Rich Cali



 

It was a cold February night, a Sunday to be exact, 8:00 PM to be more exact. I was in the living  room with the rest of my family.  We were awaiting their arrival. Then there they were. Collarless suit jackets, hair covering their foreheads, singing the opening line "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you, tomorrow I'll miss you...". The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show. From then on I knew I was going to play drums. Up to this point I'd been drumming on the kitchen table and on a drum set in my dad's garage made up of an old suitcase (the snare), a garbage can lid with a chain dangling on it for sizzle (the cymbal),

and a couple of other boxes (tom-toms). I would drum along with the radio in the garage to the sounds of the Beach Boys , The Four Seasons and a host of one hit wonders of the 60's.But the Beatles did it for me. They were different, after all the Four Seasons were from New Jersey. The Beatles were cool. Liverpool??? Where the hell is Liverpool??? Ringo playing his 4-piece Ludwig drum set, shaking his head in time was the coolest thing I'd seen to date, ( but remember, I was only 13 -- so cut me some slack). My dad finally bought me drum set (a champagne colored drum set made by Tempo -- Japanese drums). I suppose he was tired of me beating the kitchen table. Anyway, I went through my high school years in a series of bands. Hmmm, let's see if I remember all of the bands I played in ---The Cru, The Quest, The Kegs, The Tekes (shortly), Naked Breakfast (gimme a break!), Autumn, Splash (for one gig only - I guess we broke up because when we asked the club owner for our pay at the end of the night and he put a gun on the bar and told us to get lost), Good News, and Grapes of Wrath to name a few. Then I went to college and on weekends worked in a band with a couple of guys from Eatontown. We called the band Bacchus. Bacchus turned into Easy Street. And that's where I stayed for the better part of 20 years- on Easy Street- playing every wedding venue this side of the Hudson River.

I knew I was never going to be a rock star -- I had bills to pay so being a full time musician was out of the question. I was an art student in college and I became an art director figuring I'd be able to pay those bills with a steady paycheck. Easy Street kept me in the "music biz". We played a lot and became known as one of the area's premier wedding/party bands. We played sometimes 2-3 weddings a weekend. We did it all from Feelings (ugh!) and My Way to the Chicken Dance -- with a good dose of Top 40 party rock mixed in. Don't ever ask me to play Moondance or La Bamba again! We made pretty good money playing tuxedo-rock! We ate free every weekend - and don't ever ask me to dinner if you are serving prime rib with string beans almandine. Well, after 20 years of that I decided it was time to hang up my drumsticks - at that time DJ's were being used more than bands at parties so we were playing less and less.  The decline in gigs came at a time when I was tiring of it anyway. So the drums went up in the  attic. And there they stayed until I received a call from my good buddy Dr. Billy Wood (better known to those close to Black River Circus as Willy, the Foot Norwegian Wood.) He told me his high school band was getting  back together and the original drummer lived out of state - so would I mind playing for them. You didn't have to ask  me twice, up the attic I went, and I took out the Rogers 24 inch bass drum along with the rest of the set. I cleaned them, tuned them and off I went to join the Circus. It's been a blast ever since. We love playing those sixties pop classics, British Invasion biscuits (the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Searchers, Animals - although we do need a Dave Clark 5 song). We play them all with great attention to detail. We obviously have hit a chord with the people we play to. All of these songs are engrained in our memory. If the crowd isn't dancing then they are singing all the words. Under My Thumb, I Should Have Known Better,

Do Wah Diddy, Hippy Hippy Shake -- this is  fun!!! Especially when you're doing it with great musicians who happen to be you friends. Rich Eberle -(aka- Mick Jagger) rocks like no other in the area, Graydon Goss - the keyboard wizard, Dave Murphy-great bass player (check out that Hofner bass), Billy Wood -George Harrison incarnate, And me -- Just call me Ring, that says it all! Come out and see us!