Chapter 5 FB: What was the scene like at school? BP: Oh, man. All old guys. ‘Bout 5-10 women, 5-10 people of color, maybe a little more than that, but not much. It was real different, diversity-wise it was really different. But most of the people who were here were either older guys who had been in the service or had been on the road with bands it was like a real -- people like to call it a trade school now. But I don't like that. I love the old Berklee. With all its flaws, I really did, ‘cause it was all about music, it was all about jazz, sorry. And it was about being a better musician, a better writer. It was real music-centric. And for me at that point, that's all I wanted. I wanted to be immersed in music. And once I got here I realized how much I didn't know. You know, I didn't know anything. I had done two years at being an oboe major at Tennessee, which I really didn't want to do. I just got a scholarship to the college. I got a work study job cleaning out the band room sweeping out the room. But as soon as I got here, as soon as I left Tennessee the oboe was done. I found out how much I really didn't know, but these -- I think the median age was probably in the early ‘20s ‘cause these are like crusty old guys. The teachers, too -- pretty crusty. I mean there was guys like, but I mean in a great way. There were great teachers here man. John Bavicchi is still here; he's a classical composer but was a great teacher and still is. Herb Pomeroy, John LaPorta, Joe Viola, oh God! some guys who just retired -- Ted Pease, [FB: Schmeling] Paul Schmeling, he was one of my teachers. I studied with all of these guys. Oh man, there was one guy at the tip who I really enjoyed. Jack Weaver. There were a lot of people here who were really influential teachers to a lot of us. They knew their craft. The coursework music-wise was more demanding, more rigorous I think, if I remember correctly, maybe it was just my own sense of history. But I remember the course material was a lot harder. FB: Was this the first time you picked up a saxophone? BP: Oh no no no. FB: You double and tripled? BP: I played oboe that was my major at the time at Tennessee State, that was just so I could get the scholarship. FB: OK. BP: Yeah, because you could get a scholarship anywhere as an oboe player. I was a saxophone player; I even knew that myself. No, I played saxophone in the marching band in high school and in the little stage band and all that stuff. FB: You play any clarinet then? BP: Actually I started off on tenor: I kinda did everything ass-backwards. I started off on tenor, then I got interested in the alto, borrowed from one of the kids who never practiced, I just wanted to borrow it. Then I started playing bass clarinet, and then I played clarinet. I just tried to pick up everything. I loved everything except the piano. My mother will attest to that. She tried to put me in piano class years ago. FB: You like that single note thing. BP: I don't know, it's just, my cousin played alto and I was kinda jealous. I was envious of him because he got all the attention at Christmas; he'd play some sort of stupid song. And everybody: “Oh, look at Johnny Joe!” you know, so I want that to be me. So that actually kinda got my interest in saxophone.