"He's a triskadecapedal, carbon-based humidoid." This was the second-ever collaboration between the aforementioned Don Marvel and myself. For a second time, Don handed me a set of lyrics and suggested I write a song of it. I have a feeling, however, that it was  the first time he did this thinking "I"m excited to hear what Ian  will do with this." A few weeks earlier Don had given me what became "Gopher Gassin'," but that was somewhat exploratory. We were both happy with that song, so now it was more like "let's keep this going.  I can't even remember whether it was my idea that he give me lyrics? It does seem likely, as that is a way I started operating some time in  high school. I have a few songs lying around with lyrics by various seemingly random  people with whom I was in a summer show and barely ever saw again. "give me your lyrics, I'll write a song." I continued to operate this way in college, note the previously presented Snout (perhaps I never wrote this one up, but it is on the soundcloud, lyrics by Julie Gozan.)  When I saw these lyrics I remember a big smile spreading across my face. I recall it being in a  dining hall at Oberlin that Don presented them to me. There had been a reference to a "Meat Bomb" of some sort in a campus periodical. It was in character for Don to take this jumping off point to get to "Meat Balm." I believe it was Don's goal to hand me the wackiest pile of words he could come up with. This is Don Unchained.

"In the early hours of the morning..." It's time to give props to what has always felt to me like the first Anomaly song, It  is NOT one of my own, and yet never felt like a cover. Stingray was written by my friend Shaque, with whom I worked for years, back at Muze, in the 1990s. Shaque was a drummer and a really sweet guy. Everybody liked Shaque at Muze. When he and I became friends I remember feeling honored, like I"d been touched by greatness. He was a smart guy and interested in a lot of different music. The hot thing at Muze in those days was Pavement, Guided By Voices, a lot of those grungy lo-fi bands that  never got big but I imagine had a lot of opportunities because they were critics' darlings. This wasn't the kind of stuff I was into, I can't remember  if Shaque did, he had his own thing and dug bands like Man or Astro-man, whom I loved, and also had respect for some of the proggier things that I dug. At some point Shaque invited me to form a band with his then-girlfriend and he. He was teaching her drums, and he would play guitar. I don't remember what the idea for bass was, maybe I was going to get Eddy (who by this time was my roommate, as this was a couple of years before Anomaly). Anyway, this band barely even rehearsed, I seem to recall one time that I schlepped out to Sheepshead Bay with a keyboard and we played drums-keys-guitar, but I can hardly remember the actual part where we played music. The most important thing about this band that never was, was that Shaque taught me his song Stingray. It's a beautiful song. 

I love chronology. These are the bands in which I partook in my lifetime period.

1984-85 Joe Froodlonga's Squat-Like People This "band" actually started in 8th grade. Mostly just me, though my friend Corky helped a few times me  everything. mostly casio keyboard, sing and a little winds

Squats Away

Screwed-Up Song


1985 Mow the Grath really a one-shot deal. me and Corky jamming on keyboards one weekend in my basement me & Corky  casio keyboard & sing Hamburger Helper
1985 Giant's Tooth again, me and Corky looking for a good band name, one weekend in Vermont - Corky now playing drums. me & Corky  synthesizer & sing Mr Blue Sky
1985-86 Desert Wind

my first full-size cover band. We weren't very good, but we had our moments. Great bunch of people. They kicked me out eventually, shortly before renaming themselves the XYZ Affair. Notable was an original by the bassist Ann Marie, "On Our Way"

 Tom Hamel

Ann Marie Hamel

John Dillon

John Swingler

Rich Contrastano

Lisa Jones

piano, synthesizer & voice On Our Way
1986-7 Free Hand this was the main band of me and Corky really trying to play, mostly our own music, though with a few covers.

Corky Mower - drums

Kim Risley - vocals

keyboards & voice 

The Digestive System

Eleventh Earl of Mar

1986-87 Fourth World  --in various combinations. I used to drive up to Enfield all the time to participate in this, mostly Junior year of high school


Todd Parsnow Kim Risley Annette Houle 

keyboards, voice 


Two Tickets to Paradise

1986-87 Up in the Air A real cover band, back home in Newington. We played a lot of Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, a true central Connecticut band. Some great musicians. I was proud to have gotten this band to play Genesis's "Turn it on Again" however my influence in adding "The Voice" and "Swingtown" to our repertoire garners less praise

 Chris Pandee

Mike Cohen

Tony Leone

Chris Marolda

Brian Kelly

Fred Blankenburg

electric piano & synth 

Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)


LA Woman

Miami 2017

1988 Joe Falsetto and the Brass Menagerie This band was around my town for a few years, formed when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school.  I joined for one summer when it was reformed after a hiatus. Wow, great band, some fabulous musicians a number of whom are pros all from my hometown. Full horn section, we specialized in Blue Brothers covers, but also threw in tight versions of the works of Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, and the Jaco Pastorius version of  James Brown's "The Chicken"

Tony Leone

Tom Polce

Joe McMahon

Brad Pitman

Brian Kelly 

Brian Montgomery

Will Heron

Josh Guite

electric piano & synth 

The Chicken


Spinning Wheel

1990 OCMR My first college band. Neat bunch of folks, stylistically pretty varied though had  a strong folk sound, attributable to Alisa. Our vibe was dominated by the innocence of Dan's songs & the mystery of Alisa's. The jokier, oddballish nature of my songs & Don's were a nice counterpoint but didn't dominate. Everybody had a voice (literally & figuratively).

