The Rousers are:
Bill Dickson Vocals, Bass
Tom Milmore Guitar
Sal King Drums
The Rousers are
named after Duane Eddy's band,
The Rebel Rousers. Not to be mistaken for the Dutch, Wisconsin,
Pennsylvania or any other The Rousers (some name, eh? catchy,
original?), these The Rousers began in New York City in
1977. Originally formed with the stated purpose of playing at an SVA
beach party (this never happened), The Rousers at first consisted of
three friends from Weston, CT. who had played together in highschool
bands under such names as "Billy Universe and the Satellites" and
"Stepn'fetchit". That would be Jerid O'Connell, Tom Milmore and Bill
Dickson. Our big faves were the New York Dolls.Bill Dickson and Jerid O'Connell were
then art students at the School of Visual Arts. One of Bill's classmates was design
student Jeff Buckland. Among other things, Jeff and Bill shared a keen
appreciation of the soulful Negro pop typified by Ben E. King. Jeff
joined the Rousers as the lead singer. Tom Milmore at the time was
taking audio engineering classes, driving a van for some outfit in
Norwalk, CT., and playing bass in a band. Fellow Westonite John Hannah
was then running through his inheritance in St. Thomas, trying to make
a restaurant survive. It didn't. We hailed him back to play bass, and
Here are the various
line-ups of The Rousers:
This era saw our first forays into the New York music scene, playing
CBGB's, Max's and various out of town shows. It was during this time
that we were filmed at CBGBs for the grade C exploitation flick "Punk",
which was never released, but for which we made our first studio
recordings (aside from demos). At this time, several of us lived at 4 St. Mark's Place on the top floor,
known as The Rouser's Clubhouse.
Jeff Buckland Vocalist
Jeff had a distinctive voice and a raconteur's style in live
performance, as well as being a good songwriter.
Bill Dickson Rhythm guitar/ song writer
John "Hambone" "The Profile" "Hard of Hearing" Hannah Bass
Tom Milmore Lead Guitar
Jerid O'Connell Drums
Disgruntled with the Rouser experience, Jeff Buckland quit. The
Rousers quickly found a replacement in Michael Hatfield, a
Brooklyn barber (or "hair stylist") with an eccentric, operatic vocal
manner. (Michael's half-brother(?) Kenny Hatfield is a well regarded
guitar player (especially by himself)). During this time, we met and
took on Bob "Mr. Beebob" Rowland as a manager. We liked him so
well we bought him a satin baseball jacket. We earned some excellent
reviews in New York Rocker and other pubs and began to draw crowds,
based more on Michael's intimidation of his acquaintances than on
anything else; in short, we began to pull together as a band and to
leave Buckland in the dust. Or so we thought.. .
Buckland Bounces Back: 1979-1982
Realizing that Michael made us uncomfortable (he is very
intense), we asked Jeff to rejoin, an offer he accepted.
"It's Just Business. . .": 1980
In an action that haunts to this day, Bill, Tom and Jeff were
persuaded by the addled minds of Idlewild Entertainment to kick Jerid
and John (the rhythm section) out of the band. Swell thing to do to your
friends, eh? But we did it. We were convinced that our careerist cruelty was justified. Maybe it was, but fame and fortune were not forthcoming. . .
Fresh Meat: 1980-82
Sal "King" Capazucca: Drums
Sal made his reputation on the scene as drummer for The Boyfriends,
a semi-glam band managed by Andy Sommers, who later was a partner in
Idlewild Entertainment. Sal became a great pal and his grunting while
playing has continued to inspire.
Brett "Wildman" Wilder: Bass
Brett was about 18 when he joined, and had already gotten plenty of
experience playing in Justin Trouble, (aka Justin Love), through
whom he was acquainted with Johnny Thunders. Brett is often considered "too smart
for his own good" or maybe just "too loud for jazz". A good player and
It's the 80's, man
The Rousers broke up in 1982. Brett and Bill went on
to play white soul music in The Backbones with former Sender Philippe
Marcade. Tom and Sal formed Syntax Error and Verite, dance-oriented
synth pop outfits. Somewhere in there Tom, Sal, Brett and Bill got
together once more as The Praise Jockeys, a hard rocking band that
enjoyed great press and not much popular success.
Here they come again: 1997
Yes, time flies.
Between 1982 and 1997, we all crossed paths, played together and apart
in different bands and grew to be the fine examples of manhood that now
characterize The Rousers.
And there they go... 1999 and beyond
In the spring of 1999,
following a series of wonderfully played but somewhat dispiriting
appearances (ever-dwindling audiences), Brett Wilder left the band to
pursue his wiggy career playing guitar with The Go Downs, Boilermakers,
and whatever ugly tribute night beckons.
In November '99 Bill took over bass chores from the departed
Brett and The Rousers rock on as a trio.
At some point in 2001, physics
teacher and multi-talented Honkin' Hank Kandel was spied blowing
baritone at the Brazenhead Inn
on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn and recruited to Rouse. Rock on. This
experiment seems to have run its course, and it's trio time again.
Throughout our ruinous careers, various members have played in other
bands and done other odd musical things. Take a gander.
Tom & Sal
Chris Pondish [keys], Mark White [bass] (later of Spin Doctors fame), John
Dorian [vocals], Drummer Joe*
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. My ex-wife Amy Linden
does freelance work for him. Maybe he got pissed off that we called him
turtle boy. He doesn't talk to us anymore...
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.
A wonderful fellow, even if we always suspected he was behind the
"disappearance" of Tom's pretty cherry red Les Paul and a few other
items from the practice studio/offices on W 43rd st. Still out and
about, has new outfit called the Racketeers. Here's a pic of him at
the time we knew him, with Greg Gerson and Bobby Dee (Sal's former
bandmate in the Boyfriends). Brother Wayne currently is involved with
MuscleTone Records. Check out his new record!
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. Unlike
David Geffen, Andy doesn't talk to us much anymore. Their reign seemed a
symphony of self-interested mismanagement, but probably they were just
two guys trying to make it in the exciting world of professional show
business and they stumbled on the wrong outfit. Well, they seemed to do
that quite a bit. Like so many before and after, they tried, but didn't
quite get it up. 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 no time for The Rousers. He still books many of the biggest
(hair is the measure here) 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 Cartoon Editor) Bob Mankoff, grown kids and everything. Cory, come
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 girl Ramona 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.
The Sorrows We shared a rehearsal space with The Sorrows
over on W30th St. Arthur Alexander, was a workmate in the
hideous world of market research also shared by Tom and Bill. The
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 StasiumEd 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 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). Regrettably, I jokingly referred to his girlfriend as a whore,
which he rightly took deep offense to. It was all downhill after that...
Sorry Jerry. Jerry Schoenbaum died in 1982.
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
Rockats (post-Levi), Johnny Thunders and Wayne Kramer, Megadeth, Joe Ely, Carl Perkins, Ned Sublette, Flotsam and Jetsam, Dee Dee Ramone, Mark 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
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.
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 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.
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...
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 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 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..."
More to follow, by and by. . . Did we leave you out? Drop us a line.