Some Dark Days after the Silver Laughter Breakup

Ken and Mick in Mill Valley

Ken and Mick in Mill Valley

I have been giving some thought to the days after the Silver Laughter breakup; the Double Shot days and the subsequent move to California. Now while I am glad we ended up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I look back and wonder if we had made that third album would we have finally broken through to the big time?

As you will hear from the lyrics of the Wiles-Orton collaboration of songs there is a very dark side to the words, though Ken usually kept me laughing through it all. We did manage to keep our sense of humor as the real world came crashing down on us in 1980.

Ken and I started writing when Double Shot was on the road. Our first tune was a sort of disco-flavored number called “It’s Such A Shame”. To me it had kind of an ELO feeling to it. After that was a series of songs with dark lyrics indicating the tough times we found ourselves in. “Down and Out” was one of the first as was “So Long (Suicide Song)”. “Running Away” was about not wanting to get old and “Mr. Kool” was about the nerdy teenager who was now the coolest guy in the room.

Later on we tried to form a cover band called No Hands with guitarist Rusty Gauthier and drummer Robin Franco. I think we even played one job before deciding it wasn’t going to work. Rusty went on to join the New Riders and played with them from 1982-1997.

Both “Mr. Kool” and “Running Away” were performed in a three piece new wave band I joined sometime around 1982 called the Secrets (originally the band was called The Balls). Roger Carroll was the main writer and vocalist on guitar, Doug on drums and me on bass. Roger wrote some really catchy tunes, and I was sure we would be discovered. We did quite a few performances around the Bay Area, but hardly got any notice. To be honest, that period of my life was such a blur, it’s hard to recall all the details.

More on this later.

Mick Orton



Categories: History

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