The Reagan Years
The time line of the Tribute...
The Reagan Years has achieved “headline status” in both nightclubs and concert venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic. As many sucessful groups, perservance prevailed after a rocky beginning. Six Years later, the core talent is still together and delighting audiences.
It was the winter of 1995 when Sy Seyler
first noticed that 1980's music being reintroduced to pop culture. As 80's favorites flooded flashback radio programs, VH-1's Pop Up videos and served as the basis for many TV commercials, Seyler decided to form the band with Karen Ellison a former Aislynn band mate. He invited his former Shock LaRue bass player, Paul Majors and friend of Karen's to play guitar and an acquaitance from Scranton, Pennsylvania, Al Lewis (formerly of Free Fall) to front the band. On the day of the first rehearsal, the guitarist backed out due to a health issue. Only hours before the rehearsal, Sy entered an Internet chat room and found Chris Caminiti. With only two rehearsals, this group offered a lack luster peformance to a booking agency during a New Jersey showcase. It was time to go back to the drawing board.
With a different bass player, Lenny Everett, and frontman, Miguel Pereza, a new line up began playing clubs in the summer of 1996. After several months of gigging, Everett left the group to pursue an original project. Carl Haas
, a the bass player from the heavy metal band, Bad Penny, traveled in the same social circles as Seyler, and once auditioned; quickly replaced Everett. By the winter, Miguel was released and The Reagan Years was a quartet with lead vocal responsibilities divided among Caminiti, Ellison and Seyler. This was the band's promo photo. (Notice the 80's wear)
This line-up stayed in tact for over a year and built an impeccable reputation on the Mid-Atlantic club scene. The band's taxing schedule created conflict with Caminiti's participation in a Sunday morning inspirational service. Chris left the line-up in summmer of 1998. Disappointed by 14 fruitless auditions, the band nearly gave up before finding a suitable replacement with Jeremy Dawson. TRY's repertoire changed slightly as the band selected tunes that showcased Dawson's strengths in the fall of 1998. Misfortune struck again in the spring of 1999 as Jeremy day job transferred him to Ohio. Faced with a full schedule of pending engagements, the band asked Caminiti to complete the scheduled performances. Caminiti anxiously accepted. The band played several monthly performances until a planned "Finale Weekend" on July 16 & 17, 1999 when Caminiti was married and moved to Florida.
Restless from his departure from the club scene, Seyler agreed to join a different novelty project called "Member's Only 80's" in February 2000. This group was plagued by lack of commitment and creative differences and dissolved within months. In January 2001, Seyler merged the best of both projects to rekindle The Reagan Years flame. This line up would feature the return of Carl Haas and Karen Ellison but would split the responsibilities of a singing-guitarist into a singer/frontman, Micheal Leigh
and a guitarist, Glenn Riley. Club goers and critics quickly agreed that this roster would be stronger than earlier ones.
This quintet maintained an agressive schedule until September 2001. By then Karen was 6 months pregnant and needed to take a break. The band went on hiatus while Karen gave birth to a beautiful boy in December 2001. In 2002, the band resurfaced again but primarily focused on the corporate scene and large scale club events. Hass bowed out of the line up since his wife became pregnant with thier first during the hiatus. Lenny Everett returned to the roster after three popular original projects alluded any label commitment.
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© 2001-2005 The Reagan Years