Classic Rockers

 

The Rolling Stones aren't the only band with a 40-year lifespan. Colby's own Love Equation, the frat-party rockers who once opened for Janis Joplin, took the stage at reunion in June.

By G.B.
 

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Love Equation in 1969, clockwise from the back left Dick Lewin' 71, Barry Atwood' 69, Chris Crandall' 70, Jim Winchester' 72, Ron Caruso' 69
Colby's own Love Equation, the frat-party rockers who once opened for Janis Joplin, took the stage at reunion in June, rattling Robertswith Beatles, Doors, and Jefferson Airplane covers and proving once again that you're as young as you feel.

It was a second annual reunion for the band, whose original members included Vic Pinansky '68, Ron Caruso '69, Barry Atwood '69, Dick Lewin '71, Chris Crandall '70, and Jim Winchester '72. When Lewin was unable to participate in the reunions, Marc Pinansky '00, Vic Pinansky's son and a professional musician based in Boston, filled in. "My first reaction is my jaw kind of dropped when everybody opened their guitar cases there's all these vintage guitars from the Sixties. But that's when they walked down to the local shop and bought them."

Vintage instruments and vintage musicians in this case make for a musically potent mix. In fact, this year's show was a reprise of the Love Equation's successful Reunion debut last year. "The whole place exploded," said Caruso, who went on from Colby to a career as a multimedia producerand sometime lyricist. "People just jumped up from the tables and started dancing like it was 1969 again."

Not bad for a band whose members hadn't played together since today's classic rock was cutting edge.

Love Equation did have a successful first run, playing at many of the fraternity parties on campus and peaking with the Janis Joplin gig at the Waterville Armory in February 1969. "The second or third song I looked over in the wing and Janis had just come down and hung there. She stayed there for the whole forty-five minute set and just listened to us," Caruso said. "That was a tremendous compliment."

He recalled that Joplin's guitar player told the Colby group they should come out to the west coast. "We're like, 'We have to finish college,'" Caruso said.

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The band today, from left, Mark Pinansky '00, Vic Pinansky '68, Chris Crandall '70, Barry Atwood '69, and Ron Caruso '69.
And they did, going off to their respective careers in different parts of the country, but still friends. Fast forward to 1999, when Caruso and Atwood returned to Colby for their 30th reunion. Caruso said, wouldn't it be fun to get the band back together? Atwood agreed and they set out to see if the Love Equation might be revived. "I didn't know if [the other members] played or even still owned an instrument," Caruso said.

They did own instruments, it turned out, and still were playing. And they were willing to see if Love Equation magic could be revived after 35 years.

Chris Crandall '70, now a former Microsoft manager living outside Seattle, had sung in choirs since Colby but hadn't belted out "Back in the U.S.S.R." since her senior year on Mayflower Hill. "I'm fifty-seven," she said when Caruso called her back into service. "I'm not going to be able to sing rock and roll without work."

Crandall took voice lessons. She and Caruso rehearsed harmonies long distance over speaker phones. And when the first rehearsal was underway, in Vic Pinansky's Acton, Mass., rehearsal studio, it was clear the Love Equation still could play. "After twenty minutes we were making music again"after thirty years," Caruso said. "And I thought better than we did before."

There were a few pre-show jitters, but the 2004 show got raves. Ditto for 2005, and it's possible that Love Equation, like the Stones, may just keep on playing. "We always had a good time together," Caruso said. "There was a lot of love and respect which has transcended the decades."

And might do so again.

No firm plans have been made, but Winchester's 35th is in 2007.

Said Crandall, "I guess I'd better keep singing."