I was scrounging through some storage boxes in my basement recently when I spotted a 7" piece of vinyl that sent a 110-volt burst across my synapses.
A little background: back in the late 70's my older brother decided to attend a kegger the night before his ACT college admissions exams. As a result he spent a two year exile at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge (a/k/a "Ick," in the local parlance) before he was allowed to matriculate at Iowa State U. At ICCC his assigned dorm roommate was a weirdly cool guy from Audobon named Kacy Ross. Kacy came from a family of artists; his dad was a sign painter, and his older brother was a cartoonist who created t-shirt designs for Roach, the Tampa Bay Rowdies logo, and the hard-hatted beaver mascot for Hustler magazine. Kacy was pretty good with a cartoon pen too, but his real artistry was with a fretboard. To this day he was about the best dorm room guitarist I've ever seen. Still in high school I frequently road-tripped to Fort Dodge for advanced junior-college-level studies in boozing and guitar trickery. Here's a picture of the three of us in '78 (L-R: yours truly, brother, Kacy)
Kacy eventually dropped out and moved to Tampa, FL where his brother was located, and became frontman for a New Wavish power pop band called Rich Rags. The band quickly became a favorite on the Florida bar circuit, which led to a EP recorded in New York. Kacy sent complementary copies of the EP to me and my brother, and that's the vinyl I found in the basement.
When I found the record (entitled "(Rejected) Dentist Office Music") it sort of stunned me, as I hadn't listened to it or thought about it in 25 years. Thanks to the help of Cratedigger, I've got it digitized now, and it stands up as a pretty tasty 4-song slice of late 1979 American pub rock. My favorite cut is "On the Level," written by Kacy, who also provides lead guitar and vocals. Punch the play button for a listen.
Sleeve and lyric sheet:
Like every 18 year old kid with a guitar and amp, I harbored fantasies of rock stardom; that EP generated the vicarious thrill that somebody I knew - another Iowa hick town kid - was actually on their way to a career involving screaming arenas, orgies and hotel room vandalism. Unfortunately, after receiving the EP I lost contact with Kacy. When I rediscovered it I called my brother (who also eventually relocated to Florida) and he had similarly lost touch.
Through a little Googling I was delighted to discover that Kacy did get a measure of rock stardom. After quitting Rich Rags in 1980, he eventually ended up with Deloris Telescope , a band that remained a favorite of the Tampa Bay alternative music scene until dissolving in 1996. Here they are (I'm guessing around 1984), with Kacy on lead and vocals.
A progression of DT publicity shots: early show with blurbs from the NY and Chicago papers; 1983 cover of the local alt weekly rag; as a power trio; singing the National Anthem at the Devil Rays ballpark; playing with Marilyn Manson at the Hard Rock Cafe. (Thanks to the Deloris Telescope site and LeeSteel.com for images).
According to my research Kacy continues to perform and record today (he also apparently recorded under the name Skelbo White and appeared as a DJ at legendary New York station WFMU under the name Clay Pidgeon). Instead of hard rock or new wave, his latest musical groove seems to be experimental/ambient; here's the most recent recorded material I can find, his darkly humorous solo project "That Dirty Clown" from 2006.
Long strange trip and all that. I lead a pretty blessed existence, but I have to admit learning of Kacy's regional rock star exploits left me with more than a tinge of jealousy. That's why the next thing out dug out of the closet was the guitar.
So Kacy, if you're out there: good goin', homeboy. Give me a shout if you want to get together with me and Marty for a jam.