Monday, September 1, 2008

DOUGSPLOITATION NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Sal of "Sonseed" Tells All!

Burbank, CA - We here at Dougsploitation News have tracked down the real Sal Polichetti from "Sonseed" and have filed this exclusive report:
Doug: Hi, there Sal. I just want to start off by thanking for for talking to me...and thank you for entertaining me & my friends for the better part of 25 years!

Sal: I am totally stunned at the attention this thing has drawn. I was very amused with all the blog entries.  Absolutely hysterical!

Doug: Thanks Sal, I'm so happy to find that you have a sense of humor about  "Jesus is a Friend of Mine" and your former band, "Sonseed". I have so many questions, I hardly know where to start! 
 
Sal:  I would love to give you the whole "Sonseed" saga.

Doug:  Sal, you don't know how long I've wanted to hear those words! Okay, first of all, what was the name of the TV show you guys were on? I get the feeling it was some cable access show...

Sal: The name of that TV show was "The First Estate".  It used to air on WNBC (channel 4 in NY) on Sunday mornings at 11AM.  It dealt with religious issues and , yes, was multi-denominational.  The host was Dr. Russell Barber.  They had never had a musical act on before; usually priests or rabbis discussing what ever the hot topic of the day was.  They weren't quite sure how to shoot us or how it was going to work out.  By the way, we had no say about what songs were going to be taped for air.  "Jesus is a Friend of Mine"  was selected by Dr. Barber because it was different.Doug: Yes I grew up watching WNBC - I actually remember that show. There were always those weird Sunday-morning religious shows with strange names like "The First Estate" or "Lamp Unto My Feet." The titles seemed scary to me, especially "Sunday Mass for Shut-Ins" - it sounded like hostages were being held or something. I'm glad that Dr. Barber selected  "Jesus is a Friend of Mine", because not only is it the best song on the album, it's one of the few where you actually do lead vocals!

Sal: I wrote the song in about 10 minutes.  We were getting ready to record the album and I was not singing any of the songs initially selected for it.  I thought, "Damn, if I want to get to sing on this record I'd better write something".  The rock n' roll portion of the group (guitarist Frank Franco and drummer Nick Sciarra) liked the song - so I was in.

Doug: Wow. That's amazing. To think, if you didn't write "Jesus is a Friend of Mine" there would be a lot less happier people in the world! I think another outstanding track on the album is the cover of "Oh Happy Day". I am not a religious person at all, but somehow that song makes me wanna believe.

Sal: Our white-boy-R&B version of "Oh Happy Day" was not part of the original session but decided upon at the last minute.  Both vocals, by the way, ("Jesus.." and "Happy Day") one take!  Hoo-wee!

Doug: One take? I'm impressed!  Oh, before I forget - what was "Salvation Army" and "Punch & Judaism"- were they other topics coming up on "The First Estate"?Sal: Yes.  First there was an officer from the S.A. touting their accomplishments and asking for money.  "Punch and Judaism" referred to this troupe of puppeteers who used puppets dressed like Bible characters to teach moral and biblical lessons.  Sort of like "Godspell" on strings.  It was interesting but it got a little creepy after a while.
Doug: Okay, I need to know about the band. Did I match everybody's name up correctly? I know I got you, Frank and Nick correct, but what about "Sleepy" - is that guy Brother John? What about the two back up ladies? We all totally love the woman in the glasses who I called "Inez" - Is that Melody?

Sal: It sure is.  And a real sweetheart as was the other older woman Anne Lessing.  "Sleepy" was indeed Brother John.Doug: And "Groovy Guy" is ________?

