Old schoolmates get ready to boogie again.
Back in 1991, 10 band students from South Eugene High School hit upon an idea: They wanted to form a disco band.
So they did. For four years - armed with outlandish costumes, teenage energy and a raft of original songs - Boogie Patrol Express played gigs up and down Interstate 5, packed the dance floor at the WOW Hall, recorded three albums and made a lot of fans along the way.
In late 1994, the musicians - all in their early 20s - parted ways, and Boogie Patrol Express faded into memory.
Eugene's about to get its memory jogged when Boogie Patrol Express reunites for one night only, Saturday at the WOW Hall.
Amanda Nobel, girlfriend of Boogie Patrol's tenor sax player, Sean Flannery, had never seen Boogie Patrol play. Her only knowledge of the band stemmed from the old recordings Flannery played, and the fond look he had in his eye when he talked about the old days.
So in honor of Flannery's 30th birthday this past September - and behind his back - Nobel set out to get Boogie Patrol back together.
`She called everybody's parents to find out where we all were, because she'd never met any of us," said Isaac Syman-Degler Szymanczyk, Boogie Patrol's keyboardist. `A lot of us had said, `Yeah, it would be kinda interesting, but we'll never get those people together.'
`Everybody felt way too silly to do it, and it was kinda funny. It took a totally outside person who'd never heard us before and had only heard the legend to arrange this meeting. ...
`We didn't know her well enough to say no."
Scattered members reunite
Eight of the original 10 members will take the stage at the WOW Hall.
The trombone player and the trumpet player no longer play music, Szymanczyk said. "We got basically everybody who's still musical and were able to do it, including (people) from North Carolina and Boulder, Colo., and San Francisco."
"Our horn section's a bit like the drummers of Spinal Tap; they just kind of spontaneously combusted," Flannery quipped, adding that he was the only horn player who stayed with the band from beginning to end. `It was just a revolving door."
Those on board for Saturday's show include vocalist Hilary Price of San Francisco, vocalist and percussionist Jans Ingber of Boulder, alto sax player Aimee Sullivan of Asheville, N.C., drummer Jason Palmer of Eugene, bassist Jeremy Gibons of Eugene, guitarist Ryan Matheson of Portland, Flannery of Eugene and Szymanczyk of Salem.
Many of the eight are able to make a living at music, either by performing or teaching, or both, said Flannery, who plays with the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Caliente and Swing Shift.
"We've all been doing a lot of different things, but it seems like everybody has maintained contact with music," Flannery said. "I know Isaac has been in three or four different bands since then. Jason Palmer (a session player) has been in maybe 80 or 90 bands.
`Jeremy still plays with Deb Cleveland. Jans has been playing a lot of music, too."
Back in the day, the then underage band often had to be shuffled on and off the stage via the kitchen, to avoid violating laws about minors in bars. That didn't stop them from getting paid with a case of beer once at a Canadian music festival.
`That was probably the wildest experience we had, " Flannery said. `We were like, `Wow!' We were used to playing in bars; we'd play at Belmont's (in Portland), we'd play at Max's or Good Times, and as soon as we were done playing we'd have to go out back or out to our car because we weren't allowed to hang out in the bar.
`So here we are in Canada and they just say, `Here you go, kids. Here's your case of beer.' '
The Saturday show will feature about 25 songs - the best from the band's three recordings, Szymanczyk said - all in the disco-funk-pop genre.
Those who recall the band's glory days might be sad to know that Boogie Patrol's hairy-chested, diaper-clad go-go dancer and sidekick, Ryan Stotes, declined to participate.
`Those were the decisions 16-year-old kids made," Flannery said.
"We were like, `It'll be edgy,' ' Szymanczyk added. `Everyone else was just re- pulsed.'
Szymanczyk and Flannery both said they're excited to revisit their catalog - Flannery's pick is "Adrianna Velveteen," while Szymanczyk's wanting to play "Better That You Don't Know" and "Cross-Dressing Can Be a Drag.'
But they're just as excited to see who shows up to dance Saturday night.
`It'll be interesting to see because a lot of the people who went to school with us in those years and who are scattered around are reportedly coming back and they're going to be at the show," Szymanczyk said.
"Since I didn't go to the official 10-year reunion,' Flannery said, "this might actually be more like it.'
Boogie Patrol Express
When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: WOW Hall, 291 W. Eighth Ave.
Members of Boogie Patrol Express will get together Saturday night for a concert at the WOW Hall in Eugene.
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|Title Annotation:||Entertainment; Boogie Patrol Express members come from far and wide for a reunion|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Dec 17, 2004|
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