My First Barn Experience….
I was playing drums and singing in a not too well known cover band when I got a call from my agent (Freddy Baker) that another band he also booked “The Rockets” were for looking for a new leader singer.
He urged me to go see them and said it would be a great career move for me as he said this band is going to be very successful. I was hesitant at first but I went to see The Rockets for the first time at a place called “The Barn” in Bensalem PA on a Thursday night.
When I first walked in I had no idea where to go as there were 2 floors with all these different rooms and Crazy Decor. The place was Awesome. When I finally found the room where The Rockets were playing I realized immediately that they were a much different style band from what I was doing. I was a Rock n Roll guy with my long hair and 80’s fashion playing Journey and Rush songs and here was this band on stage in matching bowling shirts singing Build Me Up Buttercup!!! There were only about 30 people in club but they were having a fun time. I said to myself how is this Red Hot Oldies Band going to be successful in this 80’s market?
After being pushed by my agent and also speaking to Billy Stott, I joined The Rockets and debuted at The Barn on a Thursday night and within six months Thursday nights at The Barn were over 800 people! This lasted for several years. The Rockets did promotions like “Singing in the Shower”– I built the shower stall lol, Rage in a Cage – which I also built the cage and every kind of promotion built around fun! We were doing singing in the shower long before karaoke became a club promotion ! We didn’t make a whole lot of money but we hired DJ personalities from WYSP to host our Thursday nights at The Barn… Thank you Debbie Calton, Randy Kotz, Ed Green, from WYSP, thank you Mike Kolb, Matt Costello who started as a bar backs in the early Rockets Thursday’s, Janet and Kevin and later Nancy GMs of The Barn back then and all the wonderful friends that came and supported us and the fabulous staff for years…. The Rockets at that time were five guys from Northeast Philly – alumni of Archbishop Ryan – myself, Billy Stott and Chris Leggerie – Cardinal Doughterty – Bob Hamilton and North Catholic – Bobby Munyon…….5 Catholic boys who were doing what they loved and succeeding at a level that none of us ever dreamed.
The Barn became one of the most successful venues for bands and The Rockets were there in the beginning and we are most grateful The Barn gave us the opportunity and believed in us…… The Barn was also a huge reason The Heartbeats are so successful. When we played there, it gave us the opportunity to perform for thousands of people. I have made life long friends that I met at The Barn and the lessons I have learned from performing back in those days with The Rockets helped pave the way for The Heartbeats for over 24 years.
I am so looking forward to performing again at Rockin for the Cure with my “Old Band Mates” The Rockets as well my “My Family” The Heartbeats and seeing so many old friends from back in the day.. It’s Gonna be Great Time.