I love Carbondale! As a teenager in the 60's I jammed and hung out with friends in the original Coal Dust which merged with Devil's Kitchen and became the legendary Coal Kitchen. I met the local musicians and music people that I still am in touch with today. I had arranged to become a student in the summer of '69, but my father contracted ALS that year and I had to stay in Peoria and attended Bradley after a short ICC stint.
I started playing the Carbondale club circuit with Kool Ray in the late '70's, doing numerous concerts for the university and surrounding clubs.
The music scene was always pretty hip in that area. When the band Captain Strobe (Greg Williams, Mark Moretto, Dan Keyes and I) started playing in C-dale in late 1980 we strove to be more outrageous with each performance to keep the coeds and cosmic hi-flyers coming back for more. Our debut weekend at the Silver Ball was a faux amp smashing, drum dismantling finale that turned some heads. We were all tongue-in-cheek show-offs on stage and Moretto could pull off Keith Moonish stick trickery with the best of 'em. Greg, Dan and I were all feedback maestros and Pete Townshend-like windmillests on our guitars. It helped keep us entertained as well.
Later that fall we had graduated to the larger more prestigious TJ McFly's. By the time Craig Moore had joined the band in the summer of '81, it got totally outrageous. The “feeding of the wolf ritual” was a priceless stage antic that left the crowd hungry for more (or should I say, “hungry for Moore?”)
While shopping the afternoon of the gig, Craig aka "Wolfman" bought some raw hamburger, and red food coloring. Craig had a penchant for steak tartare and the red dye just made the raw meat more visceral looking.
The band planned the skit out. As Craig remembers, "Born To Be Wild" was the tune leading up to the bit. Wolfie would feign exhaustion and then faint in the middle of a thunderous bass solo. Drummer Mark and I act befuddled and then guitarist Greg Williams whips out the crimson dripping globule of meat and ominously tells the puzzled crowd: "It's time to feed the beast!”
When Craig catches a whiff of the meat he perks up and is soon gobbling the slimy meatmash as the crowd presses in like Catholics at communion to get a handful of the meat elixir/host from the Strobe Lords! Wolfie is re-energized and is riding piggy-back on Greg around the stage, both hand feeding and tossing bloody beef snacks to the crowd.
And we never missed a beat.
The aftermath of this was the manager and janitors bemoaning the stinking mess trampled into the club carpet the next morning.
And then the band played on.
Stay tuned for more Whale's Tales further on down the road.
Bonus Photo and Linkage From Al Rizo!
Yesterday I put up a post about Peoria's own Floyd the Barber. MBIP commenter and co-pilot, Al Rizo left a comment mentioning his brother's barber shop in San Diego. I asked if he had a photo and Al sent this photo of his barbering brother, Emilio along with this link that has lots of photos of Emilio's barber shop. Very cool, maybe someday I can put up a post of getting a haircut there. Thanks for sending this our way, Al!