1983: Sound Symposium; WCD, Bubonic Plague
In the spring of 1983, Don Wherry, a local percussionist who had moved to Newfoundland in the early 70's, and Cathy Clark - a photographer and Don's partner, called a meeting of local artists. They were in the process of organizing an international event for St John's to be called THE SOUND SYMPOSIUM- A gathering of musicians, dancers and other artists to explore the possibilities of sound, etc. The first of these eclectic affairs was slated for July 83 and local artists were invited to participate. Craig Squires was one who attended the meeting and volunteered the participation of Wet Cheese Delirium. In preparation for this, Wallace, Craig and Justin began jamming at MunRadio in the spring - improvised guitar, bass and drums. Fairly straight forward jamming in retrospect. However we "auditioned" for Don and Mike Zagorsky and were signed on for a lunch hour concert during the symposium. At the jam on the following week, a new departure occurred in which the restriction of playing in key was let go. This was seen to be a radical improvement by the band and several more jams were undertaken and recorded. It should be noted that the last live performances under taken by WCD prior to this had been at the Browned Off and featured rock improvisations while abandoning the electronic experimentation undertaken on previous outings.
July arrived. On the 1st, with only 2 rehearsals, Wallace, Justin and Tony Richards (Roscoe) played at the LSPU Hall backing up Mike Wade - a local songwriter, guitar player, actor etc. under the banner of MONTE ZUMA. This was a one shot deal - a benefit for the Hall?
Wet Cheeze Delirium was slated to play at the Sound Symposium on July 13. If the weather was fine the band would perform outside the Art's And Culture Centre on the lawn where the original WCD had played in it's debut in 1977. However if it rained the show would move inside to the Art Gallery. This posed a big problem in that as WCD was a "rock" type unit (drums etc.), rain would mean possibly complete cancellation or just as bad - having to play in the gallery where Da Slyme had previously done battle with the abysmal acoustics. Mostly out of fear of losing the chance to showcase the band's presentation before whatever visitors might attend, a daring departure was proposed (by Wallace) the evening before the show. 'To hell with all the jamming done the previous month, scrap the drums, bass, guitar motif... assemble all of the percussion and electronics we can move and set up. Put it in the gallery - rain or shine and play.... whatever happens, happens". It again began a new direction - WCD never looked back. A second performance occurred on the 19th at Sound Symposium wherein WCD backed up two dancers.
In September a new more ambitious WCD undertaking occurred. Wallace, Craig and Justin, accompanied by Des Walsh, Don Wherry and Neil Pottle, did a show at the Grad House (Sept 28/83). The show was recorded by Mark Oakley and was by and large successful. It was marred by several incidents of heckling and the end was marked by a spirited argument over structure and whether what had occurred was music etc... Guess something was achieved! Get that audience thinking and arguing!! December 6 found WCD and Des Walsh With Don Wherry again collaborating; this time at the MUN Annex at 77 Bond Street. Des was booked to read his poetry and arranged that the others accompany him in an improvised way.
In the meantime, The Bubonic Plague were still struggling through endless changes in personnel. Some time in December probably marks the beginning of yet a new set of recordings in a new vane. It was contrived to record a number of songs in a folk motif. Unplugged basically - years before the term was coined - but hey, what is that anyway... there was unplugged long before there was any plugged period. The personnel involved included Mike, Wallace, Craig, Mark, and John Heald. Heald was guitarist with BIG TEARS in company with Terry on drums and Mark on bass.
Dec 20/83, a live performance of this "folk" occurred at the Admirals Keg on Water Street. As bars continued to come and go as always, this place became the newest in the long line of "desperate" bars where the untried could be undertaken for the door. The line up at this gig was Wallace on guitar, Mark on Guitar and Mike on Vocals.
Other such performance quickly followed at the Keg on Jan 4th and 5th 1984. It should be noted that these were desperate times as finances go. All of these gigs were poorly attended. Terry's Big Tears band had recently disbanded with Heald returning to university. Wallace had been working as a sound tech mostly for a series of bands which Mike Fisher (the Reaction) had organized. These bands included Cold War and Neon. About this time Neon folded and in the new year of 84 Fisher departed for Toronto. This would soon be the norm. Craig was soon off to Toronto to resume studies at U of T. and others were contemplating the same move. But first there were a few gigs....
Though Big Tears had broken up, Heald's parents' basement continued to be the scene on the odd jam and writing session. Usually Mike, Wallace, Craig, Mark and Terry. These were quite informal but numerous songs were written.
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