Sal: Wait for it.....wait....Jim Archer.Doug: Now I can sleep at nights! So how did you all get together? Did you belong to the same church in Brooklyn? Were you guys all Catholic? With all those Italian names...Sal: Sheer coincidence.  Joseph Ciccone was the one who got us all together.  He was involved with his church (Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn) and was put in charge of the music for some special ceremony.  He called in all his markers and Frank, Nick, Patricia, Anne, Karen and Jimmy Archer and myself (and a few  others) met for the first time and rehearsed for this special Mass.  It went so well and we got along so well before too long we met once a week at varied locations to hang out.  Being Born Again Christians at the time there was usually a bit of praying going on.  Someone suggested we form a group (Frank, Nick, Steve and myself had been in various bands for years, so we knew what was involved) and travel to different churches playing Rock-type versions of church songs.  We would pass the hat for donations.  With about 20 members originally we weren't going to make any money, so we pooled our income to buy equipment and pay for gas.  We became pretty popular, selling out church halls and college lunch rooms all over Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.  Eventually more and more original music became part of our shows.
 
Doug: Was there only one album? And how long did you all stay together?

Sal: The album came about because people wanted something to take home with them after the concerts.  Joe Ciccone, who at the time was an Art Director for Dancer-Fitzgerald Ad Agency designed the album cover as well as the "Sonseed" logo (with the cross inside the heart) which we had been putting on tee-shirts for years.  I was not involved in much of the album other than playing and singing on it.  I have no idea how many were printed or sold but it must have been quite a few.  I believe I still have five or six of them un-opened.  We were together from the late 70's until around 1983.  It got to be a lot of work.  It was impossible to replace departed members as we couldn't offer any money, just prayerful support (which, as you can guess, didn't buy much even then).  It was simply too much for the few members we had left.  We booked Xavarian HS auditorium for a huge farewell concert.  We charged $1 just so we could have an idea how many people would show up.  We sold out in two hours so we added a matinee.  I do have the original VHS recording of that concert.  We really were something.Doug: I may need to borrow that VHS tape! Joe's logo is brilliant. Okay, I need to know. Do you keep in touch with any of the other band members? Do you have any idea what they are up to now? I hope they're all still around.

Sal: One, unfortunately, is not.  Our dear friend Nick Sciarra passed way around 15 years ago.  Frank Franco is now a grandpa and is a computer programmer.  He also still plays guitar in an oldies band (Reparata and the Dell Rons I believe).  Joe Ciccone left the ad game some time ago and became a Paulist priest.  Last I heard he was stationed at Clemson University.

Doug: I'm sorry to hear about Nick. What about the organist lady?

Sal: Oh yeah, and Patricia Costagliola.  We were married from 1978 to 1989 (no kids, thank God).  After Sonseed Frank, Nick and myself became Patricia's back up band as we continued for the next few years playing her original inspirational music.  Although we didn't do the "married" thing well  we always got along professionally.  Patricia recorded two albums "Walk Forward" and "Give Your Love Away" which were pretty amazing.  I can't believe she didn't "make it".  She is now a Professor at The University of Washington (Doctor Patricia Costa) and is doing well.

Doug: Wow - you married the organist! Who knew? So since "Sonseed" has disbanded you've done a lot of musical theater. I expected to see "Godspell" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" on your resume, but I actually found shows that I like - "Cabaret" and "Annie" are among my alltime faves. Are you acting full time? Are you in a new show at the moment?

Sal: Funny you mention Godspell.  From 1972 to 2000  I've been in 13 different local productions of it totalling around 150 performances.  I've done 85 shows, all locally (being a big fish in a small pond isn't so bad!).  I was John Adams in "1776", the Engineer in "Miss Saigon" and the Baker 3 different times in "Into the Woods".  I'm currently playing Charlemagne in "Pippin" which opens mid-September.  All this while working full- time for Verizon as a field tech and playing off-weekends in a 60's-50's rock band.  Yep, we manage to stay pretty busy.Doug: Is there anything you'd like to say to any old or new fans out there. You know performance artist/singer/actress Ann Magnuson once commented that your skin was "flawless".

Sal: In case anyone's interested, I'm 56 years old now.  A little heavier and a little thinner up top. But my skin is still flawless.Doug: And you still have that bad boy attitude. Are currently single?

