It was February 1989 in Los Angeles. Just three months ago Bill Simms quit the band and it was a hard blow. Bill and Parousia had roots that went back to April, 1978. That’s when Bill Simms replaced Robert Lowden on bass guitar.
We held band rehearsal in his mother’s basement (Judge Simms) on Depew in Buffalo. Bill left the band six-months later when Robert Lowden returned (and brought with him Garth Huels on guitar and Kim Watts, vocalist). Although we only played a short time with Bill, he remained a loyal friend for years to come.
Eight years down the road in January of 1986, Bill rejoined Parousia as keyboardist and then when the time came to move to Los Angeles, I drove out from New York with Bill… he was a good friend and that’s why I felt like it was a bit unexpected when all of a sudden in November at a band rehearsal, Bill jumps up and says. “That’s it, I quit… I’m not your trained seal anymore”.
We had just finished playing a few high-profile gigs like UCLA, The Whisky a go-go and Madame Wong’s West, and to tell you the truth, the pressure from the competition, plus all the effort it took just to put a band on stage and perform in Los Angeles, was getting to all of us. That didn’t come as a surprise.
Not long after we arrived in Hollywood in 1987, it was clear that we all needed to ‘step-it-up a notch’ if we were serious about going toe-to-toe with the local darlings of the rock scene. Yes, every club in town had its favorite bands… whether they were sincerely talented or just giving the booking agent a blow job; this is what we had to fight against to win.
The hunt was on for a new keyboard player… We put a “Musician Wanted” print-ad in BAM and Music Connection magazine (yes, this was pre-internet) and in less than a month we attracted the attention of Marty Leggett who just moved into town from Reno, Nevada.
Right away it seemed he was a like-minded thinker when it came to the music. He enjoyed listening to all the great prog-bands (in particular ELP) and had many of the sounds and chops we were looking for at the time. Marty joined the band well equipped. He had a stack of KORG Keyboards. No Roland’s or Moog’s here, Marty was a KORG man through and through.
We started rehearsing on Tularosa Drive (Robert’s place) through December and January and come February 1989, we booked Marty’s first gig with Parousia at Club 88 as sort of a live dress rehearsal of our carefully constructed set of music.
On this night, we had the prime spot on stage at 10:45 pm. and if I hadn’t mentioned it before; Club 88 was much like Mc Van’s of L.A. It was a stage you could play on in order to fine tune a performance and not feel a lot of pressure.
Our show at Club 88 went very well for a first time out with a new keyboard player. Our songs had a few twists and turns in them and definitely needed to be played live on stage a time or two to get into the flow from one song to another. There was no room for dead air-space.
In Los Angles, the clubs gave you one set of music to play and it had to be your best from the first song to the last with no lag in between (unless it was used to connect with the audience or in our case, some well placed sarcasm and general horsing play).
After this show, Parousia was headed back to the Sunset Strip’s Whisky a-Go-Go in March and then again in April for a KROQ FM radio event. Marty was a good addition to the group and as it turned out, were a tighter band with him in it.
Here are some pics from Parousia’s show at Club 88 February 17, 1989. Featuring the debut performance of keyboardist Marty Leggett: