|Hartford’s “in” sound of 1966. From left: Gerald Cicalese (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), James DiBernardo (lead guitar), Tom Hanophy (drums), Mark Cassone (bass). All photos/memorabilia courtesy of Tom Hanophy.|
From the barely tuned opening notes of “By The Sea,” it’s apparent that The In-Vaders have left us with a uniquely special moody New England masterpiece. And if it sounds vaguely familiar, well, the bridge is copped straight from “House Of The Rising Sun.” But when it’s rampant with drum fills and cymbals crashing harder than waves against the Connecticut shore, who cares?
The crew started back in 1963 and continued in various incarnations until about 1968. Prior to the 1966 recording lineup — Gerald Cicalese (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), James DiBernardo (lead guitar), Mark Cassone (bass), Tom Hanophy (drums) — the band included Steve Jordan of Hartford on bass and Dave Berstein of West Hartford on organ. Subsequent members included organists Bill Neimzcik and Dory Lessard, both of New Britain, as well as on-and-off-again guest singer Bill Dempsey of Hartford.
The disc marks the second of two post-British Invasion teen rock and roll releases on Irv Jeffries’ Music Town label — the other being the Shandels “Stop Your Crying” (45-113).
Much of the In-Vaders’ history would be lost to hazy memories if drummer Tom Hanophy hadn’t kept a meticulous journal which he was kind enough to share. The handwritten pages illustrate the highs and lows of playing in a band in the Sixties, and this was quite the busy crew: the In-Vaders logged in more than 80 appearances in the year between August 1966 and July 1967. A highlight occurred in September 1966 when they won $500 at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass. (and naturally bought new equipment with the spoils).
A glance at the set list below shows a healthy repertoire of more than 70 songs, including their original compositions “By The Sea” and “That Girl” (#53 and #54). It's interesting to note the covers from fellow Connecticut bands at the time: the Blue Beats “Extra Girl” (#68) and Hartford’s own Young Alley Cats “Since She’s Been Gone” (#70).
Tom also saved a reel tape from an appearance on The Brad Davis Show, in which they recorded “96 Tears” and “Working In A Coal Mine” in order to lip-sync on the program, as the show was not capable of a live performance. (Check out both songs below.)
Sadly, Jerry passed away in 1982 at the age of 31 due to complications from childhood diabetes.
Dedicated to the memory of Jerry Cicalese. Special thanks to Tom and Ryan Hanophy.
By The Sea / That Girl
Music Town (MTR-109/110 • 45-114)
Syncron reel tape recording from The Brad Davis Show
96 Tears / Working In A Coal Mine
(Thanks to Erik Lindgren for the transfer.)