Cruis-O-Matic -- the Early Years

Cruis-O-Matic was formed in Atlanta in the summer of 1977 by college buddies saxophonist/vocalist Jonny Hibbert and former Ancestors guitarist/vocal stylist Edward Tanner, both of whom had previously spent a year in Darryl Rhoades’ infamous HaHavishnu Orchestra.  Like the Psychic Friends Network, Cruis-O-Matic was for entertainment purposes only:  no show off musicianship, just short and fun songs.

The band was formed after Jonny and Edward had spent a year away from the music scene in reaction to their HaHavishnu experience.  Jonny recruited his younger brother Henry as second guitarist and vocalist, and high school friend Robert Schmidt as drummer.  In the months that followed, several bass players came and went until the slot was filled by former HaHavishnu master of ceremonies and local radio and television personality, Gary Rex Patton.  Edward’s brother, Blair Tanner, former Ancestors lead guitarist, became the band’s keyboard player, and the first functioning ensemble began to perform.

Music Beats Working

One of their first six professional appearances was as opening act for The Sex Pistols’ first U.S. concert, in January 1978.  Soon after, the band became a fixture (or fissure) on the always petty and jealousy ridden Atlanta, Georgia music scene.  During its first year, Cruis-O-Matic opened for The Cars, The Ramones, Runaways, and shared the stage with Cher, during a valley in her career.  Other highlights of shared bills included those with The B-52s, John Cale, The Smithereens, The Nighthawks, George Thoroughgood, and The Temptations.

Cruis-O-Matic at Rose's Cantina -- designed by Tom Patterson Cruis-O-Matic -- from Lifestyle section of Atlanta Journal/Constitution
Cruis-O-Matic at Rose's Cantina, 688 Spring Street, Atlanta.  Poster designed by Tom Patterson to the conceptual specifications of Edward Tanner. Cruis-O-Matic -- from the Lifestyle section of the Atlanta Journal/Constitution.

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