the Show Identities:
First we were "General Electrip", for our first show only.
Then we stayed the "Wick Lightshow" for the 60's & 70's in So. California (& our official name).
Then the ... in No. Cal, early 80's.
Then "Photon Express" in So. Cal. in the mid '80's.
Then "Helios Gravis" for the last show done, a rave.
Founder: Stan Sweatt (that's me)-usually stuck on Background/Patterns machines, fill-in liquids & slides.
Crew: Steve Sweatt-slides, Dave Kiser-liquids, Andy-liquids
Additional Crew: David Pierce, Richard Sweatt
Financial/Booking: Gary Canning of R.G. Canning's Show Headquarters (CSH)
Homebase: Downey, CA
Early 1968 I was 22, married, kid on the way, and in a car club doing service work at a San Diego car show. I took a break at a sideshow in a dark, tented-off corner of the arena. Sitting on the floor, I saw liquids and slides to "Foxy Lady", I was hooked big-time!
My graphics art and drummer experience said you must do this! ...or was it the doobie? Well in short time I was in my rented living room with a lantern slide projector converted to vertical use for a liquid projector with 4" crystal set for liquids, and an Edmund Scientific catalog on the way.
We were a relatively unknown show working out of South-of LA from '68 thru early '70's. I would guess we did 100 or more gigs. We had the privilege of working at least sevral dozen shows with big name groups, but I doubt they would know who we were. We worked arenas, movie theaters, dance halls, college and school gyms and even smaller. Always yearning for a fixed venue!
Then a move to NoCal, some barfly shows in the early '80's. Then back to LA and several benefit nostalgia show/dances in '85/86 and finally (so-far) a Rave in LA in '89. Inbetween all shows, new effects and equipment were brought oniline and older stuff retired.
Greatest Memorable Show:
A concert venue called the Bank at San Pedro. We got a gig to replace the robot slideshow up in the glass booth. The act turned out to be the Greatful Dead with Charley Musselwhite, the show seemed to last forever (duh-the Dead!) but was over far too soon! They showed the movie "Juliet of the Spirits" afterwards.
Favorite All-time Show:
Fox Theatre in Long Beach, CA. A 3-day & nite marathon show with many big names, including Johnny Winter visiting our stand in 4th row balcony for a vantage point before going on.
Most Embarrasing Show:
Our first show, Pasadena Civic with I think Santana or ?, the promoter said he never wanted to see us again. We weren't ready, were late and didn't have a clue! Plus we were really loaded!
A show at Santa Barbara Fairgrounds. Jefferson Airplane had their show, we were to do Steve Miller and 3rd act and use JA's screen. We set up about 80 ft. out on a stand during the afternoon. They set up just in time, and were rear-projection! Our show looked OK from the back, but the only way to get an image on the front was with pure light (no color)! Plus we got blamed for messing with their un-attended side spotlights when we just were trying to stop the audience from messing with them.
A New Year's Show at the Fox 'N Hounds club for the Rand Corporation. Neither of us knew what to make of this "pyschedelic" party, the boozers or the dopers.
Favorite other LightShow:
Single Wing Turquoise Bird Lightsow, LA. Learned and inspired alot from them, caught many of their Shrine shows, each one a new experiment in technique.
The 4-day carshow "Battle of the Band" marathons, non-stop lights 2pm to Midnite, a new band every half-hour!
A graduation dance where the strobes hit just the right rhythm and many of the drunks threw up all at the same time on the dance floor.
Johnny Winter on the lightshow stand surveying the stage before going on..
Major band agent (after the show) said we "were the only show they'd worked that didn't steal their act".
Finding power in crappy venues (many 50 & 100 ft. extension cords).
Building affordable 1KW dimmers.
Having Gary C. drive from LA to Santa Barbara with forgotten box of dimmers for CS&N show.
At the Fox show, special introduction of the new group ZZtop but with no lightshow and full house lights by their agent's orders. We didn't take it personal, I would have liked to like them, but not after that.
Not having a way to contact any of the people who inspired, helped and worked with us over the show years. Not having much in the way of the photos, ads and poster history.
click pix to enlarge...
some of our cards
Our 1st Projector
all were printed black on various colors of flourescent stock on Gary C's own press...
the 1st Poster
original 4 members
the Zig-Zag man