By Sue Hodges (ROX Magazine, 6/1988)
PSSSST… You wanna hear some rumors being circulated about one of Baltimore’s hottest rock ‘n’ roll bands?
An exceptionally large crowd gathered at Network on Saturday, June 11 to verify what rumors they had possibly over¬heard over the past month… “Did you hear the Child’s Play has a new line-up?” or “Did you hear the one about the band losing their frontman Larry Hinshaw?” or “Have you heard that Child’s Play MIGHT have a record deal?” You may have heard one of these or a variation, but just what are the facts concerning the band and their future. At Network on the warm summer night, as the stage lights went up and the band broke into the Child’s Play Anthem “Good Ol’ Boys” all in attendance were on-hand to witness a new chapter in the Child’s Play story.
The “story” unfolds in early 1983 when two co-workers, Hinshaw and Brian Giacubeno, decided to set Baltimore and the world on fire with a “kick-ass” rock ‘n’ roll band. Through a series of early personnel changes and the absorption of members of Cry Tuff, the original CP was formed. The band —consisting of lead vocalist Hinshaw, guitarist/backing vocalist Brian Giacubeno, drummer/vocalist John Allen, guitarist Jimmy Schaefer and bassist Phil Wizer — began their quest for recognition and success by rocking local audiences at the Seagull Inn, The Capricorn, the Desert Lounge and other area venues. Approximately one year after the formation of Child’s Play, Schaefer quit and was soon replaced by Nicky K. The line-up remained the same until a year ago when Wizer decided to pursue a career in medicine and Idzi entered the framework as the band’s new bassist.
That was the line-up until about a month ago. Since then, an integral part of Child’s Play has left and some drastic changes have occurred.
The first major change directly affecting the band is the unexpected resignation of the band’s frontman. After devoting five years to the project, writing the majority of the band’s original material, and firmly believing this band was “the best band around,” Hinshaw quit. Rumors have been rampant regarding the unexpected occurrence, but the ex-frontman set the record straight: “I was not pressured by any members of the band to quit. Actually, they wanted me to stay, but I felt like I had to do it.”
What was the cause behind Larry’s decision to leave CP when success was so close at hand? After the band had showcased at the Cat Club in New York earlier this year, major recording labels expressed major interest. According to Hinshaw, “One record label offered the band an impressive deal. The only problem was that they didn’t like my voice. I was confronted by our manager, Jack Dean, and I made a career decision and quit.”
Hinshaw is, however, still writing for the band, starting his own publishing company, Silent Songster Songs, and offering the band his valuable advice. Larry considers, “I still have a future with the band because when they get picked up (by a major label), I get picked up.”
However, to land that record deal, the band needed a stellar new frontman. According to Nicky, the band wanted someone who “was not an outsider so we could keep it in the family.” Brian Giacubeno, with his natural good looks, powerful vocals and dynamic stage presence, was the perfect choice to take Hinshaw’s place. With this change, MCA Records has been negotiating with the band on a contract and the guys are optimistic about their future.
The future of the band, as well as their past, is filled with the challenges of transitions confronting them. Allen admits, “Things are rough right now on the stage show with Brian taking over. It’s hard to redo songs you’ve been playing out for awhile. Brian has to learn Larry’s parts, which are different from what he’s used to.”
Brian agrees, “This is a challenge for me since, now that Larry’s left, it’s kinda taken away from my guitar playing; I can’t concentrate as much on it. I was just starting to get a style and technique that I had been working on, but now I’m not really focusing on that as much as I’m trying to give the whole style of Child’s Play a more powerful and distinct sound.”
So, how about that relentless rumor Child’s Play has signed on the dotted line? More on that later…