Posts Tagged ‘Orrville Ohio’


‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt. 2

August 6, 2012

Back in the 1960’s Wayne County, Ohio was your typical Midwestern rural/farming community. Amish buggies dotted the outlying areas (and even in the towns & cities.. And still do!). And you wouldn’t think a mellow-appearing rural-type county would have many, if any, rock & roll culture back then, but it did, especially the Wooster & Orrville communities.

Back in the 60’s Orrville hosted various sock hops and dances with local bands, and on occasion bigger named bands like Terry Knight & The Pack came to town, usually before or after an Upbeat TV Show taping in Cleveland. In 1979 Kim Simmonds’s Savoy Brown performed at Wayne County Speedway.

But Wooster, Ohio, the county seat of Wayne County, was at times a hotbed of live appearances during the 60’s and into the 1980’s. With plenty of local bands springing up in the wake of Beatlemania in the area, like JD and the Malibus, The Streys, Me & The Guys, The Repercussions, Spoonjobs, Olivers, Blue Steel, Blue Prynts as well as bands from neighboring counties like the Es-Shades from Ashland and Music Explosion from Mansfield.

                       The Spoonjobs, a band from Wooster, OH

Those bands, and others, brought the teenagers in to local venues, like school gyms, the Wooster Armory and the YMCA. But bigger named regional and national acts performed during the 60’s at both the YMCA and Wooster Armory. Bands like the Amboy Dukes with Ted Nugent, the James Gang with Joe Walsh, Glass Harp, The Outsiders, Terry Knight & The Pack, Damnation of Adam Blessing and the Bob Seger System, among others.

                                    Amboy Dukes w/ Ted Nugent

(Club 42, The Ranch (El Rancho Grande) in Wooster, The Dugout in Ashland, and the Mixer in Bucyrus were other venues that local & regional bands performed at.)

                                                        James Gang

Once the 70’s hit the powers that be at the College of Wooster loosened up and started bringing in national acts open to the public. I was able to catch a couple of these and the performances and venues on-campus like the Timken Gym & Lowry Center were outstanding. I can recall Vanilla Fudge playing there and a little later on Sly & The Family Stone, Spirit (saw that one!), Styx (saw that one, too) and Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express during the early years of the 70’s.

Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express

I remember wanting to see Emerson, Lake & Palmer (with opening act Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show) on April 9, 1972 but the Old Man dragged the family to Colorado just in time to miss it. However, as I later discovered the next several months or so of listening to more of their music, I never could get myself to get into ELP. Still can’t. Also passed on the Charlie Daniels Band.

One College of Wooster show I caught, at the last minute and thanks to my cousin Sue, was Ike & Tina Turner and the Ikettes on June 30, 1972. Between the band, Tina and the Ikettes, it made up for missing out on Sly & The Family Stone.

On May 13, 1974, the Beach Boys played and a friend talked me into going with dates. Went expecting to be bored, but it was a pretty good show and they were on.

My cousin got a handful of tickets for the November 3, 1974 Souther-Hillman-Furay concert. She wanted to see them because Richie Furay had just left Poco, a band we saw at the Akron Civic Theatre. Was surprised when on stage was former Derek & The Dominoes member Jim Gordon and Al Perkins and Paul Harris were in Stephan Stills’ Manassas. Livingston Taylor was the support act.

                                          Souther – Hillman – Furay

In February 1980 the Michael Stanley band, on top in northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, played at the College of Wooster’s Timken Gym to a jam packed crowd and a roof-raising performance. My kid sister, who was there, brought it up in conversation just a few days ago. The last show I attended
was David Johansen on April 22, 1983. Ronald Koal & The Trillionaires were the support act.

In the late 70’s the Wooster Theatre, originally known as the Lyric Theatre,  became the Schine’s Theater and renamed Wooster Theatre under the Shrine chain. After closing it sat dormant for a considerable length of time before local investors Henry & Chell Bishop purchased the property in 1976 put Henry Bishop in the Manager’s position.

Bishop managed to give it a facelift by renovating the restrooms, main offices, improved lighting, carpeting, painting and other improved amenities. Bishop, who also held down a full time job at White Jewelry, began showing films, offering $1 movie nights. The Bishop’s closed won the theatre in 1981 due to declining attenance but the following year leased it to Alice Schafrath who reinvented the theatre as the Theatrical Lounge and eventually brought in live entertainment, not the least of which were appearances by nationally known acts.

Theatrical Lounge

With a bar installed the Theatrical Lounge began offering a variety of entertainment, with local & regional bands like The Godz, White Horse, McGuffy Lane, Norman Nardini & The Tigers,  Link, Raising Cain, country performer Lacy J. Dalton, Diamondback,  the Chippendale’s and, of all things, Caesar The Bear, a wrestling bear that would take on all locals for a potential cash prize. One of the top names brought in was Nazareth. It eventually closed in 1988 and in 1999 the building was demolished.

You can read ‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt.1 by clicking HERE.



March 27, 2012

A young band that are making waves and creating a rapidly expanding fan base have exploded onto the music scene. Taken In Vain, a metal band consisting of members from Orrville and Smithville, Ohio are well on their way with interest and concert and club appearances.
Taken In Vain was formed in 2010 and by 2011 settled into the current solid line-up of Andrew Diehl, 24, on rhythm guitar; Chase Christie, 18, on lead guitar; David Wilson, 21, on vocals and Kameron Jenkins, 17, on drums.
Since that time they are amassing concert and club appearances, have released an original song online and are currently working on an EP release and booking more appearances. They have also begun to issue band merchandise and have two new T-Shirts available.
So how would one categorize Taken In Vain’s music? “Loud, aggressive, dark, melodic, heavy, fast, intricate, harmonized,” explained David Wilson, lead vocalist. “With so many sub-genres out there, we find it hard to identify, so we just call it metal. We draw influences from all over the place in the rock and metal world and beyond.”
“Although some of us listen to and play much heavier stuff sometimes, you’ll typically hear us range all the way from acoustic rock to thrash metal, industrial to metalcore. In a live setting, we’re still establishing our niche but like our music, we’re loud, aggressive, and in your face. Most of all, we just want to get everyone moving and having a good time!”

The band’s first professional gig was at the MXTP venue in Grand Rapids, MI that was met with great success. “The show went phenomenally,” commented David Wilson, lead vocalist. “We were very tight and even had natural stage presence according to those in attendance.” Since then they’ve played elsewhere, including Lakewood, OH and are currently booking upcoming concerts and appearances.
Some of their upcoming appearances include Saturday April 7 beginning at 7:00 PM at the Lamplighters Social Club in Wooster, OH. Appearing with Taken In Vain will be Demi Darkhart & the Beast of Bailey Downs, Worth The Wait, The World Inside of Me, A Filthee Sound and more. Advance tickets are available at $12.00, $15.00 at the door.
Other upcoming appearances will be Friday April 13 at the Orbit Room in Grand Rapids, MI at 6:00 PM. Appearing with Taken In Vain will be STRUC/TURES , Lakeland, Eyes of Anthea, Divided They Fall, Oceans Over Earth and Hand of Uziel. Tickets are $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door.

On Friday June 22 Taken In Vain will be performing at Peabody’s in Cleveland, OH starting at 6:00 PM. Also appearing will be Modern Day Escape, Dr. Acula, From Atlantis and other bands to be announced. Tickets are $10.00 advance and $12.00 day of show.
Advance tickets for these shows are available through the band’s website.
The band currently has one song available online, “Self-Destruct” that can be downloaded for only $.50 from the band’s online music store at: “We also have video footage of that song and four others from our January 14th performance at MXTP in Grand Rapids,” said Wilson.
The band is currently in negotiations for several other appearances in Ohio and Michigan and a ‘Mini-Tour’ is a possibility being worked on. For bookings, to order advance tickets and to stay up-to-date on Taken In Vain’s activities, upcoming gigs, merchandise and recordings visit their website at:

(c)2012 Doc Lehman/Bangagong!


