How could anybody get a group together to professional caliber so fast? For one thing, Rick Levy and Beau had been playing together in rock groups back home in Allentown since junior high.

“They know each other perfectly musically,” Rick Chertoff said. “Robbie and I had been playing with each other for about 1 ½ years, so we know each other really well musically, too. It’s not as if we were all starting out raw or from scratch.”

“And David’s a really amazing vocalist,” Robbie added. “I’ve never worked with anybody like him. He’s phenomenal as far as hearing melodies and making up lyrics instantly.”

“We’ve been rehearsing every night for five hours all summer. It takes so long when it’s all original material, because there’s no base–nobody else has ever done it before. It takes about six months before any real group sound emerges in a group like Wax.”

Part of Wax’s difficulties in getting a group sound is one of its biggest strengths–each member is a skilled, individualistic musician. Each member composes, so there’s a wealth of diversified material to chose from. Levy and Jones seem inclined towards spacey music, Chertoff towards country-rock, Cohen towards jazz, and Hyman towards classical-jazz fusions.

When you hear Wax live or on demo tapes, you feel that they are musicians who have listened and learned. However, they might not have learned too well. While they are far too original to copy, you can still hear a Wax song and label it the Procol Harum cut or the Rod Stewart cut or the Band cut. This tendency should soon disappear as Wax settles into its own distinctive sound.

The main problem will be staying together until this happens. Although they’ve been playing concert gigs, they get virtually no money. Three are still Penn students (David just graduated with a BA in English), which is all that’s protecting them from the draft. Beau’s already been drafted. In fact, he presently leads the somewhat schizoid existence of being a day-time soldier (at a local desk job) and a night-time rock musician.

Their stage act is beginning to pull itself together as the music tightens up. They’re getting more relaxed on stage, and the more fun they have, the more good vibes and good music get transmitted to the audience.

People may deride stage presence, but it’s essential to success. When Wax goes on stage they have seminal stage presence, and they do look like a real, honest-to-God rock’n’roll group.

And the day after you hear Wax play in concert, you’re brushing your teeth, humming a song in your head. Suddenly you realize the song is Wax’s “Elmira Lane.” You’ve only heard it once. And you’re humming it. “Whomp, whomp” goes your chest.

Yeah, Wax just might break the Philadelphia jinx and make it – once they solidify into their own ecelectic jazz-country-classical-shuffle-blues-rock mold. Once they discover what Wax music really is.

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