M.F.P.

    1986 - present

Discography         Photos         Flyers         Video

M.F.P.
Left to right: Damien Pratt, Andrew King, RTP, Robert Petrasy
Photo by: Shannon Hicks

I bought my first guitar in the summer after 6th grade. I worked as a landscaper and was paid enough to buy a Memphis "Destroyer" with a Mako amp. I came home from summer camp that year, having learned the tapping parts of "Eruption" and the main riff to "Walk This Way". My best friend and neighbor, Damien, took it to the next level with the acquisition of a swanky new Kramer guitar (w/ Floyd Rose Tremelo) and a Crate amp.

The Pratt & Pollard Corporation, aka M.F.P., was formed and we spent countless hours recording "Weird Al Yankovic" versions of every song we ever loved, or hated. These recordings were made with a 2 channel Pioneer cassette deck. Guitar in the left speaker, vocals in the right. Sometimes, guitar in the left and guitar in the right.

We made dozens of tapes this way, such as; "18 Mindless Wonders", "Last Genocide", "An M.F.P. Christmas", and my favorite, "The Cubist". Since we were so prolific, we quickly moved into film making. We made 3 movies, and they were all horrendous, but did manage to make us middle school legends. The movies involved lots of comedy skits and the last half hour would typically be neighborhood concerts for the little kids. We recruited a blond haired drummer named Brandy Kearns and a hippy bass player named Ryan Schlapher. We goofed off for months.

Damien began taking guitar lessons with Dave Crafa, an older guy from the next neighborhood over called Colonial Acres. We recorded our 1st e.p. "C.U.N.L." with Dave in his bedroom. I was a freshman in high school, and Damien was in the 8th grade. The 1st song was the ever popular band name anthem "The M.F.P. Song", followed up with our bowel movement themed "Oh God". I remember having a great time.

The next summer, we were ready to record a 5 song e.p.. This situation was a little different than the previous effort. This year, we recruited the best drummer in town, an "upper classman" named Rob Petrasy. Rob was our hero, because he played in the only local band that we knew of, The Dendrite. The other difference was that this recording was not in Dave's bedroom, but in an actual studio. I'm pretty sure that Dave owned the mixing board, but his friend Lloyd allowed him to use the basement of his house for the recording. One of the things I remember most was getting to Lloyd's house early in the morning, all gung ho to start work. Dave was always late. Damien, Rob & I would knock on every door and window to get Lloyd up and to let us in. Lloyd would open his garage door, sun pouring in and he'd be standing there in his bathrobe, coffee cup in hand, saying, "Dave's not here yet? Ahhh, shit. You guys want to get stoned?" Dave would pull up in his pick-up truck and start apologizing. I'm pretty sure that happened every day. The recording itself was a blast too. Damien would play his guitar with Rob and then go back and overdub the bass parts. I would then do the vocals and back-ups with the guys. There are a few funny memories from that session that I will never forget. The first memory is that Damien got his hand stuck in a conveyorbelt at work and had to have it in a sling when he recorded his vocals for "Feeling ..27". I also remember that he couldn't find a guitar pick and played the solo for that song with a quarter. The backing vocals for "Tipsy Blues" were recorded while we were.....Drunk as hell. I remember being all too willing to drink, but I became really frustrated when Damien and Rob couldn't straighten up while the tape was rolling. You can clearly hear the two of them giggling through the whole thing. The other funny thing is that Damien did an amazing improv at the end of the song that totally makes the song hilarious! The other strange tidbit about the session, was that Dave didn't have a reel to reel machine, he was recording us straight to a stereo VHS machine, an early form of ADAT I guess. We named the e.p. "Lloyd's Garage".

During my junior year of high school, a battle of the bands was announced, and Damien and I wanted to do it! Not as M.F.P. though, we weren't ready for that. We put a band together with our old drummer Brandy Kearns and asked our super talented Steve Vai worshiping pal, Rob Schwietzer to play guitar. Damien would switch to bass for the show, and I of course would sing. In 8 short weeks, we learned a 45 minute set of classic rock covers. We played a highly successful show and found ourselves irreversibly changed by the Live experience! The cover band, Split Decision, played out a couple of times after that, but when we found out that our drummer, Brandy was moving, we had to get Rob Petrasy to fill in for our last show.

