Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, Jonathan Dayton High School, Springfield, New Jersey, hosted a five-star musical extravaganza featuring The Rip Chords, 1910 Fruitgum Company, and Ron Dante.
The Rip Chords (http://www.theripchords.net/) — starring Richie Rotkin, Arnie Marcus, Mitch Schecter, Amy Lynne, Tony Tuttle, Mike Kelly and Randy Dance — were first up and wowed the audience with their classic surf/hot rod sounds. They performed their hits “Hey Little Cobra,” and “409” as well as a bunch of tunes from other artists of their era including a stand-out performance of Amy Lynne singing “Vacation.”
Original member Richie Rotkin was an exciting front man, showing off his groovin’ dance moves and later going into the audience shaking hands with fans. All members played instruments exclusive to the era, including the amps, creating an authentic sound.
Next up was The 1910 Fruitgum Company (http://www.1910fruitgumcompany.com/) with line-up: Frank Jeckell (original guitarist), Mick Mansueto, Glenn Lewis, Bob Brescia, and Keith Crane.
This is one of my favorite live bands of all-time. I started seeing them about 15 years ago when they first reunited and still had original drummer Floyd Marcus in the band at Tierney’s in Montclair, New Jersey. Since then, I must have seen them at least 10 more times and it never gets old. I had their records when I was a little girl and to this day my favorite songs are “Simple Simon” and “1-2-3 Red Light” which they do at every show. Other tunes in their set include: “Kicks” and “Midnight Confessions.” This band is just so much fun and so full of life. You’ll always be greatly entertained.
Finally the legendary Ron Dante was up (http://www.rondante.com/). He’s best known for singing for The Archies and The Cuff Links.
The 1910 Fruitgum Company stayed onstage to back Dante up, which was a perfect fit. Last month I saw Ron Dante perform two songs at an outdoor concert before the show got rained out (though I was thrilled to dance to “Sugar Sugar” in the rain!) This time fans got to see the full show and it was amazing. In addition to “Sugar Sugar,” Dante performed his hit “Tracy,” a song that always sent chills up my spine; it’s just an adorable love song. Dante also sang some of the jingles he wrote, like the theme for Almond Joy. Finally, he brought the house down with the grand finale of “Johnny B. Good.” His vocals sounded just as pristine as the records; a true class act.
With three great acts, the night ended way too soon.
After the show all band members stuck around for a meet and greet. It was my honor to get to meet all these legends; some for the first time and others again. When you’re in the company of musicians you loved since you were a kid, it’s always fun and magic!
From left: Frank Jeckell, Ron Dante, Me, Mick Mansueto, and Keith Crane
Thanks to Mick for arranging this magical spur of the moment shot!
Richie Rotkin and Me — He’s awesome!
Two handsome fellows; my husband Dennis and Ron Dante.
Thanks Ron for signing these rarities!
Check out their websites for upcoming shows — these acts are not to be missed! — and background information, as this is all the REAL DEAL! ❤
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon in paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X