Cleveland, 1970-6, 78\
Circus blasted out of Cleveland's college bar scene in 1972 with their local smash hit "Stop Wait and Listen", a classic combination of midwest rock/power pop sounds that is one of the most memorable local recordings of the time, and is still covered by local bands.
Although we don't have a lot of details yet, Circus included guitarist Dan Hrdlicka (the writer of "Stop..."), singer Phil Alexander (who sported a "Ziggy Stardust" Bowie style haircut, very helpful when Cleveland went Ziggy crazy in late '72....), Tommy Dobeck (drums), Frank Salle (bass), and Mick Sabol (guitar), at least on the 45 and LP. On August 27, 1971, Circus competed against 5 other bands for a $1000 prize and a recording contract with RCA records. The event was televised live on WEWS Channel 5 as part of a Neil Sedaka TV show primarily intended to kick off a comeback. (For the record, the bands competing with Circus were One Yere, Jessup, Symbols Of Sound, Magic, and the Erector Set). The band recorded some stuff for RCA but they passed the band along to Metromedia, a label best known for Bobby Sherman and some very rare underground rock LPs. The songs that appeared on the 45 were recorded at Agency Recording, with the band actually doing the chorus echo parts live! Metromedia also released a follow up 45, "Feel So Right". This one didn't do as well, but Metromedia decided to release an LP anyway. In some strange arrangement the LP appears to resemble a private press, although it got distribution in many parts of the country.
The huge success of "Stop..." got the band much notoriety, and caused some problems when 1000s of fans showed up at school gig, detailed via press clippings on the LP back cover. Dan Hrdlicka left the band to join Magic (announced to happen on Aug 1, 1973), and the Balzer brothers (Craig and Bruce), late of Ambleside, joined. They recorded and mastered a remake of the Dusty Springfield classic "I Only Want To Be With You" that was never pressed, due to the 'vinyl shortage' of 1974. Not long after the aborted 45, they disbanded. Tommy Dobeck (who was 15-6 years old when he joined Circus) joined the Michael Stanley band, while the Balzers formed 747. Phil Alexander and Mick Sabol recruited a new band to play out as Circus, including Al Globokar (guitar), Norm Issac (bass), and Frank Lauter (drums). Lauter was replaced by Myron Grombacher, in turn replaced by Stu Leyta. This lineup lasted for a year or so.
In 1978 a 45 turned up in local stores credited to Circus. This was a 'project' initiated by singer/producer Barry Ross and included Mick Sabol (who is credited with the songs), Al Globekar, and Phil Alexander, with some hired hands to complete the recording. According to a brief story in the Scene, they discussed playing some live shows but that didn't seem to happen. The record label mentions a LP entitled "Terrorists" (hmm, those were different times....) that was never released.
Stop, Wait & Listen / I Need Your Love - Metromedia 265, Nov 1972
Feels So Right / Jonah's Fable - Metromedia 68-112, 1973
LP - Circus, Metromedia 7401, October 1973
Too Much To Handle / Bad Feelings - BRO 1177, May 1978