About Twinn Connexion

about_01.jpgMy twin brother Jay and I grew up in Big Sky country, Montana. In our grade school and high school in Helena, we had great fun switching places, confusing our teachers and friends.

While in high school, Jay and I hosted our own television show, Teen Time Varieties on KXLJ-TV. We were lucky enough to be taken under the wing of Doris Marshall, our high school drama teacher, who cast us in the school plays. We were continually writing songs and performing at various clubs around the state. Doris owned and operated the Old Brewery Theatre, a summer stock playhouse in Helena, and from the age of twelve we performed summers in the plays, musicals, and Saturday night variety shows. Marsh, as we called her, hired most of her actors from New York City and on one casting trip to the Big Apple, she took us with her. We fell in love with the Great White Way. 

Our first roles at the Old Brewery Theatre were as Horace and Henry in The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker. Years later we played the same roles but this time it was for Imperial Margarine, a national television commercial as The Imperial Margarine Twins. It was that very commercial that paid for our tour of the Midwest with our single Sixth Avenue Stroll.

At the University of Montana, we got our taste of Shakespearian roles, I as Prospero in The Tempest and Jay as title role in King Lear. These were full productions mounted at MSU in Missoula.

In January 1963, we arrived in New York with about $100.00 between us. We found a room on West 76th Street for $16.00 a week and soon had work as waiters at a coffee house on Bleeker Street. 

Next, it was Off Broadway. I became assistant stage manager and actor in John Arden's Sergeant Musgrave's Dance and assistant to the costume designer, Ann Roth. I was also assistant stage manager for Norman Mailer's The Deer Park where I received my equity card. Jay also got a job as an assistant stage manager of The Mad Show with music by Mary Rogers. After the shows came down each night, Jay and I would meet at the Champagne Gallery on MacDougal Street where we would perform. Bill Downer, an executive from Northern Publishing, discovered us in New York City.

In 1965, I got a costume job at the famous Green Mansions in the Adirondacks, the birthplace of the Group Theatre. It was there that I met Bob Cessna. We became close companions and that fall Bob, Jay and I formed Twinn Connexion with Bob as manager. Our first recording was a single at Columbia with Thomas Z. Shepard as producer of the song, Your Porch Swing Squeaks. It was this demo that gave us our recording start. The next singles we recorded were for Decca, which took us on a tour of the Midwest. It was great fun driving along and hearing our music playing on radio stations, especially in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Youngstown.

Jay and I released our first album on Decca records in 1968 with songs by Jerry Keller and David Blume.

playboy_party.jpgThe release of the self-titled album on October 4, 1968 was celebrated with a huge party at the New York Playboy Club. My sister Patty was one of the bunnies at the Club. The party was a star-studded event with Cousin Brucie, Monte Rock, Carolyn Hester, Hugh Marlowe and fifty gorgeous bunnies in full regalia. 

Twinn Connexion appeared in many publications including Eye, 16, Teen World, Teen Life, Spec and After Dark.  There were also television appearances on Come Alive in Pittsburgh, The Bob Braun Show in Cincinnati, Swingin' Time in Detroit and the biggest rock show of all, Upbeat out of Cleveland. Upbeat called us back for a second spot.

Decca also produced a film of Twinn Connexion seen in the United States, Vietnam and Korea. Twinn Connexion was on the charts in the Midwest and Sixth Avenue Stroll was number one in Mexico City Radio Universal that Decca Orfeon issued a second pressing, Caminando Por La Sexto Avenida re-issued for Mexico and South America. Twinn Connexion was nominated for a Naras (Grammy) in 1969 for their version of the Cyrkle's hit Turn Down Day.

When Decca was sold and promotion of Twinn Connexion was cut back, Jay got involved with stock trading on Wall Street and I went back to art school, graduating from SUNY in 1976.

cloud_001.jpgI am now happy to report that I am a recognized painter in Woodstock, New York.

On September 6, 2001, Jay died suddenly of heart failure and I am still in a state of shock. In his apartment, I discovered tracks of vocals of music we had been working on, songs that we recorded but never released. I decided to re-master them and with these tracks I bring you our second album, Songs from the Heart. I'm so sorry Jay wasn't here to have been a part of these sessions because making music was such a joy for him.

Twinn Connexion, the original album, was re-issued in 2003 by Hugo Montes Productions. Twinn Connexion tracks can be found on several sunshine pop compilations including Morning Glory Daze, MCA Universal Soft Rock Collection and the Get Easy Sunshine Pop Collection MCA Universal.  Tracks can also be found in the Internet at Last.fm.

Tony Coulter Show at WFMU-FM in Jersey City debuted the first track released on Songs from the Heart, Letter from Dad and Mom. James Addyman at Down in the Grooves on BBC, Leeds debuted the same track.

Jerry Hopkins, Twinn Connexion