of the Light"
Year Reunion Show
Plain Dealer Pavilion (Nautica)
Roots And Rock
Volume 15, Issue 59
Published June 18th, 2008
I-TAL in later years (with Dave Smeltz, center reaR) The first reggae
band to make an impact in Cleveland.
On the national record charts, metal bands like Def Leppard and Guns N'
Roses, post-new wavers like INXS, pop stars like Whitney Houston and
George Michael and flashes in the pan like Tiffany and Expose ruled the
charts. In Cleveland clubs, Richard Marx lookalikes with lounge mullets
and proto-alternative bands playing spirited originals beloved by
scenesters struggled to draw crowds.
Though it was rarely
mentioned in anyone's recitation of the hottest buzz bands in
Cleveland, there was one band that had the buzz where it counted: on
the street. Outside Peabody's DownUnder in the Flats, the city's top
concert club at the time, a line snaked down Old River Road whenever
Cleveland's First Light had one of its two-night stands there.
College-age kids in cargo shorts, tie-dyed T-shirts and sandals mingled
with older blue-collar types in jeans, both a contrast to the sorority
girls and men on the make flocking into the surrounding dance clubs.
was the year First Light began to surge to its prime. The group, at
that point seven members strong, had soft-released its first
full-length album, Reggae Meltdown, at the beginning of the
year, sneaking some cassettes into peoples' hands before releasing it
officially in June, one of the first local bands to release a CD. By
then, most of the band's fans were already familiar with songs like
"Situation," "Island Time," "Unity of Conscience" and "The Light," from
the live shows.
On the momentum created by that album, which
eventually became the best-selling self-released album by a Cleveland
artist until Mushroomhead eclipsed it in the mid-'90s, First Light
toured constantly, built a strong college following and showcased at
the top industry music conference South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
It self-released a couple more albums, but never signed to a major
label and it broke up in 1998, a victim of burnout, changing life
priorities and singer/guitarist/percussionist Carlos Jones' desire to
play a purer form of roots reggae than the hybrid First Light had
Now, 10 years after its breakup and 20 years after the release
of Reggae Meltdown,
the Light will shine again at a headlining concert at the Plain Dealer
Pavilion in the Flats at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 21, bringing the core
members — Jones, guitarist/bassist Mike "Chopper" Wasson,
guitarist/bassist/vocalist Gino Long, percussionist Bob Caruso,
keyboardist Ed Marthey and drummer Rod Reisman — back together for the
first time in a decade.
How did a reggae band become Cleveland's
top band for nearly 15 years? Rewind to the mid-'70s: A small clique of
out-of-town rock critics have dubbed the city "the new Liverpool,"
although resident music fans can't quite fathom why. On one hand, the
big bar bands are fighting the rust-belt gloom by wearing satin and
velvet and playing theatrical glitter rock. On the other, a tiny cadre
of underground bands are celebrating that same decay in clamorous,
mostly unheard music. And off to the side, some bands are playing what
we'd call roots music now, preferring the timeless sounds of blues,
folk, country and jazz.
FIRST LIGHT in the '80s. Their hybrid sound attracted a wide range of
over 1,600 miles away in Jamaica, a sound was catching on that would
soon touch Cleveland, in the wake of the 1972 film The Harder They
Come, starring Jimmy Cliff as an ill-fated reggae singer, and the
international release the following year of the Wailers' debut album,
Catch a Fire, featuring Wailer Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" (a
huge hit for Eric Clapton in 1974).
Here and there in Cleveland,
ears started perking up. Chris Dunmore first heard it when he was
working at Record Revolution in Athens and then its parent branch on
Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights in 1974. Shaker Heights High
classmates Dave Smeltz and Bob Caruso saw The Harder They Come while
visiting friends in Boston, friends who kept playing the album during
Dave Valentine opened a bar in University Circle
called the Coach House in mid-1977. He was booking an eclectic
assortment of bands and also playing in a blues band fronted by Gair
Linhart, who lived upstairs. In early 1978 he took a trip to Key West
and was blown away by a Bob Marley album a guy at another campsite kept
These were some of the Clevelanders who planted the roots of
Cleveland's reggae scene.
I got back to Cleveland [after the Florida trip]," Valentine recalls,
"I started stocking the jukebox with reggae songs. I was the first bar
in Cleveland to stock reggae songs. Word started spreading that this
little bar in the circle had a reggae jukebox and people started coming
to be near the jukebox. Not large crowds, a few dozen or so. Most
people at that time had no idea what reggae was."
Smeltz had been hanging out at Dailey's on East 116th, a recently
opened hub for the local Jamaican scene, and got bitten by the bug.
1978, I wanted to start playing the stuff," he recalls. "We tried to
start a band, myself, Bob [Caruso] and a guy named Ralph Tubbs. On 71st
and Euclid there were some lofts you could rent out. We rented a loft
out and began practicing there. We had been going to Dailey's and they
had a whole bunch of reggae records there and we started hanging around
Jamaican folks more. They had chicken patties and curried goat, and
overproof rum was a draw also. They had 12-inch records for sale, long
versions of reggae songs. While we're there we met a couple of guys,
Jamaican guys, named Beebo and Shadow who had a band called Black Lion.
That was the first reggae band I know of in Cleveland."
SATTA One of the better-known Cleveland reggae bands among the many in
also stopped by the Sunday night jam sessions he'd heard about at the
Coach House. Out of that emerged I-Tal, the band that kicked off the
area's non-Jamaican reggae scene. "It was an amazing thing at the Coach
House," says Caruso. "It was so laid back. They made hamburgers in the
back. They had beer and wine, no hard liquor. Valentine said if we can
get some kind of thing together, we'll play every Friday and Saturday
so we had a guaranteed gig on weekends. And it took off, American guys
Ron Jarvis, who replaced Valentine on bass after the band's
first year, recalls the sound that drew in a diverse audience.
itself brought its own sensiblity to music. They were very rootsy, very
knowledgable, but being from Shaker Heights and around Cleveland, I
believe everybody's heart still beat to that rock 'n' roll feel. We did
what reggae was meant to do but did it with midwestern rock 'n' roll
attitude, kicked the energy and excitement up a couple of notches. I
think that was key to our success."
After establishing themselves
as the Coach House's de facto house band, I-Tal started playing other
clubs, opening up their nights for other bands which grew up in their
wake. Soon Peabody's DownUnder was booking reggae shows and Peabody's
in Cleveland Heights at the corner of Cedar and Taylor roads (now
Platinum Dreams) established its Wednesday night reggae nights, which
ran for 15 years.
"We started playing Peabody's Café," recalls
Dunmore, who became I-Tal's drummer and booker. "A hundred, 150 people
on a Wednesday night and it grew from there. That's what really pulled
the scene together. It gave other bands a chance to play — Jah
Messenger, Black Scorpio. We started playing Mother's in Kent, going
down to Swanky's in Athens. We used to play Mother's in Kent upstairs
in this absolute sweat box. Those nights used to be absolutely packed.
It was a fire hazard. First of all it was upstairs, and the stage was
all the way back in the back corner. It was a big college type of
crowd. Then people would come home for the holidays and it slowly grew
After Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981, his
reputation grew to mythical proportions. His posthumous album Legend
was released in 1984 and went on to become the biggest-selling reggae
album of all time. Reggae wasn't a closely kept secret anymore. But at
the same time there was turmoil in the ranks of I-Tal and early that
year the group splintered, leaving Smeltz and a couple of other members
on one side, and Dunmore, Caruso, Jones, Long and Chopper on the other.
They soon formed the new ensemble First Light, while I-Tal continued,
led by Smeltz, with various other members, into the early '90s, playing
mostly outside Northeast Ohio.
Propelled by Marley's exploding
popularity and the resulting increased familiarity of white audiences
with reggae, and the band's own propensity for blending rock, soul,
funk, pop and even jazz into their reggae base, First Light soon
eclipsed I-Tal and piggybacked onto the same circuit I-Tal had started
to play, with Dunmore now acting as their manager. Rod Reisman came on
board to play drums and Ed Marthey joined on keyboards. With soundman
Larry Rhodes, they formed the core of the band for virtually its entire
Caribbean flavor in Euclid - A newer hotspot for reggae music.
had people coming out immediately," recalls Reisman. "I don't know if
it was buzz from I-Tal or because the band knew so many people and so
many different kinds of people. This music would have people who love
heavy guitar to the best-looking women who came to see any band I was
in, maybe because the guys in front had an exotic look for that time."
more importantly, they had a sound that cut across genres and
especially appealed to the growing legion of young jam-band fans turned
on by musical hybrids. Certainly, they led with reggae: It was there in
their name, their album title, their logo, the dreadlocks on their
three frontmen. But their appeal to a wide cross-section of audiences
earned them slots opening for Meat Loaf, the Clash and Living Colour as
well as the more predictable shows with Toots & the Maytals, Steel
Pulse and the Wailers.
