ray Over the course of this long cold winter, I had occasion to think about putting together a new band. Would this band be one of those with a mission to change the world? A band to get signed, go all the way to the top, and make millions of Deutche Marks? Tour the world in a private jet so that we could enjoy our drinks while standing up, even when the plane is making take-offs and landings? A band to make a record that would top the PMRC's worst ever list? The answer to all of these intriguing questions was no.
I wanted to start a band that would have one really good gig that people would enjoy. Thus, the 9-Volt Smoke Detectors were born. First, I needed a violinist. Since Kelly Q is on permanent sabbatical, the obvious choice was Joe D'Andrea (that's pronounced don-DREY-uh). Although he had put down his "axe" for drums many years ago, several weeks of intense therapy got him back up to the task. To round out the bands sound, Joe lent his keyboard skills as well, rippling out tasty Hammond licks in selected numbers. joe
sue The next task was finding a drummer. Since Joe was already in the violin position, I reached back into my past adventures with The Other Way and recruited the one and only Sue McGee, who fortunately had some time in her busy schedule with the Free America Foundation and the KISS Army to accomodate this.
Finally, to round out the sound, a percussionist was located. We found Mike Lambe hunkered over a pint of ale at the local brewpub. He was immediately accepted into the band. When one of our biggest fans asked "why two drummers?" I responded "because it sounds cool" - and this was certainly true. Once I heard the rolling thunder of two sets of drums being abused, I knew that the collective shreik of Joe and myself had found the perfect foil!

2007 update - Mike is alive and well and living in Portland, playing in Mystic Canyon!


We booked a gig for January 16, 1997 at The Common Ground Cafe in Summit NJ. Dan Gibson runs a really hot concert series there (Bon Lozaga recently made an appearance) and Ahrre the roastmaster roasts the best beans (including Zimbabwe Code #53).

Everything was going according to plan - until we were setting up our gear and noticed smoke oozing out of the floorboards. As head Smoke Detector in charge, I lead the investigative team down into the basement, but there was no answer there. The Fire Department was summoned, we froze our tails off for 90 minutes and basically they never really did figure out what the source of the smoke was. However, after dousing the floor with water and ripping things apart, the building was deemed safe and the smoke was cleared.

The band went on with the show as planned. We opened with a song I wrote for performing with The Other Way (back when I was an adjunct member) called "Creative Hands." We then did "Asbury Nights" (off the Mostly Mono tape), "Traveller" (an old Ray & Joe standard), and closed with "The Freak", a song that Sue co-wrote while in The Other Way. We also stuck Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" in there for good measure, dedicated to all my friends who have had legal troubles in civil and traffic court. We were having so much fun that I even took some pictures from the bandstand. Luckily the Stick enables me to play a bass line and still have a free hand for photography!

In the end, the world wasn't changed, mountains were not moved, but we all had a damn good time. A nice review of this event appearred in the Juxtaposition E-Zine. Thanks to the audience and also thanks to each member of the band for making this all happen!

- Brother Ray

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