The Cyclone Rangers

The Cyclone Rangers were an American power pop and new wave band formed in Suffield, Connecticut in 1977.  Although their angsty take on modern rock developed a sizeable local following, they were unsuccessful in attracting label interest.  Leader Jerry Helper convinced the band to try their hand in New York City, a change of scenery that prompted an explosion of new lyrical inspiration.  Songs like “Pigeon Parade” and “69th Street Viaduct Song” captured the ear of a local A&R man for Plectrum Records, which signed the band in late 1979.   The group went into the studio and churned out their debut News At Eleven in seven hours.  The record had national exposure and decent sales, but never really took off the way the label anticipated.  (With one exception:  quirky second single “Yearning Cantonese,” which made it to No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 and unfortunately became the song for which the band is known.  For years, Helper denied that it had anything to do with Chinese food or menus, but finally capitulated in 2007.)

After an unsuccessful Midwestern tour, the label dropped the band.  Helper decided to pull the plug, and the members went separate ways.  There were talks of a reunion for an ‘’80s Are Back!” package tour in 2009, but guitarist Mel Cooley had forgotten how to play, and no one could locate drummer Sol Pomerantz.  Promoters hired Talk Talk instead.