Monday, March 5, 2012


We all remember our first time.  The hearts pounding in anticipation.  The bodies moving together in unison, faster and faster until... Of course, I'm talking about our first High School Talent Show.  Or in this case, the audition for the High School Talent Show.

February 1992, Bruton High School.  Saturday early afternoon was not a usual time to be at school, but there I was.  My band was auditioning for the Stockwood (get it?) talent show, and I wanted to see the competition.  I was a fan of the band Killing Cycle, and they were trying out, so I wanted to see them.  Also, my friend Erik's band Koro was playing. 
Koro (if memory serves) is the name of a mental disorder where the sufferer has a fear that his genitals are retracting into his body.  Erik Sugg played guitar, Billy Memmoli sang, Dave Flanagan (?) played bass, and Scott Joyner played drums.  They were one of two of the fifteen or so bands that played that had the "home team advantage" - kids that actually went to Bruton High School.  Some of the other bands had members that looked well into their twenties, which in hindsight is very sad.
Now, to put this into historical context, Nirvana's Nevermind album had only come out maybe 4-5 months before this.  Bands like Poison and Warrant were just beginning their final descent.  Williamsburg, VA wasn't exactly Washington, DC - in other words, people weren't really all that hung up on originality.  My band only had about half original material (I justified this in my mind by harkening back to early Jimi Hendrix shows, in which he had about a 50% rate also), and that was considered a fair mix.  Some bands played only covers.  Koro was the only band that played all original songs.  They never had a chance.
It's hard to describe exactly what Koro sounded like.  Fortunately, I don't have to because their recording is here:
Koro Stockwood Audition
One of my favorite memories happened at their performance.  Their drummer, Scott, was just starting out on drums and hadn't yet mastered the art of playing the kick drum.  I kept looking back at the soundman (the late, great Bob Gurske), who seemed completely vexed about something.  During the set, he actually ran up to the drum set to see if the kick drum mic was plugged in.  He must have had the level all the way up, because for part of one of the songs, the kick drum came in and it sounded like a Jovian thunderstorm.  It was awesome.
Anyway, the moral of this story is that while some bands felt it was enough to warble through Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight", Koro took the high road.  Their reward is that you're listening to them right now (hopefully), and virtually everyone else that tried out for - and eventually played - that talent show are wallowing in obscurity.  Except of course for the guy in Killing Cycle.

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