1977

  • Play audition night at CBGBs. Peter Crowley (booking guy at Max's) sees us and acts excited, but mysteriously disappears to England. We pass the audition.
  • We play at Max's Kansas City
  • September: We are asked to appear in a low budget exploitation film, "Punk". Fittingly, we play the "nice guy" band. The film is shot on location at CBGBs. The production company runs out of money and the film is never completed or released, but they do bring us into the studio. We record "Twanged If I Do, Twanged If I Don't" and some other song.
  • Other stuff happens

1978

  • We jam with Taiwainese Elvis impersonator Paul Parsley

1981

  • Party Boy/bw/Don't Let the Band Stop Playing released on Jimboco records
  • This list is pathetically incomplete. I wish someone with a memory, like Tom Milmore, would fill it in. And people in Hell want ice water, eh?

Some folks we've known, in no order:
Eventually, we'll try to arrange fruitless links/ e-mail addresses for some of the people mentioned here. Would you like that? Go ahead, contact 'em. They'll tell you they don't remember, or it didn't happen quite that way, but it did.


Jerid O'Connell: The original (some say best) Rousers drummer, Jerid was a highschool pal of Bill's and went back to childhood days with Tom Milmore. The conscience of The Rousers, Jerid had a fine sense of what was artless and stupid and what wasn't, as well as a dry sense of humor. The only Rouser never to live at the Clubhouse at 4 St. Marks Place, Jerid followed his own footsteps. An accomplished photographer (he studied with Philippe Halsman), Jerid briefly assisted rock photo dude Fin Costello. Jerid has now spent many, many years in the overpriced color corrections business, working with death merchants at all the major tobacco companies to bring you the glossiest possible looks for the dopey Newport ads. Surprisingly, he makes a bundle at it. Jerid has returned to his roots and currently lives in Westport, Connecticut with his lovely wife Linda, daughter Cody and son Ian. If he'd timed it better he'd be trading bimbos with Rodney Dangerfield, who moved from the neighborhood as Jerid moved in. Sigh. Jerid remains a true pal and one of the loveliest and funniest men you'll ever chance to meet.


John "The Profile" Hannah: John Hannah was the girl-crazy Rouser, and the work horse of the band. He booked shows, drove and maintained Haji, our Ford Econoline van, and in general had his heart and soul in the band. A sharp dresser, John was a trifle hard of hearing, which caused us no end of merriment. Last I knew John currently lives in NJ with his wife, mother-in-law and a daughter who is reputed to be an Olympic-level figure skater. Go USA, go John Hannah!


Jeff Buckland: Jeff Buckland was the original Rousers singer. A skinny native New Yorker, Jeff was truly humorous, a smart man with a great cartoonist's skill, tremendous personal style and an unusual vocal style somewhat akin to Roy Orbison, if less full. He had a lot of charm on stage. Jeff was the Rouser who liked the same soul music and R&B I liked. Jeff is also a talented songwriter, author of several great songs we used to rip up, including "Rock n Roll Hair","If You Wanna Be My Girl""Teleprompt Me, Sweetheart" and more. There were some unwise shenanigans between us, and we went back and forth, and eventually got sick of each other, I guess. When the band broke up around '82, it was good riddance; though no one holds any ill will today, we haven't seen each other in years. Jeff is currently married and has a son. He directs cartoon shows, which somehow seems just right. Good on you, brother.


Dashiki Boy: Danny Heeps and Mark Kamen were interested in managing The Rousers. We felt they were too inexperienced, and were profoundly disturbed by Danny coming to a rehearsal wearing a dashiki. How uncool! Always ready to shoot ourselves in the foot with a snap judgment, we politely gave them the bum's rush. Both went on to success in the music business. Go figure.


Andy Schwartz was the publisher of New York Rocker, an influential enthusiastic tabloid-style rock n' roll monthly (he took over from the late Alan Betrock). Andy was our first champion, including a rave about us in the editorial of the first issue. Last I heard he was in charge of bios over at Warners or RCA or some shit. A great fellow with a lot of soul and knowledge.


Brother Wayne Kramer: Wayne Kramer, celebrated guitar meister of the MC5 was a stable mate in Idlewild, the management company that handled us around 80-82. Wayne produced our single for Jimboco Records, and is a fun guy to know.


Andy Somers
Like David Geffen before him, Andy started out in the mail room at the William Morris Agency in New York, where he met Keith Rawls, who later teamed up with him to form Idlewild Management.  It was at their urging that Jerid and John were replaced with Sal and Brett. >Sniff!< After throwing up his hands and I don't know what else, Andy then went on to book blues acts (Alligator Records artists were big clients) with a nice man named Arnie, as well as some metal/thrash acts like Voivod, Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth.... Eventually, he started his own firm, Bandwagon, which did very well. He sold it to Triad or some such agency and moved to California where he has a wife, some kids, a big house and nothing but admiration for The Rousers. He still books many of the biggest acts in all rockdom, including Green Day, Social Distortion, The Ataris, Sum 41. A good all around smiley guy. All hail!


