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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Check Out Another Galaxy


Alice Despard. I ask people questions now and then to get me going when I want to write a story about them, and I'm happy to give over the reins when I get answers like this one. I asked Alice how she got started, and this is what she said:
I picked up the guitar shortly after I first heard Creedence Clearwater Revival's album Cosmos Factory. It just inspired me totally. All my friends were playing guitar in 7th grade. I was 13 years old, and my boyfriend played guitar, and I thought he was so cool so I imitated him.
I asked my parents for a guitar--begged for a guitar. My dad heard me and sent me a Sears guitar: an Astro, tobacco sunburst. Hard as hell to play and the strings cut into my fingers.
I developed calluses, which I have never really lost. Then I had to beg for guitar lessons, which I took for 6 months and grew bored, realizing I could play along with my favorite albums, read tab charts, and learn all I needed by myself. I learned most of my chords from George Harrison's All Things Must Pass album. And the Stones' Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St.

I began playing with others when I was 15 and wrote my first songs then. My first band was
an all girl blue-grassy thing called Magpie Rag during my sophomore year at Whitman.
It was a good start. Our first gig was Mr. Henry's in Tenley Circle. It didn't seem to matter that we were teenagers.

And that's where Alice trails off, but those calluses she talks about, that she never really lost, are a testament to how long she has weathered the music scene. Through the years she has developed her own amazing style on the guitar. She has honed the band down to just herself and Evan Pollack on drums, but the sound is much richer than two people.
Alice used to own The Galaxy Hut ; she is the soul and heart that got this sweet little
place going. And Larry, the present owner, has done his best to keep it that way. Alice will be playing there this Monday which makes it all the better to see her in the cool little place she created- a refuge from the yuppie storm that threatens Clarendon and indeed our entire area. Art Daniels, her beloved barback will be opening.



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