36 comments on “The Ascots – Sookie Sookie

  1. Hi Larry –

    The Ascots hailed from Barrington, RI and billed themselves something to the effect of “Rhode Island’s Greatest Rock Band”. They were managed by a group of folk who worked at the Providence Journal newspaper and they recored for Big Al Pavlow’s Super label out of Providence. Al originally ran Big Al’s Record Shop in Providence and later published the much respected “Hot Charts” and other R&B reference sources. The Ascots opened for a number of famous acts and their records sold well enough to chart in the local market. Their version of “Midnight Hour” was a hot seller in southern New England but failed to break nationally because of a number of other versions released at the same time. Some members went on to form Deviled Ham and cut at least one record. That’s what I know… Dennis

  2. Hi Dennis and Larry,
    I was bass player for the Ascots and Dennis has it correct. We all went to Barrington High. We started as two guitars, bass and drums and soon added a keyboard player.Had a great time playing the school dances ,URI frat parties, local bars and recording with “Big Al”. The recordings were done during a couple of sessions at Bell Sound in New York which was big time exciting for us.Never forget the thrill of hearing our record on WPRO radio for the first time. Also as Dennis said,we opened for a number of big names at RI Auditorium. The Who,Beach Boys, Blues Magoos,Chad and Jeremy etc. We were “RI’s Most Dynamic Band” if I remember correctly. We rode the wave of the 60’s but never broke nationaly and eventually split apart. Some went off to college. The drummer , keyboard player and I went on to form “Deviled Ham”,a theatrical rock group We recorded an album for Super K records in 1968. We also recorded a 45 under the name” White Wash”. With the exception of the keyboard player who has passed away we all still enjoy playing and have fond memories of those days.

  3. I was the lead guitarist. Mark , the bass player, who now is an accomplished lead guitarist, and I get together now and then with some remenants of other old local bands at a local club. I still have the 1966 Gretsch Nashville that I played in those days. We had a reunion of the 4 original band members, about 12 years ago. It went welll and we actually sounded pretty good.

    • Pete, a good hello to you! mind if you answer a few from me?

      Who were the original four members of The Ascots”…..
      having trouble thinking who the fifth member was also on Keys…

      Loved seeing you guys play, rehearse and was alwqys jealous of your top notch equipment!!

      To this day, some of my music collectibles are because of The Ascot’s…!

      Sat hello to your excellent sister Pam for me… had a huge crush on her ….

      Best Regards, Jack Hanrahan, Kansas City, Mo. BHS ’69

  4. Hey Larry and all,
    I actually worked for the Ascots. I was their “roady”. I and usually a friend, who worked for free, would move and set up their equipment which included a Hammond B-3 with a Leslie. Many times when the guys were doing a gig for a local radio DJs they hand to dig in their own pockets to pay me for gas and trailer rental. Back then in the local am market you had to do free gigs for them ( they got the door).
    We were they only Union band in the area back then so we got to play lead band for some big names. Some that come to mind are.The Who, Rascals, Hermins’ Hermits, Beach Boys and Blues Magoos.
    Here is a piece of information that I am pretty sure that even a very few people in the business know.
    In 66 or 67 we played at a place in Newport R.I. called Bambis with a band who at the time called themselves the Pigeons. Well lo and behold they played a cover of a song called ” You Keep Me Hanging On ” but we had never heard it done the way they did it !!! You guessed it .They were the Vanilla Fudge before that song became a Hit. We loved it but crowd really did not know what or how to take that (at the time) radical treatment of a slow song.
    I have many great memory’s of that time like spending an hour talking with Tommy James about space flight. I could go on and on but I am going to end here because I can’t type and it took me a friggin hour to type this much. I write ya again
    Bob Wylie

  5. Thanks to everyone for stopping by with information and reminiscences. I love when I find an otherwise anonymous 45 and the people that made it and their fans come out to flesh out the story!
    Larry

  6. I remember Pete Mayhew as a pledge in our fraternity at URI. The band was great. I bought a Hagstrom II guitar from him. I remember “Midnight Hour” and the Beatle’s “You Can’t Do That” both getting airplay back then.

  7. Forgot to add that I had since sold the Hagstrom to also buy a Gretch but I bought it back from another fraternity brother about ten years ago.

  8. Larry, great vibe on The Ascots….. when I was 15 in 1967 and had my own little rock group, “Spectrum of Sound” (what was I thinking? !) that played around Barrington, RI, The Ascots were the band to be like. We sure envied them ,their look, their sound and their equipment! Thye were fantastic live
    Loved their set lists…. Pete, Mark were totally great players…I ended up moving to KC right after hs graduation in 1969 and changed to bass, had some good success and have played for years and become a concert promoter starting in 1985, which I still do. today.
    I still ahve their “White Wash “, kind of hippy, drippy fun keyboard heavy stuff..45 rpm record that I won on WPRO.
    Thanks for the inspiration, The Ascots were totally cool. … I got to date Pete’s sister and got to see them rehearse a few times… all business..! Learned a lot…

    Best to them,, Jack Hanrahan BHS ’69

    • Ted Medberry-drums/vocals/ occasional lead vocals………….Vin Medberry(deceased) Hammond B-3/vocals…………..Mark Vinbury,Bass/vocals…………Rick Deselits, Rythum/Lead vacalis…occasional lead guitar………..Pete Mayhew/lead guitar/vocals

  9. I’ve got a December 22, 1966 ticket for the Ascots opening for The Young Rascals and The Left Banke at the Westchester County Center. Happy to provide a scan if you wish.

    • Rick, cool.. love to see the scan of the ticket for The Ascots …

      How was the concert? I’ll bet the YR wer egreat live.. never saw them unfortunately…..

      Thank you! Jack Hanrahan

    • Hi Rick, I was the bass player for The Left Banke. I read your post here, and I was wondering if you would be so kind as to send me a scan of your ticket to the show. Rascals – Left Banke at Westchester County Center? It would be a great memento.
      Thanks a million,
      Tom Finn

  10. Man, does this bring back some memories! Pete Mayhew and his Vox Super Beatle!! He sold it to our bass player (Bob Lorenz) but I think he had to repo it back due to non-payment. Wild hair Vinny Medberry on the B3 and his sweaty brother Teddy on his Ludwig drums flipping his sticks! Mark Vinbury being very animated on the bass (was it a Rickenbacker?) and Rick Desilets out front crooning away! It was always very exciting to see them perform.
    Our band back then was “The Odds and Ends” and we recorded a version of “Sookie Sookie” after hearing The Ascots version. We recorded it at Viscount Records in Pawtucket, RI. I wish I could find a copy of that as well. I can’t remember what was on the “B” side.
    Our line-up was myself on guitar / vocals, Peter Currier (now deceased) on lead guitar / vocals, Bob (Gob) Lorenz on bass and Eddy Tuffaralo (spelling is probably wrong) on drums.
    Pete Mayhew became a good friend and Mark Vinbury’s brother Peter became a friend as well.
    Some of the local bands back then were “The OBI’s” (The Oxbow Incident) with Jack Ryan and Howie MacDonald, Rizz with Dave Tannery, Toad, Hot Cottage, Duke Robilard (when he was just starting-out), Jeff Thomas, man…I’ll need to really take some time and think back on all the local bands, it was really an amazing time in music!
    Bambis in Newport (we played there once), it was owned by the Cowsil family then. Also, the Venus Di Milo in Swansea, Mass. had some great concerts with The Vanilla Fudge and The Strawberry Alarm Clock. How about “Sugarberry’s” at Crescent Park!? I saw The Barbarians (Moulty, The Drummer) had a hook for a hand, The Music Explosion (A Little Bit of Soul), I’m pretty sure The Ascots played there too as well as “The Number One” from Connecticut featuring bassist British Bobby and Chris Covell. I believe they opened with “Omaha” by Moby Grape and went on to “Riding Along on a Carousel” by the Hollies and “A Day in a Life” by The Beatles.
    The Ascots were the closet thing to celebrity back then. Why did they break-up?

    • Have any of you band fans heard of Johnny Lindsay(sp?) I googled him in with RI & The Ascots came up. I’m a librarian with a patron asking about him. He may have been a Providence restaurant owner in the ’50s & ’60s. He also may have written the song “Alone at the dance” in 1958. It’s been very enjoyable reading the reminiscences as I was a “garage punk” fan myself. It seemed at the time that everyone was in a band. Very cool in those days!

