Posts Tagged ‘Wayne County Ohio’

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‘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.

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More ME & THE GUYS

October 21, 2008
Wooster, Ohio's Me & The Guys perform at the Lazy J Ranch circa 1966. Photo courtesy George Gell.

Wooster, Ohio’s Me & The Guys perform at the Lazy J Ranch near Wooster, OH circa 1966. Photo courtesy George Gell.

Earlier last month we posted a story on the Wooster, OH based rock band Me & The Guys, one of the top bands in the mid 60’s in the Wayne County-Ashland County areas of Ohio. Formed in 1965 with members Joel Culp, Bill Ross, Steve Young and Tom Taylor, the band quickly became one of the region’s top bands and issued one single, I Can’t Take It b/w Why Can’t You Be True on the PLA ME Records label.

 

Throughout the two-year history of the band they played all over the region at schools, clubs and outdoor facilities (like the Lazy J Ranch north of Wooster, OH) and opening for such bands as The Music Explosion.

 

Recently writer/Ohio rock band historian George Gell, who wrote an in-depth article on the band for Rebel Teen Magazine back in 1989, did some slight editing and posted the story on the Buckeye Beat website. For anyone who grew up in north central Ohio or the Wayne County, OH area be sure and check it out. Good stuff and highly informative.

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Gene Carroll Show Remembered

October 13, 2008
Akron's Chrissie Hynde appeared on the Gene Carroll Show in the early 70's with her band JACK RABBIT before heading back off to England to eventually form The Pretenders.

Akron’s Chrissie Hynde appeared on the Gene Carroll Show in the early 70’s with her Akron-Kent based band JACK RABBIT before heading back off to England to eventually form The Pretenders.

Anyone who lived in northeast Ohio during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s is more than likely well aware of the Gene Carroll Show, a local variety/talent show that aired from April 1948 until sometime in 1979. First known as the Giant Tiger Amateur Hour, Carroll (April 1897 – March 1972) quickly morphed it into the Gene Carroll Show that aired every Sunday at noon and featured, well, ‘talent’. Some good, a lot of them bad and some of them very, very bad. I can imagine the line of pushy wanna-be stage mothers hauling their next superstars to Cleveland for their big break.

 

I didn’t watch it too often, too many accordion players for my tastes, too many baton-twirling majorettes and too many five-year-old tap dancers trying to become the next Shirley Temple, but the show had its moments as it occasionally presented local and regional rock bands. Think of the Gene Carroll Show, which was a big hit on WEWS TV 5, as a forerunner of American Idol.

 

The show is noted, however, for the first ever television performance of the Cowsill brothers in 1960, a few years prior to the family becoming ‘The Cowsills’.  Other notables who appeared included The Womack Brothers (Bobby Womack), U.S. Male, Jill Colucci who is a well-known songwriter, Candice Francisco, Canada’s The Crew Cuts and Jack Rabbit, an Akron-Kent area rock band featuring Chrissie Hynde prior to her return to England and eventual formation of The Pretenders.

 

Andrea Carroll (no relation to the host), who appeared semi-regularly on the show for about a decade, is now known as Andrea Hill, Ph.D., MFT. But during the 60’s, after a local release, she eventually landed recording contracts with labels like RCA, Epic and United Artists and toured with the likes of Stevie Wonder. She had several hits, especially locally, including Why Am I So Shy? That was recorded at age 16 with The Chiffons providing backing vocals.

 

I can vaguely remember one or two area bands from the Wayne County and Ashland County, Ohio appearing in the late 60’s and early 70’s but for the life of me I can’t remember the band names. I am almost positive one from Wooster appeared (Me & The Guys, maybe?).
Gene Carroll died in 1972 but WEWS standby star Don Webster, late of the popular Upbeat TV Show, took over as host and it stayed on the air until 1979.
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Gene Carroll Show mainstay Andrea Carroll's Big Top Records release in the early 60's.

Gene Carroll Show mainstay Andrea Carroll’s Big Top Records release in the early 60’s.

 

 

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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) Garagehangover.com (see link at right).

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

 

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MOTT THE HOOPLE: BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE

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

Mott The Hoople ruled in north central Ohio in 1973.

BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE

 

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.

 

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