Parousia At “The Texas” In Burlington, VT. – February 9-13, 1982

Here is a nice visual archive of pictures taken by Gerry of our trip from Buffalo, New York to Burlington, Vermont for what was supposed to be a week long engagement in the college town.  It was quite the adventure.

The foolhardy crew of the band and dedicated supporters Dave Styn, Keith Huels, Greg Filippone and Tom Miller headed off in a caravan in a blizzard which only seemed to get worse.  I remember Eric and I were in the truck and somehow managed to lose the rest of the group and take a wrong turn, and when we tried to correct, we ended up stuck in a snow drift!

This was before cell phones, so we were screwed.  Fortunately, some very kind local gentleman in a pickup truck saw our plight and pulled the truck out of the snowbank so we could get back on the road again, and didn’t even ask for money (which is good, because we didn’t have any – – we’re musicians)!  That was one of those little acts of kindness that means so much that you remember and are inspired to pay it forward.

So, long story short, we arrive at the bar to find the burnt out remnants of a smoldering courthouse across the street.  We set up and play our first night to a sparse (being Tuesday and having had no promotion) but appreciative crowd.  The owner has us staying upstairs in a half finished loft, not great, but not the worst place we’ve been either.

Anyway, I remember trying to sleep and hearing “zzzzzzzzzzt” while seeing flashing light through my eyelids.  It happens again and I’m, like, “Is that supposed to be doing that?”  I open my eyes to see blue liquid flame pouring out the electrical outlet and dripping down the wall.  I’ve never seen anything like that before, scary at the time, but kind of cool in retrospect.

Everyone gets up, except Bob (“wake me up when the fire department gets here”), and a couple of us go looking for a pay phone (damn, life was tough before cell phones).  The first 3 phones we find are out of order, and I think we finally flagged down a cab and got him to call the fire department for us.

The firemen show up with their equipment and ask us what the problem is, and they kind of laugh it off, then they decide to check the breaker box.  As soon as the fireman touches it, it starts sparking and smoking and the firemen douse it with an extinguisher.

The next day, we are notified that the rest of the gig is cancelled and are sent home.  Apparently, the bar owner didn’t appreciate the fact that we just saved his building from burning down, so we packed up and started the long trek home.

There’s much more to the story, so I’ll let Gerry provide some detail from his perspective!


[and now… Gerry’s perspective:]  The loft above the Texas Bar is something I’ll never forget… It had two rooms, a hallway and a crawl space.  I stayed in the room with Gregg Filippone and Robert Lowden, it had an actual bed, two cots and a door that shut.  I think Patt slept on a cot in the hallway between rooms.

Staying in the other room was Garth, Eric and Keith.  Tom Miller slept in a crawl space above it.  I can’t remember where my bother Barry slept… perhaps he’ll chime in on that, (I hope it wasn’t the bathroom).  Don’t get me wrong… this loft arrangement was a “luxury suite” compared to other boarding arrangements we’ve had… but those stories are for another day.  This is the story of our trip from Buffalo to play at a bar called The Texas… which had nothing to do with the state of Texas, it was in Vermont, on the frozen shore of the great Lake Champlain.

Our adventure was supposed to be five-nights of solid musical entertainment provided by us… which sounded like a great idea.  Five nights to play to a new audience… Five nights of actual cash money (we could pay for some food, the truck, the gasoline, and the road crew)… Five nights of straight partying away from home!  Well, that’s the way it should have been but the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Perhaps this is the gig that never should have been… but somehow we did it… as we always did… Why?  Was it because we had the fearlessness to stare into the eye of a hurricane until we made it “blink”?  Was it that we had the tenacity of a honey badger that pursues its prey despite the odds?  Was it for “character building” or like brave men who climb mountains simply because “it’s there”… or that we were simply too naive to see the impossibility of the situation… I don’t know.  It didn’t seem impossible at the time.  Looking back however, there seems to have been many omens to cast a shadow of doubt on the success of this gig.

It was February in Buffalo and as you can see in the first two photos, snowing very hard… it was like a scene from the Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer claymation TV special, when the big storm of the millennium hits Christmas town… maybe that was the first Omen we overlooked?

Garth's house 05:10am 02.09.1982 - Dave, Garth, Tom, Keith, Bob, Patt, Barry & Eric

Garth’s house 05:10am 02.09.1982 – Dave, Garth, Tom, Keith, Bob, Patt, Barry & Eric

We loaded up most of our equipment the night before and needed to make a quick-stop at Garth’s house on Dartmouth before hitting the road.  You can see all of us (except me, I’m taking the picture) lined up against the truck ready to hit the road “against all odds”.  Dave Styn, (our head roadie), couldn’t make the trip, but he was nice enough to get up at 5:00 am to help load the truck.  Garth and Eric piloted the U-haul, they had the dash board tricked out with candles and incense.  Just as they started the engine the Buffalo police pulled up behind me with red & blue lights flashing.

(2) 0515am, Ready to hit the road, Suddenly the Police pull up behind me

0515am, Ready to hit the road, Suddenly the Police pull up behind me (Gerry, the photo journalist)

They made us stop what we were doing and questioned why we were “loading up a U-haul in front of a private residence at 5:00 AM”… was this a second omen?   After a quick inspection, the Police acknowledged we were performing artists (not home invasion artists) and our 400 mile journey into the heart of darkness began… Patt had spent a lot of time creating a sheet of step by step directions given to the driver of each vehicle.  As long as we all stuck to the rules and directions, we would get there OK.  We even planed ahead to account for getting lost but that still wasn’t enough to stop disaster from striking apparently.

(3) Route to 'the Texas' in Burlington, VT. from Garth's house on Comstock, Buffalo, NY.

Route to ‘The Texas’ in Burlington, VT. from Garth’s house on Comstock, Buffalo, NY.

On the way to and from the gig, I was in Gregg’s car with Robert snapping photos through the windshield.

(4) Route 90 Eastbound

Route 90 Eastbound

The TV series “Ice Road Truckers” comes to mind as we traveled these treacherous roads, but our luck ran out when Barry’s car (the blue auto in the caravan) spun out on black ice and crashed into a snow bank… that in itself was bad enough but add to it a near miss from a passing tractor trailer and that was enough for Barry to pass the steering wheel to Patt.  The third omen more than just grazed us and it was too close for comfort…

(5) Route 22 Northbound... where's our Truck

Route 22 Northbound… where’s our truck?

And where was our truck?  Gregg’s car stopped for Barry… but our U-haul kept going.  When they pulled ahead of us, Garth & Eric had no idea that Barry’s car spun out into a snow bank, so onward they went…  Then, they turned down the wrong road and when they tried to turn around, the truck got stuck in a snow filled ditch… for hours and hours. The fourth omen hit us straight on…

It was kinda' like this...

Yeah, It was kinda’ like this…

The rest of us made it to the club in the early evening… we had to convince the bar owner that yes, we really had our shit together…we were freaking out waiting for Garth, Eric and our truck to arrive with all of our equipment in tow… we didn’t know when or if they were coming!  If only we had cell phones back then.

(6) The Texas - downtown Burlington Vermont

The Texas – downtown Burlington Vermont

Looking down Main Street… “a watched pot never boils”.

(17) Left view down Main street. Lake Champlain at the end

Left view down Main street. Lake Champlain at the end

(18) Right view down Main street.

Right view down Main street

(19) Looking down Church ST. off Main.

Looking down Church ST. off Main.

It was -14 degrees next to the lake and across the street was a visage of a burnt out courthouse that went up in flames the night before we arrived… the building was encased in ice.  I guess that’s what happens when you hose down a burning building in below zero temperatures.  Was this foreshadowing of an event to befall us later this evening?  A fifth omen indeed!

(15) Bad Omen... courthouse across from the Texas burnt to a crispy fritter the night before

Bad Omen… courthouse across from the Texas burnt to a crispy fritter the night before

As we mulled about the club, we noticed the lack of publicity for our band… we were promised “adequate” promotion… yet the flyers put up around town advertised the “1st Birthday Party” and mentioned us only as “Live Band”.

The Texas, Birthday Party Flyer 02.10.1982

Nothing Beats the Thrill of Seeing Yourself Being Promoted – – “LIVE BAND”
(perhaps we should have changed our name to ‘George’)

If it wasn’t for the name “Parousia” written on the chalk board at the entrance, nobody would have known we were performing there at all.  Sixth Omen???

(9) Birthday Party... and Parousia

Birthday Party… and Parousia

The U-haul finally arrived later that night to a sigh of relief… we set up our equipment as fast as we could but still began our performance an hour and a half late… not cool for a first impression.  We played well enough considering the circumstance and the club was mostly empty on this Tuesday night… a sub-zero Tuesday night!  Omen number seven… check.

(10) Garth, Gerry, Barry, Eric

Garth, Gerry, Barry, Eric

(11) Gerry & Garth

Gerry & Garth

(12) Gerry N. Cannizzaro

Gerry North Cannizzaro

This drum kit puts the 'NORTH" in Gerry North.

North Drum Kit.  These drums puts the ‘NORTH” in Gerry North.

After the show, we were both wired and exhausted.  Backstage we called for our pipe and we called for our bowl and our fiddlers nine (including drummer, guitarists, flutists, keyboardist, sound engineer and roadies of course) and tried to rest and put the day’s misfortunes behind us… but it was not to be.

(14) The Texas Bording Room Band Rules

The Texas Bar – Policies concerning rooms and accommodations for bands

(21) Eric leans aginst the stairs. Tom Smith slept up the stairs in Crawl space

Eric Scheda. [Tom Miller slept up the stairs in Crawl space]

I think it was about 3:00 am when Garth first came knocking on our door… “Gerry, I think you should get up… there’s a fire!”  I barely opened my eyes, “no way, WHAT! you gotta be kidding, right?”… before I could hear Garth’s answer, I fell back to sleep.  Then about ten minutes later, I heard it again… >knock, knock, knock< “Gerry, I really think you should get up now, I’m not kidding, there is a fire”.  I got up and woke up Gregg but Robert wouldn’t move so we left him.  We walked into the hallway and everyone looked awake, alert and extremely concerned…

(22) A shocking way to wake up... to an electrical fire early Wednesday morning

A shocking way to wake up… to an electrical fire early Wednesday morning

Eric and Garth explained that when Tom fooled with the circuit panel and Eric plugged his battery charger into the wall, a large flame shot out and went >pop<.  Followed by a >bzzzzzt< and then “blue flame began dripping down the wall”.  (I remember thinking …Wow guys, what was in that pipe?)  Just then someone touched the circuit beakers and >BAM< a long flame shot out with a >pop<  followed by a crackling sound.  Well, that was it; We didn’t want to burn-up in our sleep. There were no fire extinguishers to be had, so we we sent Keith out into the freezing cold to find a payphone and call the fire department…  Hell, we would have notified the bar owner too… but the only number we had was to the bar downstairs and it was closed…

(20) Garth walking casually down Church Street

Garth – searching for emergency vehicles on Church Street.

The firemen came quick (I’m sure they knew the area well since they spent last night trying to extinguish the courthouse next-door).  Skeptical at first, until we convinced them to touch the breaker box; then it was like the fourth of July (minus the fun).  You should have seen those firemen jump back and spray that circuit box until it looked like a snow-cone.  They turned off the electricity and wrote up a citation.  Well that was it… Omen number eight… check mate. No one slept well, (if at all) after that…

(27) Garth puts on a smile even though his hand is stuck in a drawer

Garth puts on a smile even though his hand is stuck in a drawer

(28) It's all good fun until somebody's nose stars to bleed.

It’s all good fun until somebody’s nose starts to bleed.

The next day, a bunch of us got up early and left the club and went off to explore downtown Burlington.  The weather was still below zero and we slugged through the frozen snow and ice-cold wind to find a place to eat and relax while we were “out on tour”.

(16) Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains in the distance

Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains in the distance

What little fun we had was soon over… When we came back to the club and immediately heard the news that we had been ‘kicked to the curb’… The reason: We were told we didn’t draw enough people on a sub-zero Tuesday night without promotion.  There was no negotiation… we had to pack-up all our stuff and go home.

(23) Parousia is told to 'hit the road' Wednesday because we didn't draw enough people on a Tuesday night...

Parousia is told to ‘hit the road’ on Wednesday because we didn’t bring-in enough people on a Tuesday night…

(25) But our club contract doesn't require a minimum draw. H-m-m-m-m...

But our performance contract didn’t require a minimum draw. H-m-m-m-m…

(26) Exposed to excessive mental stress, Keith smiles incoherently as his sanity continues to slip away...

Exposed to excessive mental stress, Keith smiles incoherently as his sanity continues to slip away…

We couldn’t afford to pay for the truck rental, we couldn’t afford to pay the road crew… we had just enough money for the gas to get home and a one room one night stay at a cheap motel… and that’s what we did.  Like wounded warriors we packed up our shit and headed out.  It was already late in the evening when we hit the road.

(29) Bummed out at the Bar...

Patt and Barry, bummed out at the Bar…

(30) Breaking down the Equipment...

Breaking down the Equipment…

(31) Loading up the truck...again!

Loading up the truck…again!

We stopped at the first dive we could afford and watched re-runs of “Fame”.  (Don’t judge us for that choice…we had “rabbit ears” for an antenna, with only a handful of TV channels back then).

(32) Later that evening at a hotel down the road... pizza, beer and FAME re-runs

Later that evening at a hotel down the road… pizza, beer and FAME re-runs

(33) No 'wet head' before i get on the frozen road

No ‘wet head’ before i get on the frozen road

The next day, we stopped at a Howard Johnson’s and could swear we saw Jimmy Olson at the counter, (working his side job away from “The Daily Planet”?)

(34) On the way back to Buffalo, we ran into a Jimmy Olson look-alike at Howard Johnson's

On the way back to Buffalo, we ran into a Jimmy Olson look-alike at Howard Johnson’s

(35) Back on the icy road to Buffalo

Back on the icy road to Buffalo

The experience stuck with us for years… back in safety and warmth our rehearsal room, it inspired to write and name an epic rock-instrumental overture entitled, “Northway / Vermont”.  Watch a performance of the song here: http://www.parousiabuff.com/video/parousia-unveils-art-science-plant-6#northway

Yes, we did get paid (eventually), for one night’s performance and some expense.  We convinced our booking agent Dave Buffamonti, to go back to the owner and cite the wording in the agreement which did not require a minimum draw.  Oh, and the fact that we all could have been burned to a crispy fritter while sleeping in his faulty wired death-loft also helped our negotiations a bit!

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief…” -Charles Dickens, “a tale of two cities”.

7 comments for “Parousia At “The Texas” In Burlington, VT. – February 9-13, 1982

  1. June 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Gotta love those matching satin jackets. Was Parousia a rock band or a bowling team? You get the feeling that you wouldn’t want to run into us in a dark alley, or you might be forced to pull out a knife or chain and dance with us!

    I hate to admit it, but I still have my jacket in my closet, though it is disintegrating – – we bought the cheapest ones!

  2. Patt
    June 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    The thing I remember about that trip is doing a 360 degree spin on the Interstate north of Albany. I was in the car with Barry, Tom and Keith, and either I or Barry was driving in very bad wintery conditions. We hit a patch of black ice, spun the car totally around, and came to rest facing forward in the passing lane. We sat there for what seemed like a long time, but was probably seconds. Just then, Keith said “We’re gonna die!”, and looking out the back window, an 18 wheeler was coming straight at us, sounding his horn!!! Everybody screamed “Drive, drive!”. We started crawling ahead, but just at the last moment someone let the truck merge into the other lane and he flew past us in a cloud of snow, still blowing his horn. By then, someone was nice enough to let us pull over to the shoulder. There we sat, having some kind of profound religious experience.

    • October 3, 2013 at 1:01 am

      Hilarious – – in retrospect. Good thing y’all lived to tell the tale. Helluva way to find God!

