Virtual Reality – Dress Rehearsal at Uncle Studios. N. Hollywood

Here are some pictures of Parousia’s dress rehearsal at Uncle Rehearsal Studios in N. Hollywood.  The day before our debut of “Virtual Reality” at the Whisky a Go-Go on the Sunset Strip, January 27, 1991.

Virtual Reality” was a type of theatrical performance; a rock-play based on the technology of the same name.  Once we finished the writing and choreography we realized that the look and sound of the production fell somewhere in between “Tommy” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

Patt Connolly, Gerry Cannizzaro and Kenny Gray

Patt Connolly, Gerry Cannizzaro and Kenny Gray at Uncle Rehearsal Studios, N, Hollywood, CA

Patt Connolly, Gerry Cannizzaro and Kenny Gray

Patt Connolly, Gerry Cannizzaro and Kenny Gray

Patt Connolly, Gerry Cannizzaro Jeremy Yeremian and Kenny Gray.

Patt Connolly, Gerry Cannizzaro Jeremy Yeremian and Kenny Gray.

After Parousia’s “sneak preview” performance of Virtual Reality at Madame Wong’s back in November of 1990, we brought the show back to another round of rehearsals to enhance the performance and iron out any kinks in the flow.  The band members and performers in attendance: Downey Cane played by Patt Connolly, vocals and flute; Sebastian B. Brack, played by Iain Hersey, guitar and vocals; Justine Tyme played by Kenny Gray, bass guitar and vocals; Jeremy Yerimian, keyboards and Gerry North Cannizzaro, drums.

Claudine Connolly, Patt Connolly, Gerry Cannizzaro

Claudine Regian, Patt Connolly, Gerry Cannizzaro

Iain Heresey, Patt Connolly, Claudine, Jeremy and Kenny

Iain Hersey, Patt Connolly, Claudine, Jeremy and Kenny

Iain Hersey (aka" Sebastian B. Brack) Claudine Regian ( aka: the Nurse), Patt Connolly (Aka: Downey Cane)

Iain Hersey (aka” Sebastian B. Brack) Claudine Regian ( aka: the Nurse), Patt Connolly (Aka: Downey Cane)

This was our last dress rehearsal right before our big opening-night gig at the world famous Whisky a–Go-Go on January 27.   Claudine Regian did an excellent job choreographing the girls and making it work on a limited stage at Uncle Rehearsal Studios in North Hollywood.

Margaret Stickland, Kenny Grey, Jeremy Yeremian and Karen Springer

Margaret Stickland, Kenny Grey, Jeremy Yeremian and Karen Springer

Uncle was the best rehearsal studio we could find that to accommodate the Parousia Group.  Uncle provided a room with not only a good-sized stage but a large dance floor lined with mirrors as well. That was exactly what we needed; to see what we were doing in real time.  Us musicians worked on our music and moves on-stage while the dancers worked on their performance both on-stage and in front of the stage. This was exactly the way we were to do it tomorrow night at the Whisky a Go-Go.

 

A word about Uncle Studios… over the years, Uncle had many top national recording acts rehearse there and this is just a few of them: The Dream Syndicate,  Devo, The Stray Cats, Circa, Conspiracy,  Yes, Weather Report, Corey Feldman, Billy Sherwood, Unruly Child, Lou Diamond Phillips, Scott Grimes, Mr. Mister,  Quiet Riot, Nirvana, Limp Bizkit, Weird Al Yankovic, Dave Davies, Player, Redbone,  Rat,  Angel, Nancy Sinatra, Jerry Sallas, Tori Amos, Ronnie Montrose, Robin Trower, The Dickies, NoFX, Skinny Puppy, Boney James and so on!

Iain Heresey Gerry Cannizzaro and Kenny Gray.

Iain Hersey, Gerry Cannizzaro and Kenny Gray.

Jeremy Yeremian and Kenny Gray.

Jeremy Yeremian and Kenny Gray, aka: Justin Tyme.

It was a full house at the studio.  Our manager and booking agent Marianne Smith was there and so was former Parousia keyboardist Eric Scheda with his friend Russ, a professional audio engineer and studio musician.

Patt Connolly

Patt Connolly aka: Downey Cane

Russ (left) and Eric Scheda, studio engineer and former keyboardist for Parousia

Russ (left) and Eric Scheda, studio engineer at Rusk Studios Hollywood and former keyboardist for Parousia

We had the dancers, Claudine Regian (as the nurse), Gina Raffel, Karen Springer, Margaret Strickland and Lisa Hendershot, (as the inventor).  Helping us move and set up the equipment was our Berendo Street room mate Rob (Rex) Rader.  The band and entourage was so big; we decided to change the name of the band from “Parousia” to “The Parousia Group” to include everyone working hard at getting this theatrical-rock show off the ground.

Claudine Regian

Claudine Regian, 1991

Margaret Strickland and Karen Springer

Margaret Strickland and Karen Springer, 1991

Karen Springer

Karen Springer, 1991

Margaret Strickland and Gina Raffel

Margaret Strickland and Gina Raffel, 1991

After the rehearsal, we headed outside the studio on Kester Avenue and took a bunch of promo photos for the poster we would hang in the doorway of the Whisky at our performance tomorrow. The urban setting was grimy and gritty and kinda’ perfect for a background.

