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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2006!
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LA FLORIDIANA
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part One áby Will Moriaty
The Josh Sullivan Art Show áby Nolan B. Canova
On a Personal Note: The Return of Doug Deal áby Nolan B. Canova
MOVIE REVIEW
"Blood Diamond" áby Mike Smith
ODDSERVATIONS
Movie Theatrer Memories áby Andy Lalino
MIKE'S RANT
A Rocking Good Time....Theater Memories....It's Awards Time....Yeah I Say That All The Time.... My Favorite Films, Part 49: "Love Actually" áby Mike Smith
LETTERS
Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our seventh calendar year!
Number 350  (Vol. 7, No. 49). This edition is for the week of December 4--10, 2006.


On a Personal Note:
The Return of Doug Deal

         By Nolan B. Canova


Of all the things I regret in life -- and there's a bunch -- one of the biggest is not having taken nearly enough pictures of my fledgling heavy metal band BLADE to document our days playing clubs around the Tampa Bay area in the 1980s. I don't know what I was thinking. Well, actually, yes, I do. I was much more concerned with getting music rehearsed, locations secured, equipment loaded, and playing competently before a hopefully paying crowd to worry about such fluff as picture-taking. Besides, one phobia I had was that it would be my luck that the cameras would catch us at our worst and be the ones to survive.

Of course I was worried about nothing and, thankfully, some pictures survive because I bought them off fans who appeared at shows with them! Note to future clubbing head-bangers: hire a photog.

I bring all this up because of a special reunion I just enjoyed with one of the singers for BLADE, Mr. Doug Deal.

Around 1984, Doug answered an ad I put out in "Rocks Off!" (one of those little tabloids you pick up as you exit a record or music store, who knows what it's called now). The phone rang and a phenomenally deep voice on the other end said he was calling about the ad. He told me his name was Doug Deal and he sang heavy metal.

Reunion at the venerable Westshore Pizza in South Tampa. From left, Terence Nuzum, Karen Benfield, Doug Deal, William Moriaty. Missing: yours truly as I'm holding the camera!  Click here for larger picture.
I had two questions right off the bat. Number One, "Are you in any way related to Arch Deal?"

"Yep, that's my dad." (Say it with a super-deep voice and a lazy N. Carolina-to-Florida drawl, like, "Yup, 'at's muh dad".) I thought that was remarkable. Arch Deal was, and still is, a legendary radio announcer, known then as the "eye in the sky" doing traffic reports. Today, he can still be heard on weekends on 970 WFLA doing the news.

My second question was something like, "what's your vocal range?" This was important because nearly all the music we played required upper-register vocals a la Rob Halford (Judas Priest) and Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath). His response?

"High. Love to sing high. The higher the better." ("Hahhh. Luv da sing, hahh. The hah'r the bedder.")

I was skeptical to say the least. Could this basso-profundo actually hit the high notes required?

Karen Benfield and Doug Deal, soon to be Mr. and Mrs Doug Deal.  Click here for larger picture.
His first audition proved he could and we spent many years together as band mates and as friends. I liked Doug personally and went to his house many times just to hang out, listen to his metal collection (which was enormous), and watch cheezy movies (you knew that had to enter this sometime didn't you?). I got to know his children, Eric, Blake, and Jasmine. His sisters Karen and Sheri. His wife at the time, Shirley, has since passed on, may she rest in peace. I finally met Arch Deal when Doug and I went over to help him install an 8-track recorder in his home studio.

The name we went under as a band at the time was actually SNIPER, but towards the end of my band "career", I once again re-named the band BLADE and Doug was singing with us at the Rocky Horror Picture Show (I know I have horrible audio tapes of that somewhere, maybe pictures too).

Around this time I got to meet Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane. Marty had met and fallen in love with Doug's sister Karen when both were playing the same gig (She was with Tampa-based Mod Squad at the time). I was incredibly honored that Marty went crazy over some experimental music I'd made at the time as a lark. He offered me a touring gig as his guitarist, which I accepted. Unfortunately, a reunion with Airplane displaced the tour plans and we never went. But I digress....some other time, perhaps.

Terence Nuzum at 27 (left) is only slightly younger than I was when Doug and I first met. I playfully called this shot the "meeting of the generations" for no particularly good reason.  Click here for larger picture.
Doug left Tampa in the early '90s to return to N. Carolina and I rarely heard from him again.

Earlier this year I carded some young guy at 7-Eleven who wanted cigarettes. The age listed said he was about 23 years old. The name on the ID: Blake Deal. I thought, "no way, what are the odds?" I asked him if he was in any way related to Doug Deal. His answer, in that familiar-sounding basso-profundo:

"Yup....'at's muh dad!"

I was giddy that history was repeating itself. One of Doug's toe-heads who slept thru our band practices in the '80s was now a grown man. I explained the situation and he enthusiastically assured me he'd contact his father about our meeting.

Arrangements were made and Doug and his fiancé Karen Benfield came to Tampa this past Thanksgiving weekend. The pictures on this page exhibit Doug's and my first encounter in about 15 years. Karen helped enormously in facilitating contact and this reunion, and I appreciate her patience.

We never played the big stadiums, but we can always pretend! Doug and I before the mural at Westshore Pizza.  Click here for larger picture.
Of course, I wish I could display then-and-now band pictures for comparison---that's why I explained my lame attitude on photography at the outset---but believe me, Doug actually looks better now at 47 than he did at 37...or even 27! The loss of weight and longer hair suits him well. I, however...ahem....coff coff....look nothing like I did 20 years ago. But I'm digressing again.

Doug says he and Karen are planning to move back to Tampa in 2007. I jokingly said something about band practice. Doug immediately reared his shoulders back, looked me in the eye and said, "Ah'm reddy!"

Maybe....just maybe...I am, too.


All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ę2006 by Nolan B. Canova.


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