The Best of Times: 1983 - 1984
The Best of Times: 1983 - 1984

January of 1983 found Knightmayre in limbo. Mitch, Tony and Rik were busy with work and other projects, and were occassionally working with other bands.

Then Mitch was told by his sister of a dynamic drummer she knew. And he was looking for a band. Since Gary was still unable to rejoin the band they decided to give this guy an audition just to see how good he really was. None of them expected him to be able to fill Gary's shoes.

But Brian Barnhart proved to be a supurb drummer. In their first session together, Brian fit in as if he had always been a part of the band. While not having the energy of Gary, Brian made up for it in finesse and pure talent. Along with drums, Brian became a co-vocalist. So Knightmayre had their sixth and final drummer.

While they enjoyed the local club scene, and were favorites at the Woodbridge and Dale City Moose Lodges, Knightmayre was working behind the scenes trying to make the next step. In August of 1983 Knightmayre was offered the job of touring as the opening act for "Dixie Suite". The band quickly accepted. But the deal hinged on getting a contract with "Dixie Suite's" Promotion Agency. Knightmayre was now anticipating their big break.

But things don't always work out as expected. And while they had the deal in August, everything fell apart in September when the promotion company chose another band to tour with "Dixie Suite" and declined to offer Knightmayre a contract.

Feeling somewhat dejected, but undeterred, the band stayed off the road to rehearse for a Battle of the Bands contest to be held in Lorton, VA. the following month.

On October 22, 1983 Knightmayre succeeded in winning the Battle of the Bands contest. Soon after that, Mitch's girlfriend arranged for them to be invited to travel to Granby, Quebec to appear in a resort as part of a Senior Class ski trip for a Virginia High School.

Prior to the trip to Quebec Knightmayre experimented with adding a female vocalist as lead singer when Ann Draper (formerlly of Midevil) became the final member to join the band. But this didn't work out so Ann left.

In January of 1984 Knightmayre took the trip to Granby, Quebeck for what they jokingly dubbed the start of the "Knightmayre '84 World Tour". While in Canada they put on a couple of wild shows at the hotel (Including the infamous in-door skiing incident--and Tony will always wonder how long it took the building to find the hole in the ceiling--if you don't already know, don't ask). On the return trip, they stopped off for another day of skiing in Jay Peek, Vermont. And after watching the Redskins lose to the Raiders in the Superbowl they followed up that disaster with one of their own when the band (and everyone else on the bus) nearly died on the way back home when the bus they were on lost its breaks in the mountains.

They survived the bus mishap and returned victoriously to Northern Virginia ready to hit the ground running.