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Archive for Thursday, April 30, 1998

DISCIPLES REUNITE FOR ONE LAST GIG

April 30, 1998

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A band member says the band's goal was to make the ladies shake their booties.

Bring your dancing shoes and your closest friends because it's going to be a steamy dancing-en-masse time when the Sin City Disciples reunite for three performances this weekend in Lawrence and Kansas City, Mo.

``I remember several times I almost swallowed a microphone, getting it shoved down my throat, or was nearly impaled on Jon Paul's drums at The Crossing,'' vocalist and harmonica player Ernie Locke recalled, referring to the band's shows at the tiny Lawrence tavern. ``Then we got wise and used the picnic table as a barricade. Those were the days.''

Back in the 1980s, the Kansas City, Mo.-based band gave the hottest, sweatiest and sexiest shows in the Midwest. They played pure rock `n' roll with the energy of punk, all fueled by a rhythm and blues beat. Locke fronted the band and belted it out like Howlin' Wolf.

Although the band, which formed in 1986 and called it quits in 1991, never struck gold, they gave legendary performances, packing fans in for cathartic nights of unrelenting hip-shaking rock. The band released one album and a few singles, leading to the decision to record each of the upcoming reunion shows and release a CD shortly after.

Locke most recently led the Midwest band Tenderloin through three albums and currently performs with Tenderloin bass player John Cutler in Parlay, one of Lawrence's new favorites. Cutler will be lending his bass prowess to the reunion, as will original guitarist Donny Byrom and drummer Jon Paul (aka Buddy Lush).

Although many fans remember the band's long-running lineup with Dave Hogarty and Brett Engle, Locke says Byrom forged the band's sound.

``I'd say about 90 percent of the Sin City songs people remember were ones that Donny wrote, musically anyway,'' said Locke. ``He's a great songwriter.''

Locke also credits a lack of female companionship to fueling the band's hot beat. Songs like ``Shakes'' and ``Do Ya Got A Garter Belt?'' managed to get everyone on the dance floor.

``We were always shooting for the ladies,'' Locke said. ``That was the No. 1 priority. And if you got the ladies out there shaking their booties, the guys would get out there, too.''

For the band, hitting the high-energy level of the old shows has proved to be a real workout.

``John and I did some practicing last week, trying to get everything up to speed, and I was just breathing hard doing `Chicken Scratch' ... it's rough. You're going to see at least three old men up there sweating dogs. But we're going to give them a show.''

Mosh pits and slam dancing were not seen at Sin City Disciples shows because the crowd became one undulating mass -- and that's the way Locke would like to keep it.

``We're there to make the ladies shake their groceries,'' Locke said. ``We're there to have a good time -- that's what it's all about.''

-- The Mag's phone message number is 832-7146. Send e-mail to biles@ljworld.com.

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