THE VISITORS ARE ‘….Just Visiting’

October 29, 2011

A new recently released CD by north central Ohio band The Visitors has made people stand up and take notice. Titled ‘…Just Visiting’, it’s another first class effort from a band that first began releasing recordings back in 1987. That debut was well received due to the fact that two of the songs placed second and fifth in the Cleveland Songwriters Guild. With ‘….Just Visiting’ the band, a collaborative musical project headed up by two long time seasoned pros Chris Conway and Ed ‘Eddie Mars’ Marthey, the duo and musical partners have served up another hot dish of musical delights.
The new recording offers a reworked and updated version of Marthey’s potent Philosophy 101 and a bevy of all new material that includes collaborations with such luminaries as Jon David, Ben Parris, Tony Tristano and Rufus Johnson. The new CD also features covers from jazz legends Jaco Pastorius and Billy Cobham. 
The Visitors include, aside from the aforementioned Conway & Marthey, Ben Powers, Chris Edwards, Jon David, Ben Parris, Matt Corey, Rod Reisman, Jim Richley, Dan Murphy and Patrick Wagner.
You can’t nail this talented band down by one specific genre, you’d have to classify them as Rock, Pop, Jazz & Funk.
“I’m am very satisfied with the musicianship, the writing, production, and overall sound of the album,” commented Conway, who plays Bass (electric & acoustic), Guitar (electric & acoustic), Vocals, Drum Sequencing & Midi. He is also a Producer and Engineer for Hit Machine Studio in Orrville, Ohio. “There are more than 20 very talented artists from Canton, Akron, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Rochester, New York.  Some of them are recording artists and national performers in their own right.  I would especially like to send a shout out to producer, drummer, and keyboardist Ben Parris of Nemesis Records/Maskaraid Group.”

Keyboardist Ed Marthey concurs with Conway’s assessment. “I am actually surprised at how the new CD came out,” offered Marthey. “There are world class performances by musicians more than good enough to be making a living at it. The recording quality is top-flight too. It was recorded in a room the size of a postage stamp, but sounds like we rented Caribou for six months.”
Conway was also quick to point out Marthey’s invaluable aid in the project. “Ed has considerable contributions to the album,” stated Conway. “He wrote one of the songs, Philosophy 101, and played keyboards on several other songs.  His contribution was crucial to the finished product.”

Marthey also gave Conway high marks. The two have known each other nearly their whole lives and have played together at various times over the course of four decades. “Chris is an amazing talent, and we work together well,” Marthey flatly stated. “We started recording together in 1985. Our process involves a lot of back-and-forth interaction, and by that I mean arguing. I think it’s because our tastes differ so much that we write such good music.”
The Visitors’ new CD, ‘…Just Visiting’ are available at Contax, by calling 330-682-1156, Facebook messaging, or emailing Conway (      .  Also digital downloads are available on Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and several others.
On another front, The Visitors will be playing an annual gig in November that Conway has been instrumental in for 15 years, the annual Concert & Jam Session in Orrville, OH featuring The Visitors along with The Usual Suspects & the Josh Snyder Band in concert with an all-out jam session.  For many people this one of the most anticipated music events each year in the north central Ohio region.

“I can’t even describe how excited I am about the concert on the (November) 23rd,” proclaimed Conway. “I’ll have the same basic band that appeared at the Rib Fest plus guest artists, ‘The Unusual Suspects’.  This show has the potential of being one of the best concerts Orrville has ever seen.”
“Anyone who has been to one of our Party/Jams will say that it’s something they look forward to all year- it’s the perfect mix of carry-in dinner, wild party, and live, local, kickass music, both prepared & otherwise,” enthused Marthey. “Linda & Lohn Kraft and Chris & Theresa Conway have been organizing these for about 15 years, and they’ve been held at the Sportsmans’ Club, the Orrville VFW and at private residences. We even threw one at the Apple Creek legion, at Jamie’s & my wedding reception.”
So what can those attending expect that night? “Expect a powerhouse 11-piece band playing some of the greatest music from the 70’s, 80’s, and select favorites off of the new CD,” responded Conway. “There will be dancing and amazing musical talent for those who just like to listen.  And let’s not forget the talents of the Josh Snyder Band.”

“People attending the party/jam can expect excellent food, a crowd of their friends, two bands that will cause damage to the bedrock beneath the VFW, and bunches of special guests,” revealed Marthey. “The Visitors will rock almost the same lineup we had for the Orrville Rib & Music Fest, but with a song list almost twice as big & funky. Too, anyone who hasn’t heard the new Josh Snyder Band CD will be pleasantly surprised by the development of this truly great band. I think they have big things in their future.”

“One other person who should be mentioned as a tireless contributor to all the Party/Jams so far is sound engineer Jim Snyder- he also ran sound for the 35 OHS reunion,” stated Marthey. “The boy good.”
Marthey also had an invitation to extend. “Musicians, bring your axes!” stated Marthey. “After the sets by us & JSB, we will be opening up the stage to players. Bring your ‘A’ game y’all!”
The Visitors/Josh Snyder Band concert will be held on Wednesday November 23 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars located at 430 W. Market Street in Orrville, OH. Tickets are only $10.00 each and available by contacting Contax (, or on-site at Gary’s Drive Thru, Mrs. J’s and Crown Investments.

For more info visit:






In addition to Chris Conway & The Visitors, Ed Marthey also plays in the bands Liquid Sky and Outlaws I & I as well as solo gigs. Here is Marthey’s upcoming schedule of gigs:
November 3……. Montavino’s – Wooster, OH……………Solo
November 11….. The Mix – Cleveland Hts., OH …………Outlaws I & I
November 12 …. Montavino’s – Wooster, OH ……………Solo
November 18 …. Wing Warehouse – Cleveland, OH ….. Outlaws I & I
November 23 …. Orrville VFW – Orrville, OH …………… The Visitors
November 26 …. Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH …………… Outlaws I & I

Outlaws I & IOUTLAWS I & I

(c)2011 Doc Lehman


EDDIE MARS: Ohio 70’s Bands

May 16, 2011



NOTE: Click on thumbnails to enlarge!

So here’s the scenario. You grow up in the rock ‘n roll era of the 1960’s & 1970’s with ‘the gift’, a gift of musical talent and you utilize that gift, that passion to become a professional musician, a dream that many had during that time period when everyone wanted to be a rock star. And now, today, all these years later, 35 years later to be exact, not only are you still a working professional but after immersing yourself in all the musical programs offered during your high school years of the 70’s, you are about to return to play for your former classmates. Such is the case of keyboardist Ed ‘Eddie Mars’ Marthey of the small town of Orrville, OH, known far and wide for Smucker’s jelly and (in)famous basketball coach Bobby Knight.

Marthey, a seasoned pro who’s pretty much seen and done it all, is going to do what more than one has thought about over the years, bring his band, Liquid Sky, to play for his former classmates for the 35th class reunion, in this case the Orrville High School (OHS) Class of 1976’s 35th reunion that will be held September 16-17 this year.

Ed Marthey hammering the keys in high school.

“I am totally psyched about playing our reunion,” stated Ed Marthey recently, one of Orrville’s successful and highly talented musical sons. “Playing gigs are about the only thing in this world that don’t make me anxious. I don’t get stage fright. The scariest parts of any club show for me are A) the restroom, and B) getting paid at the end of the night. This is not just another gig, but I have so much confidence in these guys’ ability to rock a place inside-out, playing the gig is the least of my worries.”

