|From left: Carmen Russo, Mark Spencer, Ron White, Harry O'Loughlin. All memorabilia courtesy of Harry O'Loughlin.|
With a songwriting pseudonym of “Eyhate Werk,” you know this record has to be good! The Illusions hailed from Randolph, Mass., and featured Ron “Eyhate Werk” White (rhythm guitar/organ), Mark Spencer (lead guitar), Harry O'Loughlin (bass) and Carmen Russo (drums). Ron, Harry and Carmen had been friends since junior high. Harry recalls the days of The Illusions:
Carmen vacationed in Plymouth, Mass., where he met Mark Spencer. We were all inspired by The Beatles, like a lot of people were.
To make a long story short, we all could sing so we decided to form a group. I can’t remember who came up with The Illusions but it worked for all of us. Carmen knew how to play the drums and Mark knew how to play guitar. Ron and I took a crash course on how to play the guitar and bass. We practiced in Carmen’s parents’ cellar in Randolph and sometimes at Mark’s parents in Hanson, Mass.
Our first gig was a Bar Mitzvah/reception in a hotel in Braintree, Mass. We played many school dances in Randolph, Stoughton and Braintree. Braintree because Ron went to Arch Bishop Williams High School. We played at the Surf Nantasket in Hull and Broad Cove in Weymouth. We played CYO dances at St. Bernadette’s in Randolph. We played a lot of Beatles and old rock ’n roll (Animals, Stones, Roy Orbison).
Ron was the songwriter of the group. He wrote about four songs and we picked two to make a recording. We chose “Burning Embers” and “Tell Me No.” We actually recorded “Tell Me No” a little bit slower than how the final product came out. We recorded at Ace Recording Studio in Boston. I remember the name of the guy who did the recording for us, Herb Yakus. Ron’s parents’ names were Barney and Mary, hence the record label name, BAR-MAR.
— Harry O’Loughlin, September 2016
And from Carmen:
On our first gig we only knew about 5 songs and we played them over and over. Ron played as well as he could. Harry was on bass which he couldn't play so he was UNPLUGGED the whole night. We laughed.
Harry did most of the vocals and the crowd loved it. We got paid $20 and were ecstatic. Fame and excess fortune soon followed and the rest is history.
— Carmen Russo, September 2016
Tell Me No / Burning Embers