Robert "Mr. BeeBob" Rowland Bob was a booking agent in NYC, I don't know how we first met. He was our first manager, and was with us during the Michael Hatfield era (in fact I can recall a trip we took down to Philly with Mr BeBob and Michael and me in one car and the other in the other-- it was considered short straw to ride with Michael by then). I think it was after this trip that we bought Bob a satin baseball jacket at ,Trash & Vaudeville. I don't recall why we stopped doing business with Bob, could be the advent of Rawls and Co. At any rate, Robert is happily at TCI, a NYC bookin agency that handles national acts. He's a damn fine dude.


Greg Neu Greg was probably the first person I knew who owned an electric guitar, a sort of vanilla-colored Telecaster. Eventually we started a band for some highschool talent show. Greg was a bandmate to Tom Milmore, Jerid O'Connell and Bill Dickson in various highschool outfits, including Step'n'Fetchit, Eddie and The Tailfins, Billy Universe and The Satellites (can you name the movie that name is stolen from?). Greg wised up and went to college, then on to graduate school at Wharton. Meanwhile, we began playing as The Rousers, and Greg maintained a keen interest in our endeavors, recording and photographing us over several years until amassing the most complete Rouser archive known to mankind, including rehearsal tapes, live shows, and pics up the whazoo. While attending Wharton, Greg wrote a research paper, some organizational study, on the Rousers, which makes for a bittersweet read today as it painfully points up our arrogance, naviete and general stupidity. Kids. In the late 90s, Greg decided he'd made enough money being a business man (don't ask) and set about squandering it by again following his musical muse. He has since abandoned music for the moment, and we'll see what musical menace comes next.


Jimmy Gilmartin A lively, warm fellow and rabid record collector, Jimmy worked as a union scenic painter and through contacts got the famous Rouser Heart mascot thingy made (yep, it's Union Made!). I beleive we knew him because he dated the sister of Jeff Buckland's girlfriend at the time.


Jeff Grimshaw Jeff is a squirrely bastard, no question. A purveyor of so-called "outsider art", Jeff is a talented writer and sometime tunesmith. He was also at one time the boyfriend then husband of Tom's sister Susan, which is how he came to be the founder, editor and I don't know what all else of The Rousers Fan Club Zine, a sporadic bit of nonsense that made fun of the band and appeared in Crystal Drum, some wacky 'zine started by his demented NYU pals long ago. Among his great achivements is an amusing column for a Jersey paper titled "The Night The Rousers and Me Tried to Rip Off Yogi Berra", which detailed the evening when we went cruising for lawn jockeys to steal after playing The Place in Dover, NJ. I found a copy recently and will post a scan sometime. Meanwhile, find out for yourself what Jeff Grimshaw is about.


Cory Scott Whittier Among our first champions and a great pal, Cory, our vivacious downstairs neighbor at 4 St. Marks Place, at one time served as confidante, baby sitter, John Hannah's girlfriend and the Rouser's publicist. She worked tirelessly on our behalf and managed to get us good listings and the odd mention here and there. A truly lovely and lively woman. Last I knew, she was living in Hastings on Hudson or Dobbs Ferry and is married to cartoonist (and fancy New Yorker Cartoon Editor) Bob Mankoff, grown kids and everything. Cory, come home.


Comateens Among my hobbies is coming up with doofy names for bands. In the late 70s, the Rousers had a "sister band", the Comateens. The name came from a then-current NY Post headline: MAY LEARN HOW COMA MOM DIED! Mom morphed to teen, and inspired our little falsetto ditty "Won't you move closer, can't you little coma teen?" which Bill and John sometimes sang in glorious harmony. That's where the name came from, yep. UPDATE: What's old is new: 2008 NY Post Coma Teen headline
These dynamic gals saw how fucking easy it was to rock, and quickly made us look like spazzes. Jeff Buckland's girl Lynn Byrd was the synth player and Tom Milmore's girlRamona Jan (nee Janquito) was the guitar player. One of our pal's was Sophie Dembling, who later went out with the infamous Conan Thornhill, original singer of our 1st post-Weston band, The Cannibals (once pictured in ROCK SCENE MAGAZINE). Sophie's two brothers Nick Dembling and Oliver Dembling both joined the Comateens. They had some great songs ("Cool Chick") and did some great covers, "TCV15" and "Summer in the City" being memorable ones. While Ramona was with them, they recorded for Marty Thau's Red Star label. (The original lineup was Ramona, Nick Dembling and a rhythm machine. Lynn Byrd came a little later.) The Comateens went on to make several records, and are well known for their cover of the Munsters theme. Sadly, Oliver Dembling is dead.