  11. The real name is Johnny Lindy who is actually Vin Di Bona, a producer of many TV shows, the most famous being “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” He has received many awards over the years including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a New England Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in television, & an honorary doctorate from his alma mater Emerson College in Boston. He remains active with Emerson & various institutions in RI. His family did run “Lindy’s Diner” in Cranston, RI at one time. Under the name Johnny Lindy he recorded a few records in Nashville in the ’50s, two of which are “My Arms” & “Alone at the dance.”

  12. I had posted a while back about buying Pete Mayhew’s Hagstrom II guitar. At that time I was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity at URI and Pete pledged the house but I don’t think he stayed at the house or maybe left URI. He was a good guy and played great guitar and had a strong band. I started a band called “Mirage” around that time and we played a lot of URI and Brown Fraternity parties in the 60’s and early 70’s. When this band broke up I joined “Bastille” (formerly The Malibus) with Jack Henehan who at first played bass and sang lead, Eric Nielsen our lead guitar player who played with Dave Tannery maybe in a blues band called “Backslap”, Peter Place (Remember Place Music on Taunton Ave in East Prov?), Pete Bulger and later Jim Szydlo on drums, Sam Gingerella on Sax. Later Jack Henehan became our front man and my brother Bunky Renzi played bass. I played mostly rhythym guitar and sang some lead and harmonies. This band was very successful in RI playing over a year 4 nights a week at Shillers in Scarborough and then 4 nights a week for about a year and a half at Caesars. The drinking age had dropped to 18 and their were lines out into the street all night and the bar would run out of beer about 10:30 many times. We did a 45 which got very little airplay in RI but did OK in Vermont where we went occassionally to perform. The 45 just turned up on a CD compilation out of the UK called Le Beat Bespoke Vol 3. Pretty interesting as that they have a big party in London every year around Easter and everyone dresses retro and drive Vespa motorscooters. Here is a link with a picture of the Vol 3 CD http://nutstore.appee.com/ I’ve been playing as a one-man band for the last 25 years and also have had a reunion of Bastille back in 2000 which was a lot of fun. I spend a few months in Sunrise, FL and have played at Fitzwilly’s (Now Fuci Fino) in Ft Lauderdale, McGowan’s in Hollywood Beach and Claudia Cafe & Restaurant in Northern Miami. In RI I’ve been playing at Shannon View in Warwick, Chelo’s on The Water, Hanson’s Landing, EG Firefighter’s Club and a few functions at the Knights Of Columbus and Kelly Gazzarro Post. I’ve written six new songs (actually one was written in 1967) and our lead player Eric Nielsen is going to produce the 6 + songs and create a CD sometime this summer (2010)

  13. Interesting stuff. I grew up in Rhode Island and attended a summer camp as a high scholl student circa 1967. Three girls were big fans of the group which prompted me to purchase “Midnight Hour.” I just gave the record a spin (for the first time in decades) and so googled it and found your blog. -David

  14. Hi its pete Mayhew again. i can’t tell you how nice it is to hear from everyone that has responded. I still play alot and would love to reunion with our band and anyone interested. Brian and I used to play at RISD beach and it would fun to see him again. Anyone interested let’s talk it up and see what happens. mark and I still see each other regularly so that’s a start.

    • Hey Pete! How the heck are you? I check back every now and then and I got lucky this time with your post! I’m so pleased to see that you are still kicking around and haven’t bit the dust yet! I guess only the good die young! Man, what a kick it would be to get a bunch of players together, we could even dig up Buzz and Mike Elliot to do a harp duet (if they’re still on the earth that is). Man, we had some good times. I live out in the country these days near Muscle Shoals so it would be kind of hard to get back to the old hometown but I’ve been yearning for the good old seafood back there and I would consider a trip. Could you imagine if we could organize a reunion of all the players that we know for one big party? I don’t know about you but my liver is still in pretty good shape! That would be something to look forward to. Hope to hear from you Pete, you’re a good man!