"We played Pink Floyd's "Time' and it's
not reggae but our influences would filter through," says Reisman.
"Some rock is going to come through and some reggae is going to come
through and some soul is going to come through. The audience would see
dreadlocks and assume it was a reggae band. Even if we had become a
different band, the reggae's always there because no matter what you
do, you have to have a starting point and that was our starting point."
He explains how the band's modus operandi appealed to the
nascent jam-band nation.
played together all the time and when you do that you're able to
improvise. You can rehearse until your head falls off but it's not the
same. We were just playing all the time and letting the music morph. I
think "Situation' really encompassed a lot because Chopper, Gino,
Carlos love that sound - Manhattans, Dramatics, the male vocal groups
of the '70s. You'll hear that in that song, but it's also technically
what they'd call lover's rock. If we were supposed to be a reggae band,
that song encompasses a lot. I think on Meltdown we captured it well. I
even dropped my stick on the take but I wouldn't stop playing, the feel
was so good."
As First Light's popularity grew, other bands such
as the Champion Bubblers and Satta, featuring early First Light bassist
Chellis, sprang up. National reggae tours stopped in town more
frequently. Packy Malley, who, like Dave Valentine, discovered reggae
while on a camping trip listening to a Bob Marley tape over and over
while it rained, started promoting concerts in Columbus while attending
Ohio State and launched his Midwest Reggae Fest in 1993. And college
radio, which underpins so many scenes in Cleveland, buoyed this one
too. Rich Lowe, whose show Night of the Living Dread is heard on WRUW
91.1 FM from 7-9 p.m. Fridays, debuted his show on John Carroll's radio
station in 1982.
He first heard reggae on Don Kirschner's Rock
Concert television program. "They had Bob Marley on. I said wow, this
is so unusual. I'd never seen anything like that. The dreads, the whole
vibe. I started to go see I-Tal, Jah Messengers. I started going to
Dailey's Mountain Inn and got a radio show when I was up at John
Carroll. It was '78-'79 when I started listening to the music."
FIRST LIGHT TODAY Ready for their June 21 reunion show in the Flats.
Lowe, Tommy Fox, whose program, Rudie's Hi-Fi, is heard on WCSB-89.3 FM
from 2-4 p.m. Saturdays, is a Cleveland white boy who became deeply
immersed in Jamaican music. Although a rocker (known for his lengthy
stint with the Mice), he'd been "mesmerized" by DJ Prince on WRUW and
bought a lot of reggae records as a result. He briefly played with a
local reggae band, Riddim Fish, in the late '80s. When he went back to
school in 1999, a friend who was WCSB's program director suggested he
get a program.
"I thought, I have all these great reggae records
that no one else plays and I've been obsessed with it ever since. I
started really embracing reggae in mid-to-late '80s and I've been going
to shows ever since. In the '80s it was all roots music. Everybody
wanted to be Bob Marley, everybody wanted to be Peter Tosh. Now more
people are into Sizzla, Lovota, Capleton. There's a wider variety of
reggae music out there. But the two paths never seem to intersect."
is referring to a split in reggae in the '80s. While the older
generation loved the politically and socially aware roots reggae of
Marley that the white rockers had discovered, younger Jamaicans were
listening to a raunchier version of reggae, dubbed dancehall or
bashment. That music came to be embraced in Cleveland's Jamaican
community about the same time First Light was packing clubs with Phish
fans, creating two separate, parallel scenes that both Lowe and Fox
"When I started doing my radio show a friend of mine
named Trevor came up to the station and he introduced me to the real
Jamaican scene," says Lowe. "He introduced me to the sound systems and
selectors — DJs. You'd go to clubs and the whole crowd would be
Jamaican. It would be dark and everyone would dance until the floor got
wet. It was slippery like someone spilled water but it was sweat. They
played at a place called Playhouse East on Miles. They had dances at
the Spectrum, they played reggae music at the Plush. They would have
house parties in peoples' basements."
