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Nature Day - The Bootleg

The Band

Klyph Black - bass, vocals
Joe Iannotti - Drums
Lou Tasciotti - piano, vocals
Thorne Ventura - guitar, vocals

Nature Day was formed sometime in 1971. We rehearsed at Klyph's house in Westbury and thanks to the fact that half the band members attended Westbury High School and the other half lived in Westbury, we were fortunate to have quite a fan base right from the start. And thanks to many local gigs and to the annual Asparagus Festivals, the band's exposure got better and better.

The band's repertoire started out as mostly original material sprinkled with a few covers. Klyph's mom made some wonderful silkscreen t-shirts for the band and helped in every way she could to get more work for the band. THANKS, mim !

It was a great time for local bands, 1971. There were several in the Westbury area and lots of musical talent at the high school judging from the showings at the Asparagus festivals which in fact were created by Westbury High School students with the help of those local bands ! At these festivals local bands pooled their resources together, both their music and equipment, to make for successful concerts. It is a tribute to the community that local music was supported so well. It inspired the bands to continue.

The band's first gig was at the Westbury Hebrew Congregation in 1971 but performing under its original name, Malneck Livinston, and including 2 members that would be part of the band only this one time - lead singer Jimmy Rogers and 2nd guitarist Josh Small. At the time Ed Walsh, a columnist for the Westbury Times and a staff member of the Westbury Rec Center, hosted regular concerts on a flatbed platform at the Westbury Rec Center in support of several local bands including one of Nature Day's competitor bands, Rise. And being a fan, Ed wrote a few articles in support of Nature Day.

The band needed some way to cart all their instruments around so that each individual didn't have to drive to every gig. After reading an ad in some newspaper that a car rental company was selling its vehicles, the band purchased a 1967 Ford Super van that had been painted the most ugly black. Since the van was not yet registered and hence could not be legally driven home, the band faked its being towed with rope by another car, but in fact it was being driven. At a block party in Westbury, a group of people got together to paint the van light blue with a wide black stripe along its side and hence the van became known as Vinne Von Van.

A couple of rather odd gigs included performing in front of a music class at Guild Hall in Easthampton, and recording the background music for an ecology radio commercial. 1972 started out with a 2-week engagement at The Pines Hotel in the Catskill mountains. By the end of 1972, Nature Day had morphed into Blue Sky after a majority of band members wanted to play cover tunes to increase its chances for more gigs. The band got an audition for a friend's (Linda Tierney) step-father who ran a recording business and told the band that it had to play more commercial music like "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night. The band didn't like that at all and continued a little while longer trying to pedal its original music.

One thing bands always like is having roadies - people who volunteer to help the band. Nature Day was very lucky to have Gary "Spike" Manheim. Gary stuck with the band through thick and thin, always there to help move equipment and tear it down. THANKS Gary ! In the later days we had Danny Smith and Bobby Burns to help out.

During this period, because they lived together for a couple of years and were always jamming, Klyph and Thorne formed Ham and Swiss that played acoustic covers gigs. And when they lived together the summer of 1971 at Klyph's mom's artist residence in Amagansett, Klyph and Thorne formed Hard Ham and Swiss, an electric version of Ham and Swiss with Eric Kuhn, an Amagansett friend, on drums.

The Songs

Click on a song to play it, or right-click and select "Save As" (at least for Windows) to download it.

Sometime in 1971 or 1972, Southpark Recording Studio, Island Park NY

This was the one and only record Nature Day made. Lou answered an ad in some newspaper about a recording studio's looking for bands. Lou responded and we got hooked up with this 2-man outfit running their business under the name Southpark Studios housed in Island Park. We made this record in a single session that lasted most of the afternoon. It was quite exciting for the band as it looked like the band was on its way to bigger and better things. Unfortunately the business partnership was cut short after a bad showing at the 1st gig Southpark booked for the band, the Pines Hotel. The band was not treated very well by the hotel management as the band was given rooms that were barely living-ready, walls not fully painted with holes in them and nothing more than a bed in the rooms. There appeared to be no heat in the rooms and it was the middle of Winter. The band never performed the one night they were there and left the hotel after that night. Southpark was not pleased and threatened violence after which the partnership was terminated.

