| Special to The Morning Call
- June 14, 2008
Greg Geist puts his silver peace symbol over his new Nehru shirt. Maureen
''Moe'' Jerant says, ''I hope Billy wears the dashiki he has on his MySpace page.''
Geist and Jerrant are preparing for the reunion concert of their band, The Large Flowerheads. The Flowerheads
bloomed in the early '90s in the Lehigh Valley, celebrating that era's pop music. But more specifically, they reveled in the
music of 1964 to 1972, from the time of the Beatles and the British Invasion to the point where seriousness and heaviness began to replace sunshine and happiness.
''It brings back a memory that
is phenomenal,'' says Jerant. ''We're playing the stuff we played as kids, rehearsing in someone's basement.''
The four-piece band plays radio hits like ''Midnight Confession'' (The Grass Roots) and ''Kind of a Drag'' (The Buckinghams). It also does extended jams on songs like ''Light My Fire,'' ''Purple Haze,'' and even Sam the Sham's ''Wooly Bully.''
still contemporary. In places we still take liberties with the originals,'' says Jerant, who sings and plays drums and guitar.
The new version of the band will be truer to form by sticking to songs of the '60s and early '70s, however. ''The original
group included grunge,'' says Geist, singer and rhythm and bass guitarist.
The Large Flowerheads performed from 1993
to 1997, disbanding due to scheduling and time constraints. Geist, Jerant, and lead guitarist Billy Trexler were originally
in the cover band Disarray (''and it was,'' remarks Geist). The ''Large Flowerheads'' title came from Ken Bussiere, bassist
for the Original Sins, who saw that label on one of a rack of boxes near the group's rehearsal space, remarking that it would make a good name
for a band, especially one that recalls the '60s.
A jam session at a house during last year's Musikfest led to the band's regrouping, with Dave ''Dano'' D'Amelio replacing original
bassist Gina Balducci. Balducci still plays bass and in 1997 released a New Age CD, ''Waterbase.''
The reunion show at Bethlehem's
Ice House has generated a lot of interest. ''People called and e-mailed, people we haven't seen for years,'' says Jerant.
Geist expects it to be a ''big family reunion,'' full of new and old fans. ''The audience always felt like they knew
us. We developed a kinship among people by hanging around after gigs, and that's why it feels like a family.''
time has passed for a second generation to have grown up listening to '60s-era music. ''They had no choice but to listen to
it -- that's what their parents played,'' says Jerant.
Each band member has a different take on how music changed in
the early '70s. ''Pop music took another direction, toward glam and glimmer, and the bohemian lifestyle was not so fashionable,''
says Jerant. Geist says there was a rise in acoustic and country-influenced acts, like Crosby, Stills, and Nash and the Eagles.
Trexler just remembers the psychedelic blues he heard when he was learning to play guitar.
''Psychedelica died and
prog rock took off. There was more introspection and less frivolity,'' says D'Amelio. ''Before there was less anger and more
innocence and humor.''
All four band members are accomplished musicians.
Jerant is known for leading many drum
circles in the Lehigh Valley.Geist and Jerant are also in the local Celtic music group Emerald City. Trexler plays with Endzone, which he says does ''all '80s music with a twist, played in the style of punk and heavy metal.''
D'Amelio plays bass
and keyboards in the Flowerheads, not guitar, even though he has a collection of vintage guitars and is known as a ''go-to''
guy and repairman for them. His ''Dano'' nickname comes from the Danelectro Guitar Co.
D'Amelio has an original Farfisa,
a garage band staple. He says the compact organ is a ''comical version of a Hammond, with a carnival sound.''
calling for ''mayhem and controlled chaos'' at the reunion show. He hopes The Flowerheads will be playing festivals and private
gigs in the near future; it has another date at Bethlehem's Blueberry Festival, which runs July 18-20.
that their reunion will generate ''an uncontrollable urge for people to get up and dance,'' and he intends to keep people
on the dance floor.
Dave Howell is a freelance writer.
Assistant Entertainment Editor