"Reggae music is always
evolving and doing something different," he continues. "It's always
moving ahead. I play music in clubs and you have the people that want
to hear old rock-steady music and people that want to hear brand new
Sizzla Kalonji and you have to kind of appeal to everybody and it's
Today, there's plenty of reggae, both old and new,
on college radio, with about a dozen shows at any given time. "From
about 1981 it's been just solid reggae music," says Lowe. "Radio has
always pumped out good Jamaican music."
The Midwest Reggae Fest
has grown into a three-day event at Nelsons Ledges Quarry Park in
August. Dailey's is still the place to go for Jamaican food, music and
culture. The Caribbean Flavor on Babbitt Road in Euclid joined the
scene about five years ago. And although the plethora of live bands
that played the clubs in the '80s and early '90s is gone, Carlos
Jones's P.L.U.S. band is a reliable favorable at nearly every festival
Lowe looks back to that peak of the live-band reggae scene and First
Light's role in it. "There were about 12 to 14 different bands. Splash
in the Flats was around, Peabody's DownUnder. I would go to Peabody's
at Taylor and Cedar with 8 to 10 friends. You had some smaller clubs
here and there. Brothers Lounge, once in a while. You had First Light,
Harambe, Satta. They stretched it, they were something that was very
appealing to the masses. First Light were able to get into a lot of
clubs and broadcast out. They used to jam, and it was a lot of fun.
They made the music cross barriers and borders."
rock and reggae reunion probably a one-shot' deal"
Friday, June 20, 2008
Special to The Plain Dealer
Exactly a decade after First Light's last gig at The
Odeon, the rock 'n'reggae act is traveling down memory lane for its
first reunion show. It has been a long wait for diehard fans, who spent
the '80s and '90s asking "I Want to Know Where Reggae Comes From." So
what is it exactly about this Northeast Ohio act that created such a
large following? "I kind of think that First Light may have been one of
the pioneers of the rock and reggae sound," said First Light co-founder
and erstwhile I-Tal percussionist Carlos Jones. "We were pre-Sublime
and pre-311, and all of that music became popular with the kids today.
We were really one of the first bands to bring that rock-reggae hybrid
out. I think that's why we appealed to a broad cross-section of people.
And as far as we're concerned right now, this [reunion] is a one-shot
deal." Jones, who remains busy with his own Peace Love Unity Syndicate
(P.L.U.S.) Band, said First Light will be cherry-picking its fan
favorites ("Apartment Living," "Running" and "Where Reggae Comes
From"), as well as playing its popular cover of Pink Floyd's "Time" at
the reunion gig. First Light -- Jones, Chopper (guitar), Rod Reisman
(drums), Ed Marthey (keyboards), Gino Long (guitar) and Bob Caruso
(congas) -- performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Plain Dealer Pavilion,
2014 Sycamore St., Cleveland. Tickets are $19.50 to $27.50, on sale at
all Ticketmaster locations.
"First Light reunion
founder Carlos Jones full circle Reunion
brings founder Carlos
Jones full circle"
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Michael HeatonPlain Dealer
Cleveland's Mr. Reggae, Carlos
Jones, will be 50 this August. He is
celebrating a 30-year musical journey that spans three bands: I-tal,
First Light and Jones' current outfit, the P.L.U.S. Band (Peace Love
"Carlos is a great ambassador
of the Cleveland music scene," said Packy
Malley, a local reggae promoter. "He is an excellent musician and is
one of the coolest cats you will ever meet. He always treats everyone
with respect -- fellow musicians, club owners and even embarrassing
fans. He makes everyone feel better. He gives respect and gets
That sentiment will be put to
the test when First Light comes together
for a reunion show Saturday night at The Plain Dealer Pavilion in
"This has the feeling of coming
full circle," Jones said recently,
while rehearsing with First Light bandmates at the Audio Kreme studio
on East 185th Street in Cleveland amid Persian rugs, stacked amps and
stray musical instruments.
