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Eric on...Drums!


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This week, EC.com features a rare unpublished color photo of Eric on drums with Michael McBride at center stage.

"We were at an early Cyrus Erie rehearsal,"� recalls Michael McBride. "Our manager said he met this kid who was a real good musician. So, we arranged for Eric to come and try out."�

"I got the job as their drummer,"� confirms Eric. "I didn't tell them I couldn't play any songs, I just went in and auditioned. They heard me play and said, 'You're hired.,"

"Eric was a good drummer,"� recalls Michael. "He kept the beat."�

Eric faked his way on the drums. It was a complete bluff. But since Cyrus Erie was basically a Stones-type band at the time, all a drummer was required to do was to keep the beat. Eric, taking the lead once again, convinced the rest of the band to add songs by other bands to their playlist and eventually talked Michael McBride into returning to the drum kit so that he could play keyboard.

—Eric Carmen: Marathon Man

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Yeah....ummmmmmmmmmmm...could someone PLEASE ask the "Harlequin Romance" dude with the blonde hair, super tight pants, mesh shirt, stomach so flat that one could play bocce ball on, who's sporting a treasure trail while holding a really nice microphone.........to step aside.


I can't see Eric.

That's all...thankyouverymuch.

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Mr. Harlequin Romance. Haha, that's funny. Maybe it fits. I once saw him leave a gig and come back twice with two different girls during one long break.

Anyway, I can see enough of Eric to love it!

He is SO cute on drums. Very smart move on his part to bluff the drum thing and then get on keyboards. Very smart!


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It really wasn't a "plot" at all.

I joined the band as their drummer, and then brought in my best friend Marty Murphy who was a MUCH better guitar player than theirs.

Cyrus Erie's lead guitar player was on vacation when all this happened. When he returned, and found his friend, Rob, had been replaced he freaked out.

We had a gig booked at the Agora in Cleveland ( I think it was new Year's Eve, 1969-70). The lead guitar player decided to not show up, to show us how badly we needed him and his friend, Rob.

After waiting for them to show, we had to rework everything, on the spot, and figure out what to do without the lead guitarist. I told the guys I could play guitar, and Michael went back to the drum kit, and the 'new" Cyrus Erie was born. Marty and I played guitar, Michael played drums and everything turned out just fine.

Eventually, we found ways to get Michael back out front for Stones songs. I played drums on those. After Wally joined the band, he was alway angry that I got to play drums. He thought I was just trying to show off, but the truth was, he was a much better guitarist than I was and it made no sense for him to play drums, and put me in charge of lead guitar.

Oh well.....

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Cyrus Erie stuff (I couldn't resist) —

One of the early The Way We Were pictures is from Musicarnival. If you find it, Eric is playing drums and Michael is singing lead. From inception there was always a goal to get Michael, who was/could be a righteous front man, out from behind the drums. It's why people remember Cyrus Erie songs like "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Street Fightin' Man."

Regarding Eric's story, on reflection, it was New Year's Eve 67-68 and the band as people remember it was really forged on stage that night. Philosophically, it spoke/speaks to character and what you do under adversity (eg: it's not what happened, it's what you do about it).

In a humorous "you can't make this stuff up" vein:

-- Notice that Eric says, "I can play guitar." Eric didn't say he actually had one (he had sold it about 6 months previously to buy an electric piano). There was a scramble New Year's Eve day to find a guitar for Eric to play.

-- Come to think of it, I didn't own a guitar either. I had sold mine about 6 months earlier when I switched to bass for the "Scarlet Fever" thing and had borrowed a guitar when Eric asked me to sit in with the group earlier in the week.

-- We only had about 7 fully rehearsed songs, we organized 2 or 3 additional songs on each break, and the rest of the night was, "Do you remember 19th Nervous Breakdown?" "Do you guys know 19th Nervous Breakdown?" "What key?"

-- In retrospect, the lead guitar player theoretically had a reasonable shot at his strategy.

-- But the band was well received and there was never a period where the band didn't have work. Including the following weekend. The band had "that something."

-- Oh yeah, in between school and playing out, the band actually put together a 4 hour song list so that it had a base for upgrading material.

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Wow! I didn't remember we didn't even have our own guitars that night! I just remember Tim ( the lead guitarist) and Rob ( the "other" guitarist(?)) standing in the back of the Agora waiting for us to crash and burn onstage, without them. I seem to recall at some point we played "Purple Haze' and strobe lights came on, and we were up there with some of Tim and Robb's equipment. And by that time, they had surmised that we were doing pretty well without them.

We knew they were in the hall, so, just for fun during "Purple Haze", Marty pulled off his guitar and started to pretend to be smashing it to bits against his amp ( Pete Townshend style). With the strobe light going, it must have looked pretty convincing, because Tim and Rob came up to the stage and started packing up all their equipment ( which included the "floor lighting" in front of the stage. I remember they were really ticked off, and I also seem to recall Tim trying to take the colored light bulbs out of the lighting bar, and burning his fingers. It was all pretty funny at the time.

Hey Martin, how are you?


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  • 12 years later...

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