Graffiti’s was a party bar on the Elmwood Strip at the corner of Elmwood and Hodge. It was located upstairs from an Italian Restaurant, Casa Di Pizza. We had to lug our equipment up the stairs and it was a very steep narrow stairway, not well designed for heavy band equipment like a massive Hammond L1 organ with rotating Leslie speaker, a seven piece North drum kit plus cymbals and hardware, very large guitar amps, mid-range (Perkins) cabinets, bass scoops, etc… The roadies had a bit of a fit because of it.
Parousia’s ‘premier’ gig at Graffiti’s fell on a Wednesday, May 6th, 1981 it just one in a very busy line-up for us. We had twelve gigs in May including the Starting Gate Cafe, Bachelor’s Den, Holland Willows, The Old Harmony Bar, Eagles Roost, Dad’s Café, New York New York and at the end of the month, the fated Lou’s Inn. A gig so ominous that it caused our vocalist, Kim Watts to quit the band before we could even play it!
Our first gig at Graffiti’s earned us a flat $200 to perform on a Wednesday night. Not bad considering Wednesday wasn’t much of a party night. Most schools were still in session for the next few weeks.
We had lots of support for this show, Dave Styn ($40.00) ran the sound and Mike Carroll ran the lights ($35.00). Mike brought two friends with him to help out and Garth’s brother Keith pitched in too. All three were paid $10.00. Backstage took their 15% and the big money went to rent at the Music Mall ($64.00) and the rental truck ($52.00).
Our gigs were coming in fast and furious around this time period. In addition to performing in the city of Buffalo we were playing in far away towns like Holland, Olcott and Westfield. Much of our new popularity was generated from airplay and advertising of our song “Miss Ogyny” featured on the first 97 Rock “Buffalo Rocks” album released three-months earlier in February.
On Saturday afternoon, June 6, 1981 at 2:00 pm Patt & Gerry recorded an interview live on WGRQ radio to talk about the band and our upcoming shows. (The interview was re-broadcast on June 13th and 14th).
On that same night, Parousia played gig #2 at Graffiti’s and it was a bit of a technological nightmare… At this time in the band, we had one of our roadies (Dave Styn) running the sound board to cut costs. Gregg Filippone, our recently departed sound engineer, graduated college and moved on to a more lucrative career. He would do sound, but it would cost us. It was the same situation with our previous go-to sound man John McGovern, who now worked for UniStage. We would only shell out the money for one of those two guys if the gig was big enough and /or paid enough.
Now that we were in control of our own sound, we were trying to eliminate the problem of “stage bleed”. No, it’s not that we cut each other with sharp objects on stage; anyone with sound experience knows about the dreaded “stage bleed”. It happens when you have open mics on the stage that are being blasted by sound coming from amps and drums that are off axis but in in close proximity.
For example, the vocal microphones were constantly bombarded by guitar, drums and bass. When you turned up the vocals, you would inadvertently increase the volume of the drums, guitar and bass too. This made it all the harder to mix the levels of all the instruments back at the sound board.
So, in June of 1981, on a busy Saturday night at Graffitti’s, (a show hosted by 97 Rock, WGRQ), we brilliantly decided to try an untested idea. We used direct boxes on all our onstage amps instead of putting microphones in front of them. We ran a cable out of the back of the amps into a direct box then straight into the P.A. mixing console. We thought that would give us a cleaner sound on stage, without amp-bleed into the vocal mics, drum mics, etc., but it didn’t work and in fact was a total failure.
We found out the hard way. Our first set sounded way rough. The guitars sounded like buzz saws. Dave Styn, our sound engineer changed the direct boxes back to live mics after the first set. It saved the night from being a total disaster. To this day I remember Dave Styn’s comment right after our first set using the failed direct-box experiment, he said, “wow that was awful, even i felt sorry for you guys“.
The band was paid $225.00 for a second and final gig at Graffiti’s on Friday, June 6, 1981. Dave Styn was paid $40.00 to run the sound, Mike Carroll ran the lights and was paid $30.00. We recently decided to buy the light show from Mike, (including Pars, bulbs, clamps, light board and truss frame) and from now on, Keith would be setting up the lighting equipment and running the light-show. We paid Mike in $50.00 installments. The rental truck was $98.00 but it was a shared expense from last night’s gig at Davio’s on Niagara Falls Blvd for Calisantius high-school.