Descended from a band of Yugoslavian gypsies, Ray Wilcox steps into the role of band front man rather easily. After spending a number of years in Europe, Wilcox moved to San Francisco, a satisfactory city "in which to create."
He formed his first band here in 1987. It was a four man pop combo consisting of several post modern lyricists and went by the name "The Pretentae" (pre-ten-sh-eye). An argument over an Ezra Pound stanza led to the band's acrimonious break-up in 1989. Other members went on to form the band "Profrock," while Wilcox went off in search of like-minded musicians for his own project.
Wilcox found Josh Pollock, an aspiring Olympic hammer thrower and guitar player, selling T-shirts to tourists at Coit Tower. Impressed by POllock's business acumen and hair cut, he asked him to join a "rather bizarre musical experiment" that he was now preparing to mount. That project became the fabled "Caesar Salad Days" series in Berkeley. Described by one critic as a "cornucopia of sex and death... very disturbing," "Caesar" played to crowds for weeks before the world series quake.
After "Caesar," the two set off to expand their show into an orchestra - or "Dork-estra" - and the search for members commenced. Morgan Neville, a fledgling upright bass player and fisherman, was recruited to take up matters pertaining to trout and the bass clef. Sean O'Melveny, a struggling contortionist, was added ot the lineup for his trumpet playing and his deft imitations of crabs. Chris Enright, a roustabout from New Jersey, inspired by Sam Butera, took up the saxophone to join the effort and now happily resides on tenor. Catharine Clune, actually a proficient musician, brought her violin, her angst, and her noisy trombonist friend, Eric Bergkvist, with her, thus boosting the talent level of the group, now called "Ancient Chinese Secret." The band promptly changed their name to save time and printing costs ---
They became Zircus.