Long-Time Performer Was An Entertainer Extraordinaire At This South Bay Bar
He had a style that was unlike any other, delivered at an energy level that threatened to blow the roof off the place.
For many years in the 80s and 90s, Carey Carloff was the mainstay musician at Pancho’s in Manhattan Beach, CA, packing the tiny cantina bar with loyal locals and happy newcomers who happened upon the place.
And it was at Pancho’s on Saturday, Oct., 24, where many of those people again packed in to say goodbye to Carloff. Earlier that week, Carloff passed away peacefully in his sleep.
It was a sad moment for many but the memories Carloff provided them still lives on in Pancho’s to this day.
Carloff – whose real name was actually Rick Scapicchio – was as much of a fixture at Pancho’s as those Raiders jerseys hanging from the rafters.
Sometimes, it was even Carloff who was hanging from the rafters. He would grab a rope that was attached to the ceiling and swing over the crowd during shows.
Carloff played rock cover tunes and played them hard, well and with a passion that was infectious to everyone in his presence. Few people were seated when Carloff was on stage.
He would bang away on a little piano, often lighting it on fire. And still played it.
He would bend his leg up to it and play the keyboard with his feet. When he put on those red shoes – he seemed to save them for special moments – he was more on fire than his piano.
It was during one of those moments that a visiting friend of PubClub.com nicknamed Carloff “Red Shoes.” After being introduced to him the first night of his visit, the next day the friend said, “let’s go see Red Shoes again.”
Carloff was so popular people hired him for private parties and to play at their weddings (who knows what the families thought when he put on those red shoes and lit up the keyboard at the receptions!).
Eventually, Carloff gave way to the current long-running band, Day of Daze. But there will always be a piece of Carloff on that stage and in that tiny cantina at Pancho’s.
Kirk Moulin says
I was just thinking about him. My wife and I moved from Southern California to the foothills of Yosemite almost 23 years ago. I’m a bass player who used to sub for Sal and Kevin back in the day. Cary (Rick) was always so kind and welcoming! It was such a fun gig to play! I wonder what Peter (his drummer) is doing now. I loved Peter and his Boston accent. I’d sure to reconnect with him a gain. Kirk Moulin (559) 760-9112
Nice comment! Pete is still around the South Bay.
peter miller says
Hi Kirk!! My god its been a long time! A few corrections are in order. I left California in 2011 and moved back to the Finger Lakes in western ny. I have the Rochester accent, which is a curse. id much prefer the Boston version .Ill call you in the next few days.
The Finger Lakes? Near Watkins Glen! See if this will get you a free drink at Seneca Lodge! https://www.pubclub.com/sports/racing/the-best-motorsports-bars-in-america/
Jon Strabala says
He was the original “bukoroo banzai” – seriously not only a diva on piano but he wold jump onto a set of bars and swing like a crazy man – blessed to have lived close and see Carey perform in the late 80’s – drove by ponchos earlier tonight such great memories!
Carey was indeed a true entertainer!
Susan Gaines says
He was amazing…I am so sad to learn he is gone after all of these years. My best memories at Panchos were
when he was there.
Pub Club says
He sure was; people liked him to much they would hire him to play at their weddings!
Eric Brown says
He pops up in my head a few times a year. Some of my favorite times were watching him play at Pancho’s. Still miss him and had to look up the article. I am so glad I saw a picture of him at the bar when I was in.
Glad we helped rekindle fond memories of Carey.