"I'm both amazed and amused."
Jones grew up an Army brat. His
family settled in 1969 in Maple
Heights, when his mom told his dad she was done rambling around the
country with three kids. His dad took a job at a Veterans
Jones has an older brother,
Ngoki, now a street musician in Santa
Barbara, Calif., and a younger brother, Norm, who teaches percussion
music to children in Los Angeles. As kids, the Jones boys jammed with
other musicians in the neighborhood.
In 1978, Carlos saw Bob Marley
and the Wailers at the Music Hall in
downtown Cleveland. "It was a life-changing experience," Jones said.
"It felt like a church more than anything else.
"The stage was ablaze with
flames and incense and colored lights and
flags and banners. Everyone in the place was moving wall to wall and
corner to corner, while one skinny little guy had the whole scene in
the palm of his hand. My whole life took a left turn after that night."
That same year, he began
frequenting a place in University Circle
called The Coach House (which later became Club Isabella's), where he
could see his favorite band -- Cleveland's only American reggae band at
the time -- I-tal.
The band's leader was Dave
Smeltz, who worked at Record Revolution on
Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights.
"Carlos would sit by the side
of the stage and play his bongos right
along with the band," Smeltz remembers. "Eventually, I asked him up on
the stage -- and shortly after that, he just became part of the band."
I-tal had a growing following
playing at the Euclid Tavern, Peabody's
Cafe and Mother's in Kent. Jones was 20 when he quit his job as an auto
mechanic in Bedford to pursue music full time. He has never had a day
The nine-piece band played four
to five shows a week. Jones was making
$500 a week and sharing a house with a couple of other guys.
In 1984, I-tal split up over
creative differences (and a girl). Jones
wanted to write more songs and sing more lead. The next year, he and
four other guys formed First Light. The band had more rock and
"We were saying to each other
that it was a new day for our band. A new
dawn. Then somebody said First Light, and it stuck. We covered Marley,
Peter Tosh and Third World tunes mixed in with our own originals,"
"I give Dave [Smeltz] credit.
He paved the way. We had a built-in
following because of the popularity of I-tal."
The first First Light
performance was in 1985, when they opened for the
Clash. The band worked steadily from 1985 to 1998. Because of the I-tal
roots -- and because three of the five band members wore their hair in
dreadlocks -- they became known as a reggae band. Their cult classic
album "Reggae Meltdown" sold more than 12,000 copies without a record
But First Light was more than
"We crashed musical
boundaries," Jones said with glee. "We played pop,
funk, country, gospel. We had a rehearsal gig at the Grog Shop last
week. We still play the pants off that stuff."
Ed Marthey is First Light's
"From the time I auditioned for
the band," Marthey said, "Carlos was
always the assumed leader. He always had this aura of impartiality that
good leaders use to keep things together. He has a calming influence on
some of the more nervous members of the band. Including myself. Without
him, the band would have imploded much earlier than it did."
In 1997, Jones gave First Light
a year's notice. It was the same year
he married his wife, Dori. She works at an accounting firm.
"She sacrificed herself to the
office gods so I can do my thing," Jones
said with love and gratitude.
The beginning of the end of the
band and his getting married were both
part of a natural evolution for Jones.
The life of a party band on the
road was getting to him. The drugs, the
alcohol and the women were combining to create a self-destructive
lifestyle. His focus had shifted to family. It was time to come off the
road. He also began caring for his mother, Mary, who was in the early
stages of Alzheimer's disease. She died in 2005.
"It was all about coming to
know who I am and what I wanted to say with
my music," Jones said of his current project, the P.L.U.S. Band.
"I turned toward spirituality
after my mom passed on. It was a
milestone and rite of passage for me. It led me to seek a higher
The P.L.U.S. Band has a more
spiritual, roots-reggae flavor than First
Light. Today, Jones is an enthusiastic biker, hiker and
environmentalist. Though he still enjoys a shot of Cuervo tequila after
"Exercising and being healthy
is my drug of choice now," he said.
He recently took his daughter,
Soraya, 18, for a tour of the Kent State
University campus, where she will attend college in the fall. He has
another daughter, Rachel, 20, from a previous relationship.
