I picked up this great 45 by the Roosters on the Krishna label, not the Los Angeles group, but one from upstate New York. “The Rooster Song” has a fantastic crunching guitar sound, and shows they must have been a fun, tight live band. The flip is a ballad, “Lost and Found”, an original by Lotz-Barbour for Fat John Music Inc. BMI.
The Roosters were one of a number of bands from the area near Utica, Oneida and Syracuse. They shared a record company, if it can be called such, with Eric and the Chessmen. The person heading this operation was some way assocated with Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and released singles on labels such as “Buddha”, “Krishna” and “Kama”.
The Roosters were:
John Lotz – lead vocals
Trey Lotz – lead guitar
Peter Brohl – bass
Ralph Guastaferro – drums
There’s also a piano player on “The Rooster Song”, but I don’t know his identity.
Trey Lotz produced the Krishna 45. “The Rooster Song” label reads “In album ‘The Roosters Live At The Appollo'” but I don’t believe this LP was ever released. If it was recorded, I’d love to hear it.
The Roosters have another 45 which I suspect came earlier, “I Wanna Do It” on Buddha Records. with a Hamilton College address.
Peter Brohl sent in the photos seen here and wrote to me:
The band was formed in 1965 (I think) by Jim Solan of the JS agency. I was playing with a true garage band that had just disbanded and Trey, a student at Hamilton College, was looking for a group to play with. When we got together, his brother, John, came to town and registered with Utica college. They then brought their friend and drummer, Ralph, who went to MVCC. We all jelled and the band was formed!
We used to play “The Ale House” once a week for a year or two in the ’65-’67 time frame. Of course we played locally but we were mainly a college concert band. Our agent would book us into a college for the weekend where we would usually play a couple of fraternity parties and a Saturday afternoon concert. We were very popular at St. Lawrence University, Union College, Cornell, Colgate, Vassar and a bunch of others who’s names escape me. We really only played the local bars and school dances if we didn’t have a college gig. During the summer months we would do Old Forge and the Adirondack circuit.
There never was an album called “Live at the Apollo”. That was a pipe dream of Trey’s. We did do an album for Decca records but it was never released; it didn’t have a title at that time.
The flip side of “I Wanna Do It” was “You Don’t Need Any Reason”, originally recorded by the Zombies.
Another question was who played the piano on the record [“the Rooster Song”. If my memory serves me correctly, it was John. Even in the mid-60’s records were multi-tracked. So, the piano was added as an enhancement. “The Rooster Song” was not recorded live as we always told our audiences but was done in a multi-track studio. It sounded live but, we were our own “live” audience. After the music tracks were layed down, we became the background ‘audience’. Also, on “Midnight Green” you will hear a celeste. That was a last minute addition by Trey because we found the celeste in the recording studio and it fit the song perfectly. Yep, it had it’s own track.
The Roosters also released a third single entitled “Midnight Green”. It was written by Barbour and recorded at 15 W. 45th Street in NYC; the same studio as the Lovin’ Spoonful, using the same technician. It was understandably the best production of the lot. The flip side was “Hurry Sundown”.
We continued as a quartet through mid-1967 when I decided to leave to pursue another career. The last time we all got together as a group was at Ralph’s wedding in 1971. The only one of us still playing music is Ralph. Last I heard he was playing with a dance band in Buffalo, NY. John and Trey both live in the LA area but neither are playing music these days.
After a 30+ year hiatus, I finally picked up the bass again and have been playing in my home for my own enjoyment. In addition, I have started to refurbish/restore guitars and basses on a very limited basis. I have rebuilt a Fender ‘P’ bass and built a Fender telecaster from the ground up. Needless to say I can’t call them “Fenders” so I call them “Roosters”.
Thank you to Peter Brohl for sending in the photos and providing some history of the Roosters.
Other bands from this scene who may not have made recordings include the Vandels, Andy & the Classics, Jack & the Naturals, the Mercy Side 5, Willie & the New Yorkers, and the Brass Buttons.
Does anyone know of other recordings by bands in Oneida, Clinton or Utica in the years ’64-’67?