Having attended high school with Marthey and watching him perform, especially back in the days of the 70’s and 80’s, it’s always been clear that he has the knowledge, talent and aptitude for all things musicial. His tastes in music, even back then, were varied. He has a true appreciation and vast knowledge for the art. Even back in the 60’s and 70’s I knew that Orrville had produced a lot of many talented musicians, several who went on to become professionals like Ron Jarvis, Jack Schantz, Randy Coole, Marthey and others. Must be something in the water, or maybe in the jelly!

When the 35th Orrville High School Class of 1976 Reunion committee starting planning the reunion for later on this year it was decided that instead of pre-programmed music the reunion should feature what we all grew up with, namely live music. Attending rock concerts and buying albums and 8-Track tapes was the norm back then. Live music flourished then whether it meant attending concerts in Akron, Canton andClevelandto the high school gym to local watering holes and other rented venues. I remember attending more than one concert in farmer’s fields!

Ed "Alice Bowie' Marthey

So it was decided that a live band would be appropriate. After all, we grew up with live music so, at this stage of our lives we might as well rock it one more time before all the rocking we do is in rocking chairs!

And if you’re going to hire a band to play, why not hire a professional one that features a member of your own graduating class? Hence, Liquid Sky, Marthey’s current band based in Akron will be spotlighted at the reunion in September. It seems appropriate.

Liquid Sky is a group of five very talented men who have crafted a show which has something for everyone, particularly those who want to rock. The band specializes in music that most other rock-n-roll bands don’t usually play while keeping it highly danceable. In short, they are rock without apology.

“It feels good!” exclaimed keyboardist Ed Marthey of Liquid Sky, of the prospect of playing in front of his former classmates. “I really think our class will have the funnest reunion ever. We’re the rock ‘n roll generation, the kids today are still listening to music from our time! And we’re playing it and not just the songs every cover band plays, but because of the combined talents of these musicians we can perform songs that will totally rock the joint to smithereens.”

Ed Marthey during his CONTRABAND days

Liquid Sky consists of Marthey, Ben Powers, Brad Johnson, Bruce Lindamood and Chip Maggio.

“This is the most talented bunch of guys I’ve ever worked with,” continued Marthey. “Our bass player is Ben Powers, who is the current drummer for the P-Funk All Stars (formerly Funkadelic) and our singer, Brad Johnson, amazed everyone at the most recent party/jam at the Sportsmen’s Cabin last November by belting out ‘Over the Hills & Far Away’ and ‘The Ocean’ by Led Zeppelin. This band started out as a Dream Theater tribute band, then began to learn big nasty rock songs from the ’70s & ’80s. We do some Yes, some Journey, a bunch of Zeppelin, some Genesis,Styx, Floyd, Rush, Foreigner, Golden Earring, Living Colour.”

“Regarding live music versus someone’s ipod loaded with bubblegum and country, there will be no comparison. I’ve missed some reunions because I knew there would be taped music and probably music that I hate. I’m hoping everyone in our class still alive will show up and groove with us, because I truly believe that this will be our best reunion ever!”

During high school Marthey played and participated in all the musicial entities offered by the school, learning musical technique, theory and exploring the musical worlds of not only rock ‘n roll but classical music, jazz, the list goes on. His tastes are wide and varied and he knows what he likes. And doesn’t. And he has never been afraid to express his opinions.

He may not remember but I can recall once telling him about the virtues of one of my all time favorite bands, Mott The Hoople back then, and Ian Hunter when he went solo after Mott split. Marthey would have none of that as I recall him stating they were average at best. I was shocked and dismayed! Marthey liked bands like Yes, I liked Mott The Hoople. But even though they still remain one of my all time favorites, one couldn’t help but respect what Marthey had to say because he had the training, knowledge and gift of being able to play music. Any type of music.

Ed Marthey (far left) & Roger 'Mouse' Greegor laying it down

Other than fiddling around with a bass guitar and being in a short-lived rock band called the Poorboys (with a tip of the hat to John Fogerty) in junior high at John R.Lea Intermediate School, the only musical talent I have ever had was playing a jukebox. And try finding one of those these days!

“Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendricks,” were the names Marthey offered when asked who had inspired him outside of high school. He was also quick to point out the fellow musicians, his peers, who inspired him in high school.  “Jack Schantz, Chris Conway, Mouse Greegor, Randy Coole.”

Marthey also retains many special memories of the OHS music programs he was involved in.

“Every year on the last day of summer marching band pracitice, one team of us would grab band director Don Carpenter, walk him up to the pool and throw him in,” recalled Marthey. “While another crack team of commandos would break into his VW van and push it somewhere several blocks away and hide it. One time they wedged it between two trees.”

“My favorite teacher: the late Perry Hosmer, our jazz band director and teacher of music history and music theory. He inspired generations of OHS musicians with his knowledge, humor & stories. He once played in the Kay Kaiser band in the ’40s.”


As was pretty much the case at every high school around the country during the 70’s Marthey was in his share of bands with fellow Orrville and Wayne County musicians, of which there was an enormous talent pool at the time.

“In 1973 I joined Magwich Applebee, a band that practiced on (Bob) Shiflett’s front porch on Crown Hill Road in Orrville,” remembered Marthey. “Bob Shiflett on rhythm guitar, Marty Wilson on drums, Steve Hanna on bass, and Jerry Kirven and a drifter/hippie from out of town named Detroit Buchanan on dual lead guitars, and Johnny Kirvin singing. Oh yeah, Bob Weygant ran around in a sparkly shirt and played tamborine. We played Orr Park after the fireworks in ’73 until about 1:00 AM on the main diamond to a huge crowd.”

“Magwich Applebee was around for a couple years. We played several times at that crazy bar inMassillon, and of course a bunch of parties. I think it broke up when lead guitarist Detroit Buchanan took off drifting again. He had ass-length hair, one pair of holy jeans, and a psychedelically painted Gibson SG with strings so old they were rusty. He was very charismatic and fun to hang out with.”


“We also played a few times at Kimpean’s Cafe inMassillon. By that time Billy Hendricks was on drums. I think Billy and I were 16 and they let us drink there. Billy would order about nine kinds of booze in the same glass and one night mid-song he turned around and puked a torrent of red stuff all over our cases. That place was a trip, complete with real prostitutes.”

“I think the next band that actually played gigs was The Winged Spaniel Threat. Later on it became Contraband which that was ’78 – ’79. It was a horn band that did lots of weird stuff like ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Time’ by Floyd, Brian Auger, ‘Earache My Eye’ by Cheech and Chong, ‘I’m The Slime’ by Zappa. We played Columb’s, the Red Baron, Sportsmen’s Cabin, a bunch of parties. Mike Sommers on guitar, Henry Bevins on bass,  Mouse Greegor on drums, Dean Lambert on trumpet, Danny Sauers & Steve Barkey on saxes.”

From then on Marthey was in a succession of bands, nearly everyone remembered to this day by those who appreciated live music.

CONTRABAND in action!

“The next band I was in started in ’79, Transit, with Billy on drums, Phil Dalessandro on guitar, Vinnie Carpenter on bass and the late Dean Lambert on lead vocals,” revealed Marthey. “We played at Columb’s, Wilmot Tavern, bunches of parties. We did Floyd, Hendrix, Tull, Jeff Beck, and a lot of obscure songs by Free, Spooky Tooth, Nils Lofgren. This band actually played Caskey’s for your brother’s birthday party, a B.O.T. production!”

Caskey’s Family Campground & RecreationCenteris where the OHS Class of ’76 35th reunion will take place.

“In ’80 I joined up with Rick Ciconnetti, Matt Chastain, Henry Bevins and a female lead singer whose name i can almost remember, we were called Crossfire,” Marthey continued. “We did Genesis, Yes, Tubes, Police, Lover Boy, Men At Work, and even ‘Blinded By Science’ by Thomas Dolby. We played the Theatrical inWoostera few times, some roadhouse down by Loudonville called something like the Wagon Wheel, parties of course, and some clubs I can’t quite remember!”

