The story of Left on Scarlet Street is one filled with madness, mystery, and a healthy does of mayhem. But unfortunately no member of the group can remember any of the details, so we have to settle on what we’ve been told by our fanbase, which consists mostly of our mothers.
Apparently, Left on Scarlet Street met in 2008 at Camp Pal-Around, an adult summer camp devoted exclusively for competitive Duck, Duck, Goose enthusiasts. The camp, which unfortunately shut down in 2013 after its notorious whoopie cushion scandal, turned out to be the perfect place for four kindred spirits - Pierre, Dave, Rob, and John - to meet, bond, and share in the gift of music.
Pierre Sorey, perhaps the most accomplished DDG athlete at Camp Pal-Around, was known as the local minstrel, regaling campers and staff alike with his fine guitar picking and singing. So musical was Pierre that his nickname became Pierre, the guy who likes to play music. The name’s lack of catchiness caused it to eventually be jettisoned. Yet nothing could suppress Pierre’s appetite for melody and harmony. ATTENTION LADIES: He also likes poetry, jet skiing, and a good meatloaf. One day, after morning calisthenics, Pierre was working out a new song called “I Swear I Left My Keys in Your Easy Bake Oven,” when a passerby added what Pierre now refers to as “a voice that could make an angel weep to the point where it gets kind of annoying because it’s simply weeping too much like some people do when they watch a sad movie and make it all about themselves even though the plot of the movie has literally nothing to do with that person, who is simply trying to get attention for some unknown reason, hence the friggin’ weeping and weeping and endless friggin’ weeping.”
That passerby turned out to be bass player/singer, Dave Russo. Dave, known as much for his musicianship as he is for having Connecticut’s 36th largest bamboo figurine collection, proved a natural foil for Pierre. The two quickly bonded over music, a mutual love of Star Wars, and a fondness for the same kinds of topical ointments. Within a day of their new partnership, the two wrote a song together. “Blubber Heart” might not have proved a masterwork, but with its solid vocal lines and infectious chorus of “Blubber Heart, you’ll be coming back, unless you have another heart attack,” it was a noteworthy first effort by the two songsmiths. Yet something was missing. Dave claimed it was a second guitar. Pierre claimed it was Dave’s pants. It turned out to be both. Two things thus happened: #1) Dave eventually went shopping, picking up some stylish corduroys and cotton Dockers, and #2) Rob Marchese entered the mix.
Rob, a former disciple of guitar great, Kooky “Snickers” McComas, rounded out the group nicely with not only his playing, but his impressive catalogue of original songs. Dave describes first meeting Rob: “I didn’t like him. I didn’t like his songs. I didn’t like his guitar playing. Still don’t, to be honest. I find him obnoxious and self-indulgent. He can’t contribute much of anything to a band. He can’t collaborate to save his life. I’ve even heard it said that he randomly gives wedgies to homeless people and senior citizens. I mean, who does that? Is this all going in the bio? If so, can you at least not say it came from me?” Despite Dave’s misgivings, the addition of Rob created a trio - a trio who seemed to need only one more member to make it a fully functional unit.
John Chiechi (pronounced “Smith”), began his musical career as a drummer for the mafia. John, accompanying his boss, Tommy “Cuddle Pup” Lombardi on mob hits in and around the greater New York area, provided a steady and dramatic backbeat while Lombardi “whacked” his subjects. “It was good work,” John says today with a nervous grin. “But I was paid in raviolis, which made it not so lucrative.” After seeking refuge at Camp Pal-Around as part of the witness protection program, John met Pierre, Dave, and Rob, and immediately began playing drums in a more conventional fashion. He now had the time to study his instrument and develop his own style. Rumor has it he even learned to walk on Jell-O, which was #5 on his bucket list. With influences as wide-ranging as The Who’s Keith Moon to The Police’s Stewart Copeland (no relation to Martha Stewart), John’s hard-hitting style has been described by the New Haven Register as “A lovely two bedroom townhouse with gleaming hardwood floors, an updated kitchen, new paint throughout, and a spacious one car garage.” (Turns out the original write-up has been lost amidst John’s files.)
With a solid four-member lineup, the band decided to call themselves Left on Scarlet Street, named after part of the directions used to get to the group’s favorite out-of-the-way dive bar, Pipsqueak's & Spanky’s. Focusing their efforts on 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s tunes, the band delights in being eclectic. “We delight in being eclectic,” Dave says. To this, Pierre says, “Yeah.” Covering artists from Bob Marley to Tears for Fears, LOSS do their best to avoid those hackneyed bar band tunes. “We try to stray from those overplayed tunes,” Rob says. “You’re not gonna hear us play ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ or ‘Hotel California.’ Great songs for sure, but we’d rather play deeper cuts.” To this, Pierre says, “Yeah.”
With close to as many original songs as covers, the members of LOSS feel good about what they describe as “an abundance of creative juices with some pulp, low sugar, and zero artificial flavors.” “We’re looking ahead,” says Dave, “always learning new material, writing new tunes, taking new gigs.” To date, the band, in homage to its humble beginnings, is even composing an intricate rock opera about Marge Blizzard, the unsung hero who invented Duck, Duck, Goose in 1918, but had her idea stolen and patented before she succumbed to a fatal overdose of rock candy two years later. 1918 + 2 = 1920.
“In addition to Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder, Marge is our hero,” John says, a tear slowly running down his face. “And we’re eager to help secure her place in history. And music is how we intend to do that.” The rest of the group, reveling in their bandmate’s poignancy, takes a moment of quiet contemplation. Then, after a moment, Pierre, as if to sum up not only the entire affair, but everything really that Left on Scarlet Street is truly about, says “Yeah.” Yeah indeed.