Silver Laughter – Mak Show

“Mak Show” was something the German audiences used to say to the Beatles to encourage them to become more animated on stage. When I joined the band, Jon, Kim, Mark and I used to either stand or sit (in the case of the drummer or piano player) and perform our music. After all the idea was to get people to dance. And with oldies like “Mustang Sally”, how could we miss?

But then Mark left and Ken joined the band. He had previously been with a show band that had two female singers. They used to focus on performing synchronized dance steps and choreographed moves. I distinctly remember having a conversation about doing more moving around on stage. Not coordinating moves, but definitely moving around and having more stage presence. Mak Show! I wish I had some photos of those performances, but I have yet to find any.

During a trip through Minneapolis, I found a shoe store that sold platform “disco” shoes and boots. I bought this great pair of boots that added about 4″ to my 5′ 8″ height. And since wide leg pants and bell bottoms were in, I could hide them by buying longer pants! Now I was almost as tall as Jon (6′) and Ken (6′ 2″) which enabled me to walk to the opposite side of the stage and sing with Ken or Jon on their microphones. This didn’t enhance the vocals unless Carl was aware enough to boost the volume on that particular mic.

I remember laughing a lot. We used to change lyrics to make them dirty or silly to try and get the other band members to crack up laughing. It usually worked. Bottom line? We had FUN on stage! How about an example? In Grand Funk Railroad’s “Some Kind of Wonderful”, Jon would sing “When she wraps her lovin’ legs around me” instead of “arms“. Seems silly now, but back then…

Sometimes, if the singer could catch the other guys off guard with a lyrics change, it was really hard to finish the song we’d be laughing so hard.

Like most band members, we didn’t dance once we were off stage. People (usually girls) would say, “you dance on stage with your guitars, just do it on the dance floor without them.” Nope. Didn’t help. We were like Evil Roy Slade (look it up) without his “weapons”. I never did get the hang of dancing. My daughter got that gene.

Mick Orton

Categories: History

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