“From ’81 – ’83 I managed Groucho’s in Orrville and wasn’t in any bands. In ’84 Ron Jarvis came by the bar one night and mentioned that the reggae band he was in needed a keyboard player. I auditioned a few days later and got the gig. We rehearsed in Bob the Conga Player’s basement in Shaker. I often stayed for days with two of the guys just off Coventry. We decided to call the band First Light, and for the next 14 years it was a full-time job.”

“Carlos Jones, now of the PLUS Band, sang lead and wrote most of the songs, probably upwards of 100 in all. Chopper played guitar & bass; Gino Long played bass & guitar; Bob Caruso on congas & percussion; and Rod Reisman (now with the Prayer Warriors & Outlaws I&I) on drums. At first we had a trumpet player named Steve Maurer, when he left we hired Rob Williams, now of the Afro-Cleveland Orchestra & Ernie Krivda Trio, on saxes & flute.”

With First Light Marthey was living the dream as a musician, playing gigs at high profile establishments all over northeastOhio, going on the road and making recordings.


“We played an average of 250 dates a year, mostly on the road,” explained Marthey. “We played from Michigan down toSouth Carolina and over to the East Coast from the Carolinas up toMaine. In Cleveland our home base was Peabody’s in Cleveland Heights and we held the attendance record at Peabody’s DownUnder in the Flats for years. Until we broke it again. We did Tommy’s inRocky River, Quinn’s Live on the extreme east side, Cheers, Hank’s and The Phantasy inLakewood.”

“In the Flats we played Biggie’s The Basement, Fagan’s, Downunder, Splash, the Nautica, Shooters and a lot of colleges. We were big in Bowling Green, Athens, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Kalamazoo and so many other places I can’t remember.”

The band also played gigs with some national and internationally known bands and performers. The list is impressive to say the least.

“We opened for The Clash, The Wailers, Eek-A-Mouse, Augustus Pablo, Steel Pulse, Taylor Dayne, Meatloaf, Ziggy Marley, Yellowman,Third World, Aswad, Al Stewart, Donovan, Toots & The Maytals, Burning Spear and others,” said Marthey.

Ed 'Eddie Mars' Marthey

The band also spent considerable time in the studio.

“We did five recordings,” stated Marthey. “A vinyl EP called ‘Musical Uprising’ in ’85, a CD titled ‘Meltdown!’ in ’87. We also recorded and released two cassette albums, ‘The Official Bootleg’ and ‘Live At The Empire. In ’94 we released ‘Groove Telepathy’, which had two songs of mine on it and I designed the cover.”

“We broke up in ’98. During this time I was also writing and performing songs with Chris Conway in the Visitors. We played OrrPark on July 4 a few times, Rehm Pavilion and some other places and parties.”

One of Marthey’s fondest memories of that time was when the band opened for The Clash at Cleveland Public Hall.

Marthey then pursued a solo career as well.

“I began to play solo after that,” said Marthey. “I’d been playing weddings since high school.”

In fact, he played at  my brother’s first wedding.

“I had a regular Saturday night gig at the Clarion River Lodge inCook Forest,Pennsylvaniafor over a year,” continued Marthey. “I also played Woogel’s in Woosterand the Starboard Side in Orrville.”

“I moved to Boulder with my then-wife for six years starting in 2000, right after I recorded my first solo CD, ‘Springtime On Mars’. I played solo, worked in three different bands, and had a job at Kinko’s out there.”

“We moved back here in ’06, and I was immediately beseiged with offers to join bands. I got my solo sets up and running and began playing at the Montavino in Wooster regularly.”

Lost Highway

“Soon after that I joined Lost Highwaywith Chris Conway on bass, Mojo Edwards on guitar, Ben Powers on drums and George Bersch on lead vocals, harp & acoustic. We didn’t play very often because we were all so busy. The last time that band played out was last August (2010) at the Orrville Rib Cookoff.

“When Mojo left the band, Ben said he was in a great prog band that needed keyboards. I joined (Liquid Sky) after one rehearsal. Ben Powers on bass, Bruce Lindamood on guitar, Chip Maggio on drums, and Brad Johnson on lead vocals. We’ve rehearsed for a year and a half, and the crowd at the Tap House loves us. We’re talking with an agent now, with the intent to break into Cleveland & beyond.”

For the past year or two, Marthey has been a busy man on a mission.

“Last winter i got a call from Gino Long, from First Light, with an offer to play with him and Chopper in a reggae/rock band called Outlaws I & I  featuring Butch Buchanan on lead vocals and Spanky Carter on drums,” explained Marthey. “We’ve played clubs all over Cleveland. Recently Spanky left and we put in Rod Reisman of First Light on drums. Recently we did our first show with Rod, and it was so slammin’ I thought the Maple Grove would implode. Our next gig is May 28 at some club inMadisonand May 30 at WhiskeyIsland, the club, not the island!”

Recently Marthey made a musical connection with yet another Orrville talent, a generation younger, but an exceptional talent.

“About three months ago I got a call from Gretchen Pleuss to play in her band,” commented Marthey. “I jumped at the opportunity. She writes her own songs and has a strikingly beautiful voice. We’ve rehearsed twice a week since then , and recorded a demo. We had some bookings, but yesterday Gretchen called a meeting and put the band on hiatus while she figures out what she wants to do in life. She’s 20 and just finished school. Hopefully before too long we’ll take up again. Until then she’s playing solo, with me doing duets with her occasionally.”

“Which brings us right up to today. The Visitors are getting back together, we’ll play the Orr Rib-off an August 12. Chris is releasing a new Visitors recording soon. The first since the cassette album we recorded in ’87. I’m doing the CD cover for that and there is a host of unbelievably good players contributing their talents on it.”

So in addition to the busy schedule of gigs with current band Liquid Sky, Marthey has a full plate of gigs that will keep him busy this year. He joined Liquid Sky a year and a half ago and hasn’t looked back. “Like I said, this is the most talented bunch of guys I’ve ever worked with.”

The Orrville High School Class of 1976 will be holding their 35th Class of ’76 Reunion on September 16-17, 2011. The activities will kick off on Friday evening September 16 at Orrville High School prior to the annual Homecoming Football game for a tailgate party and will continue on Saturday September 17 with an all day and evening gathering at Caskey’s Campground & Recreation Center located northeast of Orrville where OHS Class of ’76 alum Ed Marthey & Liquid Sky will be performing.

For more information on Liquid Sky visit their Facebook page at: LIQUID SKY

For more information on the OHS Class of ’76 35th Reunion visit the reunion website at: OHS Class of ’76 Reunion

NOTE: LIQUID SKY will be performing at Ripper Owens’ The Tap House in Akron on June 11, 2011!

(c) 2011 Bangagong/Doc Lehman


Power To The People, Baby!

October 22, 2008
We were front page news!

We were front page news!

Seeing that Free John Sinclair Rally poster (below) made me think back to a time in high school when many of us, as the hippie activism days began to wane, would get all worked up over perceived injustices. 36 years ago this month (October 1972) a large group of students at Orrville (Ohio) High School (myself included) got fed up with the strict dress code that was enforced at that time. Girls had to wear dresses or skirts, no pants and certainly no jeans. Boys could not have their hair over their collars. You get the picture.


After several of the girls made polite inquires about allowing girls to at least wear pantsuits was denied, one girl, Debbie L., showed up one day in a pair of jeans only to be confronted by the assistant principal. That resulted in Debbie being told by the assistant principal to go home. Word spread quickly throughout the school to all of us ‘hippie-types’ and emotions became heated. At the same time the black kids at the high school wanted a black girl chosen for the homecoming court (believe me, there were plenty of beautiful black girls at OHS then!). Things all came to a head that October day and a walk out (referred to as a ‘riot’ by administrators… it wasn’t) occurred.


