The Triangle was a much smaller musical place in the early ‘80s. Above: the band back then.
By Fred Mills
In 2016 there are scores of nationally and internationally acclaimed bands populating the North Carolina Triangle area (Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham)—it’s a given that in any given year there will be a breakout release from a combo. But I’m here to tell all you youngsters ‘twasn’t so in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s; in fact, you could pretty much count the number of groups making and performing original material on two paws. With that duly noted, my memories of that time remain vivid, and I trust that my peers who were also on the Triangle scene at the time feel similarly. (Raise your hands if you remember the H-Bombs, old-timers…)
As it turns out, one of the key bands from back in the day is apparently hatching a long-overdue reunion in August: Raleigh’s Fabulous Knobs, originally made up of Terry Anderson (Drums), David Enloe (Guitar; he passed away in 2007, sadly), Jack Cornell (Bass), Debra DeMilo (Lead Vocals), Keith Taylor (Lead Guitar), Dave Adams (Keyboards). You can consult the Return to Comboland blog for the back story; suffice to say that while they only left behind a couple of records, their live shows were the stuff of legend, as they were essentially the Triangle’s answer to the Faces and the Stones, with singer Debra DeMilo coming off as a cross between Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Pat Benatar.
According to Raleigh’s News & Observer, the Knobs will appear Aug. 13 at a multi-band concert dubbed Groove In the Garden. Writes Josh Shaffer, “Decades after their scene dissolved, long after they took careers as florists, painters, nurses and respiratory therapists, the surviving Fabulous Knobs will resurface to rock again for the first time in more than 20 years. Put them in a room together, all pushing 60, and they conjure a grittier Raleigh up all night.
“’Debra said, ‘Why don’t we do this?’ said drummer Terry Anderson. ‘And I said, ‘Yeah. Before we die.’
“Anderson joked that at their reunion show in August, they’ll keep the old folks entertained. But I’m going to guess the kids put the iPhones back in their pockets for this show, where their hands will be too busy waving in the air.”
Welcome back, folks. And thanks for the memories. (Below, watch a rehearsal video of the band that the newspaper posted online,)