|"Are you sure you guys play rock and roll?" The clean-cut crowd-pleasers, clockwise from bottom left: Cliff Shaw, Bob Morazzi, Dave Shedd, Steve Grande. All photos courtesy of Dave Shedd.|
While this crew may look like they're a few years too late for the squeaky clean Lettermen pop era, don't take The Bondsmen at face value: their sole 45 delivers one of the finest folk janglers from New England in "I Don't Want Your Lovin Anymore," whose guitar melody may very well get lodged in your brain for days at a time. Drummer Dave Shedd fills us in on the Bondsmen story:
The group that eventually became The Bondsmen was formed around 1960 and was originally named The Renegades. The Renegades played “sock hops” and dances in the members’ hometowns of Concord and Sudbury, Mass. The guys of the band met in high school and quickly became established in the small local music scene. The band consisted of Steve Grande (lead guitar and vocals), Cliff Shaw (guitar and vocals), Bob Morazzi (bass and vocals) and Dave Shedd (drums and vocals).
By the early 1960s the The Renegades gained a manager in fellow classmate (and former band member) Bob Petersen, who was the driving force that opened up more opportunities by seeking gigs throughout the New England area. Because of Bob, the band became a fixture on the fraternity circuit, gigging regularly at UMass, Tufts, UNH (University of New Hampshire), Dartmouth, UConn, University of Maine and Northeastern. Bob Petersen also connected the group with local radio personality Dave Maynard of WBZ in Boston, who in turn booked the group for various “record hops.”
By 1965 the Renegades became The Bondsmen, to capitalize on the James Bond craze at the time, and began playing more high profile gigs, opening for such national touring acts as The Kingsmen (Louie Louie), Barbara Lewis (Are You Ready), Little Anthony & the Imperials, Charlie Rich (Mohair Sam) and The Shangri-La’s (Leader of the Pack).
In 1966 the Bondsmen cut a 45 rpm record at Fleetwood Studios in Revere, Mass., that included the self-penned cuts ”I Don’t Want Your Lovin' Anymore” and “No Longer Mine.” During this same time the group landed their favorite gig: a summer stint at the Atlantic House in Provincetown, Mass. (locally known as P-Town). P-Town at the time was the epicenter of alternative lifestyles in New England and the music/arts scene was on fire. (The Barbarians were P-Town’s hometown heroes.) The Bondsmen were known for their conservative, collegiate stage attire and short hair, so when they showed up for their first gig at the A-House in crew-neck sweaters, the owner — the hipper than hip P-town icon Reggie Cabral — asked them, “Are you sure you guys play rock and roll?” Needless to say, P-Town and its Wild-East atmosphere changed the guys’ perspective forever. The highlight of the P-town gig was the October Halloween party at the A-House, where all the flamboyant denizens of the town turned out in full regalia to dance to the rock & roll of The Bondsmen; a moment still vivid in the band members’ collective memory to this day!
The Bondsmen continued to play shows around New England (with various changes in personnel) until the late 60s when life’s other commitments sent the guys in different directions. Steve Grande and Cliff Shaw still live in Massachusetts, while Bob Morazzi relocated South Carolina and Dave Shedd to Arizona.
—David Shedd, October 2014
|Circa 1966: Steve, Bob, Dave, Cliff.|
|Circa 1968 as Dorothy Dump Truck. From left: Steve Grande (guitar, vocals), Wayne M. (bass), Dave Burke (drums), Dave Shedd (vocals, percussion), Cliff Shaw (guitar, vocals).|
I Don't Want Your Lovin Anymore / No Longer Mine
Fleetwood (FL 4564) June 1966