“A Strange Blend of 40 Years Passed and 15 Minutes Ago”Here’s something a little crazy: More than 40 years after breaking up, a band reunites and records their first full-length album.
Mike and the Ravens are proud of the fact that they still field their original lineup. They’re even prouder of the fact that they predate the Beatles. So why haven’t you heard of these guys? In September 1962, Ravens Steve Blodgett (rhythm guitar), Brian Lyford (bass), and Peter Young (drums) broke into Stowe, Vermont’s Community Church. They proceeded to play a rock ‘n’ album over the steeple PA system. The sounds of the “devil’s music” was heard eight miles away, according to police reports. The trio was jailed for this act, effectively splitting up the band.
It wasn’t until this century that rock historian Will Shade tracked down all five original Ravens (singer Mike Brassard and lead guitarist Bo Blodgett round out the band) while researching Vermont’s early rock ‘n’ roll scene. Encouraged by the renewed interest, the Ravens decided to get together and see if the old spark was still there. Once the rust was off, they decided to finally record an album. “I think the band wanted to prove something to ourselves,” Brassard said. “We wanted this to be the album we never had the chance to make. But most importantly, we wanted those young guys we used to be to dig it.”
The Ravens are quick to say they’re not “grandpa rock” or out to cash in as a nostalgia act. Noisy Boys! The Saxony Sessions put those notions to rest right away. The disk opens with the garage rock classic “Roller, Roller, Rollerland!” penned by Stephen Blodgett as an ode to New York’s legendary roller skating rink and live show venue. The band keeps up the pace throughout the album’s 12 tracks, riding the line between rockabilly and garage, sounding every bit as good as bands who could be their grandkids.
Eddie Shaw, bass player for classic garage act The Monks, counts himself as a fan of Mike and the Ravens. “(They) play rock like rockers should,” he said. “And it’s not just old rehashed memorabilia. It’s a strange blend of 40 years passed and 15 minutes ago.”
Roller, Roller, Rollerland!.mp3
(I Be) Rockin’ with Mrs. Benoit.mp3
Get more information about Mike and the Ravens at their MySpace. You also can check out Mike and the Ravens’ original singles at their 1962 MySpace.