Bow Incident was one of the more popular New York area groups of
the 1960's. Performing throughout the five boroughs of New York
and into New Jersey, Connecticut and as far away as the Caribbean,
the band frequently experienced adulation on par with "Beatlemania"
and parlayed their success into several high profile gigs. The original
band recorded two singles and several demos, and perhaps just missed
scoring a hit when their version of "Beg Borrow & Steal"
was beat to national release by the Ohio Express version. Lead guitarist
George Napolitano and bassist Joe Sirico provide all the info in
this exclusive interview for 60sgaragebands.com.
Joe Liotta, Jerry Scotti, Fred DeRubeis, George Napolitano, Joe
How did you first get interested in music?
I the early '60's I was in an off-Broadway play and we used to sit
around during breaks in rehearsals and listen to some of the people
who knew how to play. I slowly got involved - besides trying to
learn guitar with George and the rest of the guys (I couldn't hack
I always enjoyed music but the turning point was seeing the reaction
that The Beatles received when they arrived in America. After watching
them perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, we were hooked. I remember
watching the performance with Freddie DeRubeis and after hearing
them and seeing the stir that they caused I knew that I wanted to
do that, too. The week after the performance all we could talk about
was The Beatles. As fate would have it, on a Saturday night before
The Beatles second performance on The Ed Sullivan Show I was at
a party with Freddie and two other friends, Jerry Scotti and Dominic
Coppola. It was a birthday party for a girl named Michelle and they
kept on playing the Beatles' album over and over again. I remember
clear as day that during the party we mimicked or pantomimed the
songs from the album playing air guitars with Freddie banging on
coffee cans. A week later when Beatles-fever was still at a fever
pitch my father mentioned that he there was a guy in his office
who was a guitar player. He then asked me if I wanted to take lessons
from him. My father figured that I would say no but to his surprised
I said, "of course". The guys name was Pete Frias and
he played in a group called Jimmy & The Jesters. They were the
second group in the Peppermint Lounge when Joey Dee and The Starliters
was an accomplished musician and he came over to my house and began
to teach me chords. After a few weeks I told my "Beatle"
friends (Jerry Scottti, Dominic Coppola, and Freddie DeRubeis) what
I was doing. They were amazed and immediately asked if they could
come over and get lessons too. I (asked) Pete and he said (he would)
teach all of them. Well, they showed up the following week along
with two other friends - Joe Liotta and Joe Sirico - and Pete methodically
taught all of us how to play. After a few months of practicing "Guitar
Boogie Shuffle" and the Beatles' song "All I've Got To
Do" Pete picked out parts for each of us. He told Freddie,"
You're the drummer". He said to Joe Liotta, "You have
long fingers you should play keyboards". Before you knew we
had become a band
albeit a poor sounding one - but a band nonetheless.
So that was the start of The Ox Bow Incident?
I stared out playing with The Ox Bow Incident since we
all grew up together. I picked up the bass and started playing with
a band call The Penetrations (local guys) but I started getting
a grip on what I was doing with them. I stayed with The Penetrations
about a year if my memory is right and then went back to The Ox
Bow Incident, known as The Creations at the time. We all knew each
other from the neighborhood more or less. We formed in George's
basement with the help of some older players who showed us what
to do. The year had to be, at a guess, 1965.
When we started we actually called ourselves The Creations.
We all lived in Brooklyn, New York. Jerry Scotti, Fred DeRubeis
and I even lived on the same block, 65th street in Bensonhurst.
The others - Dominic Coppola, Joe Liotta and Joe Sirico - lived
only a few short blocks away and we had been friends all our lives.