The cover band thing had lost it's appeal, but since Rob was back in the fold now, we could finally try bringing M.F.P. to the stage! Now, we needed a bass player. Damien and I had heard about a kid that had just moved to town from Ohio, named Andy King, he played bass. This kid Andy had also seen us play at the high school and supposedly really liked us. Damien and I found out where the kid lived and followed his bus until he got off. I parked the car on his lawn and we chased him across the yard. After Andy got up from the tackle, he brought us into the basement and played us "The Cult Of Personality" on his bass. We hired him on the spot. M.F.P. began rehearsing at Rob's house in his fathers Photo studio. We were getting our shit together for another show at our High School. I was a senior, Damien was a junior, Andy was a sophomore, and Rob was coming back from his first year of college in Boston. We were quite a sight. The show went alright, but wasn't nearly as reaffirming as we had hoped. We played 2 more shows after that. The next show was in town at the P.O.E. Barn. P.O.E. (Process of Elimination) were a local straightedge hardcore band. I loooooved P.O.E. and was thrilled to be on the same bill with them. The barn was on the property of their guitar player, Cosmic Tom Blades. At the time, I wasn't aware that the singer was straightedge, nor was I aware that he printed "No Alcohol" on the flyer. Rob "The College Boy" bought beer. Andy hadn't started to drink yet, but the rest of us sat in the car on a deadend street chugging a 12-pack before the show. We were loaded by the time we pulled up to the barn. The singer of P.O.E., Rich Stremme, was piiiiiisssed. Rich leaned into the car as we pulled up and said, "Oh, you guys have been drinking. Reeeeaaaalllll Cool." We loaded our equipment in shame. I felt like such a dick, but yet...I was drunk and was enjoying our little rebellion. Brent Midland, the piano player of The Grateful Dead died that day, and I jokingly dedicated our set that night to his memory. A few of the punk kids commented on how they thought that was a very cool thing to do. Ha.Ha.Ha....I'm pretty sure this was the best show we ever played.

Our last show was very similar to the barn show. Waterbury's infamous "Nightshift Cafe"! This was our first bar gig and it was a fiasco. Rob was the only 21 year old in the band. I had to get a note from Andy's mom to let him play there for the booking agent. There were no dead end steets near the club. This time, We sat in our car in the back of the club chugging a 12-pack. I was working at the local video store, Go-Video, at the time, so I was able to draw an of-age crowd consisting of my co-workers, my parents and Damien's dad. We were baaaad. We also ended every single song that night with the ending of "Stonehenge" by Spinal Tap. I have an audio tape of this particular show, and you can hear me comment on how we cleared the place, my parents included, by the 3rd or 4th song. However, Damien's dad loved it, and stayed until the bitter end. Thanks Mr. Pratt! This night is also responsible for producing one of our longest standing inside jokes. However, the joke wasn't considered very funny at the time. What happened was, right after the guitar solo in "Feeling ..27", Rob is supposed to drop down to just a high hat count while Damien plays the intro again. Rob went to the high hat count before the guitar solo, and therefore, we all got lost. At the end of the song, in pure diva tone, Damien turns around to Rob and delivered the famous line, "I didn't hear a guitar solo Rob, did you?" Rob was absolutely furious with him and truth be told, it took him quite a few years to get over it.

In the coming months, Damien and I started to drift apart. M.F.P. had become this tired old cliche. M.F.P. continued to exist because we couldn't imagine it not existing. We made M.F.P. a band before we really understood what a band was supposed to be. We were childhood friends that built this odd little boat that we felt obligated to keep sailing. Over the years, I filled the role of singer while Damien continued to develop as a guitarist.

One day, Damien played me a song the he had recorded on his own with Dave Crafa called, "Evergreen Memory". I immediately felt impressed, jealous, angry, betrayed, and totally useless. He didn't need me anymore and I didn't know what to do about it. Damien then recruited Rob Petrasy again on drums, and his friend Greg Palmer on bass to form a new band called The Nevertheless. The Nevertheless went into a new studio called Pearmain Studios, with a new engineer named Guy Lamachia, and recorded Damien's first full length record.

In the fall, I went to college in Vermont and for the first time, began writing my own songs on guitar. When I returned from college in the summer, I had an entire album ready to go and recruited Andy King on bass, his buddy Jeff Wilcox on drums, and P.O.E. guitarist Cosmic Tom Blades on guitar. We formed Chapter 11 and recorded 2 albums at Pearmain Studios with Guy. Eventually, I could no longer manage a CT band while living in VT, Chapter 11 called it quits. Damien then took the remaining members, Andy, Jeff, and Tom to form the very short lived, Neverwhere. Cosmic Tom was replaced by Bill Villano and the band reclaimed the name, The Nevertheless. The Nevertheless did very well in CT from the years 1991-1994.

Damien and I definitely had a bad patch through here, but managed to stay in touch. Over the years, we were able to rebuild our friendship and bring M.F.P. out of retirement. We released our 2nd M.F.P. album entitled, "Lloyd's Garage II" in 2000, 14 years after the original. We still collaborate as often as possible on each others solo records and consider M.F.P. alive and well.

 

 

 

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