Eagles Roost – Rocking out at the beach. Summer- 1981
In case you haven’t heard of it before, Olcott is a hamlet (like a small ham sandwich?) located in the Town of Newfane in Niagara County, NY. It is a quaint lakeside community, home to the deepest harbor on Lake Ontario and is known for its Coney Island-like beach attractions. It is frequently visited by tourists seeking-out nearby Niagara Falls.
Eagles Roost – First Gig, Saturday May 16th, 1981
This was our first gig at the Eagle’s Roost in Olcott. We knew that if they liked us enough, they would have us return throughout their summer season, (May – August). Today, Saturday was their grand pre-Memorial Day opening weekend and we were champions of the call to start the summer season a rockin’, but the Eagles Roost alone wasn’t the only excitement for today because it was also Canisius College graduation day for Patt and me.
Both of us attended our ceremony at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo early in the day. I invited my parents who surprised me when they asked that I come back to the house for a graduation party… to this day I feel guilty telling them I couldn’t go and that I had this gig in Olcott and had to leave right from the ceremony. I suppose selling one’s soul for rock ‘n’ roll does have it’s down side when it comes to family. So Patt and I climbed into the U-haul and off we went to the harbor town of Newfane.
When we got to the club, Patt and I were still in our Cap and Gown and we decided to stay that way until show time just to flip the locals out and grab attention. I suppose it was a bit of foreshadowing for what would be unleashed upon the audience later that evening.
The location was perfect. The Eagles Roost night club stood at the end of a strip of bars and restaurants on the sparkling shore of Lake Ontario. Wealthy homes lined the harbor just 30 feet away from the night club entrance. It was a refreshing venue to perform in and a rare pleasure. The neon lights illuminated the clean air and the clear skies were lined with thousands of stars all wrapped up in a harbor town a-buzz with tourists and locals enjoying themselves on a fine spring night.
We were anxious to put on our show of weirdness and music for this lakeshore crowd. We had no doubt they would be righteously entertained with songs like “He’s a Whore”, “White Punks on Dope” and “Hymn 41” interwoven into a “Good vs. Evil” theme using backdrops, props and costumes. That kind of stuff always tripped-out the locals and got ‘em going.
This evening was our start of a four-gig stint at Eagles Roost. Yes, they liked our set so much they booked us to perform again in June, July and August. It was a beautiful night to be paid $225.00 but it still left us $30.00 short at the end of the night even with Bob’s contribution to the rent at the Music Mall. Our expense totaled $276.00 and we didn’t even have any roadies to pay, other than Dave Styn, “head roadie” who worked the sound board as one of his duties. Mike Carroll was there to run lights and occasionally he helped us move our gear on and off the truck along with his own but for the most part, the musicians were the roadies for tonight’s show. I remember Robert Lowden helped me with my drum riser. We carried it off the truck and when it came time to set it down, he didn’t wait for me to position my hands and he just dropped his end. The weight brought the riser down on my hand but the ring i was wearing saved me.
Eagle’s Roost – Second Gig – Saturday June 20th, 1981
Our righteous return to the little rock club on the harbor. All of us were looking forward to coming back to Olcott to feel the cool breeze coming off the lake on this hotter than normal June night. A couple of weeks earlier, Patt and I were featured on WGRQ FM (97 Rock) for an interview, sort of a “Q and A” with Parousia. We heavily advertised this show and our gig at Graffiti’s on Elmwood Avenue back in Buffalo.
We were not disappointed. The crowd was big and they were drinking like fish! But the night was not absent from anguish or pain… we felt the sting of small town justice from men who like to change laws at the drop of hat just to fuck with big city rock bands invading their community, like us. Well, not all of us… some are the instigators and end up dragging the rest of us into bad situations with them.
Back in May, when we first came to perform in Olcott they had a friendly open container law. You could walk up and down the strip with a beer and no one would screw with you… how cool is that? Hey, it’s the one sure way to attract visitors to the local establishments… it’s a win win.
Fast forward to June where apparently, unbeknownst to us, Olcott had changed its law to NO OPEN CONTAINERS. Yeesh, you’d think they would have posted that somewhere in big letters on a billboard… but no. Rather, we suspect it was a premeditated trap to nail the trouble making “out of towners” like us. What a golden opportunity for law enforcement to increase city revenues by handing out tickets to every fly caught in this web. Was this the police chief’s answer to a financial crisis brought on by reduced profits and waning tourism at Olcott beach harbor? And yet, there was a third factor that likely contributed to our situation. Allow me to elaborate…
After we finished unloading the U-haul we had some time to kill before setting the stage. Some of the guys went next door for a few drinks, including Steve. Steve was a friend of our lighting technician Mike Carroll, and although Steve was good at lifting stuff, he was a bit of a shady droog and was always ready for a bit of the ultra-violence.
It wasn’t long before Steve became bored and drunk and started whipping rocks into the water outside of the Eagles Roost. I mean big rocks… and he was scaring the seagulls and it drew concerns from people nearby. There was a big lavish home adjacent to the club that overlooked the water directly in front of where the rocks were going ker-plunk – ker-sploosh and in that house lived the Mayor!