Between the two issues that bubbled up that day, and with ‘unofficial coordination’ and inspiration by several young ladies at school (like Cindy M., Debbie L., Kay S., Vicky C., and Gail W., primarily) approximately 60 of us walked out of school and staged a protest in the city park next to the high school. Word quickly made it to the Wayne County Joint Vocational School and many of the Orrville students there left school and came back to town and joined us. Even the local media showed up.

We’ll let my pal, Cindy M., (Cid-Mor) explain, as she was one of the ‘ringleaders’ who had the guts to help initiate things:


“Debbie L., had worn a pair of blue jeans to school and the assistant principal had pulled Deb’s long hair and told her to go change. Well, the rebels that we were, it pissed us off and staged a ‘riot’. Many of us left the school building and went to the pavilion at the park. I guess the ‘joint’ (Wayne County Joint Vocational School) got wind of it and they left school, too. Pretty soon we had a lot of kids there.”


“Well, at that time there was also something else happening at the high school. It was football season and homecoming time. The black kids wanted a black girl on the homecoming court. Well, why not? Seemed it was just a popularity contest as the ‘smart’ rich kids were always on it. Well, they (the black kids) walked out too. In the end we got to wear jeans but they stopped having homecoming after that.”


The next day school administrators met and suspended most of us that participated for four days. Eventually the student council and administrators met, read our ‘demands’ and alterations were made to the dress code. Girls could wear jeans and the guys could grow their hair a bit longer. So, thanks to the initial efforts of Cindy M., Debbie L., Kay S., Vicky C., and Gail W., students at OHS got to dress and look like kids everywhere else.


The bad part of it was homecoming being cancelled from that point on because school officials feared a ‘race riot’ which was ludicrous because at that time in particular almost all of the black and white kids got along great. Hell, they all grew up together and any issues were usually personality driven, not race driven. Remember, there was still the buzz of peace, love & understanding in the air at that time and we were all ‘brothers and sisters’.


As for consequences at home, my parents weren’t too happy but I was never ‘punished’. Caught some hell for a few minutes but that was about it. Cindy M.’s parents never found out at the time. As she explains:


“I got up and acted like I went to school along with some buds and one of my friends stayed home and of course in the mail came the suspension notices for our parents. My friend got in my mailbox and got mine before my parents could see it. What a great friend (Kay S.)! My parents never knew until about 10 years ago (laughing)!”


By the time I got out of high school four years later I believe I may have had the longest hair in the high school and everyone pretty much wore what we wanted.

In the words of my pal Cindy M: “What a long strange trip it’s been….”


Favorite Books Of My Youth Pt. 5

October 13, 2008

When word came out that this book, Ian Hunter’s Diary Of A Rock And Roll Star (titled Reflections Of A Rock And Roll Star here in the States), would be published in 1974 I literally haunted books stores, record stores and head shops for several months until I finally came across a copy either at (faulty memory here) Camelot Music in Akron or Arsenic & Old Lace in Akron. I read it several times over the ensuing months and next several years and it took a proud slot in my library at the time.

The book was originally published in 1974 and Ian Hunter chronicles Mott The Hoople’s November-December 1972 tour of the United States right after All The Young Dudes LP was released. It’s an inside look at touring and the rock ‘n roll lifestyle in 1972 and Hunter…ahem…rolls away the stone and leaves everything exposed that entails life on the rock ‘n roll road. It was critically acclaimed.

Unfortunately by the end of the decade it was gone, loaned to an acquaintance to never be seen again despite having loaned it to over a dozen people in the preceding years (Mott The Hoople were big time in Orrville, OH back then, especially from 1972-1975).

But one day in the winter of 1996 the wife and I stopped in Canton, OH at the Quonset Hut store and as I’m walking down an isle of CD’s there in a big display is a reissue (import) of Diary Of A Rock And Roll Star! I had no idea they reissued it but I immediately purchased it! Even today, it is among my other books and is still shrink wrapped! I haven’t even opened it in 12 years!

That is going to change in the next week or so, as soon as I find a spare evening I’m going to open it up and read it once again, for the first time in nearly 30 years. I think I was afraid to peel open the shrink-wrap and read it for fear it would be lost again. But I’m willing to chance it….!

A Blast From The Past

September 22, 2008

A ‘vintage’ flyer for the rock band SMOKE N ASH, a 70’s rock band based in the Orrville-Canal Fulton, Ohio area. Courtesy Cid-Mor. See the previous entry on SMOKE N ASH for more details on the band.


Me & The Guys: Rediscovered 60’s Gem

September 13, 2008
Ohio In The '60s Vol. 2

Psychedelic States: Ohio In The 60’s Vol. 2

Ever since The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show I have been a rock ‘n roll fanatic and whether the bands were from England, the USA or down the street, if it was good rock ‘n roll I was in. Back in the mid-1960’s I was too young to go check out any local bands but through my older brother and sister I would hear about them and one in particular, Me & The Guys, impressed me as a kid because they were from the next town over (Wooster, Ohio) and they had a record out!
Somewhere around 1966 my older sister and friends went to the north end of Wooster to the Lazy J Ranch, a camp grounds, to check out a local rock band (we used to have family reunions there). They were called Me & The Guys and Cheryl brought home a new 45 single that the band released, I Can’t Take It. The B Side was a tune called Why Can’t You Be True? Needless to say, it got played at our house. I would also assume that local radio station WWST (now known as WQKT) played it.
I always wanted to see the band but never got the chance. I can recall being soooo impressed that a band located here in humble Wayne County, Ohio had a rock ‘n roll record out. They had to be big time!
The band, made up of Wooster High School students, started out in 1964 as the Cobras before changing their name to the Ascots. They finally settled on Me & The Guys and played high school dances and the like. They also had a regular gig at the Lazy J Ranch that was a popular destination for Wayne County teenagers back then. (In ’77 the campground changed ownership and was renamed Beck’s Family Campground. It is now known as the Lazy B Ranch.)
Members of the band included Bill Ross on guitar, Joel Culp on guitar, Tom Taylor on bass and Steve Young on drums. By the time the fall of 1967 rolled around three of the band members went off to college and the band disbanded. There are reports they regrouped for a one-shot reunion gig in 1977. Joel Culp went on to gain some notoriety as a member of the famed Buckeye Biscuit country-rock band in the 70’s.
The record has since been lost to time but a recent conversation with a fellow local rock historian got me to thinking about the record and the band so I did a little searching and found out that Why Can’t You Be True was re-released in 2005 on a compilation CD called, Psychedelic States: Ohio In The ’60s Vol. 2. This CD is made up of songs from various Ohio-based garage bands from the 1960’s and Me & The Guys are represented with the aforementioned Why Can’t You Be True?
So Amazon here I come. And another chance to relive my childhood!


A scan of an autographed copy of the band's 45-single released in 1966. Pic (c) (see link at right).

A scan of an autographed copy of the band’s 45-single released in 1966. Pic (c) (see link at right).



‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt.1

September 7, 2008

Terry Knight of Terry Knight & The Pack

Way back in the early 1960’s at the Atlantic-Richfield gas station on West Market Street in my hometown of Orrville, Oh ‘sock hops’ were held during summer evenings. I was too young to attend but my older brother and sister went to them. A couple years later a couple dances with live bands were held in the parking lot on the north side of Smith’s Grocery on South Main Street and even though I was too young to attend I do remember one dance in particular, circa 1966, that my sister and her best friend attended that featured Terry Knight & The Pack.


Dad & Mom drove Cheryl and her friend, also named Cheryl, in to Orrville and dropped them off at Smith’s while the rest of our family went several blocks away to my uncle and aunt’s home until the dance was over. Another uncle & aunt were there so eventually a cousin and myself walked up Oak Street to Main Street to Clyde Matthew’s Union 76 gas station to get a bottle of Pepsi. Several blocks south we could hear the music so we decided to walk down and take a peak.


Once we got near Smith’s Grocery (we were across the street and intimidated by all those rowdy teenagers) we hung around for about a half hour and watched the band and the high schoolers having a good time before walking back to our uncle’s.


After the dance both Cheryls walked up to where our uncle lived and man were they exited! Terry Knight & The Pack (never heard of them prior to that night) had a couple records being played on Cleveland radio and to the two Cheryls they were big stars! You’d have thought they died and went to heaven (they had some of their 45 singles).


Fast forward to 1971 and I’m a typical male teenager into Grand Funk Railroad. I knew they were managed by Terry Knight but imagine my surprise when, after reading various articles and interviews with Mark, Don and Mel in Creem, Circus, Hit Parader and Rolling Stone I discovered that Grand Funk’s Mark Farner and Don Brewer were in Terry Knight & The Pack! Cripes, I saw 2/3 of Grand Funk Railroad several years prior and didn’t know!


Not long after that discovery I was able to catch Grand Funk Railroad in concert in Cleveland and I think somewhere around ’73 or ’74 I caught them in Indianapolis when a carload of us went to see them.


Terry Knight, from Flint, MI, was a DJ in the early 60’s (including a stint at the legendary CKLW and credited as the DJ who broke the Rolling Stones in the USA – some referred to him as the ‘Sixth Stone’) before deciding to become a ‘rock star’. He started Terry Knight & The Pack in 1965 and served as frontman and singer with Don Brewer on drums, Mark Farner on bass, Carl Johnson on guitar and Bobby Caldwell on keyboards.


At least a half dozen of their records made the Top 40 regionally (Detroit, Cleveland, New York) and among the singles were Mister, You’re A Better Man Than I, I (Who Have Nothing), This Precious Time, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Tears Come Rollin’, How Much More, Better Man Than I, and the song they are most identified with, A Change On The Way.


Soon after Farner took over as lead guitarist.


The band was big in Cleveland and appeared numerous times on Don Webster’s UPBEAT TV show and throughout the region opened for bands like the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Dave Clark Five and others.


By the end of ’67 Knight left for a solo career as a singer (that failed) and producer (that succeeded). As a producer/manager he helped put together Grand Funk Railroad with Farner, Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher in 1968 and took them to the top before a major falling out in 1974 that resulted in Knight more or less retiring from the music business.


Knight, born Richard Terrance Knapp, was born April 9, 1943 and was tragically murdered on November 1, 2004 by his daughter’s boyfriend. The boyfriend, out of control on drugs, was fighting with his daughter when Knight stepped in to protect her. He was stabbed 17 times.


I always thought my first ‘big time’ concert was Alice Cooper in Akron after that band made it big (I had seen them prior to becoming superstars at Chippewa Lake Park) but perhaps, in retrospect, my first was really Terry Knight & The Pack.

As far as I know the next ‘big time’ name band to play Orrville was Kim Simmonds’ Savoy Brown on September 1, 1979 at Wayne County Speedway.


Buying A DVD For All The Right Reasons

September 1, 2008

Not long ago my youngest son moved into his own apartment but not without first borrowing some DVDs as the cable company informed him it would be at least a week before they could stop by and install his cable for television. As he was going through our DVDs he brought in the movie SPEEDWAY starring Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra and asked why it was still sealed and unopened after I explained I bought it a couple years ago for $4.99. He also asked why I would want that movie as even a 25-year-old knows that the majority of Elvis films aren’t….well, they just aren’t that good.

There were several reasons to purchase SPEEDWAY. I saw the movie in the Orr Theatre in Orrville, OH back when it was released (released on June 12, 1968) and it holds nostalgia for me. It’s also a racing movie for crying out loud and features such legendary NASCAR drivers like Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Tiny Lund (those three I have met each at least once including having dinner with Cale), Buddy Baker, Dick Hutcherson and Roy Mayne.

Besides Elvis and Nancy Sinatra the cast also included Bill Bixby, Gale Gordon and Carl Ballentine and William Schallert.

(Sonny & Cher were offered the script first before landing in Col. Parker’s lap.)

The racing scenes were shot at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (I have been there several times) in Charlotte, NC and Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, CA.

You know the plot, Elvis is a race car driver and Bixby is his manager who squanders all the money and fails to pay the IRS. The IRS sends an agent (Nancy Sinatra) to investigate and recoup their money and insanity and hi jinx ensues with some forgettable Elvis tunes.

And then the wife interjected the history lesson I was giving my son.

“Tell him the real reason you bought that DVD!”

OK, OK…. It has Nancy Sinatra in it. N-A-N-C-Y S-I-N-A-T-R-A!

In miniskirts!

And go-go boots!

‘Nuff said!





















(Richfield) Coliseum Rock(ed)!

August 17, 2008
The Richfield Coliseum 1974 - 1994 20 years of the greatest rock 'n roll.

The Richfield Coliseum 1974 – 1994 20 years of the greatest rock ‘n roll!

 Back in the early 70’s for the most part all of us concert-goers went to see the big name acts at relatively smaller venues, like the Akron Civic Theatre, Cleveland Public Hall, Music Hall, Canton Civic Center and others. With the advent of arena rock concerts nationwide northeast Ohio got their own when in 1974 the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, OH, halfway between Akron & Cleveland and the brainchild of businessman and NBA franchise owner Nick Mileti, opened for business and served as home for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, WHA’s Cleveland Crusaders, NHL’s Cleveland Barons, MISL’s Cleveland Force, MISL & NPSL’s Cleveland Crunch, the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks, and the AFL’s Cleveland Thunderbolts.
Music, particularly rock ‘n roll, figured prominently into the mix thanks to an arrangement with Ohio super-promoters Belkin Productions. The first musical performance to open the Richfield Coliseum was Frank Sinatra. The first rock concert was held soon after with Elton John headlining on November 4, 1974. From there on out during the next two decades it was a non-stop carousel of nearly ever and any band that had a tour bus coming to play the ‘big house’ (seating 22,000).
It was a big, big place but, and others may disagree, for the most part the acoustics weren’t that bad (except anytime Aerosmith played). And me and my pals, and dates, and whoever else, were there for the best bands. For instance: KISS, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Who, J. Geils Band, Queen, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson, Rod Stewart, Thin Lizzy, Tubes, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Foghat, Starz, Sammy Hagar, Boston, Ted Nugent, Babys, Rick Derringer, Angel, Peter Frampton, Black Oak Arkansas, Journey, Michael Stanley Band, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Mother’s Finest, Heart, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, and the list goes on and on.
Most of my experiences were all positive. The police and security were pretty cool as long as you weren’t obvious or just a dumbass. There were plenty of restrooms with the mandatory pools of piss-on-the-floor of course and lots of eye candy and easy access to seats.
And you also had the opportunity over the years to see certain favorite bands multiple times.
Some of my memories of the Richfield Coliseum:
A big brouhaha immediately after the 1974 Elton John concert erupted when Richfield Zoning Commissioner Richard Crofoot went ballistic after seeing someone light up a joint during Sir Elton’s performance. He attempted to pass legislation to ban rock concerts at the Coliseum. He failed. It made all the local newspapers and regional and national rock publications.

My cousin Sue had two extra tickets to the Eagles in 1975 so I snatched them up for myself and a date. We ended up sitting next to my cousin and her date, a young fellow who eventually became a Mayor, State Representative and State Senator here in Ohio. (Dan Fogelberg, who recently passed, was opening act).

KISS mania had taken hold at high schools all across Ohio and everyone had KISS Alive and Destroyer. We hardcore KISS fans had everything they had done of course. For the March 9, 1976 KISS/Artful Dodger appearance at the Richfield Coliseum Flash and I went to the Ticketmaster location at the Belden Village Mall and bought three complete rows of seats. One row was around six rows below the other two rows. So we went to Orrville and sold most of them (at cost) to our pals (so we could control who we sat with). I had people in school (my senior year) who never spoke to me coming up asking if I had any tickets left and pleading for one. The power! A few tickets we gave away to some very charming young ladies and we kept two each. (I’d tell you the ‘details’ of that night but I have five grandchildren who may read this someday.)

Led Zeppelin on January 24, 1975 that saw a mini-riot erupt and thousands and thousands of dollars worth of broken window glass by a group outside who were unable to get tickets. That made the papers.

The Who on December 9, 1975. Nuff’ said.

I think I saw Aerosmith there at least four times at the Coliseum and only once was the sound working right and you could actually hear the band. Guess they were just jinxed there.
After a Ted Nugent/J.Geils Band show Bug, Mott & myself shaking hands with Peter Wolfe. As we came out of the Coliseum we walked by a couple limos and in the back of the first one with the window down was Peter Wolfe sitting between two lovely ladies with a drink in hand. We stopped, told him, “You guys kicked ass!” His response? “I know!” He slapped us each a high five and off we went.

I remember the Foghat/Starz show on February 20, 1978 because my pal Rog caught a flying drumstick from Foghat drummer Roger Earl. The two bands always kicked ass live.
I remember not expecting much out of Rod Stewart on November 4, 1977 because he didn’t have Faces with him (they were killer in ’75 at the Stadium). Wrong. Stewart kicked ass that night, had everyone out of their seats and had the audience n the palm of his hand.

Led Zeppelin on April 27 and April 28, 1977. Tickets were available via mail order only with a minimum number of tickets per order. So Flash and I got our money orders prepared and each ordered the maximum number allowed for both nights. We went to the Richfield Post Office and at midnight of the date orders could be postmarked we dropped our order in the mail (along with probably 100 others lined up). We got lucky and each got four tickets for both nights. First night was with dates, second night with buddies. The April 27 performance is a huge bootleg bestseller on the black market. Full details on this night can be found here:

New Year’s Eve 1977 was celebrated at the Richfield Coliseum seeing Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and Derringer. A friendly law enforcement officer stopped us on the way home and inquired about our health and sent us on our way after promises of getting to Orrville ASAP and staying there. Derringer owned the night.
I remember taking three or four people for their first Angel concert on March 8, 1978 and them being blown away by Angel’s stage show.

I remember the January 8, 1978 KISS concert at the Richfield Coliseum because it took 20-25 minutes to get there and after the show we went to the car to be greeted by a mountain of snow. We had two blizzards that year (the second one, even bigger, in March) and the night of KISS was the first one. It took nearly three hours to get home, dodging sliding cars going backwards down Route 21 past us as I kept the hammer down on the Cutlass trying to get up those big hills with what seemed like five feet of snow and more coming down. We made it back to Orrville and were snowed in for three days.

I remember seeing Alice Cooper again later that year in ’78 because that was the first concert my older sister Cheryl had ever been to (we broke her in with that one!). That was May 5 and Jay Ferguson opened. A good time was had by all, as is the case anytime you see Alice Cooper.

Boston and Sammy Hagar on my birthday in 1978. Boston was good but Sammy laid the smackdown.

In 1978 went to see Black Sabbath and Van Halen. Had heard maybe one or two Van Halen songs on the radio at that point and none of us that went gave them much thought. We were there for Sabbath. Result: Van Halen whipped Black Sabbath performance-wise and musically like a bastard redheaded stepchild.

New Year’s Eve 1978 at the Richfield Coliseum: Bruce Springsteen. Nuff’ said.
Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson on September 22, 1979. One of my favorite concerts at the Coliseum. Too many reasons to list. But what a night!

Ian Hunter & the late, great Mick Ronson

Ian Hunter & the late, great Mick Ronson

There’s more, lots more (Tubes, Babys), but you get the idea. I’d like to hear from others about their experiences at the Richfield Coliseum.

 I know I saw well over 100 bands there during the 70’s and very early 80’s. A couple performances I missed that I always regretted were not seeing George Harrison (’74) and Paul McCartney (’76) on their respective tours because tickets were mail order and my orders didn’t get picked. I also went as far as making plans to buy tickets to see Elvis in 1977. One of my cousins saw him at the Coliseum in ’75 and convinced me I had to see him at least once. But right before the Cleveland tickets went on sale he died.
Lots of good memories there and lots of good bands came through many times. I think I saw KISS there four or five times, Aerosmith the same, Alice Cooper four times, Fleetwood Mac four times, the list goes on….
With the opening of Gund Arena in Cleveland the Richfield Coliseum was doomed. It shut down in 1994 and in 1999 was demolished and the property returned to woodland and under stewardship of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  You can find more info here:  



August 13, 2008
Mott The Hoople ruled in north central Ohio in 1973.

Mott The Hoople ruled in north central Ohio in 1973.



One stadium venue that I, and many others, initially thought would make a great place for concerts was Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, OH. Spacious and, even better, close to home (somewhere around 15 miles east of Orrville.) We finally got our wish in 1973 when the Edgar Winter Group, James Gang and Frampton’s Camel all appeared at the historic stadium named for football’s greatest coach and home for an Ohio powerhouse team (Massillon Tigers).


It took promoters some time and effort to stage the concert as many politicians, and the police, were against rock concerts. Eventually the politicians relented and then Mayor Mark Ross signed a permit giving the green light. Over 12,000 people were in attendance for that inaugural concert on July 21, including Rick, Roy and myself. It went off without a hitch and we thought we would have another concert venue close to home for big name acts.


A week later, July 28, a second concert was scheduled, one I HAD to see! Mott The Hoople, one of my favorite bands of the 70’s (and still today) was coming to headline along with the New York Dolls and Dr. Hook. I think half of my hometown of Orrville, OH turned out for that one. Even Cid-Mor and Gail, two female rockers, hitchhiked from Orrville to Massillon to see Mott The Hoople. Everything seemed to go along just fine, the music was great, the Dolls were insane and Mott The Hoople just, plainly speaking, kick-ass. What a show!

Later we found out that there were an abundance of calls to the police for a variety of complaints and reasons (to wit; drug overdoses, 5 men injured, 1 car theft, 1 grand larceny, 1 attempted grand larceny, 28 calls for trouble and a fire!). The city fathers, and especially the police department, were not happy.



An infuriated Fraternal Order of Police organization went to the mat with the city council and got concerts banned from the facility.


One reason was an attempt by non-ticket holders who tried to force their way in. Apparently the fence that was blanketed with some kind of material to obstruct the vision of those on the outside was set on fire. It wasn’t until the middle of the night we discovered the arson was set by some pissed off Orrville rockers who couldn’t get into the sold out event to see Mott The Hoople.


Thanks mainly to WMMS radio in Cleveland, the Orrville, OH rocker population, and most rockers throughout Wayne County, had Mott The Hoople fever. We had all the albums, bought the 8-Track tapes, played their songs on the jukebox at Gene & Kate’s Pool Hall in Orrville, you’re damn right we’re going to see them.


Despite their best efforts, and a bit of arson, the friendly police persuaded (by their oncoming presence) Slick, Bug and the others to hightail it the hell out of there.


Paul Brown Tiger Stadium was constructed in 1949 through the Works Progress Administration program. It is primarily used for football and is the home field of the Massillon Washington High School. The stadium holds 16,600 and is named after former Tiger and famous football head coach, Paul Brown.



Paul Brown Tiger Stadium - Mott The Hoople ruled here for a day, a day the music ended at this venue.

Paul Brown Tiger Stadium – Mott The Hoople ruled here for a day, a day the music ended at this venue.



