Majestic at Ritchie Coliseum, circa 1979? 1980?

One of the best experiences in my life were the four years I had the privilege to be a part of Majestic, an established rock band in the Washington, DC music scene in the late 1970’s.  In 1978 I got a phone call from Jon Naugle who said the group had an opening for a rhythm guitarist and that my guitar instructor Tom Kreuzberg had recommended me to them.  I had been with another band that had just dissolved, so I jumped at the chance to join Majestic, consisting at the time of Jon on lead guitar, Billy Slezak on lead vocals and bass, and John Davis on drums, the original founding members.  We played throughout the DC / Baltimore area, and a little at various other locations, such as Manhattan.  I was the youngest guy in the group by two years, and I always appreciated the patience each of these guys had with me, and the leadership they all exhibited in a variety of ways.   I learned a lot from them about music, business, and life in general, this was a quality group of guys and I was forever changed for the better because of my time with them.   And I had a great time – it was a lot of work, but we laughed a lot and it was a total blast.

And the group grew – we added Steve Hoffman later on keyboard and vocals.  We added an excellent sound man named Mike Collins who introduced me to the entire New Wave music movement before I know of anyone else who was into it, and we added a great road crew of Jeffrey Moran and Jimmy McGuire.  Eventually Dexter Dunn joined us when Jon moved on to other things.  We eventually broke up in 1983.

This video is from the earlier years I was with them. It’s a cover we did of Jackson Browne’s “Redneck Friend”, the second song in a show at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum in College Park, Maryland.  It’s from an earlier time; a year or two later we were dramatically more energetic on stage, in my humble opinion.  But I still love this video.

One interesting tidbit:  Tom Kreuzberg actually filmed this show, he worked the camera and he is the only reason I have this recording.  We didn’t ask him to do it, he actually phoned me and asked if it would be OK if he came to one of our shows and filmed it, and I said uh – well yeah, duh, of course.  I really don’t have much in the way of video recordings of the band, so I cherish this particular recording, the full video is about two hours or more.  I’m eternally grateful to Tom for this.  (Earlier in this blog I wrote about Tom’s recent passing.)

P.S. It’s worth noting that about a year or two after this show, I got a chance to see another young band perform at the same place – Ritchie Coliseum.  That was a rock band named U2.  They were on their “War” tour and I got a chance to hang out with The Edge after the show for about 20 minutes, we had a fascinating conversation.  He signed my ticket that, so I have proof!  U2 went on to become a bit more well known that Majestic.  We could’ve done the same thing, we just chose not too.  Yeah, that’s it.

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