PAROUSIA – Learning To Work Together As A Band At Brush Gardens, February 23-24, 1979



Phillip Christopher of Multi-Media Attractions became Parousia’s first formal booking agent.  A large part of Phil’s entertainment industry experience came from performing and producing shows with the popular 50’s cover band, ‘Big Wheelie & The Hubcaps’.  Phil was assisted by another Big-Wheelie veteran, a guy the band simply knew as “AL”.

Big Wheelie and The Hubcaps

February 23 and 24, a weekend gig, was Parousia’s first booking with Multi-Media Attractions, at a rock club called Brush Gardens in Chaffee, NY., a hamlet in the town of Sardinia, Southern Erie County, close to the borders of Chautauqua County and Cattaraugus County, NY.  Brush Gardens was so far away from our home-turf, that no-one we knew would risk a 60-mile round-trip in winter, on dark, icy narrow roads.

This left the band at the mercy of the locals to (hopefully) become our new fans. Phil from Multi-Media claimed the reason he booked Parousia way-out in Chaffee was so that the band could ‘polish our performance’ and prevent being prematurely judged by the snobby metropolitan-critics in Buffalo and to keep away from the tougher, more visible competition, bands like, Cock Robin, 805, Pegasus, Weekend, Talas, etc…

Multimedia Attractions

Brush Gardens was a big club out in the middle of nowhere but it was a great out-of-the-way place for the band to “mature” and become more confident playing together as a band. The band had both Friday and Saturday night back-to-back to try new things in front of a live audience, like wireless guitar packs.

During Parousia’s eight minute rendition of “Free Bird” (a song that always stirred-up the crowd in the south towns) Garth and Barry would wander off-stage while playing their guitars 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 enjoyed cover songs of the Who, Ted Nugent, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Jethro Tull, Blue Oyster Cult and Led Zeppelin. Parousia fit in with that crowd in one respect… but this crowd didn’t ‘dig’ the more “progressive-type” or New-Wave covers such as Supertramp, Blondie, The Beatles, The Cars and Kansas.

PAROUSIA 1979: Not ready for prime-time??

PAROUSIA 1979: Not ready for prime-time??

Parousia always added the “in-concert” feel to each set of music. The theory is that, if you prepare your show for the big-concert stage, you’ll be ready when it comes.  The beginning and endings of Parousia’s cover songs were often very dramatic with crescendos and much thrashing about… During the second set, I (Gerry) took a drum solo.  I would start out by slammin’ on the kit for a bit, then I would beat my sticks on the rims of the drums, and then the stands then down to the stage floor where I jumped off the stage, and continued  playing across tables and through-out the club, beating my sticks on everything (except most people).

PAROUSIA: Patt Connolly, Kim Watts, Garth Huels, Barry & Gerry Cannizzaro, Robert Lowden, Dave Maltbie

PAROUSIA: Patt Connolly, Kim Watts, Garth Huels, Barry & Gerry Cannizzaro, Robert Lowden, Dave Maltbie

Eventually, I would drum my way out the front door and continue to play a solo along the outside walls of the building (with no jacket, in the dead of winter).  My theatrics backfired on me the next night, Saturday, when the door man locked me outside while I was drumming along the perimeter walls of the club… fortunately; the next song on the set-list was Parousia’s “Cotton Holiday,” an original song with a generous instrumental intro before the drums come in.

After the door man got his giggles, seeing the panicked look on my face through the eye-hole of the door, he let me back inside with barely enough time to jump in on cue and play the song.  Very funny,   >snort<   Anyway, it wasn’t long after that I decided to drop the drum solo altogether, the general consensus is that patrons found it “annoying”.  >Hurrrumph<

2 comments for “PAROUSIA – Learning To Work Together As A Band At Brush Gardens, February 23-24, 1979

  1. Barry Cannizzaro
    March 25, 2018 at 12:24 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!

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

  2. Gerry North Cannizzaro
    March 25, 2018 at 12:30 am

    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!” flashing back to the moment Ms. Kopechne met her tragic end in a similar fate in the icy cold waters of Chappaquiddick. Well, in spite of the imminent chance that we were all going to die. Everyone broke out in raucous laughter, all while we were still spinning, spinning, spinning. Proving I guess that even in the darkest moments, if one can come out of it alive, you can always find some humor in it.

Leave a Reply

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