Dizzy & The Romilars 1979-1982 Ramona was eventually "replaced" in the Comateens by Oliver Dembling, and so started another Dickson-named oufit, Dizzy & and The Romilars.They released an EP on Jimboco Records, "Elizabeth's Lover" Featured Angelo Zip (don't know his real name ) on bass, Val Ghent on synth, Ramona on guitar and vocals,Joe Klemmer on drums and and Bobby Riley, otherwise a drummer, also played guitar. Ramona produced a Jimboco Records single for local youngsters Nastyfacts (it's possible that Brad Craig was the son of Wendell "Wendy" Craig, who owned the studio where Ramona worked and we recorded the "Xmas Party" flexi-disc) which is much sought after today. Val Ghent also played with the pre-Nastyfacts Pandemonium.


Parke Puterbaugh Parke was a big rock and roll enthusiast and a co-worker at Oxford University Press who went on to work at Rolling Stone and wrote some books about beaches. Through him, I became acquainted with Connie (I wish I recalled her last name at the moment, she's a doll, thanks Empress!), who later restyled herself as local Emprire State Soul Club DJ The Empress of Soul.


Sorrows We shared a rehearsal space with Sorrows over on W30th St. Arthur Alexander, was a workmate in the hideous world of market research also shared by Tom and Bill. Sorrows had some great songs, "Can't You Tell A Lie?", etc. They popped with a big beat.They were eventually signed to Pavillion records and made two records for them. Here's an interesting article about them: The Sorrows Their drummer "Jett Harris" was my drumming idol--a really great big-beat hitter.


Ed Stasium Ed Stasium was an engineer at Media Sound and Power Station in NYC (where Tom Milmore worked as an Asst. Engineer),and did work for Sire records, including engineering the Ramones. He produced an 8 song demo for us at Sire Records, 8 or 16 track. Sire passed. I wish I still had a copy. A really nice fellow, and happy to say thanks once again lo these many years.


Jerry Schoenbaum 
Jerry was at one time the President of Polydor Records, and knew his way around the business, if not around The Rousers. He was part of a management team found for us by Mary Morell (though I suspect we were really a bone for an old pal--we had the Big Buzz happening at the time).  Jerry Schoenbaum died in 1982.


Steve Borkum
Steve was Jerry's partner. They were good natured guys who tried their best with us, but couldn't get anything going. We did demos for A&M and Epic, but both passed. Steve looked like Crocker on "Kojak". We were suitably impressed by the fact that he'd been involved (I forget how) in Elvis' appearances at Madison Square Garden in 1972. We were suitably horrified that he had been involved with the Alessi Brothers. Last I heard, Steve was involved with Rockbill. Steve?


Keith Rawls An amusing if sometimes overbearing character, Keith Rawls enjoyed unswerving belief in his convictions, no matter how boneheaded. That said, he truly put his all into trying to get something going for/with us, but this proved all but impossible. Under his tutelage, we discovered starched outfits. We dressed sharp and played sharp. Once the Rousers broke up, he signed me to a punitive songwriting contract then proceeded to do nothing. This contract has expired, so the do nothing is on me now. He also managed The Rockats (post-Levi), Johnny Thunders and Wayne KramerMegadethJoe ElyCarl PerkinsNed SubletteFlotsam and JetsamDee Dee RamoneMark Johnson and I don't know who else. Eventually he tired of the music biz or it tired of him, and Keith returned to his home turf where he runs a barber shop, fishes, and swaps tales with the old folks. If you're ever down there, stop in for a buzz...


Peter Crowley Booked acts for Max's Kansas City, the infamous place on 19th and Park Avenue South where it arguably all began. Once remarked that Jayne County was every man's ideal woman: "Big tits and a cock". Pete was a big Jayne booster, for reasons I never fathomed. One of the Big Figures, Peter was recently involved with Tommy Dean, the former owner of Max's, in a disatrous new restaurant venture called... Max's Kansas City. A revived Max's Kansas City DID in fact open up, at 240 W 52nd St in New York, with--yes! Peter Crowley trying desperately to make sense of the absurd location and obscure policies created by Tommy Dean. In fact The Rousers played there in May of 1998, and had a grand time! Perhaps you were there? The NEW Max's didn't last, though, and was over by 2000. See maxskansascity.com Site based on the old Max's, pretty much Mickey Ruskin's ex wife's bid for immortality and T shirt sales. Kind of neat, though.


