“The Elevator Of Doom” At Daemen College, Saturday February 13, 1982

Buffalo Backstage Magazine

Parousia’s return to Daemen College came at the right time because technically speaking; tonight the band was scheduled to perform over 400 miles away at a club in Burlington Vermont called “The Texas”. What happened?

Well, besides sleeping in crawl spaces, walls starting on fire, the equipment truck stranded in a snowy ditch, driving on icy roads spinning out of control and finally, being paid nothing then fired after one night of performing. Other than that it was a good gig.

The gig in Vermont was supposed to include five-nights of solid musical entertainment provided by Parousia.  It seemed to make sense…five nights in front of a new audience… five nights earning actual ‘cash’ money… The band could buy food, pay for the rental truck including fuel cost, and even pay the road crew… Well, that’s the way it should have been but the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry…

Parousia’s ill-fated road trip to “The Texas” club, Burlington, Vermont. February 1982

Parousia’s ill-fated road trip to “The Texas” club, Burlington, Vermont. February 1982

When the band became unexpectedly available, Dave Buffamonti booked Parousia at Daemen hoping it would mitigate our financial loss and give us an attitude adjustment. I forget who was originally booked at Daemen and cancelled last minute, but the cancellation gave our band a sudden opportunity to pick up a decent paying show to recover losses. The band’s prior performance at Daemen College rocked the house and we had every reason to expect to be well received.

Parousia at Buffalo State college 09.11.81

Since the last time we played here, Kim Watts departed the band. In the interim, the band added a bunch of new songs to our roster like, “Lucifer’s Lament” (an original song written by Garth Huels), “Perpetual Change”, by Yes, “Abacab” and “Squonk” by Genesis, “Hold Your Head Up” by Argent and “Toronto Tontos” by Max Webster.

The audience liked the new material and we played our hearts out for them until we were quite shagged-out.

Then afterward…disaster struck. It happened during ‘tear-down and load out’. In a nut shell, Gregg Filippone, (our sound engineer), became impossibly stuck between floors in the freight elevator. Gregg, the lift and a bunch of equipment began its journey to the bottom-floor but didn’t quite made it… the elevator jammed half-way down the shaft leaving Gregg no space to crawl out.

Gregg Filippone: Not one to be caged.

Gregg Filippone: Not one to be caged.

Gregg was trapped in there for about two hours until he snapped… suddenly he started screaming and pounding the walls, he broke the elevator door and other things attempting to escape his failed mechanical prison but there was absolutely no way out and nothing any of us could do except make him feel better, like passing him down water and a joint or two to keep him calm…

Other than those small comforts, we stood there helpless watching him pace about like a hamster in a cage. At approximately 1:45 am Barry returned with a janitor who showed-up to the scene of the emergency prepared with his squeaky-wheeled bucket and a wet, filthy string mop as if he would somehow swab Gregg out of there…

PAROUSIA live, Plant-6, Kenmore NY, 1982

PAROUSIA live, Plant-6, Kenmore NY, 1982

It took him a few minutes to assess the situation as hopeless and defaulted to calling an engineer to service the elevator. I think we spent about three hours in total waiting for the engineer to rescue poor Gregg from the mechanical clutches of the demon lift. Once it was working, it was around 4:30 am when the band finished loading all the equipment into the truck and then return to the Music Mall in Cheektowaga to unload and then finally head home to bed.

Of course, it wasn’t long until we heard from the college’s legal department. Apparently, the elevator door was irreparably damaged and the Daemen bureaucratic pin-heads withheld our pay, then turned around and sued the band for property damage!

We couldn’t afford a professional defense, so Patt (the smarter one) and Barry (the dim-witted guitarist) were the two gladiators who rose to the challenge, entering the legal arena to take up intellectual arms against the school’s lawyers.

Uh ih…Patt Connolly & Barry Cannizzaro defend Parousia from prosecuting Daemen Lawyers

Uh oh…Patt Connolly & Barry Cannizzaro defend Parousia from prosecuting Daemen Lawyers

In spite of our obvious handicap, Parosuia won the battle in court and eventually, paid all wages owed to us. The judge opined that “when the elevator malfunctioned, Gregg perceived his life to be in ‘grave danger’ and did what a reasonable man would do to escape” and therefore Parousia could not be held negligent and financially liable for damages.

