Parousia’s last performance as a cover band was at Fast Annie’s April 10, 1982. The sad truth is, the band was too big (and too expensive) to continue. Producing and performing the show-set was a massive effort and we were exhausted. We were sick of playing the same cover songs over and over and wanted to play more originals but we couldn’t take the cut in pay.
At the time, night clubs in Buffalo didn’t pay bands to perform their own music… Of course we did work in a few of our own tunes here and there, but not many. All in all, if you wanted to please an audience, you had to play songs they recognized.
All of the money we earned in Parousia went to pay the road crew, the equipment truck, the rehearsal studio and to repair or replace equipment. Finally we had it… we let the giant monster of a band lay down and die. But, what we did next was very surprising…
The last night at the Music Mall, after we packed-up and moved-out our equipment and said our good-byes; Patt, Garth and I had a talk. We decided that instead of going our separate ways, and pursue individual music careers; we would try and make some cash playing music. But we had to agree to conform. In Buffalo, there was only one way a band could make a full-time living from playing music… play Top-40 music. Songs that are current and dance-able.
Step 1, Pick a name for your band. We picked the name JUKEBOX… a name to reflect what we were all about… Playing the top hits. Seemed wholly appropriate, right?
Step 2 was to find a bass player… preferably one that could sing and play the bass at the same time. We put an ad in the paper and attracted the attention of another local musician who was tired of beating her head against the wall playing her own tunes in Buffalo clubs and not getting paid. The folksy and talented Kathy Moriarty was the first and last new member to join Jukebox. She sang beautifully and played bass guitar.
The lovely and talented Ms. Kathy Moriarty joins Jukebox
To find out what Kathy Moriarty is doing and hear her music, check out her My Space Page here:myspace.com/kathymoriarty
Now, Step 3… We had to find a place to rehearse. Kathy Moriarty helped us land a sweet room to practice at the N.W. Community Center 155 Lawn Street, Buffalo NY.
It was near a school and 15 year old kids would congregate below our 2nd floor window to listen to us rehearse. Our first audience was one on bicycles but it was a start.
Step 4; pick a set list. But unlike Parousia, this set list would be constantly changing… that’s what Top-40 was all about… Staying current and playing the new hits. That meant scanning the Billboard charts looking to see what songs were climbing and that we could stomach playing night after night. We had to predict the climbers in hopes that they continued to move towards the top. It was quite an art to pick the right tunes.
Then we would buy the 45’s and learn the songs right off the record. We learned songs like Tommy Tutone’s 867-5309 (Jenny) and “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor and “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. In addition to new ‘up and coming’ songs, we kept some classics on the set list too. Songs that everyone would recognize but we did it in a clever way.
We played a medley of songs by the Four Seasons; the Monkees, The Beach Boys and The Supremes. The medleys lasted over five minutes each and they did what every bar owner wanted them to do; get the people out on the floor dancing, working up a sweat then drinking and eating. Here’s a glimpse of the songs we performed as Jukebox:
Step 5; Get group pictures taken for our press kit. That meant picking the right look for a top-40 band. This was trickier than we thought. Our first sets of photos were done in June of 1982 at Kelly Photographers 2394 Seneca St, Buffalo, NY. Garth kept his long hair and we dressed more like a rock band using a black, white and red color scheme. Unfortunately this was NOT the look club owners were expecting for a typical Top-40 band.
Our first gig was supposed to be at the Holiday Inn, Batavia, N.Y., Sept 13-25, 1982 an entire solid week of playing and getting paid with accommodations at the Motel.
But it was cancelled when the club owner saw our promo photo and said, “I don’t know… they look too rock n’ roll to me. It might scare the patrons” WTH? Really! Ugh, so it was back to the drawing board for us…
A second-set of less intimidating photos were taken in September of 1982, just after we completed Step 6; secure a management company to book Jukebox into clubs, weddings, parties and hotels. For this round of photos, we were under the tutelage of Tim Gerwitz, a veteran Top-40 musician recently with the band “Strut”. He gave up playing in a band to work for Starstruck productions, I mean Progressive Management, I mean Entertainment Services (aka: J&R Productions). The names of the management companies kept changing faster than we could change the type on our press kit. Eventually, we just used a sticker.
Tim told us how we should dress, and we didn’t like it! We were in ruffled shirts… RUFFLED! For Christ’s sake! With vests no less… and Garth’s hair, he had to hide it under a wig! Just LOOK at us… Well, we didn’t stay in those outfits for performances I can tell you that.