Hilly Kristal The Big Papa Bear of CBGB, last lord of the downtown scene, Hilly has been a champion of bands forever. He also had a hand in managing acts like The Shirts and the Dead Boys that played at his club. You decide if that's a conflict. The Rousers filmed a grade B exploitation picture called "Punk" on location at CBGBs in about 1979-80. We've played there for alomst 20 years, under whatever flag we were flying at the time. CBGBs has always been welcoming. CBGBs continues to be at the forefront (though cramming up to 8 bands a night on for about twenty minutes each is tedious for the audience and unfair to the bands, I think), offering web music, a label, etc. UPDATE: CBGB is closed, Hilly is dead. R.I.P.


The Miamis
Dale Powers, Jimmy and Tommy Wynbrandt, Georgie Day.
We loved the Miamis, even making up Miamis T shirts while attending SVA. They regularly played Sunday nights at Charlie's, some hole on Broadway and 12th St, and Jerid and I seldom missed a show. Excellent topical songwriters with wit and style, the Wynbrandt brothers could have scaled Broadway, if someone had lent them a ladder. "Nowhere Express" was a heck of a song. And from "Another Place, Another Time":
"Another place, another time
you'll get yours like I got mine
I'll see you eat dirt
don't get it on your skirt"
They were hilarious and touching. Our fine collection of live Miamis tapes was lent to Tommy and we never saw it again. Bastard. John and Dale were OTB pals at one time. Tommy and Jimmy still make the odd appearance, often at the Exiles on Bowery CBGB alumnus Christmas Show.


Mr. Mumbo The Rousers beloved mascot, Mr. Mumbo was a concrete lawn jockey who accompanied us to many shows where he would stoically hold a tamborine on his lantern hand and his heavy base would anchor the bass drum. He eventually became too heavy to drag around, and was tossed into the Hudson one night after a show. R.I.P. matey.


Mary Morell.
Mary Morell worked in Bert Padell's office (Padell, Nadell, Fine, Weinberger & Co.) as his assistant, but had her eyes on being a mover herself. Bert at the time was (and remains) a major player: He managed money for Alice Cooper, Blondie, Talking Heads,and numerous others and he knew everybody. Heads of record labels returned his phone calls. In fact, his return of one of these calls cost The Rousers a contract when Bert (without consulting us) declined an offer to do an EP for Epic ("Not good enough for these boys--they're major league!") Hah! Epic at the time was struggling to get a handle on "this New Wave thing" without exposing themselves too much. Bert later faced some investigation pertaining to tax shelters and was sued by Madonna. Mary M. was a tireless champion, and through her contacts, we got a manager (Jerry and Steve), an expensive lawyer (Allen Cohen? Seigel?, best know for writing "This Business of Music", billed us thousands for what we had thought was pro bono work. We responded in crayon and never got another bill, though in retrospect perhaps we burned a bridge to a good guy to know, if you think knowing a music lawyer is good. Still, I'd use him again in a second, if I had that kind of money and he had that kind of forgiveness), and entree to the upper reaches of the record companies. Of course, we routinely tanked at showcases-- couldn't take the pressure! (I recall with a mixture of triumph and dismay the Sunday night when we (I, at least) was drunk as a monkey for a second set at some club in the east 80s which was far from musical, only to discover that headhunters from Atlantic had seen the show and been horrified. If they wanted real horror, they could have smelled the toilet the next morning.

Our most humiliating Rouser moment came when we were talked into playing in the hallway at Padell, Wadell and Nadell etc. at a mid-day birthday party for Bert. We skipped work to do it. It was a disaster. There we were, surrounded by goggling accountants with their fingers in their ears, dressed up in our Rouser best. Yikes. I don't recall hearing much from Mary after that...


Trax:
This was a showcase club on the Upper West Side of NY. It catered to music industry types, who at that time considered it pretty hep to wear satin baseball jackets with their label, tour or other affiliation. So you could tell how cool and connected they were, y'know? Subtle. For us, sighting a satin baseball jacket at a gig was like drinking water in Tijuana: you could be sure some shitty performance would follow. Trax was the site of many achingly average if not really lame showcase performances. Oops, sorry. . .


Richie Stotts: Richie was the guitar player in The Plasmatics, a theatrical rock n roll band perhaps best known for lead singer Wendie O Williams habit of appearing with small pieces of elecrical tape to cover her nipples. Oh, and Richie is well over six feet and often appeared wearing a nurse's outfit, maid's outfit, etc., sporting a Flying V and a big blue mohawk 'do. A sweet guy, he was going out with our friend Diana Dominici, a good pal of Lynn Byrd. Richie now makes his home near the Rousers in Brooklyn, which is where I ran into him recently. Rock on.


Nancy Jeffries:
Nancy was one of the few women A&R people at the time. She worked for RCA, and we recorded a demo for her in the huge RCA studio in New York where such greats as Elvis had recorded. The demo sucked. Nancy supposedly was mortally offended when Jeff joked on stage at Hurrah's that he'd "just signed a big contract with RCA. I send them a dollar, and every month they send me records..."