Mistreater: Ohio 70’s Bands

March 9, 2008

Mistreater was a band that was formed towards the latter part of the 70’s with primarily Wayne County band members. The original line-up included Larry Nottingham – guitar; Ronnie Wilmoth – guitar; Kurt Luedy – singer; Donnie Frase – drummer and Tom Piarowski – bass. You could consider them a hard rock band but I’d have to say they leaned more towards the heavy metal side. It wasn’t long before they started playing gigs all around north central Ohio including gigs in Wooster, Creston, Burbank, Medina, Orrville, Millersburg and elsewhere. They soon became one of the top ‘local’ bands in terms of talent and popularity.
“A co-worker from Frito-Lay, Paul Leatherman, told me of two friends of his (both guitarists) who were looking for a bass player,” related bass player Tom Piarowski recently on the formation of Mistreater. Piarowski was in the band Red Dog prior to Mistreater. “He took me and my equipment to meet up with these two in one of their mobile homes. I got there and these guys sat on the couch and one would play a crunchy metal rhythm pattern while the other did this mind blowing lead, then they would switch…. then they progressed to dual leads. Meanwhile my jaw fell to the floor. I had never seen anything like these guys – at least in a mobile home in Wayne County!”
”Larry Nottingham and Ronnie Wilmoth were their names and I joined them and singer Kurt Luedy and drummer Donnie Frase to form Mistreater. We did mostly originals with a few covers like some early UFO and we even did Stranglehold by Nugent. Larry did the entire song’s leads note for note. We practiced and performed at a place called Strip’s Party Barn in Burbank. It was the upstairs of a garage/barn that some friends turned into a club. We did monthly keg parties there and finally ‘progressed’ to playing the Hitching Post in Creston.”
“We ended up gaining the reputation as the loudest and heaviest band to ever play there and even broke the highest attendance records set there by a local band named WR Gas every time we played there. We played local parties and stuff like that. My last gig with Mistreater was a big outdoor event at Strip’s place outside.”
“We were headliners with a really great band from Cleveland warming us up. Typical interpersonal differences, to be polite, caused Ronnie Wilmoth and me to break from the band and go on to something new after that outdoor gig. Larry continued Mistreater with a new bassist as a foursome and put out a couple recordings that as I have read are early metal jems that are collectable now.”
After Piarowski and Wilmoth left to form Toprow with Steve Hanna (guitarist) and Jerry Shell (drummer), Steve Walker joined Mistreater as the new bass player and in the early 80’s the band released the HELL’S FIRE album in 1981. A half dozen years later they released their second and final album, SWAMI before disbanding altogether.



  1. Cool write-up. I actually bought a ’79 Fender Precision from Tom Piarowski before I joined Mistreater. Didn’t know Tom had been in the band until I had been there a while. In ’79, we recorded a 45 with Hell’s Fire & Baby Blue, then did the album a year later. Larry quit shortly after that, and we recruited Dave Hall of McZena (find THAT on a map!) to take over guitar. We played a few times in Shreve, and at the Deputy Dog Saloon on W.25th in Cleveland. We did a track on the Cleveland Metal album, too. I quit in ’83.

  2. Ha! Funny running into this article. My uncle is Larry Nottingham. I grew up hearing about this band. They had a legendary status among my brothers and I. Maybe in a weird way they inspired me to form my own group.

  3. Hell’s Fire is a fantastic album.

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