The story begins at the Second Saturday Record Convention in Wayne, NJ about 1985. I found a cassette marked
“Big Star Demos,” which contained some songs that caused a small frenzy among friends that were getting into all things Big Star at the time.
Friend and WFMU DJ Bob Brainen, did some investigating (this is way before the internet) and found that the previously unheard Big Star songs were actually written by a friend of the band – Van Duren. Van had been doing some writing with Jody Stephens, and in 1975, recorded demos with legendary producer Andrew Loog Oldham.
The results were on this tape.
With the advent of Facebook, I connected with Van, who by this time had a career’s worth of LPs under his belt. I also reconnected with long-time friend Chris Bolger, who suggested recording one of the songs on the aforementioned cassette, “Andy, Please” (which was mislabeled “Breaking Your Heart in Two”).
Side A features “Andy, Please” in which Van reprises his stellar backing vocals. In his words:
“... the session was very surreal. I was singing the same parts in the same studio on the same mic in the same booth as I did in March 1975. Hard to believe, and a perspective gained I hadn’t had before.”
Also joining on the record were Chris Bolger, all-around renaissance man Dave Amels, Smithereen’s drummer Dennis Diken and NJ luminary Joe Howell.
Side B’s “Beach People” portrays another side of a tourist town. Again, I’m joined by Chris Bolger, Dennis Diken and Van Duren.
Nezrok’s “Andy, Please” b/w “Beach People” 7” single is available at select retail outlets and online through