Love (T. Ventura) b/w Us (K. Black)

March 31, 1973, Westbury Junior High Auditorium, Westbury NY

These recordings were made possible thanks to Jeff Silverman who was a great friend to the band and was always dabling in the latest music technology (and later joined the band as its sole drummer when it became Blue Sky and soon after was joined by a 2nd drummer, Scott Swezy). For this performance Jeff recorded the band using Dolby which was relatively new as far as affordability for the public sector.

By My Side (Tasciotti)
Listen to the Music (Doobie Bros)
Goin' Out to the Country (Ventura)
Morning Song (Tasciotti)
Mandala (Tasciotti)

June 25, 1973, Quiet Village, Levittown NY

These recordings were made by a group called Echo Sound Studios whose recording studio was actually in the basement of the Quiet Village (which later became Hammerheads). What was interesting is that the engineers had to communicate via a monitor that was setup next to Lou who was told when we had to take breaks in order for new, blank tapes to be loaded. Unfortunately our attempts to garner interest in the music business using these recordings were not successful which, in part, led up to the decision to start playing covers so that the band could be booked in more venues.

Take My Hand (Tasciotti)
Sugar (Ventura)
Love (Ventura)
Lonesome Blues (Ventura)
I Ain't Gonna Go (Tasciotti)
Don't Wanna Wait (Tasciotti)
Day (edit version) (Ventura)

Tour Schedule

Fri Jan 11 - Westbury Jr High School - Blue Sky and Nature Day - 192 people paid. Home-made gig.

Fri Jul 27 - location unknown (Ham and Swiss)
Mon Jun 25 - The Quiet Village, Levittown NY - recording for demo by Echo Sound Studios
Sat May 19 - location unknown Carle Place NY - Ham and Swiss
Sat Apr 28 - location unknown Ellwood NY
Mon Apr 9 - Southampton College Fine Arts Theatre, Southampton NY
Sat Mar 31 - Westbury Jr High School - recorded by Jeff Silverman. Westbury Department of Recreation presents.
Wed Feb 14 - location unknown Levittown NY
Sun Jan 14 - Westbury High School, Westbury NY - Nature Day Benefit for Westbury New School. Westbury New School presents with Op Mix light show. 2pm show. Played with Rise. Blue Sky jam opener with Klyph, Thorne and Jeff Silverman.

Fri Dec 22 - Camp Alvernia, Centerport NY - Waited around for an hour before anyone let us in.
Sun Dec 10 - CW Post, Greenvale NY
Sat Dec 2 - Ethical Humanist Society, Garden City NY (Ham and Swiss)
Sat Nov 11 - Ethical Humanist Society, Garden City NY
Sun Oct 15 - Topic House (a drug rehab center)
Oct 10 - Westbury library, Westbury NY - library concert series
Fri Oct 6 - location unknown Huntington NY
Sat Sep 23 - YOM, Levittown, NY
Jun 17 - Westbury Jr High School prom - under a giant parachute!
Jun 14 - Quaker Meeting House, Westbury NY - for John Haynes campaign
May 13 - City Island, Bronx NY - "Arts and Flowers" festival during Bronx Week; outdoor park gig; photos taken by Sally Unger
Mar 17 - Westbury Jr High School - 3rd place in battle of the bands; recorded
May 6 - Asparagus 2, Westbury High School - A cast of thousands!
Jan - Pines Hotel (Catskill mountains) - sent by Southpark Productions

Oct - Westbury High School, Westbury NY (Thorne and Klyph playing a mid-day, school jam)
Aug 30 - Guild Hall, Easthampton NY Malneck Livinston - Op Mix light show. Presented by Guild Hall Multimedia Workshop.
Jul - Aug - Hard Ham and Swiss (various Hamptons gigs e.g. pool party where we were thrown out after playing "Dark Star" & Easthamptom YMCA on Friday Nights.)
May - Asparagus 1, Westbury High School
date unknown - Westbury Rec Center
date unknown - Westbury Hebrew Congregation, Westbury NY - Malneck Livinston - dance; gig with Jimmy Rogers as lead singer.