Frank A. Stokes (1954-2010) said "Stokesified" to describe how any sound he heard he made his own. Raised in Brooklyn NY, he saw the rock and roll shows of Alan Freed and Murray The K. Playing in the 1970's CBGB's underground, emerging after meeting Jaco Pastorius as a jazz composer on fretless bass and recording, Frank Stokes honored his Native American heritage by offering each note as a prayer. More
Frank A. Stokes (1954-2010) coined a personal term, Stokesified, to describe how any sound he heard he made his own. Raised with an uncle running Brooklyn, New York's RKO Theater, Frank Stokes would from the age of three, as soon as he was able to stand, spend days and nights in the theater. Growing up in Brooklyn he would be backstage then up front as Alan Freed and Murray The K presented the seminal acts of rock and roll. Frank Stokes vividly recalled his admiration for Frankie Lymon, girl groups such as The Shirelles along with Martha And The Vandellas then spoke of remembering the spotlight shining on Jackie Wilson just feet away from him. His Native American father and his mother, who claimed to be a relative of Al Capone, never married. When his parents separated Frank Stokes was placed in a lower Manhattan orphanage. Upon finding his mother and bringing his siblings back together with her Frank Stokes was plunged into a nightmare of violence not at all of his making. His mother's first husband was an abusive alcoholic destined to die at a young age. In painfully honest detail Frank Stokes describes beatings, dishes being smashed over his head and a car crash that sent him through a windshield, permanently impairing his vision. Music would always be the focus of his life as he grew up. Frank describes buying his first bass and playing his first performances, including the time he stood alone as a teenager at a Pow Wow along Brooklyn's 4th Avenue to perform Old Ones Song, one of his first compositions, a song he would record and perform throughout his later years. Frank Stokes made his way into the 1970's New York City underground music scene meeting Geoffrey Crozier then Otto von Ruggins. Crozier had come from Australia as a nationally recognized magician with enough gear to fill 13 steamer trunks sitting on a barge moored off Staten Island. Otto von Ruggins was the founder and keyboard player of Kongress. With Crozier up front before a burning cauldron doing incantations Frank Stokes built a reputation as one of the loudest, most powerful bassists on the scene. Playing the 1976 Max's Kansas City Halloween show above Suicide and Dead Boys, Kongress would famously be banned from CBGB's after their pyrotechnics singed Hilly Kristal's beard as Kristal attempted to order them off the stage. The book brings Frank Stokes and Otto von Ruggins back together for what would be their only joint interview. The producer behind the show, the late Bleu Ocean, a former CBS Records session drummer who recorded for Pink Floyd's original album of The Wall, is also interviewed about how he expanded Kongress into Shanghai Side Show. Geoffrey Crozier was found dead in Australia in 1981. His letters back to Frank and Frank's late wife, Marie Stokes, (also interviewed for the book) make for a moving, revealing glimpse into the world of magic. Frank Stokes spoke of working as he got married then his mother died from cancer at a Brooklyn recording studio. Coming back from an audition in the city, Frank spotted Jaco Pastorius sitting under a tree clutching a basketball to his stomach. Frank exchanged numbers with Jaco, not expecting to hear from him again. Much to Frank's surprise Jaco called 2 nights later. Frank had a cab sent to Manhattan to bring Pastorius back to Brooklyn, then locked his friends out for a night as they played, Frank on bass, Jaco on drums and piano. Frank played Jaco a new composition of his, Prelude. Jaco would leave wearing one of Frank's shirts, as the shirt Jaco showed up in needed a week of soaking in Pine Sol before anyone would go near it. Jaco would keep in touch by phone, and upon Jaco's death Frank would not make music for six months. Frank Stokes would go from breathing fire as part of the underground's most deeply adventurous supergroup to playing jazz downtown in the shadow of the World Trade Center. Stokesified! details the effects of the attack on the life and career of Mr. Stokes and those around him.
Available ebook formats: