Rockin' it into a Frenzy

June 16, 1999

FrenzyBy MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

If they combined their trade skills, the members of Frenzy could easily build a house, but instead, they choose to create hard-driving rock.

Joe Bowles is a plumber and the band's lead vocalist. Dion Waugh also is a plumber and Rik Parks works with insulation; both play guitars and sing backup.

[cont. from lifestyle]

Guy Cook trades his drafting tools for drumsticks at the end of the day and also is a backup vocalist. Doug High, 34, of Hagerstown, uses his painting hands on the strings of a bass guitar.


Parks formed the band in August 1997 after some members of a group he had been playing with quit. He found High through the classified ads. The others had been in a band called Threshold with High and came together again, this time as part of Frenzy.

Bowles has been in several bands in addition to Threshold and Frenzy, including Morgana LeFay, Blind Date, Been Taken and Reckless.

He says sometimes it's hard to get gigs, and players get frustrated, so they move on.

Parks, 25, of Hagerstown, thinks this group has a different fate.

"This band is here to stay," he says.

Bowles, who writes the lyrics for the band's original music, says a good musical chemistry exists between the guys. When he comes up with a riff, he takes it right to Waugh.

He says 85 percent of his ideas come to him while he's driving home from work. When a melody hits, he pulls over and grabs something to write with, then fine-tunes his work later on. It usually takes the band a couple hours to pull a new song together.

"It's like, boom, there it is," says Bowles, 33, of Sharpsburg.

The group considered several names, but Frenzy seemed to fit best.

"Life and everything's in such a frenzy," Bowles says.

Rehearsals happen one or two nights a week in the basement of Cook's house on Sharpsburg Pike.

When asked about their favorite tunes, Cook, 30, says, "We're kind of fond of our own stuff."

The band considers its best original songs to be "Rikki," "Time to Move On" and "Turned on You." Parks wrote the words to "Rikki," a tribute to his son of the same name, who died in 1995 at 1 week of age.

"It's a slow, melodic song," Parks says, and the drum part has a country-like feel, though he emphasizes it is NOT a country song.

Frenzy also plays cover tunes from Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Nazareth, Van Halen, KISS and Collective Soul.

The band plays at area clubs, including Little Mike's Tavern and Subway Restaurant and Lounge, both in Hagerstown, Chocolate Park in Cascade and Log Cabin Inn in Hancock. The band also has played at XH-Ale in Frederick, Md., where it opened for nationally known bands such as Firehouse, Funny Money and KISS Army.

They perform, "everyplace that wants us there that's a good rock 'n' roll situation," Bowles says.

When doing a gig, the members want to keep things lively.

"We create our own smoke," says Waugh, 27, of Williamsport. They bring along a smoke machine that goes into action during the band's Zeppelin medley.

"It gives us a rush," Parks says, and smells like cherry incense.

And where there's smoke, there's bound to be fire.

At the beginning of a performance, Bowles sets his microphone - made of chain links that Cook welded together - aflame. It slowly burns itself out.

When the members start to jam, there's no question what brand of music they prefer.

"The only category we fit into is just straight-up rock 'n' roll," Parks says.

* Saturday, June 26 - Pigstock, Shepherdstown, W.Va. Frenzy will play around 5 p.m. Admission is $15 and includes a T-shirt, food, including roasted pig, and beverages. For directions or information, call Rik Parks at 301-714-1570.

* Saturday, July 3 - Holiday Inn, 100 S. George Street, Cumberland, Md. Frenzy will open at 9:30 p.m. for the band Funny Money.

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