A few weeks ago I put on my face paint and did a story about legendary rock bands who performed at the Erie County Fieldhouse.  After that story aired, I received an email from a viewer who said I should do a story about a legendary rock band from Erie called The Snowmen.  I was told The Snowmen dressed in white clothing and wore white wigs and white face paint.  They sold out famous concert venues in Southern California. 

I caught up with Steve McConnell, the drummer from the group.  He said The Snowmen began as a club band in Erie named Speed Queen. There was nothing unusual about them.  In 1977, their booking agent told them they needed a gimmick. Steve remembers the conversation.

"He goes, ‘Speed Queen doesn't make any sense.  You're all mismatched on stage.  But, if you wore white Afro wigs and makeup, I'll call you The Snowmen and I'll get you better money,’ recalls Steve.  “And I thought, No, I don't want to do that."  

The thought of making better money soon convinced the band to dress in white and become The Snowmen. One guy refused and was replaced. The Snowmen made their debut in the winter of 1977 performing in clubs in Ohio and West Virginia. The audiences loved them and came to see The Snowmen even during a blizzard.

”We thought we must be good enough that they would come out in the most horrible weather to see us. Especially if it snowed badly,” says Steve. “That was the thing.  We're The Snowmen.  We brought the snow."

It was soon time for the band to triumphantly head back to Erie. They were regulars at a club called Altadonna's.  It was there that Steve began to add more flair to The Snowmen's act. He would leave his drums during the set and do things such as break chairs and gyrate on the bar.  He soon had a new stage name..."Animal."

"It went over like gangbusters,” says Steve. “I'm playing with the mike stand and doing every move I've ever seen from other famous rock stars.  And everybody went nuts."  

After two years, it was time to go to L.A. and play clubs there including the famous Troubadour and Whisky a Go Go. The band made a video that was played during the early days of MTV.  They cut an album.  Life was good.  Maybe too good.  Tension developed among the band members.  They split up in 1983.  But, it was a fantastic six years for The Snowmen from Erie, PA.

Steve still gets emotional when he talks about the band breaking up.   He played drums for Pittsburgh rocker Donnie Iris after his days with The Snowmen. Steve since has had a long career in the medical field.