Last year, all the members of
First Light came together at the funeral
of Larry Rhodes, their former soundman. There, the reunion seed was
"We thought it might be a good
idea for us to get together for another
show," said Jones. "You know . . . before it's too late."
The reunited members of First Light played a
secret gig at The Grog Shop on May 29th as a dry run rehearsal for
their reunion gig at The Plain Dealer Pavilion in June under the false
name "Buck". Check out these photos from Bob Urban of the
event. By all accounts the band looks and sounds great!
This shot from John Harmon:
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 01:14:42 -0700
Subject: Notes on the Reunion...
Notes on the Reunion:
Well, who would have ever thought...?
When we said our final goodbyes at The Odeon 10 years
ago, after nearly 15 years of making music and memories, that we would
ever again have the opportunity to get together with a few friends and
re-live some of the best times of our lives - to take that familiar
ride that always left us breathless and exhilarated. True, we were all
younger then, fearless and foolish, fewer worries, maybe a few less
pounds and a little more hair, and had our whole lives ahead of us. On
those nights it seemed like anything was possible and we partied like
tomorrow would never come. Yet, this year, on the night of the summer
solstice, for a brief moment, time seemed to turn on itself and we were
all magically transported together back to those heady days and nights
of joyous abandon, before jobs and kids and mortgages became our
I can hardly find the
words to describe the feeling of looking out from the stage at Nautica
(I still call it that) okay, PDP if you must, and seeing so many happy,
smiling, familiar faces and hearing so many of you singing along to
songs we hadn't played for so long. And not only that, but seeing
younger folks, who I know weren't even around back then, totally
digging it and singing too. It blew me away, folks. And I think it
would be safe to say on behalf of my bandmates, my brothers, that we
were all moved by the ecstatic outpouring of love and support that came
at us in wave after wave the whole night, which, by the way, seemed to
go by in like, a half an hour. The whole thing seemed very surreal,
like a lucid dream where you can't tell if you're asleep or awake. Yet,
for me there were some very vivid moments that would break through the
dream state and hit me like a photon phaser blast that made the hair on
my arms stand up. In those moments I was very aware that "Wow! this is
real - it's really happening." I wonder if anyone else felt that too.
I've been told that there were many smaller reunions going on within
the big one: college roommates and high school sweethearts, frat
brothers and sorority sisters, neighborhood friends who had moved away
and lost touch, and folks who had simply moved on with their lives and
didn't get out much any more. Then there were the couples who had met
at one of our shows, who are now married and whose families may have
started as a direct result of
one of those nights. I know some of those kids were there in the
audience too. It truly seemed like a huge family reunion or birthday
party or something like that. I can't wait to see all the photos that
were taken. Anybody who wants to send their pictures in can do so and
we'll post them on the site. (www.carlosjones.com) They don't even have to be photos of the band, just
memories from the night. Of course, the monsoon that blew through just
a couple hours earlier was a nice touch; classic Cleveland weather –
sunny and beautiful one minute, then all hell breaks loose. I thought
the Nautica might actually break free and set sail down the river. And
then, as if on cue, it cleared up and the sun came out just in time to
paint the sky with spectacular colors as Mifune
played the soundtrack to the transformation. I’m pretty sure there was
a rainbow. I may have even seen a unicorn. The rest of the evening was
near-perfect, aside from the fact that we had to scramble to figure out
what songs to cut from the set after finding out we had to stop a half
hour sooner than we were originally told. From the first note on, it
seemed to take on a life of its own, and everything just worked out.
One of the greatest moments for me was when The Prayer Warriors
joined us for the encore, along with longtime friend, Arlene
Bowie. It was both magical and spiritual.
Playing with the guys
again was a tremendous pleasure. It was a rediscovery. It made me
remember what it was that brought us all together in the first place
and made it all work so well. Much has been made of my role as founder
of this band, when in all reality it was so much more a collective
effort. It can't be overstated that Chopper was just
as much, if not even more so, instrumental in forging the band's sound
and creative direction, and was just as much a mentor to me as he was a
partner. He is also one of the most gifted musicians this town has ever
seen. I think a whole new generation is discovering that now. All the
guys: Rod, Bob, Eddie, Gino, and Joe
have that level of musicianship that was easy to take for granted at
the time because they made it look so effortless. But hearing them now,
it just takes on a whole new meaning. Even though our years of
experience separately may have changed us in various ways, that
chemistry, that primal fire is still there. After the initial shaking
off of rust and barnacles, clearing the cobwebs and dust that had
settled over time, the engines fired and the old ship was found
seaworthy. What a gift we've been given; the chance to appreciate with
a new perspective, the talents that each one brings individually to
create the whole, and not have the added baggage of past personal
issues, demons, egos and drama drag it all down and drain its power.