 Don Marvel

Dan Kennedy

Alisa Franklin

clarinet,keyboards & voice



Loveseats are for Guitars

Gopher Gassin'

1990 Mr Ability Over the top quirky band, dominated by Jason Mittell & Don Marvel, though eventually I was running rehearsals. Huge band, in a Parliament sort of way. Many people came and went but the core group was solid. For me the most enjoyable college group. It was just fun, and almost everything we did came out neat.  

Don Marvel

Jason Mittell

Dan Kennedy

Thisbe Nissen

Carla Kihlstedt

Matt Hubbard

keyboards, voice and clarinet

I Am the Magic Hand

Schoolhouse Rock Medley

Lucky Sukey

1991-92 Lumberbride Mostly active in 1992, this band wrote, constructed and performed a 90 minute multimedia work, which constituted my senior recital

Don Marvel

Carla Kihlstedt

Greg Myers

Matt Hubbard

Susan Hanson

clarinet, piano & synth

Younger Than You Are

Meni and Sammy


NYC YEARS        
1996 Young Elvis Tribute/Night Train  my first NYC gigs, introducing me to the Orange Bear bar   synth  Heartbreak Hotel
 1997 Trouble Dolls  First regularly gigging NYC band. I played only micromoog (occasionally piano). they kicked me out. All Doll material, no covers, none of my music. I helped develop a couple of songs which were coming together nicely. around the time of my departure Also went to a recording session they did, not sure what came of those recordings.

 Matty Doll

Cheri Doll

Mikey Doll

Dave Schneider



Fair Piece

Ice Cream Cow

1997-99 Anomaly  The final straw. My own band! Great guys, taking their best crack at the stuff I brought in. We did a solid rendition of Meat Balm the Web-Footed Groove Hound (a piece I thought was unplayable by a live ensemble when I was in college), plus some nice Steely Dan covers (notably Your Good Teeth II). It started as my keyboard trio with Eddy and Mike Caudle, the drummer from the Elvis Band. When I realized I needed help to fill in the spaces, Matt joined, lending his jazz sensibilities and self-conscious hard rock guitar. But then Mike left the country and was invited never to return. after a 6 month lull we held auditions and found Brian, who gave life to the bridge of Gopher Gassin' in ways previously unimagined. After a couple of years I was married, Eddy was kicked out of the country, Brian was moving to DC...it was time to say, "thank you very much gentlemen."

Eddy Spinosa

Matt Applebaum

Brian Lafleur 

voice, keyboards, clarinet 

The Atlantic Center


Telephone Book


This  is a tricky song that Anomaly played well.  It was a "second set" song, one of those we added after our first gig -- we didn't start working on it until a few months later, middle of 1998 or so. In spite of this, it was an older song, I wrote the music in college nearly 10 years earlier, to lyrics my friend Don Marvel had written in high school, before we met. Interestingly this was a song that never got performed by any college group of mine. Like the earlier "Meat Balm," it shifts between 6/4, 7/8 and 4/4 liberally, which can be challenging for many bands. I wonder if those college bands could have pulled it off -- I imagine so, but it would have taken some doing. Mr Ability did pull off an 11/8 groove for "Caribou" after all. Anomaly, however, developed into a crack ensemble and "Get Fuzzy" became one of our stronger numbers. I thought we rocked our time changes on this one about as hard as anyone.  

Lumberbride  was my final college band. It formed from the embers of Mr. Ability, my band of fall 1990. A significant portion of that band had gone away the in the Spring semester of 1991: I to  NYC, working for for Philip Glass, our drummer to Vienna to do what composers do, the guitarist I think went to London.. thus there would be no continuation of  the Mr Ability experience. My close friend Dan and I decided to go different ways musically, so it was unlikely that there would even be a continuation of the McGrath-Kennedy duo that had also propelled our previous band, OCMR. I came back to campus my senior year and I wasn't even sure I would have a band.

I did have a couple of recitals to complete, as I was working on a music degree. Dutifully, I dispatched my junior recital, the heart of which was comprised of music I had written and arranged while in NYC the previous semester. It was a mix of new songs and older electronic pieces I had written for classwork. I was quite proud of it at the time and it was well-received, but listening to it now, it doesn't hold up so well. A reasonably good effort though.


I have a fair number of recordings of Anomaly performing. My now wife, Maria, used to bring my portable Steroo Sony recording cassette player to all of ours gigs and got some pretty darn good recordings. A few have some chatter from the people around her, but most are highly listenable.