A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PAPER BAG by Mike Guido
In 1973 I was in a band called The Phil Gagliano Band. We went to see the movie Pink Flamingos at the Uniondale Mini-Cimema and the drummer, Don Civitella, was inspired to write a song called Paper Bag. In later years as I moved from band to band, people would call for the song at gigs, even though we didn't play it. Finally, late one night in Chelsea's in Huntington we did it and it became sort of a cult thing. In the mid-seventies there was an annual festival, known as The People's Picnic, hosted by the Lashnitz family in a town called Whitehall in upstate New York. It was a 3 day deal with bands, beer and a barrel of fun. I had the honor of being the house sound engineer for the final two years, 1978 and 1979. In`78 I was in a band called Cutaway and we played at the Picnic. In `79, however I wasn't in an active band but I still wanted to play. From the dark recesses of my mind I conjured up the notion that on the last day of the festival, I would get the musicians from all the bands on stage at once and that would be "my band". Between songs, instead of stopping we would play the Paper Bag theme. Get it? We performed with 17 players to several hundred people wearing bags on their heads. We had so much fun that we did it again 3 weeks later at The Silver Dollar in Bay Shore.
The Origin of the Name "Tony Rome and the Cheese Calzones
During the week of the People's Picnic a knobby end of a pepperoni stick was nailed to the wall of the sound truck and remained there for three long hot days. It began to sweat. This gave rise to the nom de stupidity "The Pepperoni Trio" The leader of this trio was Steve Romario, whom I played with in the band cutaway. Scott Berry, famed drummer from Otter Creek and, at the time, owner of the Silver Dollar Saloon mutated the name to become the "Tony Rome and the Cheese Calzones." Go figure.