      • Great to see all(most) of you are alive and well. I Googled The Ascots because I am looking for MP3’s of any of the Ascots 45’s. I had them all, but gave then to a friend to play on his juke box. Now that I have a turntable to convert vinyl to M3s, I need to borrow them back from him. Will see him this weekend for the first time in awhile, hope he still has them. Had the pleasure of hearing all the groups mentioned in this blog, as we used to hit Bambi’s quite often (saw the Rascals there, and many times the Pidgeons, Cowsills, Joanne and the Poets,etc). See Peter Mayhews son Pat occasionally, told him I would try to get him copies of the Ascots four 45’s. Still see Jack Ryan occasionally, he has a party band that are quite entertaining. Hearing all the old names brings back a lot of memories. Still talk with people about Filboid Studge (spelling?) Mark Salander and I trade a lot of music we have downloaded. They just don’t make ’em like they used to.

      • OMG ClamRay Clements….I was just prepping a Bio for a new job and I had dredged/googled up Filboid Studge RI which led me down this rabbit hole….my first non profit Board of Directors-Stephen J Hanrahan, Francis Mc Bride, Chris Servant,Brian Clements, Peter Currier Michael Cheeks Elliot and Robert O’Brien with Jimbo Fiske creating the original artwork that is worth Billions to me today. RISD beach jam sessions on Ball Hai and Mescaline playing until our fingers bled were Epic times.
        Steve Hanrahan Sunmillrealty.com

  15. I STILL HAVE 2 OF THE ASCOTS 45S. MIDNIGHT HOUR PART1 AND 2 AND KNOCK ON WOOD/I NEED YOU. SAW THEM LIVE AT CASE HIGH IN SWANSEA IN MID 60S. GREAT TO READ ABOUT THEM AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.

  16. WoW! What a blast from the past!! Wonderful memories of growing up in Barrington as Peter’s little sister. Can’t believe it has been so many years! having our 40th class reunion 8/5/11! Blast from the past. Jack Ryan, Mark Couchon and Bobby Malcom are playing! It is a combined reunion for class of 71 & 70. Have over 150 people coming!

    Would love to see a reunion of Barrington musicians!!

    Hi Jack.

    • Hey Pam!

      When (time) and where is the class reunion? What would I need to do to be able to attend?

      • Aww. Brian, I just checked back here, (2 years later ). It was a great night. We plan another one. Send me your contact info: mocktheworld@yahoo.com. I keep the reunion list. I’ll add ya!

        I was brought back here because I saw a YouTube of Phil Madeira playing You Can’t Do That!!!

        Living in the ole barrington homestead on Belvedere Ave.

  17. yeh, i, too, was a high schooler in barrington in the mid 60’s & remember the ascots playing high school dances and at the yacht club (such a barrington thing). i thought they were very good, very professional, great at beatles and rascals covers.
    the other band i remember from that time is ox bow incident with forrest (howie) macdonald. he’s still playing and is a blues legend in virginia. check out his website.
    any chance anybody could post those ascots’ 45’s as mp3’s? i have ‘sookie, sookie’, but would love ‘midnite hour’ & ‘can’t do that’.

    jim

  18. Memories of growing up in Barrington. lived in the same neighborhood as Mark Vinbury. Went to school with some of the siblings of the band. It was really exciting when their Midnight hour was played on the radio. Recently I was playing with a band here in Maine and we played Midnight Hour as part of the line up. I could not help remembering those days of the Ascots. The 70/71 reunion was great.

  19. Looks like there will be an official Ascots reunion and general blowout of BHS bands from that era on Sun 9/28 2014 at the Met as part of the Class of 69 reunion. Should be fun.

  20. Well that 2014 reunion never became a reality,however, the Ascots are being inducted into the RI Music Hall of Fame on April 26,2015 along with The Others, Georgie Porgey and a host of others including the Schemers/Raindogs and Brenda Bennett of Prince/Apelonia fame.. We will be playing a few tunes and it should be a huge gathering of the 60’s and 70’s tribes from all across the state. See the RIMHOF website for details.

    • lived jn barrington for a few years, 2or 3 years younger than you, we spoke a few times.you were playing an EKO violin bass and we both wanted Epiphone Rivoli or Gibson EB2-C basses, you were always kind. I have always tried to treat younger musicians that way as well. Thanks.

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