September of '85 saw the beginning of a more successful phase in my performing life. I had been paying my dues, so-to-speak, for a while and I was a much more confident musician at this point. I had been doing a lot of writing as well. I saw an ad in the local music paper advertising that "Wasted Angel" was looking for a bass player. Wasted Angel was a band that Phil and I used to see performing around from time to time and we'd goof on them because of their mediocre musicianship, and their vocalist. Their singer's name was Jerry Gabriel, or, as those in the local rock circle called him, "Jerry Angel." They called him "Jerry Angel" because he would always introduce himself to everyone the same way - "Hi, I'm Jerry Gabriel from Wasted Angel". Whether the person knew or cared who Wasted Angel was was irrelevant. It was his personal calling card so he flaunted it for everything it was worth. He was an average singer - a brawny bearded Paul Bunyon type who looked like a cross between a biker and a lumberjack wearing flannel shirts and knee high Indian moccasins on stage. We felt the band was pretty laughable except for one thing, they had a lot of friends and a sizable following as the local party band. I probably wouldn't have seriously considered joining the band except one thing had recently changed with them. They got rid of Jerry and recruited a new frontman named Ted Kelley. He was a young good looking guy with a likeable charismatic stage presence, and most importantly, he had a great voice with considerable range. I was tired of only playing in recording studios or any number of places that would pass for rehearsal studios. I wanted to see some more live action and I knew Wasted Angel played out a lot so this ad crossed my path at just the right time. I auditioned and got in without any real competition. The lineup consisted of Ted Kelley on vocals, Dave Torres on guitar, Marty Santers on guitar, Sammy Torres on drums, and myself on bass. The band had a whole slew of cliché original metal tunes fraught with Dungeons and Dragons themed lyrics, but also played the typical metal covers of the day. I learned their set list and we did our first show around Halloween of '85.
Wasted Angel '85: Me, Dave Torres, Sammy Torres, Ted Kelley, and Marty Santers.
It turned out to be our one and only show with that lineup as Sammy quit shortly after the gig. I don't remember what his issues were but I didn't see his leaving as a major problem. Ted on the other hand saw this as a sign of instability so he also quit the band and the group temporarily fell apart.
In the Spring of '86, I bumped into Dave Torres in a mall and we talked about getting the band back together. I once again called on my trusted and reliable guitar player Phil, who was open to a new project. For a brief while we had Jeff Close on drums and Jeff Schick on vocals. That particular line-up wasn't working out and we eventually talked Ted Kelly into rejoining the group. We also auditioned new drummers and Pat O'Connor was recruited for the position. This version of the band was musically far superior to the previous version I had joined, and light years ahead of the Wasted Angel before that. It was also much more along the lines of what I felt a live rock act should have been at the time. The group made a trip to New York with Dave's mom, who was very supportive, and we picked out yards of flashy gaudy material for custom outfits she would wind up making for us. I custom designed the outfits and we soon looked like a serious 80's rock and roll band. We had professional promo shots taken and were ready to hit the road.
new and improved Wasted Angel: "Teddy Metal" Kelly, Pat O'Connor,
After this long transition period incuding finalizing the lineup and months of writing and rehearsing, we did our first gig on Halloween in '86 in a small club in Pennsilvania. It was mostly a live rehearsal to work out the bugs and it served it's purpose. We played the following night (Sat. Nov.1, 1986) in New Paltz, NY at a place called the Skyline Lounge which was a pretty fun place for live rock and roll back then. (I drove by recently and it's now a dentist's office.)
Wasted Angel at the Skyline Lounge in New Paltz, NY, Sat. Nov.1 1986.
These two shows kicked off six straight months of successful gigs as we performed all over the tri-state area. I was finally in a band that I was proud of and, despite the requisite in-fighting that typically goes on, we were having a lot of fun. But then, sometime during the early Summer of '87, the group went into a particularly rough period and temporarily disbanded.
During this time, I hooked up with Danny Odescalchi once again. He always had something going on. The new band was called Motives and included Danny's younger brother Dominic on drums, Jon Moorehead on vocals, and Paul Viani on guitar. We played the Checkered Flag in Kingston (a frequent Wasted Angel venue) and a cancer benefit called C.U.R.E.II at the Sommers High School auditorium on May 23, 1987. The material consisted of Danny's originals, mostly radio friendly pop tunes. Also, for about a month during the Summer of '87, I rehearsed with a band called St. John based in Brewster, NY, but nothing became of it.
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