Genetti's was popular in Wilkes-Barre for holding proms and formals. Making records and hearing them on the radio was a thrill but our income came from being a dance band. It helped to learn the theme song and "Freedom" played Genetti's frequently.
High school proms were a lot of fun. Maybe because the cost of attending was a little steep for a high school student and damn if they weren't determined to have a good time. Besides, the girls were dressed to the 9's (with a generous helping of 10's) and guys like dancing with good looking girls.
The same held true for the college formals - with one addition: booze. Getting caught at a prom would get you in a heap of trouble. At a college formal the "trouble" was a hell of a lot more fun - good clean fun (insert wink here). We could often tell who had the flask with them and who had the "hootch" in the car.
Jay Leer called 99% of the song order and he could 'play the crowd' with the best of them. We usually booked 4 - 40 minute sets. By the end of the second set you knew you "had 'em" when no was at their table and the dance floor was packed. The third set you turned it up a notch. The fourth set was no holds barred. That's where we usually raised the volume AND management's eyebrows.
It was a particularly rockin' 4th set when during the song "someone" invited everybody to dance on the tables - and they did! Picture Gus walking purposefully up to Jay during the song and demanding he get the couples off the tables. Jay most likely read his lips because the band wasn't about to slow down or turn down.
Once the song was over ( Lars gave us the sign and we added 2 verses) Leer made an admittedly half-hearted "management request" about the dangers of dancing on tables.
Gus didn't think he put enough feeling into it and banned "Freedom" from any further appearances.
It wasn't long before we went back to being "The Leer Brothers Band", back to Gennetti's and back to shakin' those crystal chandeliers. We were sure not to invite anyone to dance on the tables but if they did our encouragement was subtle.
Every once in a while Gus would look at us kinda funny but never said anything.
Maybe you were there with us. Thanks - especially for not getting hurt dancing on your table.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
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