THE KSJO ROCK & ROLL CIRCUS
was conceived and produced by Norman Davis in the summer of 1979. Davis was hired as Director of Special Promotions at KSJO after getting dumped at KSAN, and he put together several special promotions for the station. The Rock & Roll Circus was a traveling show, which put on live performances at 16 Bay Area locations all the way from Fort Ord to San Francisco.
The Circus rolled into towns every weekend on four successive weekends with a few antique cars, a fancy limousine, the KSJO van, DJs, a novelty car or two and a large flat-bed truck on which the DJS introduced the traveling performers. The Impostors, a hard-rockin' trio from Petaluma became the house band for the show, with additional entertainment by Dan The YoYo Man and The Hi-Wire Radio Choir comedy group.
The R&R Circus tried, wherever possible, to get official permission from the cities visited to put on the shows. Sometimes permission was not obtained for one reason or another and the show became a hit & run affair, pulling into a pre-arranged parking lot or public gathering place, plugging in and doing the (30 minute) show before the cops got wind of it. Only twice did the police stop a show; in Mountain View after that show was over--except for the last song, and in San Jose after three hours.
Where there was no pre-approval, plugging in was sometimes a problem. On one occasion, our intrepid leader had to plug in to a fire station, conveniently located across the alley from the parking lot where the show was performed. When the troupe showed up at Civic Center in San Francisco one Sunday to do a show, the Impostors' guitar player arrived disheveled, hung over and without his guitar. The limo was quickly dispatched to an instrument rental shop to pick up a guitar, and the show went on as scheduled.
The Circus played four shows on Saturday and four on Sunday during the month of the promotion. Most days, the cast headed home to the City or Marin, but when the schedule put the troupe in Santa Cruz one Saturday evening, it was decided that they should spend the night there. Norman had arranged with station manager, Steve Rosetta, for the reservations and payment to be taken care of by his secretary. However, when the gang arrived at the hotel, they were told no reservations had been made. After lengthy discussions and phone calls, a girlfriend of one of the musicians offered to loan her credit card and finally, the tired troupe got their rooms.
The last performance of the KSJO Traveling Rock & Roll Circus was held in the KSJO parking lot on the last Sunday evening, and went on for several hours hours. It was quite a party. The cops showed up three times, first warning about the loud music, and finally shutting it down.
The KSJO R&R Circus received favorable reviews both locally and nationally. Rolling Stone magazine called it "the greatest rock & roll promotion, ever" and Manager Rosetta took full credit, even though he hadn't bothered to show up for any of the shows. KSJO's ratings saw a nice increase in the next book.
KSJO Traveling Rock & Roll Circus
KSJO DJs Paul "Lobster" Wells, Tawn Mastrey, Tom Mix, The Impostors,
Dan The Yoyo Man, The High-Wire Radio Choir