Sal: Sorry. I met a beautiful young lady doing "Pippin" 19 years ago.  She's 14 years younger than me but let's face it; with all the gay guys hanging around the theater there wasn't much competition.  Donna and I were married in 1991 and have two lovely, talented children.

Doug: See how we gays help bring people together! I met my partner John around the same time you met your wife and we have two adorable mutts. Not married yet, though. :)

Sal: Hey, anyone that names a Russ Meyer film in their top 10 (Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill)! is OK in my book!

Doug: Just the fact that you know about Russ and Pussycat will impress a lot of my readers! Be well, and thanks so much again for being a good sport. I still can't believe that we connected!

54 comments:

Danny in WeHo said...

Yea!! I LOVE this! If only he had mentioned ANOTHER WORLD...

This was great, Dougie!
Thanks!

kimberly said...

Wow - can't believe you found Sal !

Great reporting!

Father Flannigan said...

Jesus - isn't the internet amazing? Thank you Al Gore!!!

Anonymous said...

OK you need to let Sonseed go. You found the members and had a great talk but time to move on to greater things, like more bad movies and bad merchandise. I love the Laverne and Shirley items. What the fuck?!?!

ryan said...

you should work for Sixty Minutes.LOL

Aman Chaudhary said...

He was so cute in the JIMF video. That dreamy smile!

Laura K said...

Wow, not only is it amazing that you found him, but he's totally cool! He actually seems like someone we'd hang out with, who knew?!

Dean Moore said...

I hope to make Organist Lady a friend of mine, here at UW.

Thankee, Doug!

Lee said...

This is too good. I always figured those flawless-skin types would age...uh, differently. He looks like a Verizon guy. Which is way better than being a Sprint guy.

Anonymous said...

If Sal is willing to donate his bass guitar to an instrumental Christian rock band in Winnipeg MB, please write to tokyo_child@hotmail.com or phone (204)7752023

I just watched the song on youtube today, sent to me by a friend.

Thanks

Dave

Yaanu said...

Fun interview. I now have an urge to get myself a Sonseed T-shirt. Maybe the proceeds could go towards a new EP?

Otto Yamamoto(ECHM) said...

This is great. The lads over at Ska Patrol in Ireland had found this, and were understandably befuddled-they posted a bulletin with this video; and here we are. I gave them this link. I linked this video on Bovverworld, Papaskin.com, and A Boy and His Computer.

boomertsfx said...

AWESOME SONG! nice fake interview =)

doug said...

The interview is real. Believe it or not.

KC said...

hi doug! I cant believe after all these years SONSEED is finally talked about again. My PARENTS are Jim and Karen Archer - - groovy guy from the you tube video. Due to limited space all members were not able to be on the show. My brothers and I grew up attending the concerts. And if Sal is there, I m looking for that vhs video and an album (we lost all in a flood) to surprise my parents Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Okay, this is amazing. I can't stop listening to this song! I still need 2 things: an mp3 of it & the lyrics!!! Not that it's THAT hard to figure out the lyrics, but it would be great! :D Thanks for the interview!! If you can give me info on where to get the other things, I'll be in your debt!

doug said...

Hey KC - if you email me at douglasprinz@gmail.com, I'll forward your message to Sal. I don't want to give out his address here for obvious reasons. Though some people seem to think he's not "real". LOL

doug said...

Hey Anonymous -

I'm working on getting some mp3s posted. For lyrics, some kind person has posted them here:

http://www.sonseeded.com/jesusismyfriend.html

peace,
Doug

Terry said...

Hey Doug, would you know if Sal lived in Pinellas Park, FL circa 1975?

doug said...

Hi Terry,

I have no idea where Sal lived in 1975 - but I'll forward your question on to Sal.

peace,
Doug

Patrick said...

Nice detective work!

Anonymous said...

