Mindsweeper Personnel 1978-1984
The Man and the Band
MINDSWEEPER HOME
DK BRIDGER HOME
Mind Sweeping
PRESS
HISTORY
The Clubs
LIVE RECORDINGS
In the Studio
MULTI-TRACK RECORDINGS
VINYL

Mindsweeper Personnel 1979-1980 The first incarnation of Mindsweeper was a three piece band. I was 30 years old at the time. Jerry Handigan, from Kentucky, was 19. Rory Judge was 19. Rory and Jerry had much training in music as little children all the way up to just that morning. Looking back, these big kids were true prodigies and that original three piece was simply magical.

Rory's uncle is Jake Hanna. Narda Michael Walden was Rory's teacher at the time. Narda walked up to me in front of a San Francisco movie theater to tell me Rory was the most talented young drummer he had ever worked with and that I was lucky to have found him, and on and on and on. He emphasized that Rory was capable of more than I realized. I actually said to Narda, one of the best drummers I will ever meet, "So, where's the damn beat? Ever heard of a metronome?" (I was such a dick--still am, I guess. I think I have a form of Turrets Syndrome.) Rory was a very creative drummer, all jazz, intuition and feel, Pope Jerry Iwith truly amazing technical skills for his age, but his best feature was, and still is, a very unique dry sense of humor, something highly appreciated when you are writing dirty songs for laughs. Read Rory's recollection of meeting Frank Zappa at Enrico's and inviting him to the first show that Frank attended.

Jerry was simply from another planet (Paduka, Kentucky can be considered as such), funny to look at, to listen to, and could play anything you put in his hand. Jerry loved to laugh, or loved to tell you how depressed he was in such a way that it made you laugh. Best of all, he had a instinctive feel for what I was doing with the funky poetry and hard rock. He could really let go, a true punk and a solid, innovative bass player who would wear a funny hat and a dress for the sake of a good show. You can hear Jerry with Mindsweeper(s) on rehearsal recordings from the late 70's, my personal favorites from the entire Mindsweeper era even though they are rough, loose and poorly mixed. In retrospect, the loss of Jerry as a band member was certainly the biggest blow to the band in its short history. It lessened the wild and silly personal expression that the band was founded on. After Jerry left, the songs were never as funny or possessed the wild and scary freedom I strived for in performance and writing. His departure signaled the loss of a complete set of material we had worked on for a year, simply because no one else could bring that sort of freedom to their role in performances. Jerry had no sense of self-importance, something sadly lacking in every other band member, except myself and one other, Pippo Privitelli. Without Jerry the band became something completely different. I became the only maniac on stage and it was a lonely gig. Frankly, I should have never allowed Jerry's departure. If I had to do it over again, I would give Jerry a place to live and find him a girlfriend, even if I had to pay her. The manager of a band we supported on our first gig told me, "Hold onto that bass player for dear life. He is wonderful, but get rid of that damn drummer." Or course, I did the opposite.

Manny Perez, a Top 40 bass player from Vacaville, played bass and sang like an angel alongside Jerry for a few months, but never once played a gig with us. Manny loved the music so much that he would drive all the way from Vacaville and back to rehearse two times a week. Manny allowed Jerry to play trombone, guitar and/or keyboards and they got along like brothers. Manny quit when his wife called one evening and a woman (Miki) answered the phone. So, goodbye, Manny.

Mindsweeper's first few gigs were as a three piece--Dink, Jerry and Rory.

Mindsweeper: Rory Judge, Dink Bridgers, Mitchell Holman

The second incarnation of Mindsweeper happened when Mitch Holman arrived and Jerry left town. Mitchell brought along that Bowner Bass and a kind of hedonistic maturity that only someone who was a rock star at the age of 17 can bring. Mitch was always late, but always right on time. I first met Mitch at a San Francisco Jazz Workshop in John Hildreth's carpentry shop/rehearsal studios. I was sampling a guitar/amp combo in a back room loud enough to be heard thoughout the building. Suddenly I noticed a bass playing along a couple of rooms down, melding beautifully with my improvised guitar. The Hildreth brothers started smiling. Something was indeed happening. I had met Rodney Albin (of Janis Joplin's Big Brother and the Holding Company) in this workshop and always relished the idea that I could capture one of these relics from the psychedelic era for my band. When I first met Mitchell after that initial inter-room jam, I was more than impressed by the fact he played with It's A Beautiful Day. I dearly loved that band and had witnessed one of their best shows when they opened for Frank Zappa in an almost empty stadium in Atlanta. It rained for every act, but when It's a Beautiful Day took the stage the sun came out like a Biblical scene and a rainbow appeared behind the band. What truly beautiful music they made together! I needed someone with his ear and the ability to pick stuff up in a real hurry, even if I didn't really need a bass player at the time I met him. Jerry was still around, but the timing was certainly right when Jerry departed without much notice. Mitchell Holman and Rory Judge

The Bowner Bass Mitch designed and built was icing on the Mindsweeper cake. It had a sound unlike any other bass instrument I had ever heard and the look of it (the second model had a penis head on the end) was so rude as to be unforgettable on stage. I am amazed that this bass idea did not take off and make him rich.

The sound of the Bridgers/Holman/Judge three piece was truly unusual. Because I worked as a luthier and guitar electronics specialist for Stars Guitars at the time and also traded in vintage guitars, I always had great equipment. I was using a 300-pound guitar effects system at the time, made up of echo, chorus, wah-wah, doubling and distortion devices all wired together with buffers and preamps, all very professional, intalled into a 14 ply wood box constructed in the Hildreth carpentry shop. This set up can be heard on the home studio and live rehearsal recordings from the early club band period. Mitchell's bowed bass stylings, that sounded like tearing giant steel sheets in rhythm and melody, fit in nicely with the effects.

Rock, Steve, Rory, Dink and Mitch

After about a year with the three piece, I added saxophone, then rhythm guitar. Steve "Tony Rome" Galagher (guitar) and Rock Cztar (wind instruments) were radically different personalities and changed the dynamic of rehearsals and gigs. I met Rock through Jane Dornacker, who basically pushed us together. I met Steve through the manager of a popular Bay Area band, SVT. Steve worked at Bill Graham Productions' silk screening facility, so we finally got those T-shirts made. Steve Rock Cztaralways joked about his guitar parts being simple (tweedily dee, tweedily dum), as opposed to my own, which were more improvisational, free and showy, but Steve's steady guitar work became the backbone of the rock and roll that was the band's most popular music for many who attended our shows later on in Mindsweeper's club run. For a few months, during each set, the sax and/or rhythm guitar vacated the stage to allow the old three piece material to remain. After Steve learned the parts, he was indispensible.

Rock Cztar was a classical musician who performed with a popular San Francisco saxophone quartet, as well as for orchestras and as a studio musician. He was the most skilled musician in the band by virtue of his education and experience, but he was also the most demanding. Because he was so rounded musically he found it hard to conceive of what I wanted from him without a speech and a lot of anger management. But when I was specific, he nailed it. For sure, his sense of humor was what Jane was thinking of when she put us together. That certain humor came from being the nerdy gay guy in high school, most likely. He was no punk, but he was certainly punky and one of those rare human beings at a time in history when gay men began to stand up and shake it in our faces. When he finally understood that I welcomed any gay and/or "wild and crazy" antics he could muster on stage, he began to wear leather Pippo Privitellibare-ass chaps, a leather spiked/studded vest and one of those gay-as-hell leather motorcycle caps. This painted the entire band gay for first-time audience members. Rock's presence was a novelty and no one in the band seemed to mind the illusion of our complete gayness, well, not too much. Personally, I loved it. Rock died of AIDS a few years ago, spending his last months in a hospice, leaving a house full of rare wind instruments to no one, because, for all we knew, he had no real family. The world is a bit less interesting without him.

It was at this time that Pippo Privitelli joined the mix, an Italian keyboard player and composer I met in Amsterdam in 1972 when I was playing and singing solo in small clubs and art galleries. Pippo played a Farfisa organ and would do ANYTHING I asked of him. He cued tapes and sound effects from the stage and would go into truly bizzare monologues about alien aircraft and Indians strategically during jazzy instrumental breaks. His thick Italian accent and non-linear sentences were funny as hell, even if people didn't understand what the fuck he was saying.

Pippo's organ was supported by tall chrome legs that screwed directly into the base of the keyboard, so I had him wear a suit and tie, then remove all this clothing from the waist down before he went on stage. So, there he'd be, looking like a young bearded Einstein in a fine suit in the light above the keyboard. Below the keyboard in the shadow his penis hung below shirt tails and tie, wirey hairy legs ending in bare feet. From the waste down Pippo was like an ape. It was a particularly silly image, and I never grew tired of watching people down front realize that this guy was not wearing pants. They'd see his bare feet, then his hairy legs, then his dick, and mouths would fall open. It was pure joy to watch. Pippo added very little musically to live performances, but was always welcome when we played at the Mab where the stage was large and management (Dirk Dirksen) was tickled that anyone would show his dick. Other clubs were not so thrilled, however.

Pippo stuck around after the demise of the club band, lending a hand in the studio. I helped him get a job tuning the pianos at Hyde Street Studios. His piano playing added texture and structure to my favorite studio recording, Hold Me. There is a particularly good version of his thick Italian accent babble poetry from the 24track days, The Indian Guy. I often wonder what became of Pippo. I guess we pissed him off by not bringing him into our love bed, which was obviously what he wanted. Those Italians!

Dave, Steve, Rory, Dink and Squid

David, Steve, Dink and MitchDavid Korman joined the band in late 1981. His competent rudimentary bass playing freed Mitchell to be more experimental and melodic with the Bowner. When they played in unison, it was truly amazing. Dave and Steve were the heart of the band's groove and did the hard work of holding down the song for Mitch, Rory and myself. The photo on the right was taken in front of a crowd of 40,000 people at the Haight Street Fair in 1981. Mindsweeper postcard

Within a couple of months David was so good at holding down the bottom that he made it possible for me to avoid paying Mitchell for gigs where the stage was just too crowded. Yes, Mitch was a pro--he got $40 for each gig--everybody else got squat, including myself. Many nights we didn't even make Mitch's salary. The color picture above is of a soundcheck at the Berkeley Square. Imagine two or three more people on that tiny cunt of a stage. Squid, a keyboardist from another local band that liked what we were doing, was only in the band long enough to play two gigs, both at the Berkeley Square. During this period we had a Bobbie McFarren wannabe, Jesse, join us for the same couple of gigs to add harmony and strange vocal parts that can be mistaken for a synth. Our best gig recordings come from those nights.

Cocaine Zombie vinyl EP coverAt this point in time Mindsweeper's vinyl EP was produced. Personnel on the album were: Dink on lead guitar, synth and lead vocals (and songwriting, arrangements and production); Mitchell Holman on bowed bass and background vocals; David Korman on Fender bass; Rory Judge on drums and background vocals; Rock Cztar on tuba, sax and trumpet; Richard Van Dorn, engineer; Ken Perry and Capital Records, mastering; Distribution, City Hall Records; Publishing, Dinosaurpatties Records and Brainjanitor Publishing Company. The musical success of the record came from intense rehearsals the core band (David, Rory, Tony and myself) endured. The result was that club performances became far more exciting and powerful than the 24 track recordings for the EP, though that is not to say that the recordings were not powerful or representative--they were simply well recorded and mixed, while club recordings of even the best performances were always funky. Click on DECADANCE for a live recording of a piece we also recorded for the album that didn't make it onto the EP, but became a very popular piece in the clubs.

The larger band soon got out of hand. Rock became cocky and demanding, then guit. I said one word about pitch to Jesse and he was gone. People who cannot take critique or at least know when to tell me to cool my jets, didn't last long around my ability to say anything that came into my head. Mitch once said to me, "I can play and sing for you for $40, but abuse is going to cost you more." His words were well taken and very effective. He was always like that--calm, professional and to the point. I need these kind of people around me! Squid fell into an alcohol vat, showing up at rehersals and gigs so drunk he couldn't even talk. His lack of discipline meant he had to go, sadly. I still have an old test pressing of his other band that I love to listen to every now and then. I dropped Mitchell from the band to avoid paying him, though he came back later for gigs and studio work anytime I asked.

Because of the trimming down, the group naturally evolved into a hard-rocking, danceable club band among a few others San Francisco patrons enjoyed at local clubs on weekends. Of course, the complexity of my compositions, the musicianship, the wild poetry and guitar playing set us apart. Frankly, I have recordings of other bands we performed with and they don't even come close to what we were doing, with one exception (Psychotic Pineapple), but, shit, nobody cared or understood. Everybody was high on coke and so stupid they couldn't fathom complexity, music as fine art or parody. We were headlining on Fridays in the small to medium sized clubs and supporting bigger acts on Saturdays. The Haight Street Fair was a benchmark. 40,000 people is a lot of bodies. The personnel for that show was the basic 5 piece band--Steve, Mitch, Rory, Dave and myself.

At the end of 1984 on new year's eve, I abandoned the club band. I had made quite a few contacts through my work as a studio musician and luthier to the stars, so I began to pull those strings. I traded equipment and worked as a slave to cover for studio time and labor to record new pieces far different from the club material. The limits of what I could do in the studio had been broken down through experience and networking. It was the time to really show what I could do as a producer, even if it led nowhere, which it did.

Dink at the mixing console in Studio D at Hyde Street

All efforts from 1984 through 1989 were in the studio at Hyde Street or in the 8 track at the San Francisco Art Institute. Rory tried his hand at working with me, but found that being a studio drummer was harder than it appeared, and costly if you do not come prepared. Jane Dornacker, founder of Leila and the Snakes, original co-writer (with Ron Nagel) of the Tubes classic, Don't Touch Me There turned me onto her old drummer, John Haynes, alias John Stench of the Stench brothers, two of the trio that later became Pearl Harbor's Explosions. Oh, God how I miss Pearly Gates, the erotic fantasy and cutesy queen of pop punk in SF. John was the drummer I needed in the studio. He was fast, fun and professional. He showed up early, playing with a metronome until it was time for him to hit and kick the traps. Get the DVD of Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man and hear John on the soundtrack and meet him in the special features.

Eric Drew FeldmanEric Drew Feldman impressed me when I first saw him in the late 70's, just a couple of notches past twenty years old, performing bass and keyboards, and working as music director for Captain Beefheart. He played a short instrumental with a longhorn bass wearing a full set of fingerpicks. It struck me right in the heart, an unforgettable moment. At a time when Eric was doing much the same thing he did for Don Van Vliet for Philip Lithman's Snakefinger, I approached him through a mutual friend to do some studio work. I was thrilled when he dragged a Melotron (the link takes you to a particularly interesting instrumental exchange, within a studio recording of "Consumer," between Eric and Mitchell--Melotron and Bowner bass) and a stack of modified Casio keyboards into the studio every now and again for me while he was in the city between tours. Eric hears what I hear, I swear. You can hear his keyboard work on almost every one of the 24 track recordings I did post-club band. I didn't have to instruct him or coach him much in the studio. He generally just sat down and did it. He seems to play from a place in his gut that is directly connected to intellect, bringing punch and muscial clarity to the most outside personal music, but most of all, Eric is a brilliant producer and arranger. Of all the people I have ever worked with, Eric is the only musician I would want to produce my music! He is a rare soul and it is an inspiration to see him sticking to his avant garde guns at this point in history when art goes unappreciated and mostly unacknowledged in America. Eric currently holds a few original masters of the water-under-the-bridger work I did in the studio after the club band was dissolved. Maybe he will get around to doing something with the recordings, but he is in such demand I have little hope. As of April 2009, Eric was touring with PJ Harvey as her music director, producer and bass player.

Speaking of being "in demand," one day I was working in the back corner of Stars Guitars, being assaulted by the noise of another, endless Journey rehearsal on the other side of the wall in SIR. I was working on another filthy guitar for some famous junkie. I did luthier work for the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn (one of the junkies with a dirty guitar--that SRV guitar was so dirty that I refused to work on it until Stevie stipulated that he didn't want it cleaned), Carlos Santana, Phil Lesh (and the rest of the dead crew), John Fogerty and many others. Suddenly I heard some amazingly fast and funky bass riffs coming from the showroom up front. I got off my stool and ran from the workbench to see who the fuck was playing those funky popping 32nd notes like they were nothing. There was this really fat black guy in there plunking away. He looked like he had a stovepipe hat on, but it was his hair. I asked him his name and he said, "Randy Jackson." He said he was playing with Jean Luc Ponty and did a lot of studio work around the Bay Area for folks like Maria Cary and the Pointer Sisters. I could see why he got the work. He had chops like I had never seen or heard before--and he knew the value of marketing himself as a round black guy with a silly haircut. I liked him instantly, even liked his I'm-so-hip act. The Dawg hasn't changed! I asked if he would come into the studio with me in exchange for making his bass sound better, and he agreed. Randy only played one session, but he certainly punched up the tune he worked on. He loved my guitar playing, doing the air guitar as he listened to the raw basics I had laid down. Maybe I can be on American Idol!

The final studio hand I needed was a professional vocalist. I approached the fellow who was singing for Santana at the time. I looked into Micky Hart and even thought about busting into Journey rehearsals to see if Steve would be interested. Eventually, through studio contacts, I managed to talk Ray White into singing on most of the tunes I was working on. Later, Ray told me personally, and I believed him, that the vocals he did for me were the best recordings he had ever done or worked on to that point. After listening to the work he did for Frank, I have to agree. He really did something for me and my music. He is doing it presently for Dweezil Zappa's Zappa Plays Zappa. Those final studio pieces, though they were never mixed well enough to satisfy me, were undeniably beautiful with top notch vocal arrangements that Ray and I worked out on-the-fly. Larry BlockRicky and Dink

Other personnel who warrant mention were the engineers: Richard Van Dorn (now teaching at UC-San Diego), Mark Kneadham (Fleetwood Mac and Lindsay Buckingham's go-to guy), and especially Ricky Lee Lynd (photo on the right). These guys didn't charge me much for their services and Ricky did it for free most of the time. Because of these guys I was able to get more done than I would have with lesser talent at the board. They taught me a great deal. Larry Block (photo on the left) deserves mention as the New York wannabe producer who introduced me to Lenny Kaye and offered me $250K to leave my family to be a rock star. Larry meticulously recorded our gigs and tirelessly promoted me as "the next Frank Zappa." He never gave me copies of the recordings he made of us, but he was still a force for the band, our biggest fan and constant partner in crime. I got busted in Larry's back yard one day. I had LITERALLY just finished telling him that some old lady in a flat overlooking his pot farm in the Haight was going to turn him in when I heard someone behind me and turned to face a 44 magnum. The cops had arrived at that very moment. Thank God Larry had been told to get rid of the mushroom factory in the garage by his landlord (again, with me present for the lecture) just a week before. Larry was in his 40's at the time. I hope he is well and happy back in the Big Apple with Chicken Man. Dink on the main stage at the Haight Street Fair