We used (the Creations name) in 1964 and 1965. In 1966 we changed
the name to The Ox Bow Incident and we stayed together with a few
changes in line up until 1972.
original band line up consisted of me on lead guitar; Jerry Scotti
on bass guitar and vocals; Dominic Coppola on rhythm guitar; Joe
Liotta on organ and lead vocals; and Fred DeRubeis on drums. Less
than a year later our good friend Joe Sirico, who actually started
with us and was playing with another group, rejoined The Creations
and replaced Jerry Scotti on bass. Jerry Scotti then rejoined the
group and became the lead guitarist a few months later when Dominic
left. I then switched to rhythm guitar. A few years later we added
Billy Sheenan to be our lead singer, and it's his voice that you
hear on our version of "Reach Out". After Billy Sheenan
got drafted in the Army, Albino Tessitore replaced him. Al sang
on "Harmonica Man" and on the second single "She's
Gone". By the time the second song was released we also had
a second singer named Luis Pagan, who went by the name of Lurch.
Lurch and Bino (Albino Tessitore) sang together on "You Can't
Make Love By Yourself".
Jerry and Dom were interchangeable. Jerry played bass when I was
with The Penetrations.
How and why did you decide on the name The Ox Bow Incident?
We originally came up with the name "The Creations" together.
I actually don't know who thought of it first, but The Creations
sounded good for 1964. A couple of years later the name sounded
outdated and we had a meeting to change the name. I remember that
there was a lot of bickering, arguing and fighting over what the
name should be. Eventually someone blurted out "The Ox Bow
Incident". We took a vote and that was it. While it wasn't
the overwhelming majority, it became our new name. With our new
name we made Freddie get his bass drum painted with a cool design.
The front of the bass drum had a hangman's noose depicting a hanging
like in the (movie) Ox Bow Incident and that became our symbol.
We came up with the name at a meeting with our producers.
Where did the band typically play?
We played at school dances, local bars, etc.
We played anywhere and everywhere we could. In the beginning it
was mostly parties and church dances but our favorite was a place
called the Teenage Cabaret. Of all the places we played that was
the first place where people started to really notice us. By this
time our organ player, Joe Liotta had become an accomplished organist
(he was the first guy in the neighborhood to have a Vox Continental
Organ - the same organ that Mike Smith of The Dave Clark 5 used).
After Joe got the Vox organ we went from an okay band to one that
sounded very good. You can't believe the difference that the Vox
made with our "sound". We now sounded very professional
and this made us stand out from the other groups that were springing
up in the neighborhoods. We played all of the songs by The Animals
and The Dave Clark 5 and our renditions sounded "just like
the record". Soon we were being asked to play at the Teenage
Cabaret all the time and from this gig we got many other jobs thro
ughout the area as our name began to spread all over Brooklyn. We
also played another teen club, which we called the "No Name"
club that was on 60th street and 14th avenue.
How would you describe the band's sound? What bands influenced you?
We more or less tried to copy the English sound and dress. Our influences,
I guess, were the usual: Beatles, Animals, Stones, etc.
First I would have to say we had a '60's "English"
sound. (Since we had the) Vox Continental organ we did all of The
Animals songs, The Dave Clark 5 tunes and every other English group
of the day. We later changed with the times and because we had the
organ playing through a Leslie speaker we had a soulful sound much
like The Rascals. Our repertoire consisted of R&B and dance
songs and we were more of a "show" group than a group
who stood around with their backs to the audience and played guitar
riffs. We were a favorite in many local clubs in Brooklyn and throughout
New York because we played music that you could dance to.
How did you hook up with Jack Spector of the WMCA "Good Guy"
on a Slick Thunderbird
We hooked up with Jack Spector after winning a competition at St.
Anthesius, a local church. There must have been a dozen or so bands
that auditioned for the spot but we really sounded great that day.
The reason for this is that on the day of the audition we had performed
earlier that morning at a press conference held by Murray the K,
the famous deejay, at the famed Brooklyn Fox Theatre. Growing up
we use to go see the Christmas and Easter Shows at the Brooklyn
Fox every year, and now we were performing on the same stage as
the legendary performers that we had watched as kids. Walking out
on the stage of the Brooklyn Fox was truly a phenomenal feeling.
We were real nervous before we went on hoping that our drummer Freddie
wouldn't mess up the intro for "Get Off My Cloud" - but
as soon as he hit it and we heard the girls scream we were flying
high. We also played "Keep on Dancing", "96 Tears"
and others in that set and each song sounded better than the one
before it. Ther e were literally hundreds of girls waiting to see
us and wanting to get our autographs when we went out to the street
after the show ended. And as we stood there in awe signing away,
they were tearing at us as if we were The Beatles! It was amazing.
That was the first time that we had ever experienced anything like
that and we loved every minute of it. As Dominic and I went to get
our cars - his a GTO convertible and mine a Ford Thunderbird convertible
- the girls began to follow us. Seeing this unbelievable sight,
Dominic looked and me and me at him, and in one of those moments
that you never forget, he yelled, "Can't Buy Me Love".
At the same instant we remembered watching the scene in the Beatles'
Hard Day's Night movie when the girls were chasing after The Beatles
and their song "Can't Buy Me Love" was playing in the
background. In a flash we began running down Flatbush Avenue with
the girls in pursuit just the way it happened to The Beatles. It
remains one of those moments that you never forget.
we drove to the front of the theatre we put down the convertible
tops and began to pack the cars with our instruments. As we did
the girls were throwing their phone numbers into our cars! It was
truly amazing! From there we went to the audition at St. A's and
we were flying high. As soon as we hit the first note of the song
you could see and hear that we were really on. We sounded great
and the other bands were looking at us in awe. Needless to say we
"won" the job and afterwards began to play with Jack Spector
and the Good Guys on a regular basis. We played the Good Guy shows
practically ever Friday night and when we didn't we would get jobs
at churches and parties. As good as we sounded that day at the Brooklyn
Fox and afterwards having the girls screaming and chasing us down
the street, that night all of us just sat in Freddie's house by
ourselves reliving that unbelievable day and just wishing that someone,
anyone, out of the numerous numbers that we fou nd scribbled on
scraps of paper would answer their telephone.
You performed with many national acts during the Good
Guy gigs, correct?
We played with many national acts during our WMCA days.
All of them were trying to get their new record played on the radio
and they would come to the Hops to promote their song. Some of the
stars that we backed up or used our equipment were Neil Sedaka,
Chubby Checker, JJ Jackson, The Shirelles, The Chiffons, Brian Hyland,
Jimmy Jones, The Jive Five, The 1910 Fruit Gum Company, The Ohio
Express, The Pigeons (who later became Vanilla Fudge), The Hassles
(with organ player Billy Joel), Tommy James and numerous others.
We played with Lenny Welch, The Pigeons, The Chambers
Brothers, Reparata and The Delrons (who I joined in 1969 as a backup
player when they were local and we weren't doing a gig. We shared
the same producers, The Jeromes, who also had The Left Banke). I
stayed with The Delrons putting together various players to do gigs
up and down the east coast. I was with them from about 1969 till
about ten years ago when we said that's it. I married one of The
Delrons). And the list could go on
How far was the band's "touring" territory?
Our area included the five boroughs of New York, parts of New Jersey,
Connecticut and the Caribbean Island on our cruises.
Other than the cruise we stayed pretty local: The New York City
area and some parts of New Jersey.
That was with the Italian Line cruise ships. How often and
how long did you perform on the ships?
GN: We got the job with the
Italian Lines by sheer accident through Joe Sirico. He was standing
in line at the local dry cleaners and in the store at the same time
talking with the owner of the dry cleaners was the Cruise Director
for the Italian Lines. He was telling the owner of the dry cleaners
that he was looking for a young group to perform on the ships during
the Christmas holidays. The owner said, "well
is over" and introduced him to Joey. That was it! After that
chance meeting we played on the Italian Lines aboard the Leonardo
DaVinci or the Rafaello during the Christmas and Easter vacation
at least ten different times; to say that we had fun on those cruises
would be an understatement.
I was at a local drycleaner and the owner asked if our band would
like to play on a boat because one of his other customers was the
cruise director for the Italian line. His name was Jack Scordley.
I met with him and said, "Let me talk to the guys and get back
to you." I think we had two or three days notice and George
was already in Puerto Rico so he flew back to New York City after
we checked it out. We played for a few years - twice a year, as
well as nine days over Easter break and fourteen day over Christmas
and New Year's.
Did the Ox Bow Incident participate in any battle of the bands?
We played in quite a few "battles" but most
of these were either in Manhattan or the Bronx and honestly we won
all the time. Even though we were not the local group we would entertain
the crowd with our song selections and invariably we would win the
contest. Every time we played in a contest like this we would practice
a different song to do at the contest that no one else would think
of doing. Once we won a contest because of the way we performed
the Royal Guardsmens' song "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron".
Joe dressed up in an old army uniform and wore a helmet and this
is what swayed the crowd in our favor even though we were not the
local favorites. Another time we won because of our rendition of
"Yellow Submarine". Then there was the time that we performed
"My Generation" by The Who using instruments that we bought
just to destroy at the end of the song. We always enjoyed what we
did and it showed.
There was a church in the Bronx that had band battles. It was either
Good Sheppard or Tallentine. We faired very well; we won all of
Did the band make any local TV appearances?
We never made any TV appearances but somewhere there
are old movies of us performing at the New York's World's Fair in
1964 and later at dances in Highland Lakes, New Jersey.
How did you land the World's Fair gig?
Either Joe Loitta's mother or my father got us to play at the '64
World's fair New York Pavilion. That was the first time we played
on a real big stage. We had been on "stages" but the World's
Fair stage was huge in comparison to the others that we played on
at that time. After the World's Fair show we were invited to participate
in a battle of the bands in Pennsylvania (that I almost forgot about).
We fared okay as I remember, moving into the semi-finals but we
didn't win the competition. At that time we had only been playing
less than a year and we did very good considering that we hadn't
played together for that long.
the 1964 New York World's Fair
Did The Ox Bow Incident have a manager?
We did have a manager for a while. His name was Bob Herin.
Joe Liotta and I ran into him at a record store in the city. He
said he knew Murray the K and could get us on with him
We actually had several managers over the years and each promised
the world but was never able to deliver as they had promised. The
only manager who ever kept his promise was a guy named Bob Herin.
If we weren't practicing on a Saturday, we would take the subway
to the city and go to the Colony Record shop to memorize the chords
that were written on the sheet music. Bob knew that we were in a
band by looking at us and watching us trying to study the chords
so that we wouldn't have to spend the 75 cents that the sheets cost
to buy in those days. Eventually he introduced himself to us and
in the course of conversation asked if we had a manager. As we didn't
at the time we told him that we were looking for one. He said that
he wanted to come and hear us. After he came to one of our practices
in my basement where we religiously practiced every Tuesday and
Thursday night, he said he wanted to sign us. He claimed that he
was "very close" with Murray the K and that with Murray's
help he was going to make us into stars. Of course we didn't believer
him as we had managers before and each one had made one claim or
another and never produced. After being with Bob for about a month
he told us he booked us to appear at the Brooklyn Fox on a show
promoted by Murray the K. Of course we figured it was just another
lie by a scheming manager. As the time drew closer for the show
at the Fox, we figured that sooner or later he was going to tell
us that it was canceled. However, he never did. On the morning of
the show we actually drove to the Brooklyn Fox half expecting that
it wasn't going to come off for one reason or another. When we got
there and saw that the place was packed and met Murray the K face
to face for the first time, we started to get really nervous. Performing
on the show with us that day were The Chambers Brothers. Before
we went on we learned that another group called The Young Rascals
had just cancelled since they couldn't get their equipment out of
a club called the Barge in the Hamptons. With this Murray asked
us to do an extra song or two to fill up the time. That night we
performed first, and as I said earlier we were really on. Hearing
the girls scream for us as we played was something that we had never
experienced before. It was simply unbelievable. In fact we were
so good that night that a year or so later when we ran into The
Chambers Brother at a Good Guy show in the Bronx, Willie Chambers
came up to me after our performance and asked where he had seen
us before. When I told him we played with them at the Murray the
K show he was astonished. He said, "You were the guys that
those girls went wild over! What happened to you guys? I figured
that you were stars by now." We explained that we had manager
problems etc., and he said, "We'll sign you to our label today".
But at that time we had just signed a new deal with Smash, and couldn't
do anything about it
were very popular. We played everywhere and the people loved us.
They really did. Actually we were the only group in the area that
signed a record deal but that eventually lead to our demise as later
a few of the guys in the group didn't want to play in clubs anymore.
Their thinking was that since we were a signed act we were degrading
ourselves by playing in the same places that we did before we were
What were some of those other groups that you especially recall?
There was a group called The Intruders and their lead
singer was phenomenal. His name was Billy Sheenan. They played at
the Teenage Cabaret the same time we did and when we heard they
had broken up I got in touch with Billy and asked if he would like
to join our group. He agreed and once we got Billy we became even
stronger than before. Billy was the lead singer on our first song,"
Reach Out". Unfortunately it was 1968, the height of the draft,
and he got drafted the week the song was released on Smash Records.
That was a real bummer as we felt that we were finally ready to
We were pretty popular in the area, considering there were plenty
of local bands around. Since we had a record being played on the
air we stood out a little more than the rest.
What led to the opportunity to record for Smash Records?
Our managers at that time were Billy and Steve Jerome.
We were introduced to them through Bob Herin in 1965 right after
playing with Murray the K at the Brooklyn Fox. They were independent
producers who were involved with The Left Banke and several other
groups. In fact we recorded the song "Beg, Borrow or Steal"
for their production house and it was mastered and ready to go to
press. However at the time Mercury Records was having their problems
and took their time in releasing it. One day while we were waiting
our release date, as we sat in my car listening to WMCA, we heard
a song that sounded very familiar. I raised the volume and we were
floored to hear our song "Beg, Borrow or Steal", being
played on the radio. But it wasn't our recording. It was by a group
called The Ohio Express. We were devastated! We later found out
that Bang Records had rush released The Ohio Express version of
"Beg, Borrow or Steal" so that it would be issued before
ours. Looking back (I wonder) how things may have changed if our
version of "Beg, Borrow or Steal" had been released. As
it turned out it took almost two more years before our first record,
"Reach Out" b/w " Harmonica Man" was released
on Smash Records.
Our producers, Bill and Steve Jerome, did all the legwork for the
Are you familiar at all with another pre-Ohio Express "Beg,
Borrow or Steal" version by a somewhat mystery group known
as The Rare Breed?
I'm not sure about The Rare Breed. The song was a demo
that apparently quite a few independent producers had copies of
and were trying to record. The story behind that song is that it
was originally written for The McCoys. It used the same three-chord
progression as "Hang On Sloopy" and it was going to be
their follow up song. However, The McCoys turned it down because
the song was directly opposite in meaning to "Hang On Sloopy".
In "Sloopy" they sang that they were going to do anything
to get the girl but in "Beg, Borrow or Steal" the chorus
says "I'd rather beg, borrow or steal than go back to you."
The McCoys then did a remake of "Fever" as their follow
up to "Sloopy".
had rehearsed "Beg, Borrow or Steal" for a few weeks and
then our managers/producers Billy and Steve Jerome decided that
it was time to master the recording. We had been in the studio for
a few hours and were just about finished when The McCoys barged
into the studio. They demanded that we leave as they had the time
booked. An argument ensued and it became loud and physical when
they tried to unplug our guitars from the amplifiers. Billy and
Steve were flabbergasted and tried to break up the confrontation
by yelling over the microphone from the control room into the studio
telling the McCoys that we were almost finished. But everyone ignored
them and soon punches were thrown. We did manage to finish the session
with The McCoys waiting in the waiting room area.
Where did the Ox Bow Incident record your songs?
They were recorded at Mercury Studios in New York City.
We recorded "Reach Out" in a studio in the Brill Building.
What I remember most about the session is that Billy and Steve wanted
the lead singers' voice to come through a Leslie speaker. At the
time Kenny Rogers had a hit with the song "What Condition My
Condition Is In" and the voices were recorded through a Leslie
speaker. It was our producers' hope that we would have a hit with
the vocal coming through the Leslie also. Another thing that I recall
about the session is that the original song was too long for radio
and the producers cut out an entire verse to get the song under
recorded "Harmonica Man" in a large studio on 57th Street
that Mercury used for big bands. Actually we liked the smaller studio
better, but the larger studio on 57th Street was a state of the
art studio for its day with 24-track capabilities. Our second single
was called "You Can't Make Love By Yourself" and a studio
musician named Vinny Bell played the instrumental break. He played
an electric sitar and it was his solo that you hear on the Box Tops
songs "Cry Like A Baby" and the B.J. Thomas hit "Hooked
On A Feeling". With Vinny having two recent hits under his
belt we felt confident that his same sounding solo would help our
record sell millions of copies too. But unfortunately his streak
of hits ended with our record!
Did the Ox Bow Incident write many original songs or did you primarily
rely on outside songwriters?
We actually didn't write many original songs at all. The producers
really wanted us to record their own songs so that they would be
able to reap the profits if the song became a hit. Fred DeRubeis
and I wrote the flip side of our second single "She's Gone"
and we received writing credit on the disc.
We wrote one song ("She's Gone"); the other ones were
demos sent by other writers. I had no part in the writing - only
Apparently you recorded "Love, Sweet Love" and "I'll
Stumble and Fall" as The Ox Bow Incident even though three
members had left at the time. How did that recording session come
I more or less kept in contact with Bill and Steve. George and I
were still around. They had a couple of songs they wanted to do.
I was still around playing with one band or another when I met the
other guys and we put it together.
It was1970 and by then the original group had broken up. That summer
I meet a few musicians at Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn. They were
friends of the group Alive N' Kicking, who had a hit with the song
"Higher and Higher". It seemed that every time I went
there I would run into the same guys strumming their guitars and
having a good time. We became friendly and since they needed a bass
player and a drummer to round out their group I suggested that we
get together. I got in touch with Joe Sirico and a drummer named
Vinny Lozopone and we began rehearsing with them in Long Island.
For Brooklyn guys like us the trip to the Island every week was
a real pain. We really weren't having that much fun going there,
but still we were playing music and that was all that mattered anyway.
Although we sounded pretty good, it just wasn't the same for us
without the other guys. However, one day while talking to Billy
and Steve Jerome I told them what Joe and I were up to. They immediately
a sked if it sounded commercial. I said that it was a different
sound that what we had done before. A month or so later Steve Jerome
called again asked if we were still together. When I told them we
were, he said that he wanted to come and give us a listen. He came
to our rehearsal, listened to a few songs and left. Before leaving
he asked me to call him the next day. I did and than he said that
he had a song for us to record. That song was "I'll Stumble
and Fall". We practiced it for a few weeks and then they gave
us "Love, Sweet Love". By this time Billy and Steve Jerome
were working as A&R men for Avco-Embassy Records. We recorded
the songs at a big, beautiful, modern studio in New Jersey with
Hugo and Luigi and Van McCoy, later of "Do the Hustle"
fame in attendance under the name The Ox Bow Incident. Joey and
I actually wanted to use a different name for this group, but Billy
and Steve Jerome insisted that it to be The Ox Bow Incident as they
felt it was easier to push a group that had recorded before than
to push a new group.
Why did the band splinter at this time, and what were the names
of the replacement members?
The reasons escape me, as do the names of the other members. I don't
remember their last names, but it was Jack on lead vocals; Ken on
guitar; and Vinny on drums. We did have a keyboard player whose
name I don't remember (at all). Our time together wasn't long; I
would say less than a year.
After being together for six years day in and day out, a few of
the guys grew tired of the rock & roll scene and decided to
quit. However, Joey and I still wanted to play and when I met the
guys at Manhattan Beach I convinced him to give it a try. From the
start, however, it just didn't feel the same as the old camaraderie
that we had with the original guys. While the new band members were
nice guys, we never bonded like we did with the original guys who
we had grown up with. In fact I honestly don't even remember the
names of the guys who we played with on the record nor do I have
a copy of the record. I do remember that the lead singer's first
name was Kenny, but I have no idea what the names of the guitar
player or the organ player were, and I am sure they don't remember
my name either. In fact I haven't seen them or thought about them
in over thirty years. It's only after I discovered that "I'll
Stumble and Fall" and "Love, Sweet Love" was available
for sale on a few websites that I even thought about them. I will
say that when I discovered that the song was available, I ordered
a copy for posterity. But I know I won't put it in a frame on the
wall next to my framed plastic copies of "Reach Out" /
"Harmonica Man" and "You Can't Make Love By Yourself"
/ "She's Gone".
version of the band existed for about eight months and then it was
over. We recorded one record together but we never played anywhere
as a band. Afterwards I got backed together with a few of the original
guys and reformed The Ox Bow Incident with Dominic Coppola, Fred
DeRubeis on drums, Jerry Scotti on guitar, Billy Tramarco on lead
guitar and Albino Tessitore and Joey Hustage splitting lead vocals.
Joe Sirico also played bass with us from time to time depending
on the situation and this time we had a lot of fun again. We played
every week all over the area and had more fun than we had in years.
continued to play with different variations of the same nucleus
into the Seventies. Then we got together again in the early Eighties
for a little while and again in the Nineties. If I had my way we
would still be playing today. I never played with another group
after The Ox Bow Incident, but Joe Sirico and Jerry Scotti are still
playing today and sometimes they even perform together.
Do any other '60's Ox Bow Incident recordings exist? Are there any
vintage live recordings, or unreleased tracks?
Actually a few demo recordings still exist. I have a copy of the
first actual recording that we did in Rossi Sound Studios in Brooklyn.
It was our version of the Animals' hit "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood".
We did it in 24 takes! That session lasted for hours. We also recorded
a song called "Get Off My Train" which was written by
a friend and another entitled "I've Paid My Dues", which
actually sounded good for its time with its modulation towards the
What keeps you busy today?
For the past 35 years I have been a professional sports photographer
specializing in professional wrestling, WWE style, as well as professional
baseball. Through the years I have been the editor of numerous wrestling
magazines and have had nine books published on Professional Wrestling.
I am also the team photographer for the Brooklyn Cyclones since
their inception in 2001, and I am also one of the photographers
for the New York Mets. This is what keeps me sane or I should say
insane today. As far as playing I sometimes get together with Billy
Sheenan, the original singer on "Reach Out". In fact Billy
and I wrote and recorded five songs that were played in an independent
film about the Seventies called Growing Down In Brooklyn, which
featured the former Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore.
I am still very active playing in a band named Special Ryder. That
band has three members from the Delrons in it, my wife, Frank Franco
on guitar and me.
How do you best summarize your experiences with The Ox
It was the best.
It was a blast. I can't think of anything better that I would have
liked to do. I had a great time with my childhood friends playing
music and just enjoying each others' company. I also was fortunate
enough to meet my future wife while playing at a show at the Cheetah
Club in New York and we are still together today. That would not
have happened if I were not blessed with the gift of music. I'm
also proud to say that my son Joseph has inherited my love of music,
but he is a much more prolific musician that I ever was. He has
written numerous songs and has produced and recorded several CDs.
The memories with the band have lasted a lifetime and I still talk
with all of the original guys on a fairly regular basis. I would
like to thank you for giving me this chance to reminisce. It's been
quite a trip down memory lane.
up Tommy James
in 1967, Charles "Charlie" Dryer, manager of local band
The Orphans, had a crazy idea. He hired Jack Spector, one of the
WMCA "Good Guys" to bring a big "sock hop" type
show to an outdoor football stadium in Mt. Vernon, NY. His idea
was that Spector would bring along a bunch of recording acts and
The Orphans would headline over them all to close the show. I told
you it was crazy.
one of the acts the DJ brought was Tommy James, and on that occasion
Ox Bow Incident backed him up appearing as The Shondells (as in
Tommy James & The Shondells).
my friend George Sotomayor's group The Orphans appeared with my
then future friend George Napolitano's group Ox Bow Incident on
the same bill. One more thing, Sotomayor went on to play in another
band called Ox.
Does all this mean anything? No, but it's only rock & roll and
I like it.
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