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 Post Posted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:39 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:02 pm
Posts: 11
In August 1971, I was a snotty-nosed 17 year-old kid who thought he knew everything about music. I bought a two-track stereo sound-with-sound demo recording for a rock opera I had composed called Today The Sky Is Black which, in retrospect, left a lot to be desired (but remember, I thought I knew it all!). I was allowed to play it for Cosimo Matassa during a quiet period at Jazz City Studios. After it finished playing, he offered me the use of unbooked time in his studio so that I could record an 8-channel version of the composition. Over the course of about three months, I (along with a couple of friends of mine) embarked on an attempt to create a high-quality master of my audio vision, which was completed on December 21, 1971; I remember this date because that afternoon, I subsequently went with one of my collaborators, David Ellis, to the first showing of Frank Zappa's movie 200 Motels. As a first effort, I soon found a number of holes in my concept that swore me off of writing rock operas forever; however, I am grateful to this day that Cosimo gave me the tools with which to realize my ideas, for better or worse.

Cosimo again opened the doors of the studio to me in the winter and spring of 1972 so that I could record a collection of new material I had written over the next few months - the end result was an album called Smoke A Roach (yeah, some pioneer, eh?). I liked this collection better than the rock opera, and played my copy of the mixdown until the oxide on the tape wore off. Shortly thereafter, I joined the military and did not return to New Orleans until the summer of 1983; however, when I was in town, I would stop by Jazz City now and then to say hello.

In 1990, at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, TX, I played as a member of The Grandmothers, a group headed by former Mother of Invention, Jimmy Carl Black. It was a total surprise when I discovered that Cosimo was there, and even more of one when Jimmy told me was he told him: "You tell him to keep doing what he's doing, keep playing." I definitely did that!

During my time working with Cosimo, he gave me the ability to make decisions as to how my music would be captured on tape, which meant I made my share of mistakes along the way; however, the lessons I learned were never forgotten - experience truly has been the best teacher!

In between sessions, I spent a lot of time talking with him on the phone - if he wasn't home, his wife, who was always nice to me, would let me know when the best time was to call him back; she was never annoyed at my repeated calls to his house, and when Cosimo was home, he never ducked a single one of my calls - looking back, it became obvious that whatever we talked about, if it was important to me, it was equally important to him.

After I found out that Cosimo was the first engineer to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I made several attempts to locate him just to say thank you for giving me my start - sadly, I was unsuccessful. That doesn't mean I can't say it here!

Cosimo, when I met you I was musically ignorant, and you made me feel knowledgeable; my technique was clumsy, and you made me feel graceful - but most of all, I was a nobody, and you always made me feel like somebody special. Many thanks to you for making it possible to do what I do today - you will never be forgotten!

Roland St.Germain
Henderson, Nevada 9/20/2014

Roland St.Germain, ROOM ONE Studio
Henderson, NV

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