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Guitarists Glenn Reyna and Bob Lisak and their lead singer Ray Horan invited drummer Bob Price of Palos Park, Illinois, to meet with them in their basement rehearsal studio in Chicago on March 3, 1975. Price brought along his friend Jim Koranda to play bass. Lisak stayed with the band a few months, then Ken Silvestri, another friend of Price, joined the group. After Horan left, the band struggled with one or two more lead singers before realizing they didn’t need a front man. They were known as Hex, then The Champagne Limousine Band, before choosing the name Rocken Horse.
From the beginning all four of them had the desire to write their own material, wanting to emulate the harmony vocals of Chicago bands such as the Buckinghams and Cryin’ Shames. The four genuinely liked each other, and they worked well together, respecting each other’s abilities and opinions, and coming up with songs they were proud of and wanted to play for people.
Because of their friendship with recording engineer Scott Rowley, the guys were able to record their original material in a great 24-track studio just south of downtown Chicago. Since Rowley worked there, he was allowed to use the studio whenever there was “bumpable time,” so the band would sometimes spend all night recording in that studio, always ready to change their plans at the last minute if a paying customer booked time.
They also paid their dues by playing in many smoky clubs with beer-soaked floors. One night at a far south suburban Chicago club, a rep from Erect Records heard them play. Erect was looking for local acts that had their own material. Rocken Horse was signed and their first album released in 1981. The group was in the process of recording their second album at Pumpkin Studios in Oak Lawn, Illinois, when Erect Records folded.
The Horse started trotting again in the fall of 2008, tried a canter in the spring of ’09, and is now at full gallop. Watch this website to find out where Rocken Horse will go next...
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BY NED RISSKY