Electro Harmonix Work Band - State of the Art Electronic Devices (1977)

"In 1977 Electro Harmonix recorded an LP by Mike Matthews and his work band demonstrating the 'state of the art electronic devices'."

Independence Day Party, July 4, 1979, U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, Moscow

(left to right): Kenney Richardson, Manny Zapata, Charles (Cookie) Cook, Mike Matthews, Willie Magee, Bob Bednarz (standing), Larry De Marco, and Paul Staff.

"At curtain rise, six musicians are standing in front of a luminescent tapestry of atomic spirals, symbols, and words rotating and flashing. The crowd that has gathered to hear them is packed arm-to-arm, scarcely able to move. Everyone is pouring sweat. The temperature seems to be over 100 F. All these neatly dressed people are excited to be here, and hearing the famous Americans. But something between suspicion and curiosity immobilizes their faces, and they stare at the stage with strange eyes. Caught at just one instant, in the permanence of a photograph,this audience appears to be stunned,or horrified,or sleepy,or sad,or perhaps thinking,“you’ve got to be kidding!” Then Willie Magee,who once played guitar in Harlem’s famed Apollo Theatre, motions the Electro-Harmonix Work Band to begin with a certain number by K.C. and the Sunshine Band, in C, all at once 98 decibels of “Shake Your Body” are echoing through Sokolniki Park and nearby Red Square and bringing the news to the better part of downtown Moscow.

Paul Staff in goggles, satin, and American flag motif shirt waits for his cue and then swings in acrobatically from the band pavilion’s dome-like ceiling, narrowly missing the lead guitarist Larry DeMarco’s eye (it bleeds; the show goes on).The president of the company,Mike Matthews, is putting down a heavy lead on the electric piano through the all-time best-selling electronic music accessory, the “Small Stone,” alongside the bass of Kenney Richardson. Charles (Cookie) Cook on drums completes the ensemble. And though the group has never played together before, and has not practiced one song before their performing debut, by the end of this two-week Russia gig all bands members will agree that this was the hottest, most energetic, most memorable music experience of their lives." (more of this story... PDF LINK)

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