Akron Civic Theatre – Best Damn Rock Concert Venue

July 31, 2008

The 1970’s were my heyday of attending rock concerts. I went to tons of them throughout that decade and one of my favorite venues was the Akron Civic Theatre on Main Street in Akron, Ohio. The Akron Civic Theatre was, and is, a historic landmark theatre (built in 1925) and during the 1960’s and 1970’s rock fans were treated to some pretty tasty concerts.  Holding barely over 2,000 people (counting the balcony) the atmosphere was second to none (and the smell of ‘smoke’ was thick and permeated the historic grand old dame).
I started attending concerts at the Akron Civic Theatre around 1972 and over the years I saw such bands and performers at that intimate theatre like Suzi Quatro, Bruce Springsteen (a four hour show in ’75!), Glass Harp, Sammy Hagar, Starz, Artful Dodger, Foghat, Bad Company, Mahogany Rush, Triumph, Montrose, Todd Rundgren, BB King, Michael Stanley Band, Robin Trower, Sweet, Babys, Blue Oyster Cult and many others. I remember seeing Journey there three or four times, the first couple prior to Steve Perry joining.

One of the best shows I saw there was one of the first I attended, the December 19, 1972 Mott The Hoople concert with Fleetwood Mac opening. What an experience inside the Civic that night! I became a lifelong Mott The Hoople fan after that concert and immediately went out and bought all the albums I didn’t already have plus a couple imports.

In 1973 one of the highlights for me was seeing the J. Geils Band again after seeing them the previous year. They were even better and had the house rockin’! Lots of Orrville hometown people there that night.
One of my favorite concerts of all time at the Akron Civic Theatre was when KISS appeared there on April 8, 1975. Myself, Flash, Bug and Rick all went and this was the first time Bug and Rick saw the band. We sat in the third row, center stage and the whole evening was just heavy metal bliss. As you can see by the advertisement posted here the Heavy Metal Kidz opened the shows that tour (Flash and I and two dates saw them at The Palace in Cleveland a couple days later as shown in the ad) but at the Akron Civic Theatre that night Rush was added onto the bill.

Bug and Rick both commented after Rush’s performances that KISS had a challenge ahead of them trying to outdo Rush. Then KISS came on. KISS saw, they conquered and left the theatre victorious. Basically, after the show, Bug and Rick were, ‘Rush who?’. They became KISS Army members that night.
One cool thing about that night, which I only discovered a couple months ago, was that future KISS drummer Eric Singer (from Cleveland) was there that night as well and had front row seats! He was all of 17 years old. If he only knew what lay ahead for him! (Currently Eric Singer, still a part of KISS, is on tour with Alice Cooper). Who knows, the way those doobies were being passed up and down the isles maybe we shared a toke on one.

Another good one that year was on November 19, 1975 with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. I saw them again in Cleveland but that night at Akron Harvey was insane. He lived up to his reputation, we’ll put it that way.

Another highlight at the Akron Civic was on December 10 when Artful Dodger headlined. The band was great, the whole night was perfect and a lot of it had to do with the company I was keeping that night. Nuff said!
I’ll never forget those nights at the Akron Civic Theatre. Some nights it seemed like every rocker from Orrville was there. Akron used to really rock in the 70’s and we’d go to the Civic and the theatre at the University of Akron for shows and would often make trips up to visit Arsenic & Old Lace, a killer record shop and head shop where we often bought concert tickets.

That KISS concert memory came back to me twenty years later when attending Daytona International Speedway for the first time for a NASCAR race. The sheer force of the cars coming off turn four and down the front straight as you stand along the fence, at 200 MPH plus, is incredible with the pounding and vibrations against your chest so very evident and exhilarating. It was the first time I felt such a powerful force of noise physically since that April 8, 1975 night at the Akron Civic Theatre when KISS’ sound system beat the hell out of us. I can vividly remember the shockwave pounding on my chest from that stack of Marshalls and all those pyro explosions.
Damn, I miss those days!


With A Name Like Smucker’s The Beatles Have To Be Good!

February 18, 2008



Last night I had my annual viewing of The Beatles’ debut film, A HARD DAY”S NIGHT. For 20 years or so it has become a tradition at my home that at least once every winter I watch A HARD DAY”S NIGHT, my all-time favorite film. I’ve seen it countless times over the years on television and have had it on video since sometime in the 80’s. My wife bought the new deluxe DVD edition when it came out for me. 


The film was originally released on July 6, 1964 and served as an added rocket booster to Beatlemania, a force that was sweeping the world as this film was released, a film that has been credited with motivating young men (and women) all over the world to grow their hair long and start a band (just ask someone like Paul Stanley of KISS, to name one of hundreds, perhaps thousands).



When it came out way back in 1964 I can remember seeing it with my older sister, Cheryl, and cousin, Sue, at the Orr Theatre in Orrville, OH. The reason I was there to see it was in all likely hood my parents’ doing. My sister was a teenybopper and I think I may have been utilized during much of the 60’s to ‘spy’ on Cheryl in case she was with a boy at the movies. I can only recall her being with a guy maybe once or twice but I’d never tell! And didn’t! 


As far as what memories I have of attending A HARD DAY’S NIGHT that summer afternoon was seeing the Beatles on screen, the music but most of my memories that remain are the tremendous amount of teen age girls who were there (it was packed!) and VERY vocal! They were loud! And yes, it was Beatle-screaming. Kinda freaked this young kid out, you know? 


The magazine you see here was released during 1964 to help promote the movie and I guess act as a souvenir of sorts. I have a very hazy memory of seeing this magazine at my cousin Sue’s home (she bought all the music and teen magazines) and spending time going through all the pages more than once. 


Jump ahead 12 years and I am helping out a relative who was a painting contractor and one job we had was a Smucker home in Orrville. The home belonged to Mrs. Welker (Helen) Smucker on High Street. It was probably only five or six years since her husband, Welker, one of the sons of the founder of the J.M. Smucker Company, had passed on. Having never met Welker Smucker I nonetheless knew who he was by name and reputation.




In addition to his corporate work and ownership with his brothers and family in the Smucker’s jam & jelly company, Welker, like the rest of his family, was generous to a fault. The city and schools, among other entities (like Boys Village, the Orrville Boys & Girls Club, etcetera), have had tremendous benevolence bestowed to them by the entire Smucker family for generations now (it continues), and Welker was a leader in civic responsibility, especially when it came to children. His wife, Helen, was also one to show acts of kindness and I had first hand experience in that.


As we were preparing the basement, if you can call it that, as I was taken aback by the size and luxuriousness of it. It had been completely remodeled and consisted of several rooms, mainly as an activity and social room that their children, then grown, had used to entertain friends. Mrs. Smucker told me they used to hold dances and parties down there. 


The second day as we were taking a lunch break Mrs. Smucker came downstairs to check on our progress and to prepare some boxes, with items taken from a large cabinet, to be moved upstairs. When she asked me to carry the boxes upstairs I noticed on the top of one box laid a copy of the magazine you see here! I couldn’t believe it! I asked her if she minded if I took a look at it over lunch downstairs and she said that I could have it! She informed that all the items she removed from the cabinet downstairs and boxed up were going to the trash! 


I thanked her profusely! She couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about but I tried to explain it was a blast from the past for me, something that even in 1976 held nostalgia for me. To her it was just an old magazine and in the way. A couple years later I met her son Larry and related the tale about his mother, who had since passed. He just smiled and said, ‘That sounds like her!’ 


No, it doesn’t compare to the untold thousands, likely millions, of dollars the Smucker family has given, many times if not most times without seeking, asking or wanting any fanfare or glory. But it’s just a small, random act of kindness that I haven’t forgotten in over 30 years.





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Welcome To The Club

February 14, 2008

Welcome to my time traveling adventures.

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