The gavel of justice fell hard, >bang< case dismissed! And there you go… yet another litigious moment brought to you by the Parousia road crew who, for a matter or record, we couldn’t have done without! Sadly however, the unpleasant episode caused Parousia to be black-balled from playing Daemen College ever again.

Parousia financial statement - Daemen College- 02.13.1982

Parousia financial statement – Daemen College- 02.13.1982

The band’s contract stated we were to be paid $500.00, which we eventually got. Our expenses were minimal. Gregg ran sound for $50.00 (and got a very unpleasant experience as a bonus). We paid three roadies $10.00 each, the truck cost us no extra since it was still under contract for the week from the Vermont road-trip disaster, and Backstage gave us a break and took only 10% instead of the usual 15%.

2 comments for ““The Elevator Of Doom” At Daemen College, Saturday February 13, 1982

  1. Gregg Filippone
    June 2, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Wow! Of course, I remember this night. It was a service elevator where the doors opened up and down instead of from side to side. I could pry the doors open a little and see the floor above me (I was caught in between floors). It was late, we “partied” all night long and I had enough of waiting. I think somebody was able to hand me down from the floor above a hammer and screwdriver, as I held the doors open a little. There were large chains that controlled the doors. I used the screwdriver like a chisel and hammered the chains until they broke. Without the chains, the doors “magically” opened! I crawled up to the next floor. I didn’t know until years later (like a year or two ago) that the band had legal issues concerning this. Gerry told me this and I was surprised. I have told this story hundreds of times and thought about it many hundreds of more times (even today) as I entered elevators. As a side note, on my honeymoon in 1989 I was in a Parasailing accident in Mexico where my Parasail separated from the boat pulling me. I crashed into a high rise hotel on the beach where my Parasail got wrapped around the mechanics on the hotel roof and I was left dangling about five stories high on the side of this hotel (picture that for a moment!). Amazingly, as I was hanging there, I was feet away from a service ladder built into the side of the hotel to access the roof and I was able to climb the ladder to the “safety” of a hotel roof in Mexico. Nearly was killed for real. Being stuck in the Daemen elevator really wasn’t THAT bad. -Gregg

  2. Barry Cannizzaro
    June 2, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Wow Gregg; I never knew about your para sailing accident in Mexico that nearly cost your life. YIKESVILLE! Thank God you made it out of that precarious situation “in one piece.” There’s not a lot more for me to add to the Damien College Service/Freight Elevator incident; except for the fact that Damien College did try suing us for damaging their elevator. The case went to small claims court and Gerry Cannizzaro (my brother), I and Pat Connolly attended the trial as the defendants with NO Defense attorney to represent us. We were going to try and defend ourselves! Damien College did have their lawyer to represent them; so we were in for a tough fight without a doubt. Damien was threatening/attempting to withhold our band payment for the gig we performed at their college due to expenses incurred to fix their service elevator. That was their lawyer’s legal argument. However; I explained my argument to the judge claiming that our job (gig) and the elevator incident were two separate and distinct incidents that should no way be confused or inter-related at all due to the fact that elevator incident occurred AFTER we performed for Damien College and not during the times of our performance. We technically and legally fulfilled our contractual agreement and responsibility with the college and I explained to the judge that we were entitled to our full pay as stipulated by contract. Amazingly; the judge agreed with my rational (logic?) and told their attorney “the kid does have a point”; thus dismissing the case altogether. Not too bad for a ‘dim-witted guitar player’ huh players? To my knowledge Damien College never filed a separate claim against us after this case; but I could be mistaken (highly doubtful). You should of seen the “deer caught in the headlights” look on their attorney’s face after the case was dismissed. He probably was thinking ” I was out chumped by a long-haired guitar-wielding mutt.” Giggidy! I ‘kinda felt a little like Perry Mason; or should I say Barry Mason; DOE! Well “dogs”; that’s all I have to say about this. ‘Dat’s me story and I’m stickin’ to it! Rock on! Barry (the not so dim-witted guitarist this time)

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