I am not the last or the least, on the personnel list. You can find out more about me by visting my CURRICULUM VITAE, which documents what I have done since Mindsweeper, up to a point. For info on me after the academic career, just read the DREAMRIDE COMPANY BIO. I still make art and music, but during spring and fall I work like a dog to pay the bills. Before Mindsweeper I worked in any way I could in music. My very first gig in high school was playing for 3,000 retarded kids. I played in church, at every musical school or church function. I joined an all black carnival strip show as a guitarist when I was 21. I wrote songs for A&M Music Publishing while living in Amsterdam. I performed solo and with bands. I produced. I engineered. I started up bands of people who couldn't play a lick. I repaired instruments and gear. I worked as a technician. I met many of the musicians I admired in my college days. I also met sell-outs, junkies and has-beens. Andy Levin was one of the first drummers for Mindsweeper and I had to witness his horrible, depressing breakdown. I would find drugs for him while he was in the hospital, but when I saw him snort an entire bag of cocaine in one snort, I forbid him to call me ever again. This experience made me accutely aware that with cocaine and heroine things change, shit happens and people die. Andy played with Brook Benton and Mary Wells, among many other rhythm and blues artists. He was the best drummer I have ever worked with.

Through all this I discovered I was right about one thing: I always considered music to be a sacred art form that changes lives, that when misused, becomes a huge negative influence on people's lives. The best way to understand this is to look at the way people experience popular music and radio currently. When music degrades into a boring soundtrack for stupid lifestyles it no longer has value as a motor for change. People who make music strictly for money, become souless and vacant, incapable of creative thought and without the ability to understand the healing power of music and sound. Drugs just make this worse--I'm not talking about marijuana. Herbs are not drugs, they are gifts from God. Of course, there are people who make money, do lots of processed drugs, AND make good music--and thank God for that, or I wouldn't have a record collection. But, for me, at the time in my life when Mindsweeper was my baby, a career in music looked like working in another carnival sideshow. Health became an issue and because I turned my back on the club scene, I remain healthy and able to make better music than I could ever have imagined in 1980. The amount of secondhand smoke I inhaled alone was going to do me in, so I am thankful I had the maturity to move away from something I loved that was killing me.

I didn't stop making art or music, however. I dug even deeper. I just stopped doing it with a band. I am content that I stayed the course as an artist to be able to do what I ALONE do now. Life experience created DK Bridger, much more so than Mindsweeper made DK Bridger. Fantasy created Mindsweeper. Learning created DK Bridger.

I made one huge mistake with Mindsweeper, and don't regret it. When it mattered, I put family first, something an artist should never do. I am healthy and my kids are successful as a result. Sometimes I wish I had accepted an offer from the music biz, but that wish passes as I begin to accurately remember the lifestyle. The ones who were successful, like Chris Isaak, who opened for Mindsweeper at one of the Berkeley Square gigs documented by live recordings on this site, are few and far between. The ones who took that first step and died are many--like Brian Marnell of SVT, whose manager spent hundreds of thousands of his evil cocaine money on a guy who OD'd at the brink of success. Jane Dornacker sold out, I hate to say, and she died while doing comic traffic reports of WABC in New York. The lesson I learned from her death is to never literally put your life in the hands of the people who put profits ahead of helicopter maintenance--especially if you already know the helicopter is poorly maintained. When Jane died she had already gotten hurt in a previous crash. The flight that killed her was to be her last! She had given notice just days before.

The feeling of being around the lifestyle, for me, was like living in a crack house. I was offered jobs with Flipper (a perfect match, if only I was a junkie) and Eddy Money ("$140 a week, plus expenses and all the groupies you could fuck."), but I never wanted to perform other people's music. I am selfish that way, still am--I am an artist first, a musician second. For Mindsweeper I wrote, arranged, produced, engineered and played guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, clarinet (in a bucket of water) and performed vocals. My choreography was rudimentary and silly, but I tried. I could have used Paula Abdul, who gets a bad rap because she was an artist who . . . sold out!

