This was Parousia’s first paid gig ever. We were to earn an unprecedented $200.00! We were very excited because the Holy Angels Academy Sophomore/Freshman date dance was our golden opportunity to break out into a larger market where bands got paid to play. Over 100 high school students were expected to be in attendance at Holy Angels, our biggest audience to date!
Alan Swan, (fellow St. Joseph’s alumnus, close friend and fan of Parousia), was helping us land the gig at Holy Angels through his girlfriend (and present day wife), Rae Anne Hertel, who was attending School there.
Alan has a special place in the history of our rock band because back in the summer of 1975, the members of Parousia came together for the first time in Alan’s tent that was set up on his front lawn. It was there that we decided to name the band “Parousia” and who was going to play what instruments. Then we decided who would be the band’s manger, booking agent, advertising, etc. Alan was our first booking agent and Gary Cherneski would help out with advertising. We were happy to have both of these good friends in our little rag-tag entourage.
The Holy Angels gig was such an important show that we started rehearsing our set of songs twice a week. Along the way, we were being heavily scrutinized by Alan and Rae Anne who had a lot invested in us and wanted to be sure we were ready and sounding good. They were very concerned about whether we had the “right mix of songs” appropriate for a high-school date dance and that we had someone ‘great’ to sing them.
That’s when Rae Anne, Alan and the Holy Angels Academy decided they wanted us to work with a singer they knew and liked, Bob Byzante. It was put to us in this way… either we include him in the gig or, we didn’t get the gig. Well, we knew that if we wanted to make the transition from garage band to working band we had to take him on and give it a try. So, Byzante started practicing with Parousia on May 9, 1976. We captured these photos from one of our rehearsals in my grandma’s garage located at 105 Baxter Street in Riverside.
With the proverbial gun to our head, we tried our best to get along with Byzante, but we didn’t have the same set of songs in mind to perform at the show. We had a different vision of Parousia. We strived to achieve a more progressive rock sound, while Byzante’s idea was for us to sound more like the Brady Bunch.
The gap grew wider with each rehearsal. In the last six days before the show, we fired him on May 19th and the grand responsibility of being the lead vocalist for the band was passed onto Patt Connolly.
Before this day, the responsibility for singing the songs fell on me and Barry, John and Patt. However, at the moment we fired Bob Byzante, it became official… from now on Patt Connolly would be the lead singer and front man for Parousia and so it remained up until the band retired in 1992.