Thank GOD! Since I saw the video, it's been "is it real? is it fake? I have to know!" MYSTERY SOLVED! THANKS!!

doug said...

Terry -

Concerning Florida, Sal says
"Nope, never lived in Florida. Been a Brooklyn boy all my life until 13 years ago when we moved to upstate NY."

So Sorry to disappoint ya,
Doug

DONNA SCIARRA said...

HI DOUG,

MY NAME IS DONNA SCIARRA. I AM ONE OF NICKY'S SISTERS.

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR A GREAT JOB DONE. YOUR INTERVIEW WITH SAL WAS GREAT ALSO.. SO NICE TO KNOW MY BROTHER IS ALWAYS REMEMBERED.. HE WAS IS A GREAT GUY!!!

IT MADE US HIS FAMILY SO HAPPY TO SEE THIS AND PROUD TO SAY THE LEAST..

NICKY'S 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF PASSES IS ON THE 22ND OF THIS MONTH.. IN OUR MINDS IT IS HIS WAY OF SENDING US ALL ( FAMILY & FRIENDS) HIS LOVE.. AND IF ANYONE COULD ACHIEVE THAT FEAT IT WOULD BE NICKY..

AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR SPREADING THE WORD..

DONNA SCIARRA

Jo Ann Drummer's Sis #3 said...

Hi Doug,
I am another one of Nicky's (drummer) sisters. You have really caused quite a stir here! I think it's great that you heard from Sal. We all follwed Sonseed back then. We loved to watch/hear our brother play! Yes, we had T-shirts, too! We all think it's so funny that "Jesus...mine" is such a hit since it was Nicky's least fave!!! I am sure he's getting a kick out of this! A good laugh and cry for his family... thanks,

JoAnn

sister#3 said...

doug, please e-mail sal for me and give him our best...
Nick's family

doug said...

Hello Ladies,

I have forwarded all your comments to Sal. I'm sure he will happy to hear from you all!

be well,
Doug

MC said...

Wait, if they are from NY, why does Sal refer to Jesus as 'a Mountie?' (Canadian police)

Night People said...

Please let Sal know that the video for "Jesus Is A friend Of Mine" was shown on the BIG screen in Los Angeles this past week at The Cinefamily's Silent Movie Theatre. It was screened before an awesome Christian doomsday film from the early 70's called A THIEF IN THE NIGHT. The Sonseed video went over BIG. People went nuts for it. that screening is, in fact, how I came to find myself at your blog. Please tell Sal to release the final concert on DVD!

Brice said...

funny, no one named patricia costa or Patricia Costagliola listed at University of Washington.

doug said...

Hey Brice - found this info.

Patricia Costa Kim, a graduate of the High School of Performing Arts, in New York City, has earned a B.F.A. from City College of New York City, an M.A. from the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College and a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Washington School of Music. Her extensive teaching career has included private students, music for families with very young children, parochial and private elementary school music, high school music for Seattle Public Schools, courses and workshops for University of Washington and Seattle University. Patricia served as Director of Education and Community Programs for Seattle Symphony for seven years.

Terry said...

Thanks Doug for going out of your way to answer such a little question. Most people would not bother. Sal just happened to be the same age and looks and probably a very similar Italian lastname (which i can not remember) to my old friend bandmate Sal in Pinellas Park.

I did enjoy the video and the whole story. Enjoyable. Well done!

Nick A said...

Sonseed is simply amazing. If their farewell vid ever gets released I would love to buy a copy! Anyone know where I could get one of their t-shirts??

Thanks

grassman17@hotmail.com

Susan Isaacs said...

I love that they had/have a sense of humor about it. The other guitarist looks like Elvis the C got religion.

BTW, "the first estate" goes back to a medieval term dividing society into "estates of the realm": 1) clergy, 2) nobility, 3) common people.
Anyway, still loving this. Paste Magazine may put sonseed on its cover. who says fame dies?

Anton said...

