Posts Tagged ‘Sly & The Family Stone’


‘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.


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

%d bloggers like this: