Lonesome Crow #3 (December 1989-March 1990)
|Tony Person||Voc, Gtr|
2/18/90-The Metro, Richmond Va. (Opened for Ugly Head)
3/5/90-The Jade Elephant, Richmond Va.
The band had been looking for a guitarist or vocalist who shared their vision, and after auditioning a few, one was selected. December 1989 saw Tony Person join Lonesome Crow. A flashy guitarist and vocalist, he didn't entirely fit in with the styles of the other band members, but he was an energetic guitarist, who also wrote songs and was creative. He was what the band needed in a number of ways, and some of what was learned during this period would go a long way towards the attitudes of band members in the future. You might say that having Tony around taught the others several valuable lessons.
This would be the first lineup to play live.
The band continued to write and perfect the few originals that they had, and worked an Iron Maiden song, 'Sanctuary', into their setlist. It was a good thing, because the band's first gig literally fell into their laps, and was on very short notice. The band had to actually write an additional song before the gig, in order to have a long enough set list.
Basically getting a chance to play because of luck, Lonesome Crow made their live debut on February 18, 1990 at the Metro. The band opened up for another local band, Ugly Head. Sparsley attended and with several gaffs made by band members (notably a pair of competing vocalists and some horrendous crowd banter that went awry), the show nonetheless gave the band some experience performing live. The show was recorded from the soundboard, and it provided valuable insight.
A second show was scheduled for two weeks later, and after the March 5th show, Tony Person was sent on his way. His attitude towards his fellow bandmates and their skills and participation finally rubbed everyone the wrong way. Tony would later end up in another local band, Flannel, joining them as their lead guitarist.
Sensing that a shift in the musical direction of the band was imminent, Chris Bennardo left the band several days later. Lonesome Crow was still an entity at this point that didn't know which way it wanted to go in the world of music.
Lonesome Crow #4 (March 1990 -August 1990)
|Phil Brucato||Bass, Vox|
|Scott 'Squiggy' Morris||Voc|
June 4, 1990-The Jade Elephant, Richmond
July 2, 1990-The Jade Elephant, Richmond
July 4, 1990-Private Party, Varina
July 23, 1990-Twisters, Richmond (Opened for Tempest)
Sounds-Ancient Swords (mp3 File) -Recorded live in Mike's Garage
Top Row (Left to Right) Scott Fogleman, Mike Stilwell and Phil Brucato
Bottom Row (Left to Right) Squiggy Morris and Todd Sale
The departure of Chris Bennardo and the firing of Tony Person left a void, but it would be filled soon enough. Lonesome Crow auditioned a real pair of characters in Scott "Squiggy' Morris and Scott Fogleman. The pair would join right up, and things really started to look up for the Richmond based band. Squiggy brought a great, bluesy hard rock voice to the band, and he was a showman and a frontman, comfortable in front of people and had a great personality. Scott Fogleman knew people and had management skills. Things began to go good for the band right from the start of this association.
Another shift that began was in the songwriting department. Gone was the hair-band influence of Tony and the pop-influence of Chris. Mike and Todd began to collaborate more on new material, generating songs in the vein of what they liked to listen to. Long, doomy riff-oriented epics began to take shape. Heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Trapeze, Deep Purple, Rainbow and other 1970's hard-rock acts, they were the perfect compliment to Squiggy's voice.
The band began to get more live dates and became more seasoned as they put on more live shows.
The band got a mention and a large photo of them placed in a local magazine, 'Style' Weekly, published in June of 1990. The photos were taken at the Hollywood Cemetery, a nationally recognized cemetery. The images were brooding and dark, showing the change in the band's direction visually.
The songs were starting to have darker themes, and the longer structures and riffing sequences, were topping many of the songs out well over seven minutes. It was also at this time that Mike and Todd were starting to gel as a songwriting team. Mike's lyrics were telling stories, and the music was being written to fittingly tell these tales.
Phil was fired in July, 1990 after the Twister's gig. Phil and Squiggy had gotten into a row during the show, Squiggy having gotten drunk and Phil having directed Squiggy to stop rambling into the mike between songs. The two had an exchange, things weren't pleasant afterwards. Phil's replacement was well known to the band, as he was Mike's brother, Dennis Stilwell. Phil would later join Aqua Blue, but would find more fame as a writer with White Wolf Games, being a project manager and lead designer for the popular Mage game. Phil would eventually form Laughing Pan Productions, and create the game 'Deleria'. Oddly enough, Mike Stilwell would play in Aqua Blue later with Phil.
Lonesome Crow #5 (August 1990-October 1990)
|Scott 'Squiggy' Morris||Voc|
August 1, 1990-Twisters, Richmond Va
August 16, 1990-Twisters, Richmond Va
August 24, 1990-The Jade Elephant, Richmond Va
September 7, 1990-The Jade Elephant, Richmond Va (Opened for Mudd Helmet)
September 17, 1990-The Jade Elephant, Richmond Va
October 6, 1990-Twisters, Richmond Va
October 15, 1990-The Jade Elephant, Richmond Va
October 25, 1990-Whistler's, Richmond Va
Dennis Stilwell had roughly a week to learn bass parts for a whole set, as the band had a gig scheduled exactly a week after he came on board. Dennis brought a heavy-bottom end with his Fender Precision base, and he was an accomplished guitarist, the switch to base was rather easy for him to manage, and he seamlessly filled the void. The band continued to play out live, and things were happening. Whiile Scott was a wealth of industry and management knowledge, and a personable and well liked guy, there were many concerns about Scott's lack of dedication to practicing, and his erratic playing finally came to a head in September. The band decided to fire Scott, and in a move that wasn't very nice to either Scott or Mike, Mike got the job of informing him that he was out, simply because everyone else seemed to 'vanish' into thin air during the supposed moment. Then, the bottom fell out later in September of 1990, when Squiggy announced that he was moving back to Minnesota to go to college. So, what was once a promising scenario became rather bleak. After the October 25th show, the band went on hiatus. Dennis basically left Todd and Mike to their devices until a singer was found. Mike and Todd soldiered on, and spent the winter writing a host of new material, and rearranging and editing much of their existing numbers.
Scott Fogleman ended up moving to Los Angeles, where he would found and play guitar for Dark Skye before coming back to Virginia after the North Ridge Earthquake in 1994.
The music and lyrics of Lonesome Crow were about to get much darkier and heavier.
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