Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Doin the "Hump" baby!

I was so excited when I got an email saying that my favorite band from the 1960s, "The Invictas" were going to be playing in Rochester when I was visiting. My friends and I were total groupies. Sure we loved the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals and most of the British invasion groups but we couldn't go see those bands 7 days a week if we wanted to.  The four founding members of The Invictas were college guys from RIT in Rochester, NY.  They drove around in a black hearse and still do but it has been embellished and souped up.

 One of the original "garage" bands, The Invictas with three of the original guys got back together in 2005.  They live in different states but still manage to travel and play gigs on the East Coast and in Rochester.  When we were following them they played at an old Inn near Lake Ontario called "Tiny's Bengel Inn".  We would beg anyone who had a car to take us there. My Dad used to drive some of my girlfriends and I there on occasion. So cool. The place was packed with lines waiting to get in. Tiny, a huge man, loved us and always let us go to the head of the line. We wouldn't miss "hump day" Wednesdays that brought us closer to Friday when the  real party began. I don't know exactly when it started but somehow a dance became popular that emulated, well, humping!  Herb Gross, Jimmy Kohler, Dave Hickey and Mark Blumenfeld soon recorded a song aptly named "The Hump". It was a huge hit and number one in many East Coast cities. Someone coined the term "Invictamania" when referring to that era.
circa 1960's The Invictas
 When the band traveled they were actually forbidden to play their hit song in some cities.  Of course they ignored those warnings and ended up being "Banned in Newark" and I think other places.  It wasn't uncommon for the "establishment" to ban songs sang by current rock bands. That made them all the more popular. 
I connected with them on facebook and "Liked" them which is how I got the email about the concert.  I rallied a few of my girlfriends and we agreed to meet there. It was Anne's birthday, however, and after the yellow jacket incident..(turns out there was a huge hive in her wall that the exterminator took care of) , she bowed out.  Her husband had recent surgery and wasn't feeling well either. Okay one down.  Nasher was still on. We were hoping Shelley could make it. 

Sandy Nash (Nasher) came over to my brother Bob's house to pick me up.  They hadn't seen each other in awhile and one thing led to another with Bob pulling out his harmonica to blow a few notes into. He had a band during the mid 70's. It was called "Wale/Wail" depending on the year as it changed names. He can still play a mean harmonica too!!  That link shows pictures of Bob as lead singer. He was the skinny one with long hair and wild blue eyes. Wild days. 
Brother Bob playing his harmonica

Off we went in the direction of  Lake Ontario for the "Concerts at the Shore" sponsored by Wegman's grocery stores. These are free concerts and draw large crowds. The Invictas are a very big draw as all of us "boomers"  like to relive our youth. When we got there it looked like it had rained but the skies were clearing up. Everyone stuck it out.  First thing we see is the hearse in all of it's reincarnated glory.
Very cool hot rod hearse!

 The music was pouring out of the gazebo and the crowd was rockin. "Rock til ya drop" is the Invictas motto! Nasher had the forethought to pack a few beers so we popped a couple. We wandered up to the little table with cd's, hats and tee shirts for sale. It was manned by Tim Kearney a former Bengel's bartender and as it turned out the brother of one of Nasher's old boyfriends. Small world. Tim said he would pass her info on to his brother.
He let us stash our purses so we could get down to some serious dancing.  Honestly the guys sounded even better than I expected and certainly better than many current bands. There were a few new members and lots of instruments and amps. Plus they were hot!! All were in excellent shape and could not only sing but were smokin on their instruments. I love our generation.

When they took a break we got to catch up on old times and were in tears laughing.  What happened to Jim's (Spank) straight carefully "ironed" brown hair? It is all wild and curly now, perfect for a Bass player or "hey, I am just the bass player". Herb, the Lead singer is still the promoter and keeps the crowd rockin out. Dave, the drummer is as mellow as I remembered him.  Unfortunately I did not get to meet the other members.   Nasher was asking about another of her old flings, Eddie who was the roadie equipment guy for the band. He used to pick her up in the hearse at her house. Dad Nash wasn't too happy about that mode of transportation. Jim said he had Eddie's contact info, mentioning that he was once a truck driver but something happened to his eyes so now he was a security guard.  Hello! Don't they carry guns and don't you have to see to shoot one? Peels of laughter, then we remembered when the hearse ran over Nashers leg. Somehow she wasn't seriously injured but they remembered the tire left an imprint. It was so good to see them all again. They went back to play the last set which included "The Hump".  There was a cameraman filming for their upcoming CD. We might be included in the video which would be a total blast. Check out this site for a fun video about them.

We were starving and found a restaurant close by. The hamburgers looked huge so we split one. It was the best burger I have had in a very long time. The lettuce, tomato, onion that usually adorn burgers was actually like a salad, dressed with really good herb-y vinaigrette.
Marina's hamburger

 Just as we were toasting each other with glasses of fabulous red wine, the Hearse pulled around the corner. We waved, they honked and off they went into the night.
Rock til ya drop!

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