Final E53 Concert Slated for February 18 at Captain Loomis

e53CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Popular Modern Country and Classic Rock Band E53 takes its last exit on Saturday, February 18, at the Captain Loomis from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

(Photos by Keith Reynolds)

The Knox-based band, named after the Knox I-80 exit, has set the date as their final appearance as a band.

Drummer Len Cobler and son Ben, also a singer and drummer, are making plans to move to Georgia at some point and wanted to pick an official end of public concerts, so they didn’t have to cancel dates if they would move sooner that anticipated.

The Coblers, Frank Agnelllo, Bill Rupert, and Frank Turk formed E53 three years ago.

“We decided to try this modern country rock because it really wasn’t anything around here like it or playing it at the time,” said Len.

“My son and his age group, 20’s and 30’s, were really into the modern country thing.  We decided to give it a shot and see if it would work for us.  We probably play 70 percent modern country, and the rest was classic dance rock.”

“It’s a totally different thing for rock musicians.  The guitar work is a lot different.  It was hard for someone like me who never even listened to country until when we started this.  We learned a lot of brand new material.  It’s worked pretty well for us. We’ve had a lot of good times and crowds.”

Len was a member of Leverage, a hard classic rock band, that he described as “dance rock.”

There will undoubtedly be some surprises at the February 18 performance, and Cobler is expecting a large crowd.

“All I know is, there are going to be a ton of people there. We have family coming in from out of state. A lot of people have already contacted me and let me know they are getting together and mini buses are planned. It’s probably going to be a pretty sold-out room.  I’m telling people to get there early.”

The current lineup includes Len Cobler (Drums/Vocals); Ben Cobler (Vocals/Drums); (Bill Rupert – Guitar); Matt Turk (Guitar/Vocals); and Bill Carey (Bass).  Former bass players include Frank Agnello; Tony Vega; Dominic Cadanzarito; and Bob Peace.

“I talked to Ron Corcetti over at the Loomis because we’ve been playing there about once a month for several months and wanted our last date to be over there.  It’s the biggest place around and has the most space to hold people.”

Most of the members are looking into possible forming other bands or continuing smaller side projects they formed.

“Bill Rupert is looking for something else for another band, Bill Carey plays with CareyOn, an acoustic band with his fiancé Beth Ann Proudfoot. My son and I and Pat Turk, the other guitar player, have an acoustic band called ‘Till Morning’ and we’re going to continue that band until we leave.”


Len and son decided to move to Georgia because of relatives living in the south, better weather, and a desire to pursue starting another band.  Like most of the E53 members, he started early as a musician.

“I played my first bar gig when I was 15. My mother drove me to Muscatels’ bar down on Route 38, and that’s how I first started playing.  I went through several bands and got in with Frank Agnello and Jack Geiring and played with Racket back in the 80’s.”

“That doesn’t really happen a lot anymore. The kids today don’t have the drive and determination like it was back then.  I don’t know what’s going to happen when they’re our age when we don’t play any longer.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of younger people playing around here anymore. The money has never really been good. We don’t make much more as a band today than what we did in the 80’s.  The price of music gear has tripled since then.”

Len said one of is favorite things over the years is performing with his son.

“He’s been going out on gigs with the band and playing drums with every band I’ve been with.  If it was a place he could come to, we would get him set up since he was nine or ten years old.” 

“I have another son Cory that does that, too, but he works in DC for the FBI, but he’s not around, and when he’s home, he does the same thing and plays with the band.   My daughter Jenny played a flute in the school band, but she didn’t play drums.  My boys just picked it up right away when they were little.  As soon as Leverage split up, Ben wanted to start a band.”

While they’re still not certain when they will move, there’s no doubt music is in their future.

“That’s a lot of the reason I want to go. I’ve been playing in this area for 40 years, pretty much non-stop.  Things aren’t like they used to be.  Back here around the 80’s and 90’s there were bars and places playing everywhere on the weekend, but now you’re lucky if you can find two or three places in this area.”

“I told Ben that when we’re ready to go, drum up musicians and be ready to go.  When we went down there, we found a lot of places had live music one a regular basis.  There’s a lot more opportunity to play down there than there is here.” 

“We have relatives that live down there, and I have a couple sisters in Southern Georgia and my wife’s sister is in Atlanta. So, we’re looking in northern Georgia, maybe and hour or two above Atlanta.  We’ve visited twice in the last four months and looked at houses and got some ideas.”

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