That is the truly amazing thing, and for that I am so grateful to have
been able to experience it. I never thought I'd see the day come all
those years ago. A special
recognition goes out to Kenny LeGrande, who stepped
in at the last minute and performed the impossible feat of learning all
those songs with only one rehearsal.
So now we find ourselves celebrating what we've achieved
and pondering our present and possibly even future. Realistically, I
know it can never be like it was, and that's okay. I feel that I'm
doing what I am supposed to be doing right now, and I'm lucky to have a
great group of very talented and dedicated guys with me, helping me to
keep it going (BIG UPS to the
PLUS Posse!) I gotta say though that I'm glad we had what we had
and that we all (well, almost - R.I.P. Larry "D") survived to tell the
tale, and that we even got the chance to re-visit that place one more
time. It's a part of our shared history, and for good or bad, it
helped to shape who we
are today. It's a bond that will never be broken. I am proud to have
been a part of something that meant and still means a lot to many
people, and has affected their lives as it has affected mine. So, a
big, big thank you goes out to my brothers in music, to our families,
friends, fans and supporters, and to this town which has embraced us
all along and has always made us feel like one of its own. How did we
get so blessed?
We'd like to thank by name:
Simkoff & Grog Shop
Thomas & The Prayer Warriors
Pantsios - Free Times
Benson - News Herald/Plain Dealer
Chakerian - News Herald
Heaton - Plain Dealer
Satori - NorthCoast Voice
"Munch" Bishop - WKNR
Stanley - WNCX
Perry - WCPN
DeOreo - WCPN
Koval - Cross Track Music/Little Fish Records
Robison - Cross Track Music/Little Fish Records
Here are a few
shots from the reunion show
from Bob Urban:
Here are a few shots
from Light keyoardist Ed Marthey's Camera from the Reunion Show and a
great memory from his days on the road with the band in response to
"what makes Carlos a good band leader?"...
i don't know if i can cite a specific
dragging up some long- buried disagreement, but from the time i
the band in March 1984, it was always assumed that Carlos was the
Most of our original songs were written by him, and he has this aura of
impartiality that good leaders need to keep things together.
Without his calming influence on some
of the more
nervous people in the group, me included, First Light would have
sometime around April, 1984.
Which is not to say that Los doesn't have a forceful
personality, and we've seen his ire get roused...
One time at a frat party at DennisonCollege,
the kids set up a bunch of connected low tables, set out platters of
fruit and other foods, and reclined on the floor in sheets. While they
their little Roman feast we were across the room playing reggae, it was
odd. The kids were already drunk, and, predicatably, a food fight
apple got through and hit my amp. i picked it up and threw it back with
might, connecting with a gigantic cup of draft beer and exploding it
Then, a slimy piece of banana sailed
across the room
and hit Carlos' guitar (i think it was sitting on a stand if i remember
right)-- a collective gasp went up from the band, while the kids
trash the room.
Carlos walked purposefully over to where the kids were
going apeshit and stepped up on a table. i remember thinking,
is about to wear a fruit suit" when he yelled "Stop!"
(Once again, i think he shouted "Stop!", but
it could have been something else.) The kids stopped and looked up at
shock registering on their food-smeared faces. He proceeded to tell
if they continued, we would pack up and leave, and that we would still
paid, and that if any equipment was damaged they would pay for that as
Incredibly, no more food was hurled, a few of the kids
even apologized. i sure couldn't have pulled that off, i'd
have been a
food mummy in several seconds.
show was perfect last night. Incredible musicianship, best vibes, a
really sweet crowd and finally clear skies.
I got some amazing photos :)
there's lots more, if you haven't seen enough. please use anything you
might like for whatever
knew, from a long time ago, the difference between notes and life.