Egyptian Joyride, Panama City, FL 1988-1991

Steev from Florida writes: This article from my high school newspaper captures a turning point in the early life of Egyptian Joyride, a young and ridiculously self-important new wave rock band that was perpetually only a single line-up change away from becoming one of the most successful local bands to perform original music in a small pocket of the north Florida music scene usually dominated by blues rock and heavy metal cover bands. We were, of course, also complete idiots.

The band's original guitarist and reluctant front-man, Cary Mainous, first introduced me to bassist Jason George on Jason's first day out of jail. Granted he had only served a short term for failure to pay off some parking citations which hardly qualifying him as a hardened criminal. But while Cary eagerly let it slip as we first drove away from my house to the practice space that Jason had just gotten out of jail earlier that day, he neglected to say just how innocuous his crimes had been.

As a shy and easily impressed 15 year-old, desperate for the acceptance and approval of my college-age band mates, I found my new band mate's possible criminal background terrifying and thrilling at the same time. Cary knew I'd be a little put out by his remark; he lived for that kind of thing, using my relative inexperience to mess with me, in those days. But as anxious as I felt in those first few moments, I decided then and there to ride out this rock and roll band thing wherever it led, no matter how self-destructive and stupid a place it might be-and I almost did.

One important omission in the article: it was a fairly public secret that we didn't actually win the contest described in the article-at least, we didn't win it fair and square. Truth is, we cheated to the point of absurdity, not only by pestering everyone we knew in town to call in to the radio station as many times as humanly possibly, but also by disguising our own voices and calling the station as many times as we could ourselves (these were the days before caller ID was common, so this was a low-risk scam at the time). Not that it mattered. Our crudely four-tracked entry, despite the best efforts of our new front-man, failed to impress college radio listeners at the next level of competition and that life-transforming EMI record deal we dreamt of in those days never materialized.

Soon, Chris took over leadership of the group, and Cary was squeezed out of the line-up completely (despite his role of co-founder along with me.) We performed as a three-piece from that point on. Under Chris' leadership we somehow managed to become one of the only non-cover bands in town that could broker guarantees from local clubs in the range of $150-$250 a night. We typically played out a couple of nights a week, performing two, hour-long sets, which (I'm ashamed to admit) usually included at least one extended drum solo.

The band only finally started coming undone when I refused to drop out of high school before the start of my senior year, so that the band could "go on the road full-time" (as far as I know, neither Chris or Jason really had any idea what that meant or any concrete plans for how to go about doing it.)

Our final performance was a fund-raiser benefit for WKGC, that same small, local college radio station that had helped us establish ourselves and done so much to help promote us over the years since. Throughout that show, the security guards at the on-campus venue hosting the event threatened to cut the power to the PA system several times, because Jason refused to stop swearing drunkenly into the mic. Then suddenly, in one of his not unprecedented random onstage outbursts, Chris joined in with Jason and began cursing belligerently too, just before launching into a new song we had recently started including in some of our sets. It was named "WKGC Song" and the hook (such as it was) went like this: "KGC-set me free! KGC-let me be!"

It was probably clear to anyone in the audience at that moment that in our minds, this was a defining moment in the history of rock and roll. Then, about halfway into the song, someone finally cut the power to the PA for good.

Here is one of the thumpingly good tracks Egyptian Joyride recorded for a local music compilation that was sold on-campus and around town to raise money for WKGC. According to the author, the mixes are a noisy, muddled mess, but as he claims, " that was just how we rolled in those days." The track is called Attitude.


Disaster Amnesiac said...

Dude, you're supposed to let a PUBLICIST pestering everyone on earth about how great your group is.

Chuck and Jean Anne said...

Ha! I lived in Mexico Beach from '88 to '90 and knew Chris Green. Met him through his friends Ed and Philip. I remember going over to his house for fajitas!

Always thought Copper Quarter Throwback was a great band name.

Man...that was a long time ago!

Hans said...

Wow, I randomly did a search for Egyptian Joyride after being unsuccessful at trying to find Prose N Poetry online.

I was the dj at WKGC who ran the contest and helped put together that compilation tape of local bands. Yeah, we were pretty amused with you guys trying to disguise your voices and having relatives call in.

You wouldn't happen to be able to make mp3s of the rest of the songs on that compilation would you? Mine is long gone and I would love to hear the rest again.

susana said...

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Cheers, Keep it up.

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Michael and Scott said...

Wow, a blast from the past. Where are Jason and Cary now?

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Anonymous said...

Jason disappeared off the face of the earth. I'm in Nashville.