The New Potato Caboose

"It all started in 1983 at Catholic University. Doug Pritchett, Don Laux, and John 'Red' Redling crossed paths. One saw another walking across campus with a guitar case, and each having long hair, kind of made an instant connection. So, in the dorm rooms and stairwells of Catholic U, these three started jamming and singing and they were all kinda blown away at how good it sounded and how easily they all fell in together. Thus, Wood 'n' Steel was born. An acoustic trio with three part harmonies playing everything from CSNY, the Beatles, the Dead, and Bob Dylan. Parties around campus turned into gigs at the Kerry to Derry pub.

Over the course of 1985-1986 drummer Chris Armenio, guitarist Rich Della Fera, and bassist Dana Smith became involved and the New Potato Caboose was born.

Back in the Day ... Did you know that bands like Widespread Panic, Blues traveler Dave Matthews, and Phish used to open up for NPC? The Caboose blazed a lot of trails up and down the east coast paving the way for a lot of jam bands who are really crankin' now. Cities including New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Boulder, Nashville, Atlanta , and Tuscaloosa were rocked and rocked hard by monthly recurring Caboose gigs that opened the eyes of college kids and club owners alike to the fact the rock & roll was still very alive and well and comin' to a town near you.

The hard work of Manager/Lyricist Mark Mondok, Booking Agent/Publicist/Promotion Director- Greg Robinson, and Promotion Assistant,Chris 'Lightnin' Rod' Lee, Road Manager Jimmy Paratore, and the excellent road crew of Jeff Wagner and Jeff Aquillia (sound), John Bartol (stage), and Chris Weber (lights) all worked behind the scenes in helping to make this band what it was. Of course the music was where it was at. Anywhere from 2 to 6 hours of driving, four and five hours of setup, and two hours of tear down was average for a standard three hour Caboose show.

The break up of the band began shortly after the release of Promising Traveler, the band's first CD, in 1988. Guitarist Rich Della Fera left the band in 1989. Sam Pointer then joined the band and a handful of new songs came out of the Caboose. It generally went over pretty well. A little less than a year from Rich's departure, bassist Mike Mahoney left the band. Shortly after that, drummer John Trupp and percussionist John McConnell ended up leaving the band as well.

It was back to the core: Don, Doug, and Red with Mark Mondok still writing and managing. The band hired some studio players from New York to handle the bass, drums, and lead guitar. At this point the New Potato Caboose changed their name to just 'Caboose' and cut their second album "Winds of Change". This CD contains some great songs, most of which are still part of the NPC/Radio Mosaic live shows. "Winds of Change" was recorded in Florida and financed mostly by the Caboose with a minimal budget from RCA. It was around this same time that Mark Mondok had to exit for personal reasons after managing and writing for the band since 1984.

Wood 'n' Steel also recorded their first CD not long after the release of "Winds of Change". The self titled "Wood 'n' Steel" CD included guest musicians Mike Mahoney on bass and percussionist Tony McGhee on a few of the tunes.

Post Caboose ... Somewhere in 1996 the Caboose stopped playing altogether. Not to be discouraged, Don and Doug began playing regularly at a small club in Fairfax, VA called Fat Tuesdays as an acoustic duo. At some point bassist Mike Mahoney began to sit in once in a while and conjuring up some of those old Caboose vibes. Percussionist Will Rogers also started to play with Don and Doug on the off occasion. Well, eventually, the four (Don, Doug, Mike, and Will) ended up playing regular acoustic, 4-piece gigs at Fats.

It remained billed as Don and Doug for quite a while after that. When Mike learned that Will also played regular drum kit and had one at home, he began to push the guys to do an electric show. Don was really the one who needed to go electric - Mike already was. Eventually Don and Doug were talked into it and they did an opening acoustic set followed by two electric sets. It was so freakin' good that the band never played acoustically after that night (except the for the very rare acoustic opener set here and there). So, what do we call it? Naming a band is hard; the good ones all seem to be taken and most of the suggestions weren't doing it for us. AND everyone in the band has to agree on it. Radio- something was agreed to and the permutations were far reaching.

Eventually RADIO MOSAIC was chosen. When announced to the regulars at Fats, there was a definite deflation of anxiety - hmmmm - they didn't like it, did they? Ahhh, they'll get used to it."

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