Teaser will perform one night only on Friday, August 23 at River City in Wheeling, headlining that evening's Band Fest 2013. Teaser, with guitarist Chris Bontos, vocalist/bassist Butch Maxwell and drummer Spike (Mark Beihl), will perform at 11 pm at the venue, located at 14th & Main Streets. Along with the three core members, the band will be joined by guest guitarist Gregg Molnar and will feature some selections with former vocalists (and sometimes drummer) Tommy Brannan. The band plans to play a variety of songs that made it the area's most popular band in the 1980s, along with a selection of newer material.
In 1980, the top rock and roll FM station in the Pittsburgh, PA market, WDVE-FM, featured Teaser's song "Welcome to the Future," as the first song on the first album in the station's popular "Pittsburgh Rocks" series. Formed in fall of 1978 by the songwriting team of Bontos and Maxwell, Teaser began recording and playing live in 1979. The band's quirky new wave approach to British Invasion songs augmented by its mostly original music caught on among music enthusiasts bored with the local country-rock and disco scene.
Within months, Teaser quickly moved from small clubs and coffee houses to headlining at the 2500-seat Capitol Music Hall. After shaking up the line-up, including bringing in Beihl on drums, Bontos & Maxwell's band found greater success and an ever-growing fan base eager to shout "Teaser Rocks!" at every opportunity. By 1981, the band was performing four to five nights a week, whether at Tin Pan Alley in Wheeling or venues such as the Decade, Electric Banana and Graffiti in Pittsburgh. Teaser recorded extensively, and was on the verge of breaking out nationally. The band’s original music was played extensively on WOMP-FM, WCPI-FM, WDVE-FM, WKWK-FM, WYEP-FM and college radio stations throughout the Pittsburgh and Ohio Valley area. The band also headlined at the Wheeling Civic Center.
Teaser continued to play in the Ohio Valley and Pittsburgh area throughout the 1980s, with Bontos and Maxwell, along with a variety of other musicians, most of the time including Beihl on drums. They recorded extensively, enjoying continued airplay and regional success with original songs such as “Shut Up and Dance.” By the end of the decade, the band split, but reunited for several special performances in 1996 and 1998. Between 1999 and 2001, Teaser recorded for the first time in over a decade, yielding more than 20 new songs.
Bontos has since left the area, performing for many years in a blues band and more recently playing sitar in a duo. Maxwell leads the local original comedy company Mystery Theatre Unlimited, which, he says, has the advantage over rock bands because “the hours are better and the equipment is lighter.” He also performs in the new wave tribute band, the M-80s, along with Brannan and Molnar. Beihl is playing in the local band the Riprockers.
In May of 2009 and again in July of 2010, Teaser performed similar shows at the same place. The 2010 reunion featured a brief segment toward the end offering the first on-stage reunion of the "classic" line-up featuring Chris Rewalt and Jeff Burton, along with including one brand new composition.“ This year,” according to band spokesperson Deborah Delicious, “they are going to play some different selections from their repertoire of about 200 original songs, To those who have never seen Teaser, it will be a refreshing break from the standard fare of cover music; to old friends, it will be like rediscovering one of your favorite old albums.”
For more information, contact River City Ale Works at 304-233-4555.
Deborah Delicious' review: 2009 show