In an unexpected turn of events, Parousia was asked to play the Holland Willows by Mike Rozniak of Great Lakes management (aka: StarStruck Productions and J.R. Productions), the ‘big dog’ in town… Great Lakes worked with the top bands in the top clubs and Parousia wasn’t one of them.
Some of their bands included Talas, Cock Robin, Actor, The Road, Junction West, Weekend, Fat Brat, etc. They had a strangle-hold over certain Western NY clubs that was unmatched. They ran their business like a mafia owned country-club with specifically designed requirements to shut-out riff-raff like Parousia. (We played too many original songs for their taste… How DARE we show our creativity without their permission!)
Knowing this, we wondered why StarStruck asked us to play at the Holland Willows. The cover songs in our show were mostly the same songs played by their bands so, we surmised it was to shelve us, to keep us from being in direct competition. After all, a night of Parousia was roughly one half the price of what a StarStruck band charged for one night. BUT, like good little doggies (falsely expecting our master to reward us for being faithful) we went ahead and did it.
Saturday, September 27, 1980 was the band’s first gig at the Holland Willows in the town of Holland NY, roughly 35 miles from the Music Mall in Cheektowaga where the band rehearsed. Holland, NY was considered by Buffalonians to be “out in the boonies” so we couldn’t expect the attendance of any of our usual fans and friends; especially since it was the time of year where the roads became very dark and icy at night.
Except for the drive, we liked playing the Willows. The club had a nice stage and a buzzing bar area (where you could still see the band). The club also featured a large banquet room and a bowling alley! I remember we would stop playing a song and I would hear the sounds of balls hitting pins, weird!
Other facts of note for this night; our head roadie Dave Styn ‘graduated’ to the position of sound-man and responsible for mixing our live sound whenever Gregg Filippone or John McGovern couldn’t do it. It came with a $30.00 increase in pay but involved much more work which he often griped about.