For whatever reason, Parousia was a hit with the Polish crowd. We tried to figure it out… was it our old friend Steve Panzcak who gave the Polish Community a ‘wink and a nod’ after playing his wedding back in 1976? Or was it was our eye-popping performance at the Polish Community Center back in 1978? Or maybe because we sold black-market Kielbasa Sausage out of the back of our equipment truck? The world may never know…
The Old Harmony Bar was a nice size club in an area of town not far from where most of us lived. Located in the Broadway/Fillmore area, an East Side neighborhood in the hub of Buffalo’s Polish community. For years Broadway/Fillmore was the second-largest retail center in the city, after downtown. It’s also the home of one of Buffalo’s largest preservation projects, the Central Terminal. Currently (2014), and for the past several years, it’s been the center of demolition activity in the City.
Our first performance at the Old Harmony Bar was on a weekend in the spring. We played Friday and Saturday night, April 24-25, 1981. The club had a good clientele who liked to drink… and drink… and eat. That was fine by us. The drunker they got, the more they liked us. In fact they got so drunk, they invited us to return a month later on Thursday May 14, 1981.
We had to sandwich the May show at the Old Harmony Bar between two Saturday performances making another very busy week for the band. A week before on Saturday May 9th, we played at the Holland Willows in Holland and then Saturday May 16th at the Eagles Roost in Olcott. All of these shows were with our lead singer Kim Watts who left the band for good later in the month due to a disagreement over whether Parousia should play a show out of town in Westfield NY… which we voted on democratically. The vote leaned towards playing the show and that’s when Kim walked.
From then on, we were a six piece band comprised of Patt Connolly (flute, vocals), Garth Huels (guitar, vocals), Robert Lowden (bass guitar), Barry Cannizzaro (guitar & vocals) & Gerry Cannizzaro (drums, percussion) and Eric Scheda (keyboards).
At our first show at the Old Harmony Bar, we were paid $400 for the weekend (That’s like $1,000 when you adjust for 2016 inflation). Playing back-to-back saved serious money on the truck by renting it for two nights instead of one, which cost us $64.00 total. We had a ‘newbie roadie’ named Craig who we paid the standard roadie ‘beginners fee’ of $7.00. Another new roadie, Jay, a friend of Eric’s was paid $10.00 total for both nights. Our booking agency Backstage Productions (Rick) took his 15%, $60.00. Dave Styn (sound-man & head roadie) and Mike Carroll (light-man) were each paid $35.00 a night, that’s $70.00 for the weekend. Dave Styn’s brother, Steve Styn was paid $15.00 for the weekend ($7.50 a night).
We were paid only $175.00 for our second show at the Old Harmony Bar on Thursday May 14th, 1981. We eventually squeezed another $65.00 out of ’em but it took us two months to get it! Dave Styn was paid $40.00 to be “head roadie” and to run sound. Light-man Mike Carroll took his usual $35.00. Mikes friend Steve was paid $10.00. (Steve became a regular with us for the summer). Garth’s brother Keith was paid $10.00. We had a new roadie dubbed, “Bob’s friend” and was paid $5.00 for his efforts. The truck cost was deferred until the next gig at the Eagles Roost on May 16th. Backstage cut their fee down to 10% and took $17.50 only.