The headline in the “Local Beat” section of today’s paper reads “Colorblind James Experience Reunites.” I wish! Chuck Cuminale, aka Colorblind James (both colorblind and real name, James), song writer extraordinaire, lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player, has been dead ten years now. Chuck insisted that the lyrics to his songs be included in any lp or cd package. They address life’s big themes and read like poetry, dark and funny and sweet, a world away from trendy punk or new wave of the day. Chuck was humble but opinionated. He knew exactly what he wanted in a backing band and he ran a tight ship.
Gary Brandt took this photo of Chuck when Colorblind James opened for Personal Effects at Scorgies in 1985. Gary worked at Midtown and MotoPhoto and used to shoot black and white film and run it through the color processor at work to achieve this look. It was Colorblind’s first gig at Scorgies and Bernie Heveron, PE’s former bass player was on stand up bass. The band had recently settled in Rochester after a stint in San Francisco and Phil Marshall, Chuck’s brother-in-law, moved back with the band on lead guitar. Gary Miexner, who was with Colorblind when we first saw them at Red Creek in 1980, was back in the band as well. Jim McAvaney was the perfect drummer for Chuck’s theatrical numbers.
Chuck is seen performing “Considering A Move To Memphis” above. The band could move mountains and continued to do so with Ken Frank, now with Margaret Explosion, on bass. Tonight, with Chuck’s son Mark standing in for his father, they pay their respects at Abilene.
Chuck gave us a copy of their first 45 at that Red Creek gig. Jan Marshall did the cover art. This is the B side.