|[Click on the song titles below to hear live
tapes and recordings.]
Prologue: This Berkeley,
California-hippie and street musician returned home in 1970 as a passenger in
pianist-songwriter Evan Hadley's van. Years of jams and recording sessions with
brother Larry, Evan and other Philly-area cohorts followed.
In 1978, my younger brother Larry Laskey, and I would often jam on acoustic
guitars to create moody songs with lyrics inspired by the news. When friends Bob
Jay and Donny Buckley joined on electric guitar and bass, I booked us in a South
Jersey tavern as Reesa and the Rooters, a blues-pop, semi-acoustic group. ["Silver
Screen" live on WXPN radio.]
added a drummer and continued to gig around Philadelphia and Jersey. I
hand-lettered and cut and pasted graphics on all our literature, as well as
putting up hundreds of posters and sending out mailing list postcards. (When
Philly fashion photographer Malcolm Berman saw me putting up posters wearing my
space helmet, he arranged for the band to pose on this rooftop facing the Ben
After Larry switched to electric guitar and I started playing
a Farfisa organ, the local media dubbed me “the queen of the new wave scene.”
Cherie Rumbol, a cohort who played in South Jersey club bands, came in to
replace the original bass player and to add another voice to the mix.
band and its music fit perfectly into the blossoming new wave scene in 1979.
Except for some suburban clubs where people just didn’t get it, our audiences
dressed up with skinny ties or spiked hair and came ready to pogo or slam dance.
Gradually, the Rooters’ touring area expanded north to New York City,
Connecticut, Providence, R.I., and the notorious Rat in Boston; west to
Allentown and The Metron in Harrisburg; and south to Delaware, Bethesda, D.C.,
and the Marble Bar in Baltimore. [My
Grip] live from Dundalk Community College video]
In response to the tape and press clippings I sent her, LesLee Anderson booked
us for a Marble Bar show on May 31, 1980. So we jammed our equipment into my old
Chevy wagon and drove the two hours down I-95. When we arrived at 306 W.
Franklin St., Roger, LesLee’s husband and co-owner of the Marble, led us down
the short flight of stairs to the basement of the Congress Hotel. My brother and
I toked regularly then, so when people began filling the hall and blowing
quantities of cigarette and marijuana smoke, I felt like I had stepped into a