After my release I found my first “opportunity” through a co-worker and had to borrow the leader’s guitar to audition. “Just let me jam with your guys, so you can hear me” I asked. He listened and said ” You start on Tuesday.” I didn’t even own a guitar yet! I scraped up what I needed and headed to the pawn shop. This was the first band listed below, IRBD. They even had a video! Big stuff back then.
I’D RATHER BE DEAD (1996) The IRBD band was like so many others of my past…partyers. It actually fell apart before I could quit. I took the reliable guys with me, the bass player and drummer. Frustrated with trying to be politically correct, we started The FUX. Then I was asked to help on guitar with a friend’s project, SIGNAL TO NOISE.
SIGNAL TO NOISE (1996-97) STN was an industrial band. No drummer. Many people in our home towns of Allentown, PA and Phillipsburg, NJ just didn’t get it. That made us dig it even more. One of our songs, DRUGS AND CANDY, was used in the opening scene of an independent film, released in 2004, called GRACE AND THE STORM. We were also mentioned occasionally in print by Spiderman Comics artist, Scott Hanna. For example, behind Peter Parker you see a billboard in the background with Signal to Noise on it, stuff like that. I have some autographed storyboards from those issues.
The FUX.(1996-present) Angry, bitter, and fed up, I had no intention of trying to be on the radio any longer. We made a demo with a curse word in every song to make sure and called it “HOLY SHIT! IT’S THE FUX!! As soon as the college DJ’s were told to not play us we were on the air. I started The FUX in August of 1996, three months after being released. By that winter of 1997, we were booking locally. By 1998, we were doing our own Eastern US tours. By 2000, we had been to the UK…twice! The local newspaper that said they would never print our name were forced to recognize us. We won local music awards four years in a row after that. In 2004 we played Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic (Austria wouldn’t let us in). We currently play regularly in NYC and Philadelphia. We were requested to play the last ever New Years Eve party at the famous CBGB’s.
The CLAP (1998-2000) An original ’77 era punk band from my area that had a “real” 45 record back in the day. When the lead singer/bass player, John Loftus, wanted to reform to do some shows with some other classic punk acts he called me to be the guitarist. This ultimately led to me bringing Johnny as The Clap on tour with The Fux as a double bill, using the Fux for his back-up band. We toured in Florida and England. Freakin’ cool man. What great times…what great stories. Totally Do-It-Yourself touring tactics, a la Black Flag.
The BLUES SISTERS (2001-03) Frustrated with touring England and being wet and broke, I started hanging out at blues jams. I met two black girls who could belt it out like no one’s business. I got them on a radio show and backed them up. I found a Philly drummer and another white boy to complete my sad sounding R&B act, but the girls carried it so dynamically you couldn’t help but dig it. As fast as we improved, so did the paychecks. Alas, one went into acting, the other into drugs (sound familiar?) but it dissolved on good terms. I hear that Jean, the actress, is doing well in NYC with work in TV and movies. Once in a while she offers to sit in at a gig.
MAD DOG & BLUES NIGHT OUT (2004 – 20010) Rick “Mad Dog” Moyer has graced the stage with countless blues giants and needed a guitarist in his jump-blues & swing band. My apprenticeship with him taught me to put heartfelt emotion in my playing instead of distortion pedals and billions of notes. No effects were allowed, just a guitar and an amp. When I played “impressive” arpeggio’s, I got yelled at.
KIND OF BLUE (2005-present) What started as a jam quiet enough for a friends restaurant became a requested soft jazz/blues/fusion act for other fine dining establishments. KOB is currently requested for anything from jazz to blues events, and from Miles to Hendrix, SRV to Benson, and its the accumulation of all my projects so far. I think this will be the best yet…plus you can actually say the name in public.
SCOTTY & The SLAMMERS (2006- ?) I have to mention these good friends. Fist of all, Scott “Slammer” Hatfield gave me a break by allowing me to open up for them with The Blues Sisters way back when. Years later, he needed a guitarist to fill-in, and when I found myself doing covers by UFO, Status Quo, Tommy Conwell, and other classic underground 70’s rock, I agreed to stay. This act is just plain fun.
ROMAN & THE HEARD (2008-current) Bobby Radcliff. The Pat Martino of Blues. Moved to Chigaco’s west side as a teenager in the “60’s. Insane. Mad Dog says “You’re in New York, look that guy up!” So I do, and I take some lessons with him on down and dirty blues, Magic Sam style. WOW! We became friends with similar “stories” and he started coming to see me and sit in when I played NYC.
The Heard actually started as a result of FUX friend Frank Wood booking me regularly in NYC and Electro Harmonics alumni Allan Otto seeing me do Hendrixy stuff. He dug it and started giving me proto-type EH circuits to try, so I have to give Otto (no relationship to Otto’s Shrunken Head) credit for not only the name “Roman & The Heard” but the opportunity to experiment with new effects beyond my wildest dreams. You can see some of them on my pedalboard occassionally.
THE HARD LICKERS (2008-current) My name got around. I was called to do a gig in a neighborhood so dangerous they would no book at night, only in the daylight! We have since been asked back for many similar situations and rough places. It’s a good time, just risky. Nothing new for me.