  3. Barry Cannizzaro
    July 10, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I ditto all of the above comments and experiences. The one thing I will always remember when we played at the Texas (besides the potential electrical fire in the walls of the bar) is the fact that the bar owner released us from our one week playing contract early due to low patron/crowd attendance during the weekdays (go figure!), and basically tried to “stiff us” out of our full week’s pay. I can’t remember if we actually filed a small claims court suit against the bar owner, and if someone from our band ( or someone from management: Backstage Productions) had to go back to Vermont to represent us and finally recoop what was owed to us. If any Parousia members remember the outcome of this incident; please don’t hesitate to “chime” in.

    P.S. I think “Gerry North” already answered my question. Hence my nickname holds true again. See below!

    Thanks,
    Barry, “The dimwitted…”, yeah, you know!

    • Eric Scheda
      September 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      I really thought Garth, Keith and I were going to die of exposure after getting stuck.
      Really how did we survive without cell phones. Yeah, I lost my battery charger I had plugged into one of those loft outlets…melted. I was just hoping the arcing at the outlets would just go away because deep down I realized it was a bad omen…not to mention freakin’ dangerous while we were sleeping. I remember how totally let down everyone was after we got the news of our eviction.
      If Dave Styn were there he would have just fired up his hibacci grill said ” say….uh.. hey…you guys wanna get some sausages and grill out?”. Dave’s answer to everything, good news and bad was that damn grill. Who knows how different our lives would have turned out if that grill would have been there for us that fateful day in Vermont

      • October 3, 2013 at 1:17 am

        Oh yeah, I forgot about that – – how many times we sat out and grilled in sub-freezing temperature at ungodly hours of the morning. Ahh, youth. Didn’t seem that crazy at the time, though I now understand those funny looks we’d get from the neighbors as they were getting up and heading to work as the sun came up in the morning.

  4. Patt
    October 6, 2015 at 10:48 am

    The reason I was so mad was that I had planned the trip in detail, providing maps to each vehicle with the route and rest stops etc. Remember this was the middle of a blizzard. After staying together across New York State, the truck people decided they could make better time without us due to the weight of the equipment, and passed us on the Thruway. When crossing over into Vermont, we were no longer on the Interstate and the roads were narrow and the signage poor. The skies were dark and visibility was bad. The truck people, being in less than a sober state, missed a turn. When they realized their mistake, they tried to turn around, ending up in the ditch. Meanwhile, back at the bar, we set up what little equipment we had and waited. We were worried about what happened to the truck since it was actually ahead of us on the road, especially Keith, who watched for the truck for hours, not knowing what happened to his brother. Through all this, the bar owner was understandably pissed off.
    When the truck finally arrived, we worked like crazy to bring the stuff up the stairs and set up. That we started only an hour and a half late was a miracle. We played our sets to very few people, but the owner assured us it would get better as the week progressed. He was not upset at that point.
    After playing, we went to an unfinished area where we were to sleep. There was drywall and studs were visible in some places. You can see from the pictures there were no doors. I had decided to sleep in the room away from the others, but the light in the room was not working. Tom, who was always eager to please, decided that he could fix the light and proceeded to fool with the jury rigged circuit breaker panel. Just then, all hell broke loose. Sparks began to fly from the panel, and Tom said “Uh oh”. Then I heard Eric yelling from the second bedroom and we rushed in. The battery charger he had placed in the wall socket was on fire. The fire was put out, and we pondered what to do next. We were all spooked by the recently burned out building across the street, and Keith went to call the fire department from a pay phone down the street since we didn’t have any way to contact the owner.
    The firemen came immediately with all their equipment, inspected the panel, and disconnected the alligator clips that brought in the power. They gave us a citation to give to the owner, listing the various laws that had been broken that night. We went back to sleep, feeling better that the firemen had checked out the situation and declared it safe.
    The next morning, I felt really great! We were finally on tour in another city far from our home base. We walked around town, going into stores; I felt like I was in a Beatles movie. Then we got the news of the cancellation. It hit me like a sledgehammer. I had used all my money to pay for the truck and gas to get out there, expecting to use our pay to get home.
    We borrowed money from Greg for gas and the motel room. We used the pay from the next gigs to pay off the creditors. The roadies took no pay. Some of us think that the fines that the owner wound up paying and the trouble that we caused was the real reason for being “let go” that day. In any event, this was the beginning of the end for that version of Parousia.

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