I grew up Playing Music with Elves in Middle Earth

posted Feb 13, 2012, 9:58 PM by Jeremy Fowler-Lindemulder   [ updated Feb 28, 2019, 7:15 AM ]
Posted by Fugli - January 20th, 2012

Introducing the Worst Band West of the Mississippi

Those words, spoken by my first roommate in college, Ed Senechal, sort of… kind of… summed up our attitudes. We would all change the world, but maybe for only three minutes at a time. it was all in the “happening.” Many of us lived in a place on the UC Irvine campus called Middle Earth, a dormitory housing complex named after Tolkein’s fictional realm… and we took some sort of odd pride that we lived in Lorien, the kingdom of the elves.

Ed kicks back in our room in 104D Lorien. Boys and girls, he's listening to a tape - there were no mp3s then.

In between our rigorous studies of being full time students, we made and exercised various friendships. Some of these friendships may have lasted through time, often weakened by changing circumstances of geography until they are now more bonds of nostalgia. Some connections have been lost (Ed, if you’re out there, I’m still looking for you), and others merely maintained by what is now the internet.

Barb P. took this pic. Here I am at age 18 with my old Guitar sitting in the 101 suite of Lorien

And so, here is a musical snapshot of that time. If you listen to my music now and then, you may notice some similarities. The Lorien Rag is not timeless… on the contrary, it is an in-joke ridden picture of a specific there, at a specific then. I wrote it, and I confess that I now only get some of the jokes. Others are lost, even to me. From the reaction of the Middle Earth audience, packed into the inadequate commons area, there was something written in it for everyone, so even if you didn’t get one part, you got another.

Lorien Rag

Back in 1982, before digital recording directly into your computer device, we had cassette tapes, and if you wanted good sound, you needed pretty specialized equipment. So we didn’t record a lot. These recordings are from open microphones through the sound system, so there is no way to get the full effect of an enclosed space with multiple instruments. My hand scrawled notes list these performers for the Lorien Rag at Cafe Brandywine 1982:

Me (guitar and vocals)
Ed S. (toilet paper roll kazoos)
Barb P. (washboard)
Kevin C. (gut bucket – you can hear it until it breaks toward the end)
Ron T. (sparklets water bottle – he used it like a drum)


Afterward, I dismissed the rest of the band and gave them something a little more traditional. So my tag here is just Puff. I still have the tapes of all the other performers, but sadly, I have kept in touch with none of them.