Parousia at Practice on Rano Street May 3, 1979

Here are six (6) video clips recorded in 1979 when Parousia rented an awesome rehearsal space in a giant brick industrial building on Rano Street in Black Rock.

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Part of the enormous King complex bldg. on Rano St. in Black Rock showing the KING name on the smokestack

Our studio was located upstairs in a big warehouse that had several empty rooms where local bands practiced their music.  Some of the other groups in this rehearsal warehouse were The Scooters, the Vores and Pauline and the Perils.  It was very dirty and blue collar, a perfect breeding ground for Buffalo’s punk rock scene.

I remember looking out the Windows, peering down on the street and watching the neighborhood kids gathering on bikes to listen to us.

Parousia on Rano St 1979

From left to right the band members are: Dave Maltbie (keyboards), Barry Cannizzaro (guitar & vocals), Kim Watts (vocals, harmonica), Gerry Cannizzaro (drums), Patt Connolly (vocals, flute), Bobby Lowden (bass guitar), Garth Huels (guitar & vocals).  Lenny Krucenski ran the lights and pyro technics.

These original Parousia set lists, archived from 1979, preserved and provided courtesy of Gregg Filippone.

These original Parousia set lists, archived from 1979, preserved and provided courtesy of Gregg Filippone.

This was Parousia’s first ever video shoot courtesy of Gregg Filippone. Here’s a slideshow of the band from Gregg’s 1st generation cutting edge tube-camera video recording technology (hey, it was 1979.)

The videos were shot on this Portable Sony 1/2″ B&W Open Reel Mono VTR – the AV 3420 CE, on loan from Buff State University, courtesy of Gregg Filippone – hence the awesome quality!

Sony AV3420_COMP

 

 

HISTORY OF THE KING FACTORY COMPLEX BLDG. ON RANO STREET IN BLACK ROCK:

The King complex on Rano Street became the King Quality Products in 1924.  It sold radios through Sears, Roebuck under the “Silvertone” name.  King acquired the Neutrodyne license of another company and marketed radios under its own name.  The company underwent several name changes: King-Hinners Radio (1926); King-Buffalo (1927); and King Manufacturing Company (1927-30).  In 1925-26, the company made 35,000 radio sets in addition to 15,000 for Sears, Roebuck.

King Manufacturing in Buffalo apparently overproduced in 1929, losing money.  Sears sold its interest in the company to the Colonial Radio Company in October, 1930, which moved from its locations in Rochester and Long Island City.  This company was to become Sears, Roebuck’s chief supplier of radios in the 1930s.

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Tower of the King complex, 2012, with the King Sewing Machine Co. name in terra cotta.

The Colonial Radio Company moved into the capacious former King Radio Company complex in 1931.  It employed 855 workers and sold radios under its own name as well as to Sears, Graybar Electric, Firestone, Goodyear, General Motors, Chrysler and Dunlop.  Production in 1930 was 40,000 units; in 1934, 150,600 units.  In 1940, with 1,762 employees, 631,000 radio receivers were produced in the Rano Street plant.  Products included “midget” radios, console radios, combination radio-phonographs, and automobile radios.

In 1940, Colonial acquired its first military contract.  By 1942, it had dropped its production of civilian radio sets and devoted 100% of its production capacity to military products for World War II.  Its first products were long range airborne transmitters, (TA-2, TA-6, TA-12), which were installed in British Lancaster and Halifax bombers.  Next it produced radio sets (SCR-274, SCR-522) that were installed in every fighter, bomber, and trainer.

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The King sewing factory complex on Rano street

During the last 14 months of World War II, 500 employees of Colonial were sworn to secrecy and assigned to work on a radio proximity fuse, a device affixed to anti-aircraft and field artillery shells that would automatically detonate the shell when it came within 70 feet of the target.  This allowed the anti-aircraft shell to fatally disable an airplane without a direct hit, and the artillery shells had a more lethal effect on enemy ground troops than a more focused explosion.  It succeeded in stopping Kamikaze raiders in the Pacific, stopped the buzz-bomb attacks over England during the summer of 1944, and turned back German General Van Runstedt’s attack at the Battle of the Bulge.

In 1944, the Sylvania Electric Products Company purchased the Rano Street Colonial Radio complex.  In 1948, the plant was re-organized and retooled for production of radios and the first television sets for Sears, Roebuck.  In 1949, televisions were produced under the Sylvania label.  The Rano Street plant was named headquarters of Sylvania’s Radio and Television Division.

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View of the former King Colonial Sylvania complex on Rano St.

Sylvania, merging with GTE in 1959, would remain a large employer in Western New York for another 30 years, primarily through military contracts.  In 1963, there were 700 employed at 175 Great Arrow in 208,000 square feet; 600 worked in laboratories at Wehrle and Cayuga in Amherst; 200 worked at 2777 Walden Avenue near Dick Road.  Of the 1963 local college graduates, Sylvania hired 160.  These locations benefited from contracts from all branches of the military, from radios, walkie-talkies, navigation and instrumentation, microwave communications research, electronic countermeasures research, and ground control electronics for the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.  By 1974, contracts for the Minuteman project alone had totaled $71 million dollars and required 1,000 workers.

15 comments for “Parousia at Practice on Rano Street May 3, 1979

  1. Patt Connolly
    May 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    To finally get out of practicing in the various basements in and around North Buffalo was a blessing. The fact was that this was a real working building with real start-up companies downstairs. It always amazed me that they gave us the free run of the place. The difficult part was that we rented a storage room. All the equipment had to set up in a center room each time we practiced. We were concerned with security so Garth’s brother came over and put like an armored plating on the inside of the door of our room.

    Kim, Lenny and I went exploring once. What you would now call Urban Spelunking. We found several boxes of long florescent tubes and had fun throwing them down the staircase to hear them explode. Kim found a window that was entirely filled with thousands of dead bees, a story of which she never tired of telling.

    • Gerry N Cannizzaro
      May 23, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Yes, it was a blessing to get out of all the weird and sometimes dangerous places we endured during the early years of Parousia. We bounced around from place-to-place quite a bit in spite of understanding parents who did their best to accommodate us, allowing us to use their homes and terrorize their neighborhoods with our noisy entourage! Good intentions aside, they had no idea how incredibly loud and disruptive a rock band could be. (That includes rehearsing our music and horsing around).

      In spring of 1975 we started practicing our songs in my parents garage on Baxter Street in Riverside. It was Barry, me and Patrick jamming out music next to my Dad’s oil-dripping Chevy Malibu station wagon, near an animal hutch that housed a squirrel a rabbit, and a skunk. It smelled like an auto-body shop inside a zoo but we had no where else to go at the time.

      When Mike Newell joined the band in autumn of 1975, we began rehearsing in his basement on Payne Avenue, in North Tonawanda. It smelled a lot better there, we were finally indoors plus occasionally his Mom would make us popcorn and serve refreshments.

      In spring of 1976 Mike Newell’s folks ‘had enough’ of Parousia and so we had to relocate back to Riverside in my Grandmother’s basement (during winter) and garage (during summer). When we got kicked out of there in 1977, we went to Steve Soos’ basement on Eckert St. and then from there, All Saints School on Esser Avenue which was a nice place to rehearse except each time we did, we had to bring all of our equipment to the school, set it all up and then afterwards tear it all down and haul it back to our homes. Plus, we never knew exactly where in the school we would be rehearsing. Sometimes in a classroom, sometimes in a hallway… we just prayed that it wasn’t on the seventh floor somewhere because there were no elevators in that old school.

      In the winter of 1978 we were on the move again and ended up in a hallway at St. John’s United Church of Christ on Amherst Street in Black Rock where the reverberation was so intense it was hard to hear what we were playing but at least we were indoors and on the first floor.

      In spring of 1978 Billy Simms joined Parousia and we immediately started rehearsing in his basement on Depew Avenue near Main. In the summer of 1978 Garth Huels and Bob Lowden joined Parousia which prompted another move to Bobby Lowden’s basement on Sanders Rd.

      In late 1978 when Parousia started performing in night clubs, it forced us to look for a practice place that was more accessible at all hours of the night. We were making some money by now and could afford to pay a little for a practice place. That’s when we rented a small room in Neb Borkovitch’s basement on Condon Avenue (surrounded by pink fiberglass – I still itch to this day) but in spite of the money, when his folks had enough of the noise we had to move out (in the dead of winter) to an unheated garage on Vorhee’s Avenue (courtesy of our new booking agent/manager Phil Christopher). It was free but it was so cold we couldn’t manipulate our fingers to play our instruments.