The person who deserves the most thanks is Miki, my wife, who for 5 solid years, as she raised our daughter, Mystery Bubble (now a lawyer in San Francisco), assisted the band with bookkeeping and management Miki on Haight StreetDagochores, such as dealing with Dirk Dirksen and other club owners. Her only reward was seeing the band in action and spending a couple of hours with Frank Zappa, sitting in the audience beside him the first time he came to see us. I think one of the reasons Frank wanted to see us again was to get next to Miki. At least three members of our crew fell in love with her, making total fools of themselves. I couldn't blame them.

I also must thank our roadies, Dago (pictured on the left) and Kim, who tirelessly pushed the gear around and always applied positive pressure to the wound. They were the reason we were called "the skateboard band." They used skateboards to haul the gear like handtrucks, then we got on the boards to go to restaurants before the gig. Dago and Jane Dornacker deserve special thanks for babysitting our daughter during our latenight gigs. She was on her way to stardom at the time. I miss her so much and I am not the only one. Her lousy manager was an asshole for not releasing all her work after her death. That work makes people laugh and gives her some kind of life after death. Shame on greedy assholes in the music business! Long live the memory of Jane Dornacker! You can see her yourself in the movie, The Right Stuff. She is the nurse giving Dennis Quaid hell, peering through the porthole.

There is one more person who worked with us, our daughter, who acted as an MC once and slept through eons of high decibel rehearsals. We'd come home from gigs at 4AM and she'd be on the floor, holding Dago's big toe, sleeping soundly as he watched television, trying not do disturb her. She once introduced our band at the Mab, dressed in white lace and red shoes. She was 5 years old. She walked on stage without coaching, grabbed the mike from Dirk Dirksen's hand, scaring him in the process, and said, in the very pointed, effected, forceful voice of a little girl, "Hey, all you assholes, It's MINDSWEEEPER!" I have never been so proud of her, though she does get special credit for putting her way through college and law school, becoming an environmental lawyer for the U.S. government, and marrying someone who loves her dearly.

Brian Marnell, photo by Steve GruverBrian Marnell, photo by Steve GruverPost Script: For Brian Marnell
A few weeks after posting this page, I pulled out several old 45 rpm vinyl records from this period in San Francisco, one of which was SVT's Heart of Stone. As I listened to this confused rendition of a very good pop song, I began to feel something completely unexpected--a deep sense of loss and sadness for Brian Marnell. I hardly knew him. Never even had a conversation with him. Brian couldn't have been more than 25 when he died of an overdose of heroin and cocaine, a "speedball." Brian on the cover of that record looked so much like my beautiful son. I recollected a night spent in Hyde Street Studios, waiting to lay down tracks in Studio D. SVT was in the studio before me and, because I sometimes worked for the band and knew the engineer and their manager, I sat at the board as Brian "finished up" vocal tracks on a new project. Brian was in the back of the studio shooting up, speedballing, cocky and arrogant, wasting $200 an hour, setting up a three way with two shallow groupies. I sat and watched Brian wallow in his little sweatroom of fame, high on the attention of mindless females and drugs given to him by his dealer/manager, who sat beside me. At one point I turned to John (not his real name), the manager, and told him flat out, "Your boy is going to be dead before you make any money on him. How much have you spent on him so far?" He said, "$250,000." Coincidentally, this was the exact amount I was offered by a friend and fan of Mindsweeper on the condition that I live the life, do the drugs, fuck the groupies and leave my family behind. Brian was dead in a few short months (1985). Nearly 30 years later my solid disgust and deserved anger are pointed at the users, drug dealers who preyed on fellows like me and Brian. The wanna-be investor who offered me the deal was setting me up for the same sort of end with his Satanic bribe. Miki always told me he was no friend of mine. Drug dealers. They not only preyed upon, used and ruined a musical movement, they literally destroyed lives, killed people and got away with it. No one held these people accountable. So, out of a new feeling of sympathy and respect for that boy who did not know any better, I am dedicating this work to Brian Marnell, a young man with a talent never allowed to flower because the people he looked up to for guidance encouraged him to "live the life," so they could capitalize on his misery. Some may think Brian dug his own grave, but at this point in my life I understand that this is completely untrue. We NEED mentors with morals and understanding during our teens and twenties. Without caring people in the loop, Brian was doomed by his weaknesses. Brian was guided by creeps who thought only of laundering drug money and their own selfish goals. They made money off of his addiction! May his memory haunt those who contributed to his death with their sick combination of adoration, jealousy and subconcious hatred for talent in the face of their own inadequacy. No reflection on Jack (the throbbing heart of SVT--see below)--I discovered early on that the lifestyle of a rock star in the late 60's and 70's meant that Jack was most likely a wounded survivor. Fame at that period in someone's life warps all perception of relationships and personal self-image. A spoiled child becomes a sad old man. This live home recording of Brian's song, Heart of Stone, is dedicated to the users. They should listen to Brian's words. I always understood this song to be, consciously or unconsciously, about herion, which removes the user from caring. Junkies have a "heart of stone," given to them by their master, a musical steriod and effective stagefright medicine. I don't blame the drug. It has given us some of the best jazz ever produced. I blame a lack of understanding and the people who misunderstood and insisted that they knew how to get things done.

