Roni & The Shadows
“Ronnie and the Shadows (aka Roni and the Flames; Monte Cristo and His Counts)
Original Founding members:
Ron Crosser: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Larry Crosser: Drums, Vocals
Tom Trivan: Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Pat Day: Bass, Vocals
Gary Zink: Bass Vocals
Tom Flick: Sax, Vocals
Denny Lytle: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
In 1961, the band was originally formed as an instrumental “Ventures”-styled group, along with a mix of current and “oldies” vocals. We played many, many record hops and dances at schools, armories, skating rinks, and teen centers throughout northwest Ohio, usually working with area Disk Jockeys. We were busy nearly every Friday and Saturday, and occasionally on Sundays.
I remember when we first started, we were rehearsing in my dad’s basement on West Hardin Street, and the neighborhood kids would gather around the basement window wells, lying on the grass, and dancing outside. We had great neighbors, and we shut the music down promptly at 9 PM!
The first club we played was the Ranch on State Route 224, about half-way between Findlay and Tiffin. During our first break, the Highway Patrol stopped in and conducted a random ID check. They discovered Larry and Tom were underage, and made us leave. Apparently, we needed someone 21 or older to accompany us while playing any venue that served alcohol. My dad served in that capacity for a while, and it never came up again. Harold Kline was the owner, and he had us back many times. As the record hops and teen dances began to fade, we started to play more and more clubs. We traveled in my ’55 Chevy: four guys, a Fender Bandmaster, Fender Bassman, Fender Bass, Fender Jazzmaster, Gibson Melody Maker, Heathkit PA & Speakers, Gretsch drum kit and assorted microphones, cables and other accessories!
Around 1962, Pat decided to enlist in the Air Force, so we moved Tom to bass and brought in Tom Flick, formerly with The Chex, on sax and vocals. That added a new dimension to our sound and we could play songs like “Tequila” by the Champs, and “Harlem Nocturne” by the Viscounts, and “Honky Tonk” by Bill Doggett in addition to music by the Ventures. We also brought in Denny Lytle, formerly with the Chex, on rhythm guitar and vocals. We continued to work the clubs in the area.
In 1964, I received a call from my friend and former Chex member, Sonny Brickman, who was currently the bass player for Johnny and the Hurricanes. I was asked if I could fill in for their guitarist who was ill. I said I could, and Sonny and I drove up to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and did the gig the following evening. The next day, Johnny called me and asked if I would join the band as their Lead Guitarist. I discussed it with the group and they said I would be crazy to not accept it, and they made me feel less guilty for leaving the band. They continued to play for a short time, and Larry went on to play drums for Life and Fresh Air and ironically also played for the Hurricanes for a short time. Larry and I hooked up again in 1965, with The Roadmen. Tom Trivan went off to college, and Tom Flick and Denny Lytle started a group later called Easy Street and had a fairly long run.
We had a great run! What a great time to be alive! Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll!”
As remembered by Ron Crosser:
Oral History with Ron Crosser
Cut 1: Ron Crosser on how he got started with music
Cut 2: Ron Crosser on the types of music he learned early on
Cut 3: Ron Crosser on the audience reaction to his early band
Cut 4: Ron Crosser on one of the first paid gigs
Cut 5: Ron Crosser on playing a talent show in Central Auditorium
Cut 6: Ron Crosser on some venues his bands played
Cut 7: Ron Crosser on writing/recording with Sam Mabe and others
Cut 8: Ron Crosser on the Brunswick
Cut 9: Ron Crosser on the jacket displayed in the exhibit
Cut 10: Ron Crosser on recruiting other band members
Cut 11: Ron Crosser on a typical night as a bar band
Cut 12: Ron Crosser on a setlist
Cut 13: Ron Crosser on how they got instruments
Cut 14: Ron Crosser on getting kicked out for being too young
Cut 15: Ron Crosser on joining Johnny & The Hurricanes
Cut 16: Ron Crosser on some Johnny & The Hurricanes songs
Cut 17: Ron Crosser on leaving the road
Cut 18: Ron Crosser on the exhibit
Cut 19: Ron Crosser on Phil McClurkin
Cut 20: Ron Crosser on The Roadmen