Brush Gardens – Feb. 23-24, March 02-03, 09-10 & 16-17, 1979

In February and March of 1979, Parousia played 4 weekends in a row at Brush Gardens in Chaffee, NY.  It was a long drive but a pretty big place, for what seemed to us like the middle of nowhere.  Our first two sets of music were played to a very sparse crowd, but we made the best of it by taking the opportunity to experiment and stretch out a bit before the late crowd showed up.  Gerry elaborates…

Gerry Says:
BIg Wheelie & the Hubcaps

Phil Christopher with BIg Wheelie & the Hubcaps

Phillip Christopher of Multi-Media attractions was our first formal booking agent. Phil’s entertainment experience comes by way of  performing in Big Wheelie & the Hubcaps’ a popular 50’s cover band. Phil claimed that the reason he booked our band way-out in the hick town of Chaffee was to ‘polish our performance’ while keeping us away from the tougher competition in the city of Buffalo.  However, in looking back I think that Brush Gardens was the only club that Phil had a booking arrangement with.  It took us a while to figure that out.  Parousia’s set list was a bit too sophisticated for this crowd and our band believed our music would be better received  in a more ‘progressive-thinking’ urban club setting.  Also, it really irritated me that Al, (Phil’s business partner) spelled our name incorrectly on the promo flyers… “Perousia”… really?

Brush Gardens was a big club out in the middle of nowhere but it was a great place to try out new things like our wireless guitar packs.  During our eight minute rendition of “Free Bird” (a song that always stirred up the crowd in the “stix”), Garth and Barry would wander around off-stage and mingle with the crowd… kind of bold considering we had a lot of rowdy types in the audience.  Don’t get me wrong, we liked rowdy… rowdy meant people were drinking a lot and our songs by the Who, Ted Nugent, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Jethro Tull, Blue Oyster Cult and Led Zeppelin fit in real well with that crowd… but they didn’t dig the songs by Supertramp, Blondie, The Beatles and Kansas very much.

During the second set I did a long drum solo.  After slammin’ on the kit for a few minutes I would beat my sticks on the rims, the stands, the stage floor, then grab a drum and play all through the bar and club walls, then I would drum my way out the door and play a solo on the outside of the building walls.  My trick backfired one night when the door man locked me outside… fortunately, the next song was always “Cotton Holiday,” an original song with a long instrumental intro on the guitars.  By that time, the door man let me back inside to finish the set, thank-goodness, because it was below freezing out there!

One of the cooler aspects of this gig was that Kim knew a writer who wanted to review one of our weekend performances at Brush.  Well, it wasn’t exactly what we were expecting.  The article, “Who’s got the Gig”, published in World’s Thunder Current and written by Harold Goldberg, has a few incorrect facts, let’s see if I can straighten them out…

Number one, Goldberg quotes a statement from “the drummer Dave Maltbie”… but Dave Maltbie wasn’t the drummer… I’m the drummer!

Secondly, he writes, “the audience of about 35 people”. That was true early in the night but when the nearest club across the county line closed, the patrons from that club poured into Brush Gardens at about 2:30 AM for the longer drinking hours.  Now the place was full of people… and we had to play an extra set of music to accommodate the later crowd.

Third, Goldberg says the band was from Kenmore, but most all of us lived in Buffalo.  Only Kim Watts lived in Kenmore.

 Parousia' s Kim Watts and Patt Connolly at Brush Gardens

Parousia’ s Kim Watts and Patt Connolly at Brush Gardens, Chafee, NY

Flyer - Parousia at Brush Gardens

Flyer – Parousia (Perousia?) at Brush Gardens Feb. 23-24, March 02-03, 09-10 & 16-17, 1979

Article - World's "Thunder Current' "Who's Got the Gig?", featuring Parousia.

Article – World’s ‘Thunder Current’ “Who’s Got the Gig?“, featuring Parousia.

'Worlds Thunder Current', Sept. 4th 1979. Review of Brush Garden's performances March 9th-17th, '79 (TO

Article – Top half: World’s “Thunder Current’ “Who’s Got the Gig?“, featuring Parousia.

'Worlds Thunder Current', Sept. 4th 1979. Review of Brush Garden's performances March '9 (bottom)

Article -Bottom Half: World’s ‘Thunder Current’ “Who’s Got the Gig?“, featuring Parousia.

