically about where the painting stands today than I but he was sworn to secrecy not to talk about it. So much for secrecy.

Backdoor Records came into full swing at this point and ultimately we lost focus, never to continue Modern Voices as a group but as the name to the studio we later built in Centerport. After Nick DiMauro and I left Modern Voices Recording studios in the fall of 1991 to work for Triple Play Management, Chris still kept the name M.V.R. and applied it to his various corporations and music related musings. We still keep in contact and from time to time. I record my clients at his studio, now called "Indimusic TV" or on rare occasions have him play guitar on one of my projects. We're brothers from different mothers and our friendship looks destine to last a life time.

Chris Pati : Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Engineer, Mixer
John Tabacco : Vocals, Keyboards, Engineer, Mixer
Sherry Gene Waite : Vocals, Backup vocals
Karli Bonne : Vocals
Paul Kayen : Electric Guitar

Recorded on a MCI JH-24 24 TRK 2 INCH TAPE MACHINE
Mixing console : Amek TAC Scorpion
Mix down deck : Sony PCM 501 ES / TASCAM 1/4 Track reel to reel 30ips
Monitors : Yamaha NS10, JBL4321, Auratones
Sequencer : Master Tracks Pro
Recorded and Mixed at Backdoor Studios, Huntington Station, NY
SA3 Mastering by Bob Ball & JT
CD Cover: Chris Pati / Farben Fosfeen Artwerks
CD Design: Farben Fosfeen Artwerks
Liner Notes: © 2007 by John Tabacco

Living Pictures, Modern Voices, Bigger Life
Words and Music © 1986 by Chris Pati
Published by Patitude Music (ASCAP)

Coming Back
Words and Music © 1986 by Chris Pati and Joe Quinlan
Published by Patitude Music (ASCAP)

World Away
Words and Music © 1987 by Chris Pati
Published by Patitude Music (ASCAP)

Postcards Of Places And Things
Words and Music © 1987 by John Tabacco
Published by It Iz What It Iz Music (SESAC)

Postcards Of Places And Things
Words and Music © 1987 by John Tabacco
Published by It Iz What It Iz Music (SESAC)

Time Walker
Words and Music © 1987 by Chris Pati and John Tabacco
Published by Patitude Music (ASCAP) It Iz What It Iz Music (SESAC)

Jewel In The Heart, New Ways, Love Over Matter
Words and Music © 1988 by Chris Pati and John Tabacco
Published by Patitude Music (ASCAP) It Iz What It Iz Music (SESAC)

More Pictures