We had an early link to this video, one that we weren’t supposed to share, but I’m happy to hear it has gone public now. We heard stories about the Cassorla brothers long before we ever met them. Most of the stories involved pranks or explosions. They built a reputation in West Irondequoit. Once we became friends they’d bring large containers of pretzels to our parties, salty stuff their father, Red, delivered to all the mom and pop stores in the city. They’d also bring stuff that blew up pretty good.
Red worked out of a warehouse over by the Public Market and didn’t retire until his late eighties when the brothers and Red all moved out west. Red was a Sephardic Jew from Spain and his sons drove him back here every year for the holy days. They’d all come to the Little to hear the band and catch up with old friends. Red’s eyes would light up when Peggi spoke Spanish to him.
And, although we never talked about it, I think there might have been a connection to the Cassorla brothers when Peggi and I hosted a wedding reception for our bass player many years ago. I was spinning records in the living room and the bass player’s brother asked me if it was ok to set off some fireworks outside. I said “Sure” and went on playing records until we heard the explosion. Neighbors for miles around called the cops. There were ten police cars out front when they rang our doorbell. They asked if I was the owner of the house and I said, yes. They said, “Come on, we’re going downtown.” I was guilty on all counts.
They put handcuffs on me and put me in the back seat. I could see our neighbors looking out their windows at me. For some reason we never went downtown. I watched the parents of the bride and groom leave our house and the party fizzle. Peggi told me later that the remaining guests carried on a lively debate as to whether the guy that actually set the fireworks off should fess up but he couldn’t do that because he had more fireworks in his car and he worked for the City so he was afraid he would los his job. One of the guests was a lawyer and I really wish I had heard that debate. It reminds me of the “The Dinner” with Laura Linney.
My story had a beautiful, surreal ending when after an hour or so in the back seat Steve Black left the party and walked up to the cop car. The cop slowly rolled the window down and Steve said, “Officer, I have a confession to make. I set the bomb off.” I remember saying, “Steve, what are you doing?” but the officer opened the door, put handcuffs on Steve and put him in the back seat with me. After another hour, they let us go but told us we had to be in court at nine the next morning. The charges were dropped when the arresting officer failed to show up.