The King's Ransom

As mentioned in earlier News & Nuggets updates, previously unreleased recordings by King's Ransom (Shame) were recently brought to light by the band's former manager, Mike Homick. While a handful of these songs will most likely be reissued by a prominent label in the (hopefully) not too distant future, decided to celebrate this bit of good news by reprinting an interview between Neil Hever, a current deejay at WDIY FM in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (and the man responsible for restoring the songs), and King's Ranson member Bob Dougherty. Though originally conducted in 1984, the interview provides some interesting information on the band and their recordings.

An Interview With Bob Dougherty by Neil Hever
(Originally published in 1984 in the fanzine 23 After)

23: From what I understand The King's Ransom went through a number of changes but you were the first to sing with the band.

B: We started in the summer of ' a guy's basement. The original, the people that made the records, were only together until June of '68. I was away in the Navy until '71. I think when I got out of the Navy it was done. But there were other bands after the original. Some of the originals continued on but they eventually quit. Then Mike Homick formed another band of totally different people that used our name.

23: The original line-up included who, Mike Homick?

B: He was our manager. Vince Homick was rhythm guitarist, Bob Werley lead guitarist, Chuck Hoey was on drums, and Glenn Zoski was on bass. For our last eight months - nine months - Ronnie Galland played keyboards with us.

23: Your first single was Shame and Here Today Gone Tomorrow. You co-wrote the B-side.

B: (Laughs) That is hilarious!

23: What was the impetus for that song? Was it an old girlfriend?

B: Possibly. We were 16-17 year old kids just trying to grab stuff out of the air.

23: The bass reminds me a little of Taxman.

B: Of course. The Beatles were hot then. Revolver and Rubber Soul were big at that time and I guess people were stealing ideas.

23: The A-side, Shame, sounds like The Stones to some people but I think it's real original.

B: We were big on The Stones. That was our forte - doing a lot of Stones. People thought we did them really well. Werley did that on a 12-string through a Vox Super Beatle with a lot of mid-range. He was quite innovative at times. He could have done a lot more. I like the ride on the B-side. I thought that was real good.

23: The solo?

B: Yes.

23: It is real unusual. Sitar like.

B: I thought that was real different.

23: Where was the first single recorded?

B: Frank Virtue Studio - believe it or not! Frank Virtue did "the guitar boogie shuffle." It was Frank Virtue and The Virtