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Luky Owens & Revolver (1981)

Luky Owens (Vocals), Johnny Hackney (Guitar), Gary Flowers (Bass), Tommy Hayes (Keyboards), Rusty Wiggs (Drums)




Luky Owens & Revolver came from the tobacco town of Wilson, North Carolina. To experience a LO&R performance in 1981 was similar to watching some of the bands out of the late-70's NYC Punk scene - a hard rockin' band with a Pop flavor. What truly set LO&R apart was lead singer and songwriter, Luky Owens [pronounced LOO-key - not lucky]. Luky had an unbridled intensity to his performance that was rare and amazing.

Every music scene has its reason for being a "scene." One of the reasons for the early-80's Comboland scene was Gayle Livingstone. Gayle owned and operated The Pier nightclub. Acting as a rock n' roll diplomat, she was always introducing one person to another, networking everyone with everyone else in town. LO&R was no exception. Gayle took LO&R under her wing and tried to figure a way to further the band. The best way, she thought, was to get them together with the most successful band of 1981. And so Gayle started booking LO&R as the warm-up act to Arrogance. Both bands quickly became friends, at which time Arrogance manager, Harry Simmons and Robert Kirkland (Arrogance) introduced LO&R to Randy Schumacher and the Audiofonics studios where both Kirkland and Schumacher produced a collection of songs as a demo.

Robert and Harry asked me to create a video for LO&R as a marketing tool to get LO&R a major label record deal. I was extremely happy to receive the offer. I had seen LO&R play a number of those gigs with Arrogance and felt right at home with the band. Of course the twist to the story was the request. Kirkland along with Don Dixon (Arrogance) had produced The Fabulous Knobs for local label, Moonlight Records. I had a budget of $100 to produce, direct, shoot and edit The Fabulous Knobs video. I pulled it off and I kicked in a few bucks of my own to finish the job. In this case, manager Harry Simmons dug deep in to his pockets to personally fund two LO&R videos for a grand budget of $240. Wow, an increase in budget! I prayed I wouldn't have to pay for the privilege to finish this video too.

Since there was some drama incorporated into the production of LIKE A REVOLVER, I thought the video should follow in concept. We shot for three days, two days in Raleigh and one in Fayetteville. (The Fayetteville shoot almost found the crew and me doing jail time, which helped add to the excitement of the video!) And I was able to "throw in" a second video by shooting a straight performance video for IT'S NOT FOREVER while we were shooting the performance segment to LIKE A REVOLVER. So in a way, the budget of $240 was really spent on one video with the second only costing some extra videotape . . . and editing, and studio time, and gear rental.   . .   and yes, I kicked in a few bucks to finish the job.

As strong as I felt the band was, and as well received as the video was with the local crowd, the record companies passed on the band. The LO&R videos only public performance was at a series of video shows Tony Madejczyk and I produced at The Pier. We would set-up a large screen on stage, rent a projection system and play about three hours of music videos I had recorded off the air at WPTF-TV and edited for this special viewing (which played on a Betamax!!). Music videos were new and rare in 1981 and Raleigh, as most of the U.S., didn't have MTV. So driving to a club and paying to watch three hours of music videos was a sell-out sensation. The money went to charity and it gave me a chance to do some audience testing by including my videos along with the video hits of the day. The LO&R videos had a great audience response - and was repeated as an encore for the first show (there were four of these shows within seven months, after that, music video programming was more common place).

Without a label deal, Luky Owens & Revolver continued best they could. Revamping themselves in 1983 with a new name, Luky Owens & Revolver became the Sparrows and released a self-pressed EP. But without the support of a record company, the band found they couldn't go on. Like so many other bands of the first phase of the Comboland era, Luky Owens & Revolver disbanded in 1985.


IT'S NOT FOREVER was my first real performance music video. I was commissioned to create a concept video for LIKE A REVOLVER as a promotion vehicle to gain a record label, but I wanted a rocker under my belt and threw in this performance video along with the concept video. I figured that since I had the theater for the performance portion of the LIKE A REVOLVER, I might as well shoot a second video too.

Just before the production of this video, I saw the Ramones perform on the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. There was one shot in that show I can still see in my mind today. Tom introduced the Ramones. The camera operator was hand-held and standing in the top row of the audience. He shoots a very wide shot of the band and the audience in the foreground. He then runs down the steps, from the audience and on to the studio floor, and then slides down on his knees under Joey Ramone. So there is this one great take from a high, wide angle in the audience, running into a low angle close-up of the lead singer. That shot has affected me all of these years! That was it for me. All shots had to move as much as possible. And running from high to low angles were my favorite shots. You see a lot of running from far to near, straight on to low angle shots in this video. This style of shooting brings a lot of life to the performance. These days, this sort of shooting is common, but in 1981, it was unheard of. In fact, by 1984 you will see that my performance shots are locked down shots, which was the trend for performances thoughout the rest of the 80's. I still like to shoot performances with as much body motion as possible. Check out a video I recently shot for Felix Cavaliere and you'll see that after 26 years, Luky's video is still current.


Producer, Director, Photographer, Editor - Steve Boyle

Producer - Tony Madejczyk

Production Assistants - John Cline

Performance - Stewart Theater, NCSU, Raleigh (Tuesday, October 20, 1981)

Theater Lighting - Bud Simmons and Cliff Atchison

UNRELEASED Demo Producers - Robert Kirkland (Arrogance) & Randy Shumacher


Location - Café DejaVu, Raleigh (Monday, October 19, 1981)

Hay Street, Fayetteville (Tuesday November 3, 1981)



Photos & EP Cover: Gary Flowers Archive

Above: Promotional photos of Luky Owens & Revolver, and the Sparrows EP cover.


For additional information on Luky Owens & Revolver, visit:



Throughout the 1970's and into the early 80's New York's Time Square was best known for porn theaters, strip clubs and peep shows. At 17 and 18 years old, friends and I found it amusing to wander down 42nd Street and be accosted by the hookers and pushers. (The trick was to never stop walking, never enter any of the venues and always have a casual and friendly attitude toward those folks trying to sell their wears.) I wanted that same gaudy glitz for Luky. Thanks to the entertainment needs of the troops from Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, Fayetteville's Hay Street was suggested as the local debauchery row. So off we went to shoot late one night.

To keep out of trouble, I thought that we should shoot on one of the derelict city side streets first. Empty and shattered storefronts were common for 1980's downtowns, even for Raleigh. After shooting in the back streets, we felt brave and hit the main drag. First we shot driving down the street with the camera pointing out of the car window. You can hear the hookers call out "turn your heads girls!" in the original camera outtake footage. Then we went on the street and shot in front of a neon Topless Bar sign. It didn't take long for the street to clear. Just as we finished the last shot, a cop car pulled up and asked if I had a permit to shoot on the street. We were packing the gear up to go home by then, so I mumbled a response and the cops left, parking about a block away and watching us. At this time, across the street and down the block stood a six-foot-six man with long hair and a bushy beard wearing a long white sequence evening dress with formal while gloves. He was waving and calling out "Mith-ter Camera maaan, you can shoot over here!"  He was the owner of one the other topless bars. I smiled and waived back saying thanks, but we were done. I wasn't going to hang around any longer than I needed to with my new "friends" watching us from the patrol car.

As we started to drive out of town, it didn't take much to notice that we were being followed closely by the cop car. Everyone in our car was very nervous. I told John Cline, who was driving, not to go one mile past the speed limit, no matter how close the cops got to us. As soon as we past the city limit sign, the cops turned around and back into town. And we all took a very big sigh of relief!

Café DejaVu was a small club across from The Pier in the Cameron Village Subway. Since Luky was singing about life in a club, we shot some scenes at the bar and on the stage. Check out Luky singing at the bar. He stands up and smashes a glass. He then starts to pick the glass apart as he continues to sing. I had no idea he was going to do this, but since he wasn't screaming in pain, I figured he was okay. When the shot was over, I asked if he was alright. Luky then opened his hand to reveal a bloody palm. That was Luky - intense!

Take a good look at "the in-crowd." The first bar scene reveals Don Dixon (Arrogance), Debra DeMilo (The Fabulous Knobs) and Terry Anderson (The Fabulous Knobs) standing behind Luky. Later in the club scenes, you can also see Robert Kirkland (Arrogance) and David Enloe (The Fabulous Knobs). Also seen is Randy Schumacher who co-produced Luky with Robert Kirkland and also worked for Audiofonics. Randy also directed three performance music videos for Arrogance in 1982.

While shooting this portion of the video, the dB's were loading in to The Pier. They were setting up to play that night. Peter Holsapple dropped by to see what was going on and Robert Kirkland introduced Peter to me. I then talked my way into shooting the dB's performance later that night. I wound up cutting a video for UPS & DOWNS. It turned out to be a busy day for shooting music videos.

Also of note is Luky singing in the back seat of the 1968 Checker Limo acquired by manager Harry Simmons. The limo was owned by a recently departed BB&T bank president. I had jokingly asked for Hank William's Cadillac limo. Harry came as close as he could.

Above: 1981 show schedule for The Pier with Steve & Tony's Big Screen Rock Video Show, followed the next day by Luky Owens & Revolver.





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