John, Tim Parkhurst, Leslie Ridgeway and Pat Scandalis
(Dave Cutter hidden behind the “portable” Yamaha Grand Piano).
Cal Poly Quad, Student Union, Spring 1979
Atlantis was formed in the spring of 1979. Tim Parkhurst (Drums), Dave Cutter (Keyboards), Pat Scandalis (Guitars), Leslie Ridgeway (Vocals), John (bass player). We were interested in playing music with an emphasis on Prog Rock.
I think that Leslie and I had met Tim in the fall of 1977. I was no longer playing in Genoa (an earlier rock band where I learned the ropes about how bands and gigging works). Leslie and I had started to play together, and Tim and his girlfriend Beth came to visit us at my parents house.
Tim and I clicked because he was very interested in synthesizers. I recall that he had this little bleepy-bloopy little synth called the "Paia Gnome". You played it by contacting an 1/8" mini-jack onto a resistive strip. Total cheese, but in 1979 real synths were just too expensive for anyone to really own. Run it through the Electo-Harmonix "Electric Mistress" (Analog Flanger), and the "Memory Man" (Analog Delay/Echo), and it sounded like something I'd only heard in SciFi movies.
Tim: Don't forget that you, Les and I first met and played briefly in a band in 1978. I don't quite remember the bass player's name, but I think the guitar player's name was Bob, he was a bit of a stoner, and he had a Gallien-Kruger amp (strange the things that stick in your mind). I answered your ad for a drummer that I found at Boo-Boo records. Beth drove me and my drum set over, and I remember that I had to borrow a chair to sit on and that my bass pedal broke. I also recall that we had a pretty good time and seemed to have similar outlooks / sense of humor. It was the first real group I'd ever been in and I had a gas. I went home that first Summer, but I looked you up when I got back in the Fall. I remember talking to you and you were showing me a venus flytrap you had. Again, it's funny the little details that stick out in your mind. I met Dave Cutter a while later at the pawn shop just up the street from Boo-Boo (I was playing around with a bass guitar but I was really there buying my first multimeter), and the rest, as they say, is history.
Pat: I forgot about that. His name was Bob "pcp" Rowe. He was a very strange guy. Leslie and I once went to rehearse with him at his trailer in the eucalyptus forest up on the Nipomo Mesa (between Grover Beach and Santa Maria). He drove us there. His driving scared the blazes out of me.. His trailer was in the middle of the forest, totally dark out. He told us that sometimes he would get stoned, and feel the forest closing in on him. Yikes, that guy was spooky. I recall that he liked to play in 7/8 alot. Oh... Yea, for a while we rehearsed with him at an old slaughter house near the airport. Fly trap, I remember that. I had a whole collection of carnivorous plants that I was growing in jars in the back yard. So that is how you met Dave Cutter? I remember that pawn shop. I used to always go there to look at the guitars.Leslie: Oh, right! Pat named him "PCP Bob" because of that "stoner" rep you mention. Tim, was it your apt. in Tropicana that we used to practice in? I remember that my mic fed back so badly that I had to be banished to the bathroom, and during one practice, I flushed to see what it would sound like through the amp. I remember PCP Bob drove me and Pat out to Nipomo for some reason (maybe to play with some other musician) and it was pitch dark out and I'm fairly sure he was loaded. He was taking some curves fast. Pat and I were pretty sure it was our last night on earth. I also remember him offering all of us pot and the dedicated musicians that we were, we turned him down. Pat, didn't you see him a few years later somewhere? You really have a knack for running into people.I think that Tim first met Dave Cutter. I recall that he lived in my apartment complex. Dave wanted to call us Atlantis, from the song by Donovan. Dave did a lot of the work to find a rehearsal space. He rented a house in Morro Bay along with another fellow, and we rehearsed there.
Dave bought a “portable” Yamaha Electric Grand Piano. Portable it was not! It separated into 2 pieces, the harp, and the action. Each piece seemed like it weighted a ton, and the handles were so small they hurt your hands. On top of that, I think that it sounded pretty marginal. However at that time, since sampled pianos had not yet been invented, this was the only way have an amplified acoustic piano that could be transported.
We played one gig in the Cal Poly Quad in the Student Union, Spring 1979. I don't think that we were very polished. I recall this gig as being up there on the list of "we cleared 'em out" gigs.
Beth, John, Tim Leslie and Pat.
This is probably one of the earliest performances
"The Time Warp" which later came to be a
signature tune for the band.