October 21, 2007

It all began last Wednesday when, turning my attention from work to blogging, I opened up the Goodboys Nation weblog office and was surprised to find two comments from someone named “Tightwad” to this post and this post. I stared at the comments (probably like a deer caught in the perverbial headlights) for a couple of minutes, mouth agape, totally stunned at what I was reading. “Holy crap!”, I said to the rabbits (who were happily munching away at their supper) “it’s freakin’ Bob Noftle – this is unbeliveable!”.

Bob and I were close friends during my high school years more than 30 years ago. I’m not sure we ever had that much in common outside of the fact that we were both outcasts in high school ‘society’ and shared a love of music, but for three or four years we were tight as ticks. Bob owned this Plymouth Satellite, and we would take long drives up to the north shore of Boston, listening to the music on the radio, shooting the breeze, and just hanging around together. Bob was absolutely the biggest Beatles fan I had ever known, and he took it upon himself to make sure I was drawn into every aspect of their music – a lot of it unfamiliar to me at the time. He had every Beatles and every wacko John Lennon/Yoko Ono early solo album, and we’d spend long hours up in his bedroom listening to their stuff. He also sold me my first car – a 1967 Chevy Impala that used a quart of oil a day, it seemed – for (I think) $75, before I had even learned how to drive (which is pretty funny, come to think of it). Once we graduated from high school, the two of us slowly began to drift apart – I started getting more involved in getting a band together, and there was a squabble over girlfriends, but more than anything else, I think it was just that as you get further beyond your high school years you begin to view the world a little differently and start crossing paths with a greater cross-section of people.

What Bob could never have realized, however, was the greatest contribution he made to my life – which was introducing me to the music of The Beach Boys. And this where past and present begin to merge, like some strange metaphysical bridge spanning a swift-running river of the years. You see, it was a paragraph from this post that served as the catalyst for bringing us in contact with each other:

…the impact of The Beach Boys as a musical force and inspiration upon the band was cataclysmic, and cannot be overstated. Doug recalls, “One day in early ’75 my friend Bob Noftle brought over this album, a double album ‘The Beach Boys In Concert’ and tells me something like, ‘you gotta hear this, man, these guys are great!’. The two of us had been close friends in high school and huge Beatles fans, but ever since they had broken up, we had been kinda looking for the next ‘big thing’, music-wise. Mark and I had been big into Pink Floyd for several years – even before ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, but Bob wasn’t much into their sound. Now, while I had heard some Beach Boys music before, and had even liked a number of their tunes enough to steal an 8-track of one of their ‘Best of’ albums while I worked at Zayre’s department store a few years before, I was totally unprepared for how the music on that album blew me away. I liked their look too – they looked kinda hairy and cool looking, so I immediately went out and bought myself a copy. When I played it for Mark, he was blown away too. We were both totally hooked, just as if we had smoked crack cocaine for the first time. From then on, it was pretty much all Beach Boys, all the time for us.

Which, of course is absolutely true, and the music of The Beach Boys has had a significant impact on not just my life, but that of my old Top Priority bandmate Jerry “Keys” Palma as well.

But back to the present: it seems that one day last week, Bob was checking the Internet like a lot of people do, entering their name in a search engine and seeing what they might come up with. After hearing Bob tell me the story, it’s actually pretty funny how this website made him work to figure out who exactly had invoked his name in this madness called Goodboys Nation weblog, but once he did, he started leaving comments on the posts I mentioned earlier. A couple of e-mails later and there we were, talking on the phone for the first time in over three decades, laughing and sharing things as if they happened yesterday.

You know, blogging regularly as I do here at this lonely outpost in the blogsphere can often be a challenge, and as others who do this kind of thing regularly for the simple pleasure of it, like Rob and Dave will tell you, it can be a love/hate kind of thing at times. Like a dog (or a rabbit) that’s been alone all day, the blog needs to be fed, and sometimes you start wondering what it would be like to just say “ahh, sod it”, and drop a line to everyone saying see ya ’round the ‘Net. But it is times like this (and like earlier this year when Lugs the Bartender checked in) that makes it all worthwhile. There is more than likely no way Bob and I could ever have hooked up again if it weren’t for this humble weblog, and it just goes to show how small the Internet has made the world around us and changed the way people interact with one another.

Bob and I are planning to hook up the next time I’m back East, and I can’t wait to see him. Between reuniting with my Top Priority bandmates and renewing acquaintances with Bob, this has turned out to be a year where certain things seem to be coming full circle. The mid-’70s and the 21st century have crossed paths and it is a strange thing to behold, that’s for sure. I can’t help feeling there’s some underlying purpose behind all this, but for now it’s something to simply enjoy for what it is. Great to have you aboard again, Bob – welcome back!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:42 | Comments (2)
  1. As I think back, for me it was breaking out to see that world outside of our ‘ol hometown. Then something called life takes over and you’re off and running, – often at a frantic pace. The series of events that have transpired over that past few days have served us well. That “Long and Winding Road” did its job!!!

    In all sincerity, it’s great to be back – thanks for being out there!!


    ps – And I really do still have that same said piece of vinyl!

    Comment by Tightwad — October 21, 2007 @ 8:48 pm

  2. It’s funny how the years all kinda come together. It’s great that we’ve lived to see a reincarnation of our friendship and able to view it over a long span of years. Very cool – and I too still have the vinyl of the “In Concert” album as well. Now if I could only find me a turntable…

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 21, 2007 @ 10:49 pm

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