Cirkus Gear

…or, the various implements of mayhem, madness, and distruction

Mike Flagler — A beautiful Gibson Byrdland hollow body guitar. 1971 or 72 Marshall 100-watt head, and used and angled monitor-style cabinet with one heavy duty Electro-voice 12" speaker in it, with a power attenuator built into the cabinet. He'd run his Marshall on about 5 or 6, and back the volume down on the cabinet. He did not use any pedals/effects.

Bob Stallings — Wine colored Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar. Mesa Boogie 60/100 watt amp with one 4x12 Sound City speaker cabinet with 3-25 watt Celestions. Yep, it was intentionally missing a speaker to improve the sound. This trick really does change the sound quite a bit. Try it you might like it. Bob was an excellent guitar player, therefore he only lasted a week before leaving for another band. (Hey! I stayed 4 years....somehow I think I've just been insulted. Sean)

Gavin Frisbee — Gibson Explorer guitar. 50 watt Hi-Watt amp and a 4x12 Hi-Watt speaker cabinet. This was all stock stuff. Don't think Gavin had a clue about equipment, but anybody that can turn a back flip while playing a guitar solo should be on stage somewhere, even if none of the notes are in key (and they usually weren't). But boy, did that back flip look good!

Don Parker — Ibanez Artist guitar with an old noisy Echoplex and a '72 brown Telecaster Deluxe (big fat pickups). Ampeg V4 with one 4x12 Ampeg speaker cabinet. We tried to find something snappy to say about his playing, but we really don't know what to say since we never heard the guitar through the echo and distortion. We'll say this: he was sincere about it and made great guitar faces. Occasionally borrowed Stiv's Black Les Paul.

Sean Carmichael — In the beginning, a Marshall 100 watt solid state amp with one Marshall 4x12 speaker cabinet. After that head blew up a few times, obtained a Fender Showman amp head. When that wasn't cutting it, obtained an Ampeg V4 running it through the Marshall speakers. After THAT blew up, got a Marshall 50 watt all tube head and became a true believer of the Marshall mystique. "All God's chillun should use Marshalls". Although he has newer ones now, the old one still works and sounds unbelievably good and he semi-regularly terrorizes the family/cats/neighbors with it. Main guitar was a 1969 Gibson SG Custom. Backup guitars: Kelly's single pickup double cutaway '60 Gibson Melody Maker or '77 Les Paul Custom. No effects then, no effects now. Although he does possess a fully-stocked pedalboard and will use them from time to time, extremely sparingly. (Good for the beach music, eh, Sean? phoo)

Bob Knight — Used Sean's Fender Showman head with a Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer compressor through an Ampeg 4x12 speaker cabinet. Used Kelly's Wine colored Les Paul Custom as his guitar, and Sean's spare guitar strap and cord. Actually, Bob never owned ANY equipment (well, he did buy his own strings and picks) except lots of safety pins and a black leather jacket that he wore year-round even in the summer, no matter what the temperature.

Randy Lee — Peavey CS400 power amplifier with a green Furman preamp. Two custom built 2x15 speaker cabinets, later to be one custom built 2x15 speaker cabinet and one 2x15 flash pot with no speakers. Black Gibson EB0 bass guitar customized with two humbucking DiMarzio bass pickups (talk about OUTPUT!), later traded for an SD Curlee. Randy also had a flight case for the EB0. Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit in the back of Kelly's Honda so it stayed home while the bass went on the road.

Eric Bennett — Began with an Acoustic 150 bass amp with matching speaker cabinet. Later acquired the motherlode of bass amps, an Ampeg SVT. Fender Jazz Bass, later replaced with a Red Fender Precision Bass. The Precision was much better balanced for dancing.

