Maurice Griffin silk screen 1968

The Carousel was an old garage or warehouse converted into a night club for young adults. I remember it being about the size of an airplane hanger with very tall ceilings. The drinking age was 18. Clarksburg had barely entered the psychedelic era of hippies with long hair. The crowd was a mix of kids 18 or 19, some college students, rednecks and maybe a biker or two. We weren't sure what the reaction would be when we started playing Jefferson Airplane, Hendrix, Stones, Vanilla Fudge and some originals with John's wailing psychedelic guitar and our brand of rock and roll.

The Carousel held 1000 people or more and there were tables and chairs scattered throughout the floor with a big stage at one end. Bands had to play for hours in those days. We never held back, and it was exhausting. At the break we headed for our table or to mingle with friends who had followed from Morgantown. I overheard some guys saying "man! these guys are f---ing good". So we hit the stage for the next set all fired up.

By then the crowd had a total beer buzz going. This music, if not new to them, was a new thing in the clubs. Mr Petito hated it. He had hired us at the suggestion of his neice, expecting dance music. But the crowd loved the wild exciting psychedelic music. Norris said "Ted and I both remember buying an old bass drum and bass guitar for that show. At the end of the set, we played 'Light My Fire'. As the song ended, Larry jumped through the bass drum and I set the bass on fire. That's when something happened in the crowd and the place could have burned down."

I remember Gene coming on stage, upset and waving a pistol or his finger. The band stopped playing, and there were words. We started playing again. It was hard to hear everything going on or make sense of it. Part of the crowd appeared to be more rowdy than usual, even out of control. I don't know if that was before or after someone started piling up the tables and chairs in the center of dance floor and doused them with lighter fluid, setting them on fire. The next thing I knew someone told me there was a fire. It all happened very fast. We were still playing. Somehow the fire on the floor was put out, and we finished the show. After that, we had some solid new fans. Someone who knows Mr. Petito wrote me recently. He says Gene is close to 70 and still not too happy with us :-) I remember Gene, but grateful and thankful he let us play. I think that show was important

You couldn't light a fire on stage now unless you had a permit. But we had it under control. We didn't do it to burn the place down. Ironically the Carousel did burn down years later. Our fire on the stage was simply entertainment like Jimi Hendrix did. It was typical of things we did to excite the crowd, things more extreme than other bands in our area. Once Jack cut down the huge stage curtain at the William Penn Hotel with a sword during our show. Thousands of people without tickets waited in line to get in. But there was no more room.

Taking a break with my beautiful young bride. I didn't drink or smoke but performing was exhausting. Left to Right Mrs Kingsbury, Vicki, Larry

Someone who was at the Carousel recalls the event:
My name is Terry. Dave is a fraternity brother of mine. I was there the night of the fires but did not participate. Dave told me that a fraternity brother of ours named Bob started the fire. Bob is dead now but Dave could fill you in on the details since he was with Bob that night. I actually did not meet Dave or Bob until the following year. Although I was there that night I did not know either of those guys at that time.

Albert Merandi began the Carousel..In 1969 Gene took over the club. The property was owned by Paul Myers who owned a Hardware Store two blocks up on the same street. Gene only owned the business. Gene is 67 now, and has not changed much after all these years. He remembers the Mind Garage well. He also recalls the fire and not too pleasantly. Gene told me that it was the first, the last and the only time that the Mind Garage played at the Carousel if that gives you any idea of his feelings. He said that he had a cancellation and it was one of the first times he booked a band without hearing them and without a signed contract. He said that he had heard from a niece that the Mind Garage was a great rock n roll band from Morgantown.

The music in those years varied greatly. Songs that many of my classmates remember from those years would include Going Out Of My Head, Sweet Pea, With This Ring and many others during the late 60's that you could dance to. There are others in my class that would put the # 1 1967 hit as being Light My Fire by the Doors. We remember songs by Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Blind Faith, The Cream, Credence and many others. You could not dance to this music but it meant much to those of us who did listen and play these songs. There were two groups of music lovers back then and the former did not appreciate the same music appreciated by the latter. While the latter appreciated both.

There are those of us like myself and Dave who could easily spend the entire night listening to songs that were shunned by some of my classmates..I always found it funny that many of my classmates truly missed the 60's because even today they do not like that music. Gene being 11 years older than I certainly would not have appreciated the music played by the Mind Garage. Gene expected dance music and when he got what he called acid rock he was not happy.

I guess after you refused to play the dance rock n roll he pulled the electric to the stage until you guys began playing dance music. He recalled the name Bond as the guy he booked the band with. Therefore Gene does definitely recall the Mind Garage but not with much happiness.

The Carousel Burns Down Later

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