Practicing In Neb Borkovitch’s Basement Jan 5th 1979

Here’s a little collection of photos of a very young Parousia honing our chops in a surreal fiberglass lined basement.  Classic.

We suspect this is the basement referred to by Joseph Michael Mahfoud in this Buffalo Rising article.  Kind of cool to be mentioned in the same breath with Talas and Spyro-Gyra by such a talented guitarist and dedicated musician!

Gerry shares some memories of Neb and the very early days of the developing Parousia:

Neb was a great musician, a good friend of ours and an avid supporter of Parousia.  He owned a double-neck Gibson guitar similar to the one Jimmy Page played.  Neb would let Garth use it when we performed the Led Zeppelin song, “Stairway to Heaven” (full version with flute-o-phone) at McVans.

Like me, Neb lived in Riverside and in those days (as we often did), we were looking for yet another place to rehearse.  The extreme loudness of our seven member rock band (plus entourage) forced us to migrate from space to space always relying on the kindness of friends and family to help find us a new “home” to practice and write our songs.  Neb was nice enough to convince his parents to let us rehearse in his basement.  It was tight quarters in that room as you can see and we were surrounded/heavily exposed to pink fiberglass.  Neb built that room to be well soundproofed and back then no one knew about the full hazards associated with fiberglass.  We certainly knew how itchy it made us feel.

Our time at Neb’s was short lived however; his parents couldn’t handle our band traipsing in and out of his basement at 4:00 in the morning after our late-night gigs at McVans and Brush Gardens, etc.  Anyway, hats off to Neb for giving us the space to do our thing.

Neb and Parousia’s relationship actually began around 1976.  Around that time we wrote a song with Neb called “Prisoners of Nature”.  We recorded it in the basement of Mike Newell’s house (our bass player).  It was a seven minute rock extravaganza with a “Pink Floyd meets the Doors” kind of quality to it.  I say the Doors mainly because of the Vox Jaguar organ that Steve Soos used in the song.  I also recall that we recorded every instrument using a generous amount of flange or phase shifting effects… very spacey and swirly… except the vocal track.  The lyrics talk about how man is extorting nature for his own personal gain and destroying the beauty of the Earth… a very timely message for the mid-seventies I suppose.

Garth Huels Jan 5th 1979

Garth Huels Jan 5th 1979

Dave Maltbie Jan 5th 1979

Dave Maltbie Jan 5th 1979

Dave Maltbie & Bob Lowden Jan 5th 1979

Dave Maltbie & Bob Lowden Jan 5th 1979

Bob Lowden January 5th 1979

Bob Lowden January 5th 1979

Kim Watts January 5, 1979

Kim Watts January 5, 1979

Kim Watts and friend  Donna Jan 5th1979

Kim Watts and friend Donna Jan 5th1979

122 Condon Ave, Buffalo, NY

The early Parousia incubator… 122 Condon Ave, Buffalo, NY

122 Condon Ave (close up)

Neb Borkovitch’s basement 122 Condon Ave


3 comments for “Practicing In Neb Borkovitch’s Basement Jan 5th 1979

  1. Gerry North
    July 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Guitarist John Mahfoud from the aforementioned “Buffalo Rising” article sent an email reminding us that Neb’s house was located at 122 Condon Avenue in Riverside and it was John’s Aunt Mickey who would come down from the second floor to the basement and sing songs with us.

    John also remembers Garth’s guitar, a black Gibson Les Paul facsimile made by Halifax (a coveted instrument). The quality of the facsimile was so good Gibson threatened Halifax with a lawsuit!

    John, thanks for mentioning us in your Buffalo Rising article and double thanks for spelling PAROUSIA correctly!

    P.S> You can hear some of John’s music at John cut this disc with Ted Reinhardt, the drummer for SpyroGyra.

  2. Barry Cannizzaro
    September 25, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I also remember those very early days of our band Parousia constantly searching around for a stable practice place. We started off as a three piece (myself on guitar, my brother Jerry on drums, and Pat Connolly on flute and vocals) practicing at our home on Baxter street in Riverside. After we started adding more members to our band we practiced in our grandparents garage; then their basement; eventually moving into an abandoned building on Rano street where we hid all the bodies. RELAX! Just jiving with you players! It was only I believe after I started to work at Super Duper off of Ontario street in Riverside, did I get a chance to meet Neb Borkavich; who worked along with me as a consumate professional; that is a lowly stockboy; yeeesh! It is around that time that we moved our equipment into his basement on Condon street. Besides having a Gibson Les Paul; Neb also had a Gibson SG in which he would play it down his basement for me. This guy sounded just like Alvin Lee from the band 10 Years After; playing one blazing lead after another. Ironically enough, Neb told me that there were guitar players back in Yugoslavia (his original homeland) who could make him look “sick” on the guitar. He stated that these kids worked on their parent’s farms all day long; then come into their homes in the evening; clean up; have dinner; then afterwards they would practice their guitars. These children were “dirt poor”, so they only had very cheap, broken down, K-Mart like guitars (no intentional slam on K-Mart, but I think you get my drift); however Neb told me when they picked up their guitars; they made them COME ALIVE!!!!! He said it was just like magic! WOW, I can only imagine how great they were; probably never or very little chance to be discovered by the world; truly unknown, closet musicians. Can you just think of how many more great unknown musicians there are all over the world that we may never hear from? What a waste of talent I say to you pilgrims! America’s Got Talent (AGT) show needs to branch out and expand to The World’s Got Talent in my humble opinion.

    I hope I added a little insight to my experiences regarding Neb Borkovitch’s basement. Keep the faith pilgrims!

    Barry from Parousia!

  3. Patt Connolly
    October 6, 2015 at 8:46 am

    The fact was, for those of us who were singing and taking deep breaths of that dust, we knew the hazards. You can see by Kim’s pictures that she was more than normally pissed off, and eventually refused to go in there. I knew we had no choice at the time. Although it was very quiet, it would have been better if Neb had not put the insulation in backwards, and had the foil side out. We all started to wear hats since the dust actually irritated the scalp, especially if you accidentally brushed up against the fiberglass.

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