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

PAROUSIA AT BRUSH GARDENS, CHAFFEE, NY – 1979

PAROUSIA AT BRUSH GARDENS, CHAFFEE, NY – 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<

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