vengeance :: history : vengeance mark II
Electrical Worker's Union Hall

Vengeance played regularly throughout the Tampa Bay area, at college parties, keggers in the woods with unreliable generators, backyard parties with stages built on extensions of the back porch. Under-21s in the area couldn't go to bars and keg parties were the place to be, and Vengeance was the king of the keg party bands, with hundreds or even over a thousand people showing up.

Guy, Herb and Carl went through a succession of bass players after Mendel Schenk. Del Weber from one of Carl's former bands played for a few months, distinguished by a gig where he claimed to have done magic mushrooms. He was fired after that disaster and unable to find a replacement, Vengeance was inactive for almost a year.

The band eventually disbanded, until Guy's brother Mitch returned from the Navy and joined on drums. Herb switched to bass, Carl Bennett returned on vocals, and the band started playing the keg party circuit in Brandon. The drinking age had recently been changed to 21 and keg parties were a big deal at that time. A couple dozen flyers scattered around a bar parking lot windshields would end up bringing over 1000 people to a keg party. Vengeance was the big fish in the little pond, the top band in Brandon.

Mike was joined as 2nd lead guitar and his brother in law Larry of Lars Lighting provided the band with professional stage production. Lighting and pyro tech Bobby Gibbs turned the band on to a lot of new import metal bands coming in with the New Wave of Heavy Metal like Trust, Accept, Girl, Holocaust, Anvil, Samson, Angelwitch, Gary Moore and TKO, as well as the standard Judas Priest, Rainbow, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, UFO, Klaatu, Riot, Michael Schenker Group and Ozzy tunes.

Vengeance promo photo session
In June Vengeance played a massive party at a hall rented from the Electrical Workers Union. About 1200 people showed up but only about 500 could fit inside the building, and after playing their first set, while taking a break, a huge fight broke out and the band never got to play it's 2nd set.

There was a video of the gig, however, Carl Bennett's irate ex-wife destroyed it, along with all his band memorabilia. Unfortunately, I had temporarily lent him the only copy of this video and it was a victim of the destruction. The video was shot by our good friend Ivor Stenstrom, with whom we've lost touch, and who presumably has the master. Ivor, if you are out there, call us!

We do still have the audio from that night, the best songs are posted above. The band "Nightmare", with future members of Nasty Savage, opened. Nasty Savage frontman Ronnie Galetti was one of Vengeance's biggest boosters and leading hell-raisers at Vengeance gigs.

Guy bought his 3rd B.C. Rich, a Warlock, and Mike purchased 2 Gibson Explorers and traded in his Vox stacks for a Marshall. The band took the area by storm, it's large and vocal and violent following was both a blessing and a curse.

They usually won any battle of the bands by acclamation, but their fans were likely to trash the club.

The second set of photos is from the Mango Civic Club, where party-goers nearly destroyed the place, broke windows, broke into the kitchen and trashed plates and glasses, broke an outside door off the hinges and tore a sink off the wall in the restroom. Carl ended the night in a drunken fight in the mud in Bobby's white jeans, and Bobby was not happy about that. This was the last gig with Mitch and Carl.

As they grew out of the keg party scene, Guy, Herb and Mike realized that they couldn't keep playing obscure heavy metal covers and expect to play the A-circuit in Florida. Tired of the bottle club and dive scene, they recruited a new singer and drummer.

At the same time, Guy and Mike were writing originals. Guy's song Judas (with the Blood Money intro as his spotlight guitar solo) made it into the setlist, as well as a band compositions Busting Loose and For You Tonight.

The promo shots were the first taken with the Vengeance Mark II line-up, and include a shot of Liz in her boots. It looks like we're having a pretty good time cutting up in more than half the shots. It was probably the first real promo photo shoot in a studio with a real photographer for any of us. Good times.

Mango Civic Center party

The first flyer was from a typical Battle of the Bands. A band called Armed Forces, all dressed in camo with camo amps and some money behind them, were planned to win from the get-go, the rest of the bands were just cannon fodder. However, several hundred of our unruly fans showed up and voted for us en masse. The judges, local DJs and such, who were supposed to be worth half the voting weigh, cut out early and didn't pad their scores enough to contend with our overwhelming superiority in numbers, and we scored the upset win, fucking up the promoters dastardly plan. Since our crowd scared the shit out of the bar owners, they offered us a consolation gig and we grabbed it, even if we did concede the "battle". We were used to this kind of crap, we were always outsiders in the local games. One of the reasons we always despised the local Tampa scene and refused to play along with it, at least until many years later when we became a part of it by the sheer fact of hard work and yes, talent, they had to respect us. No photos or audio of this gig remain. Bobby Gibbs, our lightman and main supporter, made this hilarious flyer (which was meant in dead earnest at the time!), as he did most of the flyers on this page.

Curt was in a band called Shadowfax at the time who also competed in the battle. Curt's brother Dave, who later joined Vengeance for a time, is in a band now with the bassist who played with Curt in Shadowfax. Everything is connected in the universe.

The second flyer is for the consolation gig we were given at Club 92. Liz O'Brien, band artist, made this tamer version, but it lacks some of the raw charm of Bobby's flyers.

3rd flyer and the photos: This was the gig where they tore the hall up. It was a fantastic show, really fun and a great time, but Carl got very drunk, dumped whiskey in the monitors, knocked down some of Mitch's cymbals and knocked Guy's new B.C. Rich Bich off the stand before getting in a wrestling match in the mud outside. Mike was so disgusted he refused to play another gig with Carl and the rest of the band was in agreement. Unfortunately, to upgrade the band and play the Tampa bar scene meant getting a new singer and drummer and changing the format, losing a lot of Vengeance's fanbase.

Sailfish Rec Hall party

Newpaper ads: A gig we did at the bottle club. We were booked for a week, but Carl lost his voice on the 3rd day and couldn't sing. An ugly biker chick fell in love with him but he didn't return the love and her boyfriend ended up taking some shots at the drums during the gig. The 3rd (and final, we were fired after that night) night of the gig was "naked night" and everyone got naked. Unfortunately most of them were guys, but there were some girls, some getting fucked out on the dance floor. One extremely inebriated girl passed out after getting high with our bass player in his car. He spent some "quality" time with her before coming back in after our break. A girl pulled down Carl's pants and attempted to give him a blow-job: Bobby, our lightman, turned off all the lights and put the spot on Carl's limp noodle while everyone fell out laughing (except Liz, who was rightly disgusted). Good times.

The 2nd newspaper ad is when we were on the roster of the Marsten Agency, which never got us a single gig and I believe folded after this ad came out.

Photos: First gig with Mike on guitar. It was a trailer park recreation hall with stuffed fish on the walls, but not a bad place and a great crowd of our regulars. Carl gestulates as he rocks the house. Henry explains music to Guy. Mitch's girlfriend (and future wife) Sherry gives him a hug. On the right giving Sherry rabbit ears is Mitch's friend and one of our roadies Carlton Smith.

Joyful Process, USF

We played a gig near USF and that brought us to the attention of a guy named Malcolm Dumas (whom we refered to as "Malcolm Dumbass" after a lot of fucked up problems with this gig, you can barely make out his name as "director" in the center of the flyer, this is our own version with our name added prominently to the bottom), who was throwing a "happening", a multi-media event with huge ambitions but low production values and execution. He and his partner came to our practice to audition us and heard some of our originals and suggested they needed to swirl to a crescendo or some acid-trip imagery, I don't recall completely. What I do recall is that the video broke down, the sound system had enormous problems and although we had a good set, the other bands weren't so lucky. I think it rained as well. We didn't get paid and the entire thing was a huge scam. The audio didn't come out either, so only these snaps remain. They made us learn the Grand Funk remake of We Gotta Get Out of This Place for some strange reason. I don't think we ever played it again after this.
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