MultiMedia Attractions Business Card

Parousia’s first booking agent – Phillip Christopher of Multi-Media Attractions

3 comments for “Brush Gardens – Feb. 23-24, March 02-03, 09-10 & 16-17, 1979

  1. Barry Cannizzaro
    January 1, 2014 at 10:48 am

    There’s not a whole lot more for me to say about our Brush Gardens gigs that hasn’t already been said; except the one time that we played there the night my brother the drummer (Jerry Cannizzaro) got locked out of “the joint” by a James Dean wanna-be character after Jerry, in his infinite wisdom decided to take his drum solo “on the road” so to speak (or outside the bar). The biker motorcycle dudes that frequented that place weren’t exactly the friendliest of players. They were down right ornery; although I have to admit I did have a sadistic moment and had a good chuckle seeing my brother’s frozen face pressed against the window pane with a look of shear horror on it as he froze his “little Jerries” off. Serves him right I say for attempting to go outside on that frigid winter night and expecting “James Dean” to treat him with respect and decorum. C’mon, reaaaaaaally ‘bro? Gimme a break, Midas!

    The second “playful” incident occurred earlier that night as our door man attempted to collect the very nominal cover charge from another Arthur Fonzzarelli (“the Fonze”; yeah, I know , I butchered that name and abbreviation) like character. Well; Fonzi boy wasn’t so willing to part with his denaro, so he pulled “his little friend” out (a switchblade knife); pointed toward the neck of our doorman and told him in no uncertain terms: “you lose”. Boy, you should have seen the expression on the doorman’s face and how he had a real change in heart when it came to collecting the door charge. The doorman stated back to “Fonzi” in his no uncertain terms: “tonight my friend, for you, club entry is on the house. Come right in!” I guess a little kindness and understanding went a long way, because “Arthur F.” put away his “instrument of evil” and proceeded to enter the establishment. As Frankie Valie once stated “Oh what a night!”

    That concludes my “wonderful” memories of Brush Gardens players. Regardless of what our Buddha-like manager Phil Christopher of Multi-Media Attractions said; we should have stuck to playing in the “big city” (of Buffalo) going “toe to toe” with some of the “top dogs” of rock ‘n roll like, The Scooters maybe? Tee Hee! Peace off! Keep the faith and keep on ‘rockin y’all!


    Barrymannia; ‘da dim witted guitarist (and damnnnnnn proud of it I may add)! Giggidy!

  2. Patt Connolly
    January 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    What I remember about Brush Gardens has to do with the fact the other bar down the road closed at 2:00 am. I had never seen people so wasted in my life. Like “Night of the Living Dead” zombie drunk. They tried to get me to sample their clear white cleaning fluid (moonshine), but I passed. In the morning, we were loading the truck and they would let the cows out for their morning poop and the smell was “exciting”.Oh, we did refer to the women there as “farm animals”.

  3. Gerry North Cannizzaro
    January 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    The Scajaqaquiddick incident:

    History recalls that on July 18th, 1969 Ms. Mary Jo Kopechne, a passenger of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, was killed when the Senator accidentally drove his car off a bridge and into a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. The Senator swam to safety but alas, poor Mary Jo wasn’t so lucky. Ted says he dove many times into the channel to look for her but no one really knows for sure if he did or ran for safety. Ten years later, Barry, Patrick, Robert and I experienced a part of the fear from what that tragic accident must have felt like.

    We had just picked up Patt from the Riverside, Black Rock area and were headed out with a packed car onto the Scajaquada Expressway (State Route 198) to begin our long drive out to Chaffee, NY. It was cold, very cold in Buffalo and the Expressway was frozen. Without any warning we hit a patch of black ice just before the 190 and the entire car went spinning around and around, not knowing if we would stop before we careened off the edge and into the icy waters and swift current of the Niagara River. In the middle of our “death spin” I screamed out in a panic “Scajaqaquiddick!” remembering at that moment Ms. Kopechne, who met her tragic end in a similar fate at Chappaquiddick.

    Well, in spite of the imminent chance that we were all going to die. Everyone broke out in laughter while we were still spinning, proving I guess that even in the darkest moments of our lives, one can always find some humor in it.

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