This was PAROUSIA’s very first Los Angeles gig. Although we broke the ice at Madame Wong’s West two months prior, Wong’s West was technically in the city of Santa Monica, CA. So this was it… our BIG L.A. debut!
Club 88 was a former strip-club gutted to the bare bones and converted into a music venue. It was located on Pico Boulevard between Bundy and Barrington in an area known as “L.A’.s Bermuda Traffic Triangle”. It was the kind of club that just about every unsigned local band played at one time or another. As a comparison, it was similar to our beloved Buffalo, NY equivalent, McVan’s on Hertel and Niagara.
Club 88 smelled like cat pee due to the many cats living inside the club to thwart the promulgation of rats. It was known as a “lower-tier” club in the local hierarchy, while the sunset strip clubs Club Lingerie, Roxy, Gazzarri’s, Troubadour and the Whisky were at the tippy-top.
Club 88 wasn’t in the main spotlight of West Hollywood and for that reason it was a comfortable and low-stress club to perform in. It had a spacious backstage area appropriately decorated with graffiti from all the bands that had passed through before us. It had two stages. The “small stage” located by the bar where the house band, Celibate Boxer always performed and the “big stage” that ran wall-to-wall and was perpendicular to the small stage.
The big stage stood about a foot and a half off the ground and the outer wall of the stage was lined with puffy vinyl “pillows” which I’m not sure served an important function, like sound absorption or was an aesthetic visual relic from the 70’s. Perhaps both?
Club 88 was named after a popular club in Tokyo. The bar maid, (who was easily angered) seemed to run the place. She also played in the house band, Celibate Boxers, when not serving drinks.
The owner of the club was Wayne Mayotte. He worked there as part time bartender, booking agent, accountant and general manager. Before opening Club 88 in Los Angeles, he worked primarily overseas in the Far East for more than 25 years. Mayotte was a retired mechanical / structural engineer and former Air Force pilot during the Korean War. He had plans of opening a jazz club, like the original Club 88, but later decided to book bands of all genres. In particular, bands from the then popular punk and new wave trend.
The club had its own P.A. and lights and the sound engineer did a good job with our sound overall. He liked our band because, unlike the punk bands, as he said, there was a real need to pay attention to how the instruments blended together in the mix.
Walking around the club, you couldn’t help but notice all the flyers lining the walls just inside the entrance.
It was really cool to see so many great bands that had played on the same stage and afterwards went on to get signed to a major record label. Bands like The Weirdos, The Go-Go’s, Berlin, Missing Persons, Black Flag, “X”, Faith No More and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to name a few.
The band name Parousia had started to get around town a little bit, letting people know we were out here, in the race and taking it seriously. Things were looking up.
On May 1st Parousia was featured in Rockpool magazine (the premier indy underground music mag). We made some friends over at KROQ, and DJ’s Ken Fusion and Jed the Fish began playing, “Place your Bets” (a song from our “Turnaround” E.P. with a sound that’s somewhere between Yes and Asia) on 106.7 FM, a major alternative radio station in Los Angeles and Orange County.
When the band was assembled backstage just before the show, we had a band huddle. We all looked at each other and couldn’t believe it… Here we were, just a little ol’ four-piece band from Buffalo that finally made it onto the stage in this megalopolis known as L.A.
Patt read to us his list of “most important things to remember” before we hit the stage and it fired us up nice and good… (it also scared us which helped motivate in a different way) With all that energy, we exploded on stage like a virgin having sex for the first time, and afterwards we were just as sweaty. Yes, I had a cigarette.
Many of our new L.A. friends, fans and well-wishers were in the audience to cheer us on. Wayne, the bar owner and yes, even the angry bar maid liked us too. They especially liked the flute. And the fact that most of our people were decent tippers. So, PAROUSIA was invited back to perform six more times at Club 88 and we were one of the last bands to play there when the club finally closed its doors in 1990.