Eight was enough. After eight years as the headline band almost every Friday and Saturday night at the Sasch dance club in Studio City, the popular Top 40 group, Ecstasy, will give its final two performances this weekend. Marlon Parry, Sasch's general manager, said the club will rotate several Top 40 bands a month.
"We wanted a little more variety," Parry said. "We'll still have the same general format, but things should be more exciting. People will wonder who will be there on any given weekend. We may not get the same level of quality every week, but you have to take the risk if you want the variety."
Parry added that the club recently experimented with the new band rotating system, and was very satisfied with audience reaction. "They thought it was exciting to have a new band."
Ecstasy members weren't as enthusiastic. Lead vocalist Debra Raye said the band's dismissal from its eight-year regular gig was "shocking" but understandable.
"It hurts a little," said Raye, 36, of North Hollywood, "but I can see this from a business sense. I know the club is getting bands for a lot less money than us. We've been there for eight years, and everyone is a little burned out on each other. This band is definitely good enough to work elsewhere."
The group, which includes bassist Bobby Pickett, keyboardist Craig Jones, guitarist Gary Edwards and drummer Doug Madick, hasn't made any definite plans yet. Parry would not rule out the possibility of Ecstasy playing again at Sasch. "I won't close the door on them making occasional appearances," Parry said.
He added that about two years ago, when Ecstasy took a month vacation, the club featured other bands, and "we probably should have made a move back then, but it wasn't the time for a change."
At Sasch, the musical pattern for Ecstasy has rarely been altered: Every Friday and Saturday, the band played four sets of familiar upbeat, dance-oriented songs from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Pickett, who joined in 1983, two years after the band formed, was the senior member. The band's founders went on to pursue other aspirations.
"It might be good for us," Raye said. "We'll play other places, get a regular clientele, and bring them back. We were fortunate to have a regular gig like that for so long. Not many Top 40 bands do that."