SVT was a good example of a band formed around a new "cutie pie" by a small time coke dealer and organized crime wannabe. The initial band that recorded Heart of Stone was comprised of some of the best talent in the Bay Area: Nick Buck (keyboardist for Hot Tuna); Bill Gibson (drummer, later to join Huey Lewis' band for the big ride to fame and fortune); Jack Casady (THE Jack Casady, Jefferson Airplane's lower lip); Brian Marnell (the cute guy who could sing, play and write). Bill and Nick bailed from the band after that first record for reasons I completely understood at the time (the stench of impending death and the creepiness of the package). Jack hung in there with Brian until he overdosed, but SVT never improved on the original four. The original recording of Heart of Stone was flawed by Brian's "yeee-haaas" in the midst of a song about heartbreak. I asked Richard Van Dorn, the engineer on that song, what he thought of it at the time. He said, "They ruined it with the 'Yee-haas,' but Brian insisted I leave them in." Ah, youth, the self-subverting energy of the testicles. If there ever was a band that needed me to produce and arrange their shit, it was SVT, but I was not looked upon as worthy or smart because I had a family, we were dirt poor, and I made music that was funny and so complicated that no one understood the brain power necessary to pull it off.

P.S. In the summer of 2009 Ricky Lee Lynd, engineer and helpful co-producer on some of the later Mindsweeper recordings, visited Miki and I in Moab, Utah. Ricky was on a cross country trek to visit a long-lost son he had never met, someone who chased down Joe Satriani at a concert and asked Joe if he could hook him up with the engineer of his first record. This son Ricky never knew had seen his dad's name on Joe's "Surfing With the Alien" record cover. While we were going over our history together, Ricky told me he quit the music business because Brian Marnell came up to him in the studio one evening and began to cry, confessing that his life was shit and he didn't know how to get out of his situation. The next day Brian died of an overdose. Brian, wherever you are, this is for you!

The Man and the Band
MINDSWEEPER HOME
DK BRIDGER HOME
Mind Sweeping
MINDSWEEPER HISTORY
PRESS
The Clubs
LIVE RECORDINGS
POSTERS AND DOCUMENTS
In the Studio
MULTI-TRACK RECORDINGS
VINYL

To hear the music use a browser that allows automatic audio streaming. Internet Explorer should work just fine. Firefox will not.


All words and music Copyright Lee (Dink) Bridgers 1972 to 1985. Materials contained within this website may not be copied, broadcast, published, re-written, re-edited, or used in any way without written consent of DK Bridger. Use of this web site signifies agreement to terms of use.