      In the spring of 1979 we scored our first ‘real’ rehearsal space by answering an ad in the Riverside Review for “bands wanted” which led us to the King Sewing Machine industrial complex on Rano Street in Black Rock. At first, we were the only band in there but as time went on, we were joined by others such as the Vores and the Scooters. Eventually we had to leave Rano, (The owners had a dispute as to whether they should rent to bands in their abandoned factory full of dangerous conditions with no warning of hidden hazards… go figure) and so, having burnt out all of our friends and family, we placed an ad in the paper for “working band looking to pay cash for a place to rehearse”. One brave fellow, who saw our plight as a way to make some extra pocket cash (but didn’t think it through), answered our ad but when our seven piece band (plus equipment and roadies) relocated into his basement, it didn’t last long.

      In 1980, a guy by the name of Keith Gregor was opening up a multi-level industrial building in Cheektowaga to bands that needed a place to practice. He was calling it “the Music Mall” and it was like we died and went to rehearsal heaven! It became our ‘home-base’ and Parousia stayed there in room #7 until 1982 when the group briefly disbanded before reforming again in 1983. At that time we took up rehearsal at a place called “Ultimate Storage” at the corner of Kenmore and Delaware Ave. As of 2014, that building is still there on the corner, but it’s now called “Absolute Storage” – ‘nuff said.

      • Garth
        May 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm

        Until Patt mentioned it, I forgot about the fact that we had to squeeze all our stuff into a small room and lock it up between practices at Rano. That was a pain, and even locked up, I always wondered whether our stuff would still be there the next time we returned.

        And Bob’s poor mom. she would go to work all day and then come home to me, Bob, Jim LaSpesa and Pete Brothers making a racket before Parousia, and then Parousia for a little while.

        Bob encouraged me to get really loud. The best guitar sound I ever got was through some old tube stereo amp Bob found that we somehow figured out how to put a guitar through, which we then drove through a set of big stereo speakers. The distortion sounded so good, but it was way too much abuse for the equipment, the speakers literally melted (at least we didn’t burn the house down). Haven’t been able to reproduce that sound yet.

    • Patt
      June 27, 2016 at 5:35 am
  2. Gregg Filippone
    June 18, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I remember most of these places in Gerry’s Rano Street post. I was with the band in Gerry’s grandmother’s basement, Bob Lowden’s basement, Bill Sims basement, Rano Street and the Cheektowaga Music Mall. I think that the Rano Street Complex is where we made a very grainy Black & White video, shot with equipment I think was borrowed from St. Joe’s where most of us went to high school. It was a very early B&W open reel video recorder and camera. I could be wrong about it being from St. Joe’s. I think that it was too early to have come from Buff State when I went to College, it must be St. Joe’s. On the other hand, I graduated St. Joe’s in 1978 and Gerry is putting Rano Street down as 1979 so maybe the equipment did come from Buff State (I guess so).

    I remember us trying to transfer the open reel videotape to VHS cassette and using pencils as it played back to hold the tape out of the machine to improve the tracking so we could see it. Garth, Kim & Bob may have recently joined the band around this time. Refer to Gerry’s posts for accuracy, he wrote everything down while I was busy goofing off. Gregg

    • Gerry North Cannizzaro
      June 19, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Hey Gregg, if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have any video from Rano to share. Thanks for helping to preserve the memories.

  3. morgan
    October 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    On the Train Kept A Rollin’ video:

    Haha! Hadn’t seen this one before! You always did know how to keep the audience guessing… Love it!

  4. June 24, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Apparently this historic building has been even more neglected, scavenged and burned, to the point the neighborhood just wants it gone. Not sure if it is even there anymore.

    http://www.preservationready.org/Buildings/308CrowleyAvenue

  5. Jonathan Kasper
    August 13, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Pat could sing his ass off

  6. Bill Moore
    August 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Awesome! Also interesting to me, as I rehearsed upstairs with the Scooters. The Vores and the Factor were there too. I was back there a few years later, working for Mr Surplus, and a third time in the late 80s-early 90s rehearsing with the Headhunters.

  7. Scott Davison
    October 15, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    (On “Train Kept A Rollin'”) Nice cover! Glad you documented this stuff!

  8. Ron Globe
    October 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Love it!…old Rock days gone out of sight!

  9. Joel Slazyk
    October 15, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Cool! I remember them! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Will James
    October 18, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    This is beyond cool, so cool to have video from those days! I was outa the scene by ’79 and don’t recall this obviously talented band.

  11. James Ferraro
    February 4, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Killer Version! The whole band is Kicking Major Ass! Great Bass player!!

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