Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bon Ton Roulet


Hey, the hard-working Tim Roolf of Bonedog Records was digging through the archives, and came up with an old MTV "Basement Tapes" segment, hosted by MJ Martha Quinn and Frank Zappa back on December 7th, 1985.

The band was Pittsburgh's own Bon Ton Roulet, put together by McKeesport's Bone Daddy Jeff Ingersol in the early eighties. It was a brass-driven ensemble that played Funk, R&B, Soul, and 30’s and 40’s music. In fact, some of their playlist was lifted from Ingersol's collection of old 78 records.

The BTR roster was Sharon Garland - Vocals, Gil Snyder - Keyboards, Don Hollowood - Guitar, Ken Crisafalo - Drums, Stefan Lovasik - Drums (studio), Xayne Berlinski - Bass, Chris Patarini - Sax, and Mark McCollum - Sax.

The group played regularly at Dom DiSilvio's club, The Decade on Atwood Street in Oakland. One memorable night, an up-and-coming rocker named Bruce Springsteen jumped on stage and joined them for a set.Three years later, Jon Bon Jovi did the same.

They performed "Love and War" for MTV, showcased in an artsy little B&W vid. (The bombed out areas were actually from a North Side redevelopment project; the tank is parked in McKeesport's Renzie Park.) Here's how they sounded 25 years ago:


Anonymous said...

I remember waiting with great anticipation back in 1985 to see the MTV debut of Bon Ton Roulet.

Great band. (They played at my wedding reception in 1988.)

Ron Ieraci said...

Amen, Cassie. BTR could get a joint rockin'.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I saw them at the Patty Toon (?) Dance Studio in either late 84 or early 85. They opened for Billy Price whom we had gone to see in hope of hiring him to play at our wedding. When we saw them play it was no contest, we asked them after their set if they played weddings. They hadn't but agreed to play for ours. We had a rocking' good time! Our guests even took it upon themselves to pass a hat for another set. That was June of 1985. Never saw the MTV spot until today. Too bad they disbanded not long after. Family members still tell us it was the best wedding reception ever!

Anonymous said...

Bruce was not "up-and-coming" by Sep 1984, not by around 10 years. Anybody remember a horrific street fight outside the Decade that night?

Anonymous said...

Check out

You might find some a BTR member or two hangin around there :-)

Ron Ieraci said...

Geez, Anon, even I can't read that many of my posts in a single sitting.
You're right about BTR; Ingersoll's house band is the best in the City. Ditto about the Boss; I misread my own post and thought it said '74. Most certainly after "The River," he had arrived. And thanks for the Porky and Buddy stories, and for stopping by and chattin'.