First of all, let me say that I like the name Tabitha. It's Biblical, but I figure the brides' parents probably grew up like I did, watching a helluva lot of TV.
SHE came for the music.It was 1991, and Tabitha Tindale, just 20 and a Manhattan transplant, was on Long Island for a battle of the bands at a bar in Franklin Square, N.Y.
Evidently, Tabitha is a bright gal, looking for music and going to a concert venue to find it.
She took one look at Vincent Cafiso, the 22-year old guitarist of the winning band, and was a goner.She had no way of knowing she would soon become his muse, or that one day they would form the band Joy Zipper, which would be featured on the soundtracks of television shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The O.C.” No, she just knew that his waist-length wavy dark hair and deep-set soulful eyes mesmerized her.
Joy Zipper . . . sure, it sounds dirty, but just get into the story and you'll see it's a tribute.
A word on muses - careful how you choose one. Write a song for her, she's you muse. Tattoo her name and image on your bicep, she's still a muse. Undergo painful laser removal when you break up, she's still an inspiration, albeit to a five-day drunk. But just call it performance art and you're okay. Back to the story . . .
[H]e was overly conscious of his attraction to what he described as her silky blond hair and ski-slope nose.
“I told her she has Bob Hope’s nose, which I guess is an insult to a girl,” he said, recalling a poorly received early conversation.
Not as much as when he told her she had Ernest Borgnine's breasts, but a close second . . . wait, you guess it's an insult? Where have you been, Vinnie, boy?
Though he was older than she, Mr. Cafiso, a native of East Meadow, N.Y., considered himself less worldly. He had never been in a taxi or on an airplane, nor had he ever ventured into Manhattan. But he wanted to change that.
Well, I got my answer. By the way, East meadow is less than 30 miles from New York City. A train - the Long Island Rail Road - runs daily between the two stops. But if you're playing in a garage band and smoking a lot of weed in your cousin Eddie's basement rec room, well . . .
Somewhere, Billy Joel just got an inspiration for another tedious semi-autobiographical song about some poor schmuck growing up on the Island, living with his dream . . .“I’m not going to just live in East Meadow,” he remembered saying to himself. “It can’t be about sitting here and getting a job and having kids. There’s got to be more.”
Within weeks, they professed their love for each other, and he began playing her the songs he had been writing. “I’d say, ‘Why aren’t you the lead singer?’ ” she recalled. Soon enough he was, with a new band, for which she became the manager. “I was accused of being Yoko,” said Ms. Tindale.
I'm sure his old friends were thrilled. You were more than Yoko, Tabby - you were Heather. Oooh, snap!
She booked him in Manhattan clubs like CBGB’s. But for all of his dreams of fleeing Long Island, Mr. Cafiso seemed to prefer jamming with his band mates in his mother’s East Meadow basement, earning money by delivering pizza.
“She was always pushing us,” he said of Ms. Tindale, gratefully. But he had doubts. Always somewhat introverted, he became more so, and it strained their relationship.
I told you - the basement.
"Vinnie, what's that funny smell?"
"We're just burning some patchouli, Ma!"
"I told yuh, I don't like it! Now, go back to smoking pot like the Garolini boys over in Hampstead . . ."
But wait, let me give Tabitha some credit here. Granted, by the early 90's CBGB's was no longer the spot in the Village like it was a decade ago, but it's better than Sal's Pizza and Brew in Valley Stream. That's a decent booking. Vinnie's a little ingrate. Partyin' in his Ma's cellar and playin' like f***in' Mookie in Do The Right Thing.
So they broke up.
Mr. Cafiso said it was a never a question of whether he loved her, but whether he was capable of expressing it while struggling with his artistic and existential fears. Distraught, he retreated to his basement.
“My mom joked about calling an album ‘Back in the Basement,’ ” Ms. Tindale said.
Alternate title: Bang a Gong. Existential fears, my a**.
He was ready to move forward with his music and his life, and he wanted Ms. Tindale to be part of both. He asked her to sing vocals with him, and with her help he created a new sound, combining his dark lyrics with blissful melodies and breathy ’60s-style harmonies.
And a great cover for cleaning your s**t on. Twigs. Seeds. No, I have no idea what I am talking about, I had some friends tell me . . .
By 1998, they had their first record deal as Joy Zipper, which is the name of Ms. Tindale’s mother.
Mom was thrilled, I'm sure. As much as when she found out her daughter had gotten back with the pizza delivery boy.
For almost a decade, they have lived and worked in a 400-square-foot studio apartment in Manhattan. When Mr. Cafiso needs solitude to write, “I go off into my corner,” he said.
Or she'd send him there.
Yet after 17 years together (even sharing the same e-mail address), they remained hesitant about marriage.As Mr. Cafiso approached 40, his perspective shifted. “In the last year I’ve been feeling I’ve got one foot in and one foot out,” he said. “I’m a little old to say ‘This is my girlfriend.’ ” So he proposed that they celebrate his 40th by embracing conjugal conventionality.
Whoa, cuz - dude finally grew up. I am just wondering where that one foot is planted and where the other one isn't. The front door? The grave? The head shop down on 8th Street?
In front of their 126 guests, they promised to collaborate “when our love is simple and when it is an effort,” and then the bridegroom passionately kissed the bride again and again.
But he still misses the basement . . .