A Historical Perspective
"A long, long time ago..."Formed in 1983, "Cactus Jack and the Cadillacs" have a long, rich history. Emerging from bands such as "The Blitzkrieg Sound Attack", "In the Beginning", "Montage", "Crew 22", "SOMF City Band", and "The Deraylers", the members all have had wide-ranging musical experiences. In 1979, as "Maiden Voyage", they played a little bit of everything: Rock, Blues, Country, and even, Standards. Their Variety Band repertoire was perfect for weddings, VFWs, country clubs, and small local clubs.
"One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock rock..."In early 1983, capitalizing on the resurgent popularity of '50s/'60s Rock-N-Roll, brought about by the movie, "Grease", the band changed formats. Replacing the Bassist with Randy Hill and bringing back the original Keyboardist, Mike Parker, they were ready to return to the music they loved best -Oldies Rock and Roll. The band's pumped-up renditions of '60s tunes, especially those of The British Invasion, had always been crowd pleasers... So, it seemed like a natural transition. A few months later, the original drummer, Ken McCoy retired due to problems from unsuccessful hand surgery. High-energy Don Johnson became his replacement. Along with the change of personnel, and the new high-octane style, came the name change. On October 26, 1983, "Cactus Jack and the Cadillacs" was born. "Here they come, walkin' down the street..." It wasn't long before the Cadillacs became the house band at the oldies-styled nightclub at the Sheraton Orlando called "Rickie Lee's". The five original members of the band were: Jim "Cactus Jack" Stanley (Guitar), Tom "The Bopper" Oliver (Guitar), Mike "Colonel" Parker (Keyboards), Randy "Cool Daddy" Hill (Bass), and Don "Vice" Johnson (Drums). With characters like Dr. Detroit, "The Tub-Tenders", and "Chris... on sliders", it was the partying place for a quite a while.
"There'll be dancin' in the street"Moving down to Church Street Station, the Cadillacs next became the first house band at The Orchid Garden Ballroom when it changed to a Rock-N-Roll venue. As "Weekend Warriors" with full time professions, this was the perfect gig for the guys. As The Orchid Garden became more and more successful, they required a full-time house band. So..., "Cactus Jack and the Cadillacs" became the "Street Party Specialists", playing anywhere from 3-6 street parties a year for Church Street. "Oldies Weekends","Boola Bowls", "Light up Orlandos , and even, "World Cup Parties" were just some of the mega-party events the band performed for at this world-renowned attraction.
"Gimme a head of hair..."About this time, due to this local exposure, the band began playing more and more corporate jobs in convention-crazy Orlando. They then decided to put together two themed shows to further their marketability. "Hair, Peace (Piece?), and Love" was the band's salute to the psychedelic/heavy metal years of the late '60s and early '70s. Tie-dyed shirts, leather, headbands and the music of bands like Steppenwolf and Iron Butterfly began popping up at corporate conventions all over Florida. Groovy!
"Catch a wave and you're sittin' on top of the world..."Other convention planners used Beach-themed parties to appeal to corporate buyers. The band's "Banzai Bob and the Beach Patrol" was just what they wanted. Hula Hoops, Limbo Poles and the California beach sounds of the '60s produced some crazy parties. People still talk about the group of fully-clothed partiers who followed The Bopper, as he led the entire conga line into the country club pool.
"Time keeps on tickin', tickin' into the future..."Performing these three themed shows at conventions from Key West to Asheville kept the band (and the audiences!) hoppin' all through the '90s. Midway through the decade, however ... "WHAM!" Cactus had a major heart attack, requiring quadruple bypass heart surgery. Now what??
