Cary Pierce’s Summer Of Love

Cary Pierce missed 1967 — the Summer of Love.

He was born 2 years later. That’s the year Bryan Adams sang about in “Summer of ’69” — his summer of ’85 hit.

Cary Pierce, in the Staples HIgh School 1987 yearbook.

In that same summer of ’85, Cary was a rising Staples High School junior. He made Westport musical history when Hall & Oates failed to appear at Longshore for Westport’s 150th birthday celebration. (They had a good reason: It was a hoax. They’d never been booked. Read the back story here.)

Cary’s band, Pseudo Bleu, stepped in to save the day.

He had 2 years of Westport fun left. A talented guitarist and soccer goalkeeper, popular and active in after-school clubs, he made the most of that time.

The summer of ’87 — right after graduation — was magical for Cary. Riding around town with friends; hanging out at Arnie’s Place and Dairy Queen; taking his boat to Cockenoe, just being a free-and-loose Westport teenager in the weeks before college was a time he’ll never forget.

Now he’s immortalized the summer of ’87 in song.

For more than 30 years, Cary and his Southern Methodist University classmate Jack O’Neill have fronted Jackopierce. The band shared stages with Dave Matthews, Counting Crows, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Matchbox Twenty and Widespread Panic. They’ve performed in clubs and at colleges across America — and before 500,000 people at the Texas Motor Speedway.

“87” was released as a single a few days ago. It’s part of Jackopierce’s next album. With the right promotion, it could do for the summer of 1987 what Bryan Adams did for ’69.

Nearly 35 years later, key images are seared in Cary’s memory. He took a bit of artistic (and chronological) license. But it all works.

He remembers his friend’s mother’s car: a red Trans Am. The parties with Fairfield girls who went to Greens Farms Academy. Video games: Tron, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Asteroids, Tetris and Robotron.

Our Summer of Love before we shipped off
It was just like heaven — ’87.

Some of the best times involved the water. He had a Boston Whaler knockoff. To him, it was a yacht.

With friends Cree Crawford, Sean Fitzpatrick, Wyman Chu and Doug Dryburgh, Cary would head to Peter’s Bridge for sandwiches. Then it was off to the marina, and onto the Sound. “What a way to grow up!” he says. “We never stood still.”

Of course, neither does time. With each day, the end of summer drew closer.

Jamie left for England, never to see her again
Dana moved in to the City, with her City fancy friends
Davey bounced around some before landing in LA
William went to Williams where I think he is today.

As for Cary:

I set out for Dallas with a guitar on my back
Said goodbye now to the East Coast, met a Kangaroo named Jack.

That’s Jack, his musical partner. Kangaroos were the mascot of his Killeen High School sports teams. Cary does not miss a trick.

Jack O’Neill (left) and Cary Pierce.

Our Summer of Love before we shipped off
It was just like heaven
Our Summer of Love was never enough
We were young and driven ’87.

He says “87” was “super easy to write.” He went down several rabbit holes, including long-ago video games and long-lost friends.

Musically, it started out “country and bluegrass-y.” His bass player “straightened it out,” lending a Tom Petty vibe.

After recording the track with their band the Mustangs, Jackopierce began playing it live. Fans love it.

It doesn’t matter when they —  or you — were born. 1969, 1987 — if you were ever a teenager, you can probably relate to a summer you loved.

(To listen to “87” on your favorite platform, click here.)

14 responses to “Cary Pierce’s Summer Of Love

  1. “Straightened it out” from “country and bluegrass.”????? I don’t think so.

  2. If you haven’t heard Jackopierce’s cover of “Please Come to Boston” look it up. You’re in for a treat!

  3. Thanks so much Dan! I’m so grateful for the article and for my foundation in Westport starting with you on the soccer field at Long Lots in 1981! And thank you Mark Lassoff for the kind words!

  4. James R. Morgan

    Look at 1/2 of one of my favorite bands just casually commenting in the comments section of one of my favorite websites!

    Summer of ‘87 holds a special place for me, then a rising 4th grader, as well – spent a lot of time “down the shore”, spent the rest of the time trying – and mostly failing! – to learn BMX tricks, and saw Space Balls about 100 times in the theater – so couldn’t be more excited about this one, especially now with the Westport connection.

    “Discovered” the band right around the time of the split, so here’s hoping I’ll finally get to see you live!

    • Cary Pierce

      Sweet! thanks man. Where you live now?

      • James R. Morgan

        Live in Westport now, but grew up in Central PA (Lewisburg, which people know either for Bucknell or the Federal penitentiary, depending on the crowd they run with), followed by a stint in Chicago where I lived with a dude from Austin who had ‘Decade’ on constant rotation (though turns out I did recognize ‘Vineyard’ immediately as it may or may not have gotten teed up in a few dorm rooms late night…)

        Grateful for all the wonderful music you’ve put out, and all the music that’s still to come!

  5. James Waldron

    Cary, heard ‘Vineyard’ on mvy I think yesterday. Great song, nothing like MV. You coming to MV or maybe, ‘The Box’ soon?

    • Thanks J Dub! Wekked pessuh… hope to be back on the VinYud next summah, Brew! My Uncle Ed Pierce is a Vineyarder. Works for the town of Edgartown if you live out there 😉

  6. Dick Lowenstein

    Dick Pierce, Cary’s dad, and I worked together at IBM. He gave me the lead on the real estate agent, Joan Angle, who found a home for us on Greens Farms Road. I lost touch with Dick after he moved from his house on Clapboard Hill Road to, I recall, Colorado.

    • Hey Dick! Wow! Have not heard Joan’s name in a LONG time. She sold us our house (now gone) on 18 clapboard hill in 81 and they moved out in the early 90’s. My mother passed a few years ago and my Dad now lives in St Petersburg, FL and doing great. Drop him a line – Thank you!

  7. Jeanette Dryburgh

    Douglas Dryburgh was instrumental in starting Pseudo Blue. The guitars, amps, music, ALL Douglas. Nice article, Dan Woog, ever check your facts?

    • Bill Strittmatter

      No, Dan doesn’t do that. It’s a blog. He’s not a journalist. Lighten up.

      Having said that, even if Douglas Dryburgh started PseudoBlue and all the music and instruments were his, unless you are saying Cary had nothing to do with the band, it is probably accurate to say it was his band much like saying the Beatles were Ringo Starr’s band notwithstanding Ringo was neither a founding member nor primary singer/songwriter.

    • Mrs Dryburgh – I’m so sorry this article upset you. Of course Doug, along with Steve Middleton, Matt Levine Carlos and I was a founder of our High School band Pseudo Bleu – a name Doug brought with him from California.

      There is another 06880 post from Oct 2020 that mentions Doug. It can be found here:

      I will be forever grateful to Doug for teaching me my first chords, lending me his guitar and being a best friend & band mate – and again – I am so sorry this article hit you the wrong way – as it was simply intended to promote the new song we (jackopierce) have out called “87.”

      Dan Woog (the owner/writer of this 06880 Blog) was our Staples Soccer coach and is still head coach up there. We have stayed in touch over the years and I am so grateful for him writing about my music.

      We were all so saddened by Doug’s passing and I’m so glad you and I got to reconnect last year over the phone.

      If it’s ok with you, I like to think a small part of Doug lives on in me and my playing and my songs.

      Blessings to you, Doug Sr, Alec and the rest of your family. – Cary Pierce

      ps – I’m sorry to see the very off-base and very insensitive post below. To set the record straight – if we’re sticking with the Beatles theme (not often I get to bask in that comparison) – Doug and I were definitely Lennon and McCartney. 😉