Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Tracking down some long-gone local rockers

The crumpled funky white T-shirt lay at the bottom of the laundry bag. It had been there for years. A rainbow of colors on the front advertised Miami Rocks Too!, Vol. 3., a yearly industry showcase for a select few local groups hoping to hit the big time. The back listed a dozen bands in various genres, performing over three days in late January 1991. Among the ones we remember most clearly: Vandal, The Wait, Forget the Name, and the Mavericks. Why? For their disparate styles of music, but also for one common link: hot members with one hell of a lot of hair! We wondered where some of these musicians and their flowing fringes are now. This is what we found out. (Bands are listed from most to least hairy.)

VANDAL
Together/Apart: From 1984 to 1995, after the requisite short stint in Los Angeles.
Trademark: Heavy-metalish hard rock played by hirsute musicians.
Memorable mention: “When you're a musician, you have it in your blood and it just doesn't go out of your system,” -- Eric Knight from a 1998 New Times story ("Knight in Metal Armor").
Memorable member(s): Eric Knight (lead vocals, longest hair, and superior business savvy, which led to the band's dissolution) and Derek Cintron (shagadelic drummer).
What became of some of them: Devoid of his leonine locks, Knight resurfaced in 1998 from an eighteen-month depression with his own eponymous overblown rock band, which he manages, promotes tirelessly (see ericknightband.com), and takes on tour frequently. They recently opened for Kiss (a Knight childhood favorite) on the highly made-up group's farewell tour.

In the late Nineties Cintron, luxurious 'do still intact, formed his own self-named ensemble, releasing a hallowed power pop album, Mantra, on which he did everything from writing to producing to playing, then joined pop group Humbert (see humbert.net), the latest incarnation of former polka-rockers I Don't Know. Also seen and heard performing in the bands Me and the Blue Dog and Trophy Wife. His latest solo album is Oh ... the Drama(see derekcintron.com).

FORGET THE NAME
Together/Apart: Founded in 1984; broke up in 1994.
Trademark:Dark, gut-wrenching anguished songs of love, despair, and destruction; ample female following.
Memorable mention(s): “It's because we've got long hair! It's because we're so hung!” -- members of the band explaining their appeal in a 1992 New Times story ("Name's the Same").

“Forget the name? Forget the album.” -- 1993 review of FtN's album Stones for Steven in Alternative Press magazine. Memorable member(s): Lead singer/songwriter Rene Alvarez for his long wavy mane and perky tush; bassist José Tillan for similar attributes.
What became of some of them: Alvarez, sans massive mane, put together the edgier Sixo (see sixo.com) in 1994 and performed as “Phil” the bassist in power-pop trio Milk Can, moved to New York City the next year, came back to Miami shortly thereafter, and now writes a column about the local music scene for the Miami Herald's alternative weekly/New Times rip-off, Street. Tillan is a bigwig at MTV Latin America.

THE WAIT
Together/Apart: From 1989 to 1991.
Trademark: Pendulum-swinging pop, veering toward the melancholy.
Memorable member(s): Lyric writer Lewis Lowy for his brooding tunes; lead vocalist Diane Ward, for her curtain of blond hair and seemingly bottomless pipes.
Memorable mention: “When we stopped doing covers, we pretty much kissed the money goodbye,” Lowy, in a 1992 New Times story ("Depress Pass").
What became of some of them: Lowy joined rootsy rockers the Bellefires, who dissolved in 1993; hasn't been heard from since. Ward went on to form rock band Voidville with Washington Square doorman Sturgis Nikides, cropped her mop, and then embarked on a solo career, which she is still relentlessly pursuing, putting out two well-received solo albums and touring constantly (see dianeward.com).

THE MAVERICKS
Together/Apart: Formed in 1990, signed to major label MCA in 1992 and moved to Nashville; still going (see themavericks.com).
Trademark: Sometimes bouncy, sometimes languid country rock tunes punctuated by Cuban-American cowboy Raul Malo's Roy Orbison-esque voice.
Memorable member(s): Multitalented, multi-instrumentalist Ben Peeler for getting bounced out of the band before its big debut; long-tressed babe magnet/bassist Robert Reynolds.
Memorable mention: “We like dichotomy -- happy little melodies with tragic lyrics,” -- drummer Paul Deakin, in a 1995 New Times story ("You Gotta Have (Percy) Faith").
What became of some of them: Fame, fortune, and weight gain. Records sales in the millions. Numerous Grammy and Country Music awards. And heaping portions of Southern cuisine. Reynolds joined the ranks of Nashville royalty for a brief moment, marrying and then recently divorcing country diva Trisha Yearwood. Peeler hightailed it out of town for a while and then returned to toil in local bands such as Whistling Tinheads, Sister Madly, the Volunteers, and the 18 Wheelers.

 
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