Friends - Bill Sisca, WAX’s manager:
JDK came to me to help him manage and develop a new band from Penn. It was 1969; I had only known John David Kalodner for 6 months. He was 18 at the time, and a customer of my record store, HASSLE RECORDS, near 20th and Sansom, in Philly. I was 21 and Psychedelia had just hit Philly after fermenting on the west coast for three years. HASSLE RECORDS was in Sansom Village, Philly’s Haight-Ashbury. JDK and I became fast friends because of our shared love of music. I was the owner-buyer of a small record store chain; I was up on all the new music being released in this incredible, halcyon era of popular music. I liked even the obscure talent whose records went into The Bin, where I often found John rummaging in the back of the store.
I had graduated from college and was fresh from a short stint in the Marine Corps Reserves. My partner was Bill Kelly, a Vietnam Vet and my college classmate. We opened the first record store there and I had several other businesses on the street and elsewhere. We had balls and little else. At the time Kelly liked to drink (he is at the center of many colorful stories from this era). Here is one of them: before Kelly was wounded, he was quite the skier, and had great contacts with the SUGERBUSH INN in Vermont. Kelly booked us there, the road trip was relatively uneventful, but the gig was memorable. During a WAX performance in this beautifully quaint ski resort a tumultuous sound came forth, of breaking furniture and other violent cacophony. We (Kelly and I) soon fought our way out of the building against the apparent managers of the venue, while the band, with true titanic courage, played on… until flying debris hit Chertoff’s drum set. This was just another of the many colors painted during this era. Another time we actually played on the back of a flatbed truck through Philly, publicizing a Democratic Senate candidate, who shall remain unnamed. It wasn’t always like this but it was always incredibly interesting and fun. We opened for Chicago at the Allentown State Fair grounds but got into a thing with them because we asked to use some equipment of theirs, our hadn’t arrived. But really, it wasn’t all craziness.
There were many magical performances like the night we played in the round in Fairmount Park. All our performances had some kind of magic. Truly, this band always evoked great emotion from the audience. WAX brought down the house, every time. Is that not the very definition of Art? Moving people. We played the Electric Factory opening for major acts through the kindness of Larry Magid, a friend who bartered LPs against admission to the Factory for Kelly and me. Of course that arrangement ended when Bill tried to punch Larry, unsuccessfully. Kelly wasn’t a fighter, and he was and still is one of the nicest guys in the world but back then drinking changed his formula. He doesn’t do that anymore.