No rockin’ chairs for this band of veterans
When they formed the Short Term Memories Band, the musicians, with jocularity, had a double meaning in mind.
They are of retirement age and their ability to remember fails from time to time, founder Gene Cousens said, laughing about regularly losing his eyeglasses and saying the band name also refers to songs they play, from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, that evoke memories, treasured memories.
“We don’t do our rockin’ in chairs,” they tell fans on their website at www.theshorttermmemories.bandzoogle.com.
Cousens, who has a long history in the music business, and who is vocalist and lead guitarist for the band, is joined by Rick Holmes, bass player and vocalist, a U.S. Marine veteran who served in Vietnam; Tom Borlik, vocalist, who was in combat in Vietnam and was a U.S. Army gunner; Ron Wilson, vocalist and guitarist, who served in the U.S. Navy as a medic and worked with the Marines; and drummer Armando “Graz” Graziosi.
Interestingly, Wilson and Holmes were stationed close to each other when they were in the military but never met until they lived in the same area, introduced themselves and started talking about their backgrounds.
Cousens, who is also a realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Bethany Beach, started the band with Wilson and Holmes, before the others joined them.
“We just started practicing. I have been playing since I was 17, in bands. I played with like Seger, all those guys, but years ago I just put it on the back shelf for a while. I hadn’t played for a while,” Cousens said.
He met Borlik, who joined them.
“We picked up Graz not long ago. Graz has been around a lot. He plays jazz, nightclub things. He’s a great guy,” he said.
“Music is my life. I think our band is one of the best and I think my bandmates are great. I just love it,” Graziosi said.
“We play a very, very diverse blend of top hits from the ’50s — Bobby Darin to Lynyrd Skynyrd. We play The Eagles. We’ve got The Drifters, all that,” Cousens said.
“People like us because of the diversity of the songs we play. We play from the ’50s to the ’70s, and we’ve got a little country flavor,” Cousens said.
A fairly new band, Short Term Memories started playing in public only seven months ago and performs once or twice every month, since some establishments with live music book a year or so in advance.
The musicians were at the Italian Festival in Ocean City, Md., in March and are already booked to return next year.
“I play in this band because I love music and seeing people having fun,” Wilson said. “Serving with the Marines, I realize a deep appreciation for life. I was told that, after Vietnam, when I get back to America, every day will be a holiday and every meal a banquet,” he added.
Borlik said music has “always been a part of my life and always will be.”
“Serving in the Army made me truly appreciate what I have in this country,” he said.
“It’s something you love. It’s something we grew up with. People grew up with the music. It’s ‘short-term memories,’ and it has a double meaning,” Cousens said, laughing and launching into a story about one of the band members teasing about buying “memory shoes,” or shoes with memory-foam soles, but saying he couldn’t remember where he put them.
“I was going to be a smart aleck when I got a call,” Cousens said.
“I was going to say I would have called back but I couldn’t remember where I put my phone.”
By Susan Canfora