I used to be three people, figuratively, of course. I would not want you to think I suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder. But, I used to be Pharrssongs, then Bodo, then Bodo V. (Bodo Vespaciano). And that was how I signed all my artwork up to 2018. Bodo Vespaciano became the trademark for the art and music I did. Now I have reverted back to my own name.
In any event, “1973” became the most popular song of my group, or association, I should say, that I formed somewhere around the year 2001. I called the group “AJA.” The letters stand for Abstract Jazz Arrangement. The purpose was to create a place for musicians to get together with other like-minded players and create as they pleased. The only prerequisite was that you had to sort of promise to stick to the formula of improvisation, letting the soloist become also the composer and making songs with rhythm. In other words you’ve got to be a disciple of Jazz and adhere to the definition created by the great masters of the genre.
“1973” we had to record with electronic drums, lamentably because our drummer passed away. I wrote the words, the melody, the chord chart and the lead guitar player, who I did not let listen to the song prior to his participation, improvised his way into the tune and created a lead guitar line throughout the song. I also let him improvise the harmonies for the background vocals. I played rhythm on a Fender Stratocaster and he played a Gibson Les Paul. I also played the bass, a Fender Jazzmaster, and sang the lead vocals. The recording was done live in studio.
The photographs you see are from different aspects of my life during the early 1970’s. During the first three parts of the song, the photos are mostly from Miami. Towards the end, the pictures reveal the actual time, which I believe was 2014. You see some of my paintings from 2003 as well.
The lyrics speak of a man who is drinking at a bar and thinking back upon his life. I guess you could say that the photos in the little clip are the character’s memory, flashing back to a simpler life in which he thought of himself as being much more capable of succeeding than at the present time.
Just to clear the air, the song is not autobiographical. The photographs are. In 1972 I did have a 1967 Mustang and later that year I bought a ’67 Dodge Coronet R/T Magnum. Then in 1973 I had to exchange my hot rod wheels for a Dodge Dart, a grandma car, because that was the year of the gas crisis and the Coronet R/T did eight miles to the gallon.
Reference the other pics, yes it is true I went to the Army. Yes, some of those pics show parts of my neighbourhood. Some are of parts of the city of Miami and Miami Beach, where I lived during those years. One shows a typical Cuban coffee shop, where you stand outside the window and order a “cafelito.” This particular one was on Southwest Eighth Street, the “Little Havana” area of the city of Miami. I think that place was there until about the end of the eighties.
That is me in many of the pics. That is me when and where I was deployed. That is me trying to think of myself as a grown up when I was only eighteen at the time. Some of my friends are in there too as are some of the places and things that don’t exist anymore in Miami, like Jackson/Byrons, (a department store), and the Orange Bowl.
A song is an artistic creation. No matter how close it gets to reality, it never reaches absolute truth for art is not reality, it is a mere reflection. A work of art must create a fictional world that can be manipulated by the creator, like a fantasy. A good work of art elicits in the spectator or listener an emotional response that is real. But the emotions represented by the artist or by the song, in this case, are carefully and artistically crafted and in no way should be confused with true emotion. I always bear in mind what I learned from studying Konstantin Stanislavsky who emphasised that raw emotion is not art.