BIO (Written by Norman Westberg– member of Swans):

Route 666 handmade t-shirt (Photo Courtesy of Norman Westberg)

“I met Charles (Bowen) at Bookie’s one night. We had a mutual pal, Peter, who introduced us. We liked the same music and instinct for trouble making. Meeting up to play, he had an Explorer, and I had the same Telecaster that I am playing today. Came up with a couple songs and cover choices. Charles had ‘Live at the Vortex’ and another English comp. He suggested ‘Frankenstein’s Heartbeat’ and ‘Animal Bondage’. My childhood friend Chris (Krekeler) had a place in Hamtramck where we could rehearse. He became the singer. The 27 briefly rehearsed there, Stevie and Craig lived there for a while. Pack 9 was formed after The 27 broke up. Craig, James and Stevie would sit in on drums for us. Sonic’s Rendezvous practiced at ‘the hall’, as well. I am sure that anyone around at the time went to parties there.

Charles rented a house on the east side on Barham. We covered the windows with cardboard, listened to Chrome at full volume and read Crowley. People would pull up and refuse to come in, there was something about the look of the place. One night I came home and all of the cardboard was removed and every light in the house was on. Charles had gotten himself spooked.

“Here is a badge made by one of those diy button press kits. My friend Mary Brown had one and helped us make a few.” – Norman

We had a couple drummers other than the guys in the 27. Robert Wonnacott played drums with us near the end of Route 666. I sat in front of his sister in High School. One drummer was Andy. He ran a craps(?) game at his place every weekend.

We played an open mic night at Bookies with Craig on drums. Nunzio’s was an early, complete set. The Bowery and a couple others that I remember the playing, but not the place. There was a frat house party and the U of D talent night at their Rathskeller. All of our gear got stolen from the hall just before I moved to NY in 1980. We played a show with some equipment that was not in the ‘hall’ part. Don’t remember the place. We had gotten into a PIL kind of ‘search for the lost chord’ thing. The bass cab fell on Chris’ foot at load out and his big toe nail came off.

Route 666 was brief and fun. The official drink was Peppermint Schnapps. It introduced me to the ‘gang’ mentality of being in a rock band that no-one likes but the guys in it.”

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5 thoughts on “Route 666

  1. The name doomed us from the start. That and the difficulty of finding a decent drummer. It was a great once in a lifetime experience. So it goes…

  2. The reason we mined “live at the Vortex” was we had opportunities to play. We needed songs quickly, to fill a set. With a decent drummer, Norman and I on bass, we clicked.

    1. Hey Charles
      Its Andy here, the drummer that through the crap games. Yes I am still Alive Living still in Grosse Pointe East side. I have a lot of stuff from us playing together, flyers and a reel to Reel tape of us Playing at the Place in Hamtramck. How is Norm and Chris?

      1. Wow, talk about a blast from the past! I’m surprised that you have Stuff! I’ve got nothing from the band. Norm is good he made a career in music. Chris, I have no idea. He was responsible for all our equipment being stolen, I’m curious about the flyers. If you feel like it, give me a shout. Glad you are doing good!

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