Step 7: Start playing and getting paid! Kathy’s connections landed us our first paid gig on October 28, 1982. A Halloween Party at the N.W. Community Center. How convenient since we were rehearsing upstairs. All we had to was bring our equipment down to the stage, set up and play.
Our second gig was through our own connections with the Plant 6 in Kenmore, NY. The Plant 6 was a well traveled venue for Parousia, our former band. It was like a second home to us and we were the second best thing to happen there besides Fish Fry Friday.
JUKEBOX’s played at the Plant 6 for two nights, Friday and Saturday, November 19 & 20 and were paid $306.00. We had Barry Cannizzaro (ex-guitarist for Parousia) and Keith Huels (ex-roadie for Parousia) show up and help us out with lights and other things.
Our expense for the band JUKEBOX was nothing like what we had to spend to keep PAROUSIA afloat. At the end of the night, we paid out $137.25 in costs and made $168.75 profit. That money didn’t go into a ‘pot’ to pay for rent, or props, or fix equipment… we got paid! Each of us made $40.00 for the weekend. It felt good to take home a little something after the show. A feeling we didn’t have often in PAROUSIA.
JUKEBOX’s third show was in December. A three-nighter at a club called “the Hollywood Lounge” in Batavia, NY and they paid us $500.00 to play Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, December 2,3,4. It was a good feeling to set up, leave the gear in one place for three nights, play the show and get paid. We were liking the vibe. The truck rental was only $45.00 and we had to pay Tim his 10% cut for booking the gig. Then we paid $101.00 for something called “Other expense”… drugs, women and booze obviously! All in all we paid out $196.00 in expense and made a profit of $304.00.
Our fourth and last gig for December 1982 the band was paid $500.00 for another ‘three-nighter’ at a place called “The Squire“… for some reason (drugs and alchohol?) none of us remember anything about this club. According the ledger, we paid out $275.00 in expense and made $225.00. The three-day truck rental was the biggest expense at $112.00. Other than that we were ‘raking it in’ compared to the PAROUSIA band days.
Our fifth and final gig of the year was back at the Hollywood Lounge in Batavia NY for a New Years Eve party, December 31, 1982. We rang in the New Year for the first time together as Jukebox and were paid $300.00. None of us had kids, or had families of our own. We were out at night playing music and getting paid. This was us now… We were a full fledged party band. WHOOP WHOOP!
True Story: After we finished our first set of music at the Hollywood Lounge in Batavia, Garth, Patt and Gerry were hanging out at the bar. Overhead, there was a giant TV screen and on it was showing an HBO special, “An Evening with Robin Williams” (1982) and Williams is doing his typical frenetic, completely off the wall improvisation. The crowd at the club was really into it.
So, the bar manager bought us another round and says, “Hey Guys, why don’t you sit the next set out? The fans really want to watch this… Drinks are on me, OK? ”. We looked at each other and smiled, “OK!”
So, we sat there at the bar, watched an awesome stand-up comedy show by Robin Williams, drank for free and got paid at the end of the night After the TV show, we played one more set of music to end the night. The crowd was really pumped; it was a nice vibe, and an awesome way to usher in the New Year since we made $82.00 after paying out only $218.00 in expense.
Eventually, Tim Gerwtiz retired from being a booking agent when the pressures of J&R Productions got to be too much for him. Tim reformed with his group “Strut” and started playing the top-40 circuit again. Right away, Nick Guggliuzza (another agent) picked us up as one of his bands.
Under Nick’s mentor-ship we became a frequent performer at the Attica Lanes in Attica NY (a sizable nightclub/bowing alley near Attica Prison). We were a big hit at the Attica Lanes and were paid $200.00 for our first two shows there and then received a raise in pay on March 28, when we were paid $300.00. It is at the Attica Lanes where we eventually ended our days as a “Top-40” act when Jukebox disbanded at the end of March of 1983.
We don’t have much memorabilia of Jukebox. The whole idea of that band was to simply kick-back and not worry about much. Just play your instruments and then get paid at the end of the night and that’s just what we did. We didn’t record the songs, or video tape the performances. Instead, we relaxed. It was a break in the routine. With Jukebox, there was no pressure of having to get changed for the next set or chasing down props or any of the usual running around that we had to do in Parousia. All that stuff kept us from sitting and communicating with each other and the audience.
In Jukebox we didn’t have anything to do between sets other than have a drink and talk to each other. Through Jukebox, Patt, Garth and I got to know each other better and we formed a bond that became a solid base for the new Parousia, which we were anxious to reform and allow our creative mojo to flow once again… as long as we had plenty of napkins. In October of 1983, six months after the end of Jukebox, we resurrected Parousia. This band was dedicated to writing and performing its own material. No more cover songs!