The Mayor was pissed at Steve’s reckless rock-throwing and about an hour later the bad boys in blue picked up Patt Connolly, Eric Scheda, Dave Styn and Steve because they were hanging out in front of the bar drinking beers. They were now considered in violation of the new open container law that went into effect only a week ago. The fine was $25.00 each, (which was kinda’ felt like $100 back in 1981). My real worry was that Steve was going to go ballistic and get us thrown out of town… no gig, no money.
Sure enough, Steve was very obnoxious and the police wouldn’t stand for it and took all of them down to the station to be arrested. Great, now there was no roadies around to help with the stage set up! So, Bob Lowden and I were left on our own to do it all. I remember when we were both carrying my drum platform. UGH! That platform was the bane of my existence. It was incredibly heavy with layers of carpet glued to two sections of plywood. Each section was six feet by 8 feet. We carried it several yards and when it came time to drop it, Bob just let it go which should have smashed my fingers to the floor but it was my Sapphire ring that stopped the platform from crushing my hand. I remember the ring being stuck there as I yanked my finger out. The impact put quite a bend in the silver band but I hung on to that ring and still have it today. It’s my good luck charm!
This night was also the launch of Parousia’s new ‘Good versus Evil’ show-set. Now that Kim Watts had left the band, we had to replace all her tunes with new ones. We took on songs like “Perpetual Change” by Yes, and “Squonk” and “Abacab” by Genesis. We were beefing up our progressive catalog of cover tunes and people liked it. Eric Scheda and I did a solo together during the song “Hoe Down” by ELP. Ah-h, good times.
The Eagle’s Roost paid us $250.00 to perform on Saturday, June 20, 1981. Our expense for the night totaled $237.00 leaving us with a razor thin profit margin of $13.00. The rental truck was killing us on these long road trips to play a ‘one-nighter’. The truck rental expense from this show was $94.00 almost one-third our pay.
Eagle’s Roost – Third Gig – Friday, July 17th, 1981
Hey what better way could we think of to spend a Friday in July, other than rocking out the summer at the coolest little club on the Olcott beach harbor? At least this time my droogs had their drinks INSIDE the bar and away from the cops circling like sharks ready to bite.
This was our first gig after the Riverside Review published a complaint about Parousia’s Fourth of July outdoor concert in Riverside Park. The guy who wrote the complaint called my brother a “Dim-Witted Guitarist” and viola, Barry’s nick-name was born! Anyway at the time of this gig, we were still having a pretty good laugh over that one! Check out some cool pics and more stories from the Riverside Park concert right here: http://www.parousiabuff.com/shows/riverside-park-july-3-1981
The band was paid $250.00 to play our third gig at the Eagle’s Roost, July 17, 1981. We also took in another $65.00 from an overdue debt owed to us from our gig at the Harmony Bar back on May 14th. We paid light-man Mike Carroll $50.00, he normally gets $35.00 but he was griping about the distance he had to drive and wanted extra money for gas. We had three roadies to pay, Steve Styn, Steven, (Mike’s friend) and Keith Huels. Each earned $10.00 each. Our total expense from this evening totaled $216.00, leaving us with a $34.00 profit. The beauty of playing on the lake in summer helped us tolerate thoughts of the money we weren’t earning.
Eagle’s Roost – Fourth Gig- Saturday, August 1st, 1981.
This was the end-of-summer gig for the lake-side community of Olcott and we were happy to help them end the season with a bang. Tonight’s show at the Eagles Roost was part of a double-header for us. We had performed an outdoor concert earlier in the day at a city of Buffalo event called the “Hertel Happening”. You can check out some cool pics and news clippings for that show here: http://www.parousiabuff.com/shows/hertel-happening-08-01-1981
Our road crew was exhausted by the time we got all set up and ready to play at “the Roost”. After all they had to load / unload the truck and set-up the stage twice in one day with no extra pay, (not because we were cheap, we were broke) and we were a big band with lots of heavy shit, like a Hammond L1 organ with a rotating Leslie speaker, a Fender Rhodes piano and an ARP Omni synthesizer. Three huge guitar amps and a seven-piece North drum kit with a massive wooden riser, just to name a few… But they got through it. No matter what happened our road crew always rocked.
The Eagle’s Roost paid us our usual $250.00 for a Saturday night, August 1, 1981. We brought with us a large entourage for this show. In addition to the usual Dave Styn (sound) and Mike Carroll (lights) we had Steven (Mike’s friend), Steve Styn (Dave’s brother) and Keith (Garth’s brother). We were a travelling zoo! We played two shows this day but one of them was for free. Our total expense for both was $298.00. Basically the free show cost us $48.00 which we made back in exposure thanks to a reporter snapping a picture of the band and making it a feature photo in the Buffalo Evening News. http://www.parousiabuff.com/shows/hertel-happening-08-01-1981