In 1980, Detroit’s LUKE MUCUS & THE PHLEGM morphed into the more user-friendly LUKE WARM, catching the New Wave/Power Pop bug.
LUKE WARM discovered their strengths as songwriters, and grew from delivering raw, entertaining absurdities, to still quirky, but catchier, polished gems. Their classic lineup of “Luke” - Eric Winer (vocals/lyrics), “Runny” - Dave Perry (lead guitar), “Sweet Lew” - Kevin Chudler (rhythm guitar), Randy “Yid” Sosin (drums), and “Burrito” - Wayne Lax (bass), had forged a unique sound for two years, and were now ready to build on their momentum. Current, but somehow from a different head than their contemporaries, Luke Warm was on a mission to share their inside-jokes with a larger audience. With Rock Radio playing The Knack (led by ex-Detroiter Doug Fieger) and The Romantics (also from Detroit), there was optimism throughout The Motor City that a number of bands might bust out of The Rust Belt to make it big. Luke Warm went to work: writing, practicing, recording, and gigging. Following the sage advice of their first manager to “write hits,” and with a booking agent on board, LW moved well past just getting paid gas & beer money. Headlining a incendiary string of shows at Angie’s in Farmington, just outside of Detroit, LW developed an avid fan base that would follow them throughout their ’80-’82 shows in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Lansing, Michigan. And The Luke Warm Show was just that: A SHOW. Neither classically, nor remedially trained as a singer, Luke delivered songs like a riffing stand-up comic on a fiery roll. Whether clad in leather shorts and a referee shirt, or sporting a suave white dinner jacket, Luke presented a variety of personas and characters, aiming to simultaneously enlighten, enrage, and entertain. Like the leader of a Punk Rat Pack, Luke sang, danced, and wise-guyed his way to rousing applause no matter the venue. Perry, rail-thin and feather-haired, played the heartthrob playboy with wicked, melodic, and bluesy leads that were not standard one-string punk-power-drills to the brain. As the band’s musical director, Perry was part partner and part foil to Luke’s antics with his backing and answer vocals. A star in his own right. Chudler solidly kept it driving on rhythm guitar. Understated, yet always with subversive swagger and deadpan humor. While not the biggest member of the group, Chudler was undoubtedly the toughest. He always had every one’s back, on stage and off. And when Chudler stepped off, versatile guitarist/singer Steve Tarnowsky stepped in, and brought his smooth musicianship and versatility to the band. Hands down the coolest guy in Luke Warm without trying, was Randy Sosin. Sosin’s quirky, syncopated, and lyrical drumming kept the set in a variety of motions… whimsical, dramatic, chaotic… all while staying true to the heart of every song. Though the youngest member, the band looked to Sosin for keeping them tuned into new music, fashion, and clubs. And then there was Burrito on bass. The show within the show. Stalking the stage with a demonstrative style fit for an arena headliner, Burrito lived and died the band, the set, every song, every note. Chugging with Chudler and Sosin, Burrito’s emotions and sheer joy gave Luke a foil and ally on the right as Perry soared on the left. Burrito once celebrated the end of a show by not-so-faux-slamming the mic stand down on Luke’s head, as Luke lie exhausted on the ground. What’s a little blood? It was great theater. Notoriety came when Luke Warm’s “Jesus Chrysler,” single, a poke-in-the-eye to the failing auto giant, was released b/w “Why Don’t You Like Me?” (a thinly veiled answer song to The Romantics (“What I Like About You”). Continued gigging, radio airplay, interviews and a Detroit Free Press article (about a Chrysler executive who got in trouble for buying 10 records and passing them around the office), gave Luke Warm the motivation that they were now on the right track. And, if fate smiled on their burgeoning talents, that they might also have been on the fast-track. Time, of course is relative… and you can now follow Luke Warm’s tracks now on RAVE UP! “What can I say about Luke Warm that hasn’t already been said in therapy by anyone who ever attended one of their shows.” Howard Kramer, Curatorial Director Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Cleveland (Former Manager of Luke Warm). LONG LIVE LUKE WARM!