I am so flipping glad you did this interview. What a great guy!

aperock said...

ZAP!

douglas g. said...

Anyway, wanted to say I found Sonseed guitarist Frank Franco's current band with pics on their myspace page.

They are called "Cobrasnake Necktie", and do classic rock covers, including Zeppelin's Immigrant Song !

http://www.myspace.com/cobrasnakenecktie

He has also been in the bands "Special Ryder", Reparata and the Delrons (no pics)
"Johnny and the Raybands" (no evidence, but from Staten Island, and he's listed)
and of course, Sonseed.

From the sounds of it, he's still rocking out , but no sunburst Les Paul.

(p.s. - if you report this info, please leave my name out !) Keep up the great work,

Best,
Douglas G

Dave Carrol said...

fantastic!

mmdc.net said...

Great story!

I really hope you'll be making t-shirts with that logo, before it's stolen by every other t-shirt company out there.

M.J. Garcia said...

This is fantastic. I linked to a Metafilter post with a brief interview of Sal, but this is far more interesting and in-depth. Thanks!

musicmike said...

I would love to be able to e-mail Sal and tell him how much I have enjoyed listening to "First Fruit." There were some great original songs on that album. Thanks, Doug, for the interview with Sal.

My e-mail is musicmike1470@yahoo.com. To all who might read this, please e-mail me if you have contact info for Sal.

Free Radical said...

Oh my, I hope the VHS of that final show ends up on the interwebs somehow.........Here's looking at you Doug!

fpe said...

I would like to leave a sad post --
This past Sept 29, "Brother John"
passed way.

December 18, 2008 will be the 25th
anniversary of the finial Sonseed
concerts.

doug said...

Yes, we know about Brother John's passing.

http://dougsploitation.blogspot.com/2008/10/sad-sonseed-news.html

Stan Gillet said...

I'm so glad I found some information on an old friend whom I haven't seen in years! Sal and I played in a band called "PIE" back in the late sixties and early seventies...Sal played bass and sang lead vocals with the enthusiasm of a Tasmanian Devil!! I swear he never stopped moving! Sal was (and still is) an inspiration to me. Sal...if you read this comment I would love to talk to you. Hoping to hear from you...your old friend Stan Gillett

acnoriel said...

Thank you for finding Sonseed, I LOVE the video and can't wait to tell all my friends about your interview

Anonymous said...

Awe i wanted to know if sal was still friends with jesus.m

audRey! said...

Oh my low rider! I love sal and the gang! i want them to play at my sweet 16!

fpesposito said...

Greetings -- wow -- Sonseed live! -- Where was that from? Man I did not have dark hair in 25 years ...

The 26th anniversary of the last concert just passed ... I have a audio recording of it. It was recorded on a sony tc-d5m with a (sony) ecm-989 stereo mic. I ripped the concert and save in FLAC format. Maybe now the auto can be sync'ed to the video (if there is one)!

Jen said...

Doug in an earlier post mentions Patricia Costa Kim.I am a former HS student of hers and I am sad to announce that just yesterday, she passed away after losing a battle to Brain Cancer. She was one of my biggest inspirations and her memories will always live on. Rest in Peace Mrs. Kim. May your songs fill the heavens.You will be missed but never forgotten.

James McGrath said...

I had the album "Give Your Love Away" in my house as a kid. I still remember a song from the album, "When the People Cry Justice." I don't have the LP - or a way to play LPs - any longer. But I wish I did, or could find music for the song, since I would love to play it in my church sometime.

James McGrath said...

So sorry to hear about Patricia Costa/Costagliola Kim passing away!

Anonymous said...

just saw this video - how amazing. we are now in love with sonseed, even if for nostalgia, but so sorry to hear about Linda Costa. What a great interview with Sal!

Anonymous said...

just saw this video - how amazing. we are now in love with sonseed, even if for nostalgia, but so sorry to hear about Patricia Costa. What a great interview with Sal!