|The Rockin' Ramrods|
|Origin||Boston, Massachusetts, United States|
|Genres||Garage rock, rock and roll, surf rock, protopunk|
|Labels||Explosive, Bon-Bon, Plymouth, Southern Sound, Claridge|
The Rockin' Ramrods were an American garage rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, who were active in the 1960s and early 1970s. Along with The Barbarians, the Remains and the Lost, they were one of the most popular acts in the Boston area. While they did not achieve national success, their work is today well-regarded by garage rock collectors and enthusiasts. They are perhaps best remembered for the 1964 protopunk anthem "She Lied." Though best known as the Rockin' Ramrods, they recorded under other names. They recorded one single as the GTO's. In 1968, Ronn Campisi left to form Puff who recorded one album, but the Rockin' Ramords subsequently reformed as the Ramrods, but with a different lineup, and released an album in 1971.
The group was founded in 1962 as the Ramrods Four by Boston residents Bill Linnane and Vin Campisi. They began as a surf rock unit who played primarily instrumentals, eventually modifying their name to the Rockin' Ramrods. Their original lineup consisted of Bill Linnane guitar and keyboards, Vin Campisi on guitar, Bob Blake on bass, and Butch Holmes on drums, but in 1963 Vin Campisi's brother Ronn replaced Blake on bass and Bob Henderson became the group's drummer. Both Ronn Campisi and Henderson would become important fixtures in the group over the next several years. The Rockin' Ramrods released their first single "Jungle Call" b/w "Indian Giver" on Explosive Records in late 1963.
In 1964 as instrumental groups lost favor after the onset of the Beatles and the British Invasion, the Rockin' Ramrods switched to the practice of using vocals in most of their songs. Guitarist Ronn Campisi began to handle most of the band's lead vocals, although other group members, such drummer Bob Henderson would also sing leads and backups. In April of that year, the band cut a single featuring the grinding protopunk of "She Lied," written by Bill Linane and Ronn Campisi, for Bon-Bon Records, backed with "The Girl Can't Help It." Guitarist and keyboardist Linnane was largely responsible for the group's hard-driving early sound, but in 1965 with his departure, the band began to evolve in different stylistic directions. He was replaced by Scott Curtis on keyboards.
In the Fall of 1965, their manager, Bill Spence arranged a short tour of New England opening for the Rolling Stones, along with the Blue Belles Vibrations. In December 1964 the Rockin' Ramrods had cut a version of "I Wanna Be Your Man" that John Lennon and Paul McCartney had written for the Rolling Stones' first single in 1963 and which the Beatles later recorded for their second album in England, With the Beatles. On the flipside was an obscure Lennon/McCartney number, "I'll Be on My Way." In 1965 the band released their next 45, "Wild About You" b/w "Cry in my Room" on the Southern Sound label, followed by a record they released under another name, the GTO's, "Don't Fool With Fu Manchu" b/w "Tears in the Stones" for the Claridge label. They band made an appearand in the movie, Disk-o-Tek Holiday, filmed in 1965 while Scott Curtis was their keyboardist. At the end of the year, Scott Curtis departed and was replaced by Lenny Cirelli.
In 1966 the band cut two singles, the first featuring "Play It" and the song Muddy Waters made famous, "Got my Mojo Workin', on the flipside, then later that year "Bright Lit, Blue Skies" b/w "Mr. Wind." Their last single as the Rockin' Ramrods was released on Plymouth in 1967 "Flowers in my Mind" b/w "Mary Mary." In 1968 Ron Campisi departed to form Puff recorded one album. The remaining members in the Rockin' Ramrods were Vin Campisi on vocals and guitar, Jim Mandell on keyboards, David Ryan on guitar, and Bob Henderson on drums, but the group disbanded shortly thereafter. Subsequently, they re-formed as the Ramrods, but with a different lineup and recorded an album in 1971, but then broke up for good.
Several anthologies have been released featuring the band's collected work. The French label Eva Records issued the LP compilation I Wanna Be Your Man in 1983.Big Beat Records released The Best Of The Rockin' Ramrods in 1995. In 2000, Akarma Records, out of Italy, issued their own compilation of the same name, The Best Of The Rockin' Ramrods.