The Parousia Group 1990 - From left to right (Front): Claudine Regian, Patt Connolly, Karen Springer. (Mid back): Iain Hersey, Gina Raffel, Margaret Strickland and Gerry N. Cannizzaro. (Back): Jeremy Yeremian and Kenny Gray

The Parousia Group 1990 – From left to right (Front): Claudine Regian, Patt Connolly, Karen                Springer. (Mid back): Iain Hersey, Gina Raffel, Margaret Strickland, Gerry N. Cannizzaro.                   (Back): Jeremy Yeremian and Kenny Gray

 

The Parousia Group 1990 - From left to right (Front) Claudine Regian, Patt Connolly, Karen Springer. (Mid back) Iain Hersey, Gina Raffel

The Parousia Group 1990

The Parousia Group 1990 - From left to right (Front) Claudine Regian, Patt Connolly, Karen Springer. (Mid back) Iain Hersey, Gina Raffel

Patt Connolly, Claudine Regian, Iain Hersey, Karen Springer and Kenny Gray

Patt Connolly, Claudine Regian, Iain Hersey, Karen Springer and Kenny Gray

Karen Springer. Gina Raffel Kenny Gray Patt Connolly Iain Hersey and Margaret Strickland.

Karen Springer. Gina Raffel Kenny Gray Patt Connolly Iain Hersey and Margaret Strickland.

Karen Springer, Claudine Connolly, Patt Connolly, Margaret Strickland and Gina Raffel

Karen Springer, Claudine Connolly, Patt Connolly, Margaret Strickland and Gina Raffel

Iain Hersey, Claudine Connolly, Karen Springer, Margaret Strickland and Gina Raffel

Iain Hersey, Claudine Connolly, Karen Springer, Margaret Strickland and Gina Raffel

Gina Raffel, Iain Hersey, Margaret Strickland, Claudine Regian and Karen Springer

Gina Raffel, Iain Hersey, Margaret Strickland, Claudine Regian and Karen Springer

Patt Connolly (Flute and vocals), Iain Hersey (guitar and vocals) and Kenny Gray (bass guitar)

Patt Connolly (Flute and vocals), Iain Hersey (guitar and vocals) and Kenny Gray (bass guitar)

Jerry Yeremian (keyboards) and Gerry North Cannizzaro (drums)

Jerry Yeremian (keyboards) and Gerry North Cannizzaro (drums)

Marianne Smith (manager and booking agent) Gerry Cannizzaro, Kenny Gray, Iain Hersey, Patt Connolly and Jeremy Yerimian

Marianne Smith (manager and booking agent) Gerry Cannizzaro, Kenny Gray, Iain Hersey, Patt Connolly and Jeremy Yerimian

1 comment for “Virtual Reality – Dress Rehearsal at Uncle Studios. N. Hollywood

  1. Patt
    October 7, 2015 at 10:47 am

    With the exit of Dudley and Marty, it was back to Gerry and I to continue trying to break through. I had suggested we go back to our roots and do a show like the show set of old, only with all original music that would fit in the 45 minute time slot that each club gave bands here to play in. The challenges were immense; logistically we only had 15 minutes to set up and tear down. Props had to be inexpensive and portable. The performers had to be highly professional, being both musicians/dancers and actors.

    It was quite a change from Parousia, we paid the musicians to do exactly what we wanted so there was no longer the constant bickering of the past. My ex-wife Claudine was in charge of the dancers and the choreography. We told them what to do and they did it, a dream come true, at least for me. There was very few rehearsals, we gave the musicians a tape of what it was supposed to sound like, and that was that.

    Ger and I wrote the thing. I suggested the “Virtual Reality” theme from something I had read in science magazine about using computers to create new worlds that people could be totally immersed in. My thinking was that we had always been behind the times since we came to LA, so this was a chance to have a cutting edge, timely theme. The premise was simple: a man in a wheel chair, unable to use his arms or legs is given a “second chance” at life to be anything he wants to be, only in a virtual world. Because of time constraints, we had to insert Rap (yuck!) narration to tell the audience what was going on. Everyone but the drummer and the keyboardist had a part in the play.

    A second hand wheel chair was purchased. The “Virtual Reality” machine hat was fashioned from an old circular aquarium I had purchased for my turtle (which he soon outgrew) and some christmas tree lights. T-shirts were printed. Costumes bought. We rented a spotlight to help people to focus on the character they were supposed to be paying attention to at the time.

    The performance went flawlessly, thanks to help from Rob (props/spotlight) and his girlfriend Lisa (costumes). Claudine had developed costumes that were add on or take off (t-shirts, hats) which made for extremely quick changes. All the props fit on the seat of the wheelchair, so it was easy to roll them on and off stage. After the first performance, we thought people might be confused and were distributed a printed lyric booklet, handed out to every patron.

    And in the end, people were confused. This was a great departure from the hair/metal bands that were prevalent at the time. People didn’t know what Virtual Reality was yet so they didn’t get what we were trying to do. All in all the songwriting was second rate in my opinion. Something more akin to a Broadway show then our target audience. Missing was the contributions and criticisms of Robert, Garth, Eric and Barry, which in their absence made the songs too one dimensional. Trying to write Rap, which I hate, was just putting rhyming words to a beat, which I learned later is not what Rap is all about.

    We played the show until we ran out of money. Marianne out manager talked to her musical contacts who said the show was interesting, but they “didn’t know what to do with it”. Is it a band? Is it a show? They couldn’t fit it into their neat little compartments. It was by this time the corporate accountants had taken over the music business. The old A&R system was dead. Gerry and I moved on. We started our own record company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *