The following history of Just Guise was provided by out great initiator and good friend Kindly Ole Doctor Bob.
Just Guise is a sequence of local phenomena that began in Northeast Ohio in the early 1980s. Andrew Lee Baird, Jay Alan Vecchio and I re-recorded songs previously recorded by Andrew and Jay in the early 1970s, around the time they were in Orville Normal with Keith Joe Dick, Alan Greene and Jim Pasquale. Three instances were “Truckstop Death” “Will You Ever Love Me?” and “Cheeseburger for a Soul”.
Here’s a link to Orville Normal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9wae0_0_oI
In 1981, Jay and I shared writing and vocal chores on two 45s released on my Swell label. Jay sang and played on “Bloody Rotten” and “Gimmicks”. I had “Great Big Almost” and “You’re So Bad It Hurts”.
Jay and I recorded those four tunes and perhaps thirty others at Mark Luthardt's and Mike Wey's Angel Recording on Mayfield Road in South Euclid, Ohio. The studio featured an Ampex 1 inch 8 track that suited Jay and me very well
Andrew and I drove the mix tapes down to QCA in Cincinnati to be mastered and pressed. The labels looked just swell: silver print on a maroon label, like the Rolling Stones' early releases on London Records. Jay drew a liner sleeve with us standing, drinks in hand, before a regiment of reclining British infantry.
Andrew asked me what we were going to do with the pressings, noting the difficulty, not to say futility of trying to promote, market and sell 'em. I heartily agreed. I just wanted to ride one of the last waves of analog audio into shore.
Greg Giancola, aka GG Gregg, got the records reviewed in a German publication. Further on, GG got Just Guise, the band, its three bookings.
On August 20th, 1987, Angel Recording was destroyed by arson. However, Mark saved all four Just Guise 1” tapes and all quarter inch mix tapes. I continued to work with Mark, who engineered and produced sessions with me and Andrew at Beachwood Studios.
The bulk of production work shifted to Paul Schwartz's, and Richard Green’s studios, John Walsh's Modern Recording, Jim Hillenbrand's Landmark and Bob Carother's Harvest Recording.
Featured musicians and vocalists at Angel and successor studios included: Andrew Baird (Leroi Dice), keyboards, bass, mandolin and vocals; Marshall Beckley Baxter, vocals; David Bird, vocals; Wally Bryson, guitars;, Denny Carleton, vocals and guitars; Bob Carothers, guitars and keyboards; John Carothers, drums; Mike Daly, pedal and lap steel; Al Denis, bass; Keith Joe Dick, vocals; Cathy Jo Dottore (Eva Dilcue), keyboards and vocals; Denny Earnest, guitars; Greg Giancola, drums; Richard “Dick Whittington” Green, bass, guitars, keyboards, vocals; Alan Greene, guitars; Wally Griffith, guitars; Rick Harrison, keyboards; Andy Kubiszewski, drums and percussion; Rick Mattis, accordion; Pat Meehan, guitars; Bill Miller (Mr. Stress), blues harp; Tony Moore, saxes; Dan Pecchio. Vocals; Ray Pfister, drums; Robert J. Pilskaln (Kindly Old Dr. Bob), vocals; Larry Ross, guitars and vocals; Paul Schwartz, guitars, keyboards, vocals; Jerry Suhar, vocals; Norm Tischler, soprano, tenor and alto baritone saxes; Jay Vecchio, vocals, bass, guitars; John Verno, guitars; John Walsh, drums; Bill Watson, standup bass; Charley Wiener, Precision and Telecaster basses, vocals.
Just Guise released a six song cassette, “Hope You’re Amused”. Featured songs included “Breakfast” and “Cheeseburger for a Soul”.
In 1983, Andrew, Jay and I performed live at The Greenville Inn in Chagrin Falls Township. We were greatly aided by Pat Meehan, guitar and vocals, Paul Schwartz (“Doctor Rock”), guitar and vocals; Richard Green, guitar, keyboards and vocals; Charley Wiener, bass and vocals; Alan Greene, guitar; Mike Daly, pedal and lap steels; Norm Tischler, alto and soprano saxes and Greg Giancola on drums.
A second performance ensued at Peabody’s Café in Cleveland Heights, regrettably without Andrew.
Just Guise romped through its last live sets in its third and final gig at Peabody’s Downunder, sans Andrew and Jay. Paul Schwartz on guitar and vocals, Alan Greene on guitar, Phil Baron on keyboards, Richard Green on keyboard and bass, Norm Tischler on saxes, Pat Meehan on guitar and vocal and John Walsh on drums carried the show.
Several ensembles of writers and performers ambled down satirical and musical trails in Northeast Ohio between 1981 and 1998, when I split for Chicago. By 1988, the core of Just Guise comprised Denny Carleton, Paul Schwartz, Charley Weiner, Richard Green, Pat Meehan and me.
We appeared on WWWE in 1987, during Danny Wright’s afternoon shift. I cut out early and listened to Larry Rust and Denny Carleton on my way home. Rollicking good fun.
In 1988, Paul Schwartz produced the first of a wondrous series of song parodies, "Thunder Thighs". I gave a copy of the tune to John Lanigan, who played it on his morning drive show on WMJI FM. Paul and I wrote and/or produced about 20 parodies that aired on “Lanigan and Webster” on WMJI in 1988 and 1989.Some of my favorites remain: "King of the Council" and "Toxic Waste", both written by Charlie Wiener; "Expressways Fall Apart;" "Jack Up the Ad Rates" "We Voted for You", “On the Dole Again” and "Lady Medina". Paul also wrote original tunes for Just Guise, including “Graveyard Shift”.
The scene shifted. Patrick, Greg del Torto and I wrote a thirteen --episode radio theatre feature entitled “Noah Vale, Modern Day Private Eye”. Paul Schwartz engineered the series, providing musical themes and sound effects.
Then came radio. The general manager of John Carroll University's WUJC, Professor Dave, let us have a half hour weekly show. We completed a substantially all-original thirteen half hour show package which Dave was able to offer to Brown University’s UNET for satellite syndication. Thanks, Dave.
The shows were built around “Noah Vale, Modern Day Private Eye” episodes. Denny Carleton collaborated on skits and parodies, including “Folk Space” and “Mr. Buckeye”. Charley Wiener advised the hapless in “Hello, Dalai!”. Patrick Meehan, Greg del Torto, John David Sidley, Paul Schwartz, Kevin Lytle, Larry Rust, Tim Rerick and Andrew (“Leroi Dice”) Baird wrote, adlibbed, took on characters and performed skits.
Jim Hillenbrand and I edited the UNET – syndicated shows into a three CD series, entitled “Just Guise Clearance”.
In 1989, Just Guise did a live/taped benefit performance for WUJC with John Walsh's 24 track board at a South Euclid bowling alley, Glenmont Lanes.
On May 7th, 1989, Just Guise shared a venue at Pat’s In the Flats with the televised NBA playoffs. Greg del Torto, Denny Carleton, “Kat”, Kevin Lytle and Michael Jordan were the principal players, Paul Schwartz mimicked Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes” video. I played John Houseman’s corpse.
Just Guise appeared during a 1990 WCPN fund drive, preceding man about town, Ben Shouse. John Walsh hauled board and equipment to the station. We did a mock interview with Georges Collinet, who launched Afropop as an NPR – syndicated weekly radio program in 1988. We also played a jazzy version of “Louie, Louie”, we called “90.3, Baby, We’re Outa Dough”.
Circumstances changed and Just Guise morphed into a commercial audio production house. Clients included Goodyear, Jacor and Rusty’s Family Restaurant.
In 1998 I moved to Chicago. While there, I did audio production work with William Bullion at Jim Reeves’s Evanston studio, including a mock interview with spoken voice artist Chad, entitled “Chad Does Coffee”.
I split Chicagoland for New Orleans/ Algiers in 2004. Worked with Reverend Kenneth Kafoed in a private studio. Kenneth voiced Genesis 1 and other texts in the style of N’awlins Y’at.
Bounced to Albuquerque, where Andrew Baird had moved. I did voicework with Ron Phillips at Sid Fendley’s Mountain Road Recording. Before departing for Phoenix to be near the love of my life, I was able to record new tunes with Andrew, Jay, Sid and Norm Tischler. I recommend Andrew’s “A Ka Hi Hoi, (I Love But Thee}” and my “Oh, Tell Me When (the Beaches Open)”.
I have produced three radio shows in Phoenix. “Le Tip Live” aired on KFNX 1100 AM. “Building Your Family Dynasty “ for the Forakis Law Firm, was broadcast on 1310 KXAM, engineered by Jim Sherry at Lambchops Studios. I assisted veteran insurance agent Larry Bofman to format “Your Insurance Matters” on KXAM.
So here we are. I’ve lived, gratefully, in North Phoenix since 2005.
I work with Jim Sherry at Speak House Audio. Just Guise persists, actually and on an archival basis. Robert J. Pilskaln