The purchase point for downloads, and merchandise from Rastus.us.com
Rastus was formed in 1968 in Cleveland, Ohio. The first lead singer was Bocky (Robert J. DiPasquale) of Cleveland's Bocky and The Visions.
Mike (The Frist) Geraci: Baritone and tenor saxophones
The First Rastus LP!
Love you all....
The members of Rastus were not from Shaker Heights. They came from middle-class families from all over Cleveland proper. In essence....they came from the street.
On the street you have to be savy or else you wind up in trouble. All the guys from Rastus knew how to take care of themselves. Of course, Don Nagy knew how to take care of himself better than most. In fact, it was Don who took care of most everyone in the band. He saved my butt on more than one occasion.
When it came to playing "live" there was not a better band that I had seen on the East Coast. It was almost like they were going into a major brawl when they hit the stage. It was in the live atmosphere where Rastus shone. It is a shame that there is not more available in the live format. We have what we have.
When we had finished the studio recordings we decided to go into The Scene in Milwaukee one evening and record the band in a professional light. We utilized the 3M eight track which was owned by Sonad Studios and recorded the show as it was, only breaking to change tape when necessary. It was a packed house.
At that time Richard D'Amato (Muggsy) was the lead singer. It was undoubtedly hard as a singer to keep up the energy of Rastus and quite often Muggsy complained of his throat giving him trouble. It was for that reason that Danny Magalen was brought in to help take off some of the weight. Danny also played a mean baritone sax and fit right in on the harmony level. They sounded excellent together.
It wasn't two days after we finished the rough mixes at Sonad that Muggsy notified the band that he could no longer stay with the unit. Angelo Crimi and I had already started the negotiations with GRT and now we had the problems of dealing with a band without one of it's lead singers. This is how Marc Roman came into the picture.
Ron Kramer (then of GRT) told us he knew a guy from the San Francisco area who sang his ass off. Words we loved to hear. After listening to Marc's demo we all agreed that Marc could do the job. On top of that, Marc fit right into the band's image and philosophy which was....if they get in the way....kick their ass. Yessir....Marc fit right in. It also didn't hurt that Marc was a decorated Black Beret from the Vietnam War. All I had to do was remove Muggsy's lead vocals and replace him with Marc Roman.
That was no problem with the studio sessions as everything was isolated on the master tapes. However; when it came to the live recordings there were all kinds of problems with which to deal. The main problem was lead vocal bleed through onto the other tracks from the live monitors. We had a hell of a time replacing Muggsy with Marc on the live tracks and you can still hear some of Muggsy's bleed through on the final mixes. That's how things went in the music business at that time.
The final overdubs of Marc Roman were done at Sound City Recorders with the wonderful help of Dale Bachelor who was our engineer there. Sound City went out of their way to help us. And....as a matter of fact....Rastus first LP) was the first time that the Sonad Processor was used. In fact, Curt Knoppel was there to help us set it up. It was a few weeks after we first utilized the processor that Curt stole our patent and made his way to Marvin Caesar who eventually started Aphex utilizing the Sonad patent.
Here....for the first time available, are the live sides from Rastus' first LP. Some of them came from tape and some have come from the most pristine records we could find. The records were of course cleaned and reprocessed.
Many thanks to all the Rastus fans who are coming from the woodwork. Smokey and Vic are smiling from that great band in the sky and the rest of the guys are smiling as well. We're not making any money but what the hell!....What's new?
Best regards to all....
Rastus had been playing during live performances most of the songs on the Steamin' album long before they recorded the LP at Paragon Studios in Chicago in 1971. While the album was being recorded in Chicago, I was doing another Capitol project in Detroit. Why was I not in Chicago with Rastus? The band had decided they no longer needed my influence and guidance. They wanted to produce themselves. Such is generally the way. No band realizes that it takes a producer (an outside influence) plus the band to make quality product. The band is just too close to the music to see where improvements can be made or new ideas implemented. The producer alone should not be in charge of the overall product as the producer can also be blind to the inherent musicality that only the band can see. It takes two to tango.