"And now Ladies and Gentlemen..."The Cadillac Horns!" Fortunately, The Bopper had been jamming from time to time with an old friend, Saxophonist Randy "Wolfman" Lobeck. Wolfman put together a three-piece horn section, featuring himself on Sax, the incredible Dave Webber on Trumpet, and the amazing Terry Baber on Trombone. So for a while, "The Cadillac Horns" helped fill in as Cactus recovered. It wasn't long before Cactus returned, stronger and crazier, and more energetic than ever! From time-to-time, the band would perform eight-piece, and, on a signature night at Universal's CityWalk, the Cadillac Horns helped the band take First Place in the Cool 105.9 Radio Station's "Battle of the Bands." Wolfman continued to play with the band from time to time. His first-class musicianship and beautiful sax work, honed through years playing with Bob Seger in Detroit and local legend J.J.Johnson in Orlando really enhanced the sound of the band. So in 2001, he became a permanent member of the Cadillacs.
"And then along comes...Joey"After years of rockin' hard, Don "Vice" Johnson the band's high-energy drummer developed tendonitis and arthritis in his thumbs. Occasionally, the intense pain prevented Don from performing. Fortunately, "Wolfman" had been plugged into the local music scene for decades. Once when the guys needed a substitute for Don, Wolfman introduced them to a true "presence", Drummer, Joe Adcock. This was one big guy with an amazing touch, and a personality that seemed to jell with the band right away. So, in 2008, after twenty-five years, founding member Don Johnson retired and Joe came aboard.
"I don't want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day."It didn't take long for Joe to acquire a nickname himself. At 6'3'' and 260 pounds, he dwarfed all of the Cadillacs, (even The Bopper!). Joe also carried with him a set of drumsticks which must have been lathed out of tree trunks. Given his physical stature and baseball bat-sized drumsticks, naturally, he became "Mighty Joe" Adcock. With his deep Barry White-esque voice, wide grin, extreme endurance, and a flair for the extraordinary, Joe became an instant hit with longtime fans. In 2012, Joe joined the other Cadillacs' in the production of their first studio CD.
"I know I'll often stop and think about... him..."The following September, tragedy struck. Randy "Wolfman" Lobeck suffered a fatal stroke. This was an extremely tough time for the band. They had lost a friend and a "brother" who had performed with them for over seventeen years. This time it wasn't just that someone retired or separated and could show up from time to time; this time it was permanent. Randy was a unique personality, a gifted musician with a generous spirit. Although receiving countless offers and inquiries from local sax players to replace or fill-in for Randy, the Cadillacs decided to go back to the original "lean and mean" five-piece instrumentation.
"I've got to admit it's getting better... a little better all the time"Following the "lean and mean" theme, the band has focused on getting healthier and stronger. The guys are all working on individual programs that will prepare them for the Cadillacs' next thirty-two years together. They continue to love making music and performing for audiences all over the Southeast. Who knows, maybe they WILL make it another thirty two years. ??
"Not Again!"March 2016: Another tragedy struck. Randy "Cool Daddy" Hill succumbed to a more than two year battle against cancer. This loss hit especially hard. Randy was not simply a founding member of the band. To the remaining members, he was a brother. He was family. Randy was always there, in the pocket, a solid foundation for more than 30 years. We will remember him always. Randy fought courageously against this terrible disease; playing the Villages cruise within a few short weeks of enduring chemotherapy. For almost an additional year, he continued to perform as often as possible. The band never gave up hope that he would win the battle and return. But, it just wasn't to be. We'll miss our brother until the day we are again jamming with him and the Wolfman in Rock-N-Roll Heaven.
We would like to give special thanks the substitute players who helped us get through these difficult times; especially Marc Rewis (Uncle Bob's Rock Shop) and Jay Burns for doing such a great job in standing in for Randy.
"Kicking it up a notch"Introducing Scott Lucas: a master of the 6-string and fretless basses, accomplished vocalist, and a wild and crazy guy. He's definitely an excellent fit for this band. With his funky bass lines, a robust bluesy vocal style, strong harmonies, and infectious energy, he brings a fresh new dimension to the band.
Side Note: Scott takes over for Joe as the youngest member of the band!
As Cactus always says:
"You're never...you're never...you're never too old to ROCK and ROLL!"