Steve Long — Novel concept here: someone with a spare amp. He had 2 Marshall 100 watt all tube heads with 2 Marshall 4x12 speaker cabinets. 2 custom built guitars, both Fender Stratocaster style and a cheesy-looking Dean guitar. He didn't like anybody playing his guitars or through his amps, so naturally some wise-acre would sidle over to his amps after soundcheck and twiddle the knobs a bit. He also swore that the same wise-acre once intentionally nicked his guitar strings so that they would break. (Holding hand over heart, stick a needle in my eye, I NEVER did that. I didn't need to.....Steve would break them on his own thereby throwing his Strat-style guitars WAY out of tune and making him look foolish all by himself---he didn't need MY help. I swear! Sean) (Yeah, Sean. phoo)

Rodger Bennett — Marshall 50 watt all tube head with Ampeg 4x12 cabinet. (The cabinet was band got around.) Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top, with the gold top sanded off. Only guitar player in the world to use an 8 for a little E string. Those suckers just don't last any more than 15 minutes at a time.

Squire Lilly — Marshall 100 watt all tube guitar amplifier with 2 Marshall 4x12 speaker cabinets. Old, beat all-to-hell Fender Precision bass. One of the most awesome bass sounds ever heard......think John Entwistle's tone on The Who's "Live at Leeds".

Kelly Craven — Massive Tama drum kit. 24" bass drum, 3 riding toms, 2 floor toms (later 3), 1 snare. Zildjian marching band cymbals everywhere. Marching band cymbals are thicker than the norm thereby making them LOUDER, and boy did that come in handy at times! We couldn't see Kelly very well when he was behind his kit but man, could we hear him!

Unless, of course, some wise-acre (probably the same one who terrorized Steve Long, but not always!) duct taped his spare sticks to his bass drum (he set himself up for this by putting the spare sticks on the drum, then partially covering them with a towel so they wouldn't bounce off), or put Finger Ease on his sticks. (shame on you! That's not what Finger Ease's a spray substance that guitar players use to minimize friction and string noise while playing. Very slippery stuff and great for playing tricks on drummers with.) Or you could grab his cymbals just as he hit them thereby not allowing them to sound. Kelly was good-natured about it all, though. Just don't mess with his Orange Cappucino! (I'd like to personally thank Sean for fixing me a cup of Orange Cappucino every morning. Maybe it was to make amends for the Finger Ease. phoo) (Nah, I wanted some, too. Sean)


P. A. system — Total of 1700 watts of bone shaking power. Tri-amped system with 1 Peavey CS800 power amplifier and 2 QSC 450 watt amplifers. 4 bass speaker enclosures, each with 2 18" JBL speakers. 4 midrange speaker cabinets, each with 2 15" JBL speakers. 4 high-end speaker enclosures, each with 1 Renkus-Heinz tweeters. Peavey 16-channel mixing console. MXR Digital Delay (would also create flanging, which is a very cool, swirly kind of sound) as well as various crossovers and EQ's and the like. Microphones were a combination of various Shure, Sennheiser and Audio-Technica mics. This was good stuff in 1980, honest!

Lights and effects — 32 Par 38's, 8 Par 46's. Custom built rain lights over the backline. Custom built neon band logo sign. Chaser lights around the sign. Trouper spot light. Several mini-strobe lights, one big strobe light. 1 flash pot and 2 flame pots. We also had (and subsequently got rid of) 2 bubble machines. We hated those things. They were Mason's doings--when the bubbles would pop on stages that had no carpeting, the floor got VERY slippery. Plus, the bubbles had an annoying habit of going into your mouth just as you opened it up to sing. Yuck. 1 fog machine. It was pretty cool, but the fog juice residue was pretty slippery, too. Oh, yeah, thanks to Randy Lee's awesomely powerful bass we inherited a fake speaker cabinet (well, it wasn't really a FAKE cabinet, it was real enough, but it didn't have any speakers in it) that we would load up with flash powder and set off at a certain time during the guitar solo in "Bad Boy Boogie". Sean did this solo at first, but after Ronnie blew up Steve one night (really!), and Sean had a mini-disagreement with Ronnie, he began to worry about getting his own butt (what little there was of it) set on fire so he delegated this solo to Big (censored) Daddy after he joined the band. (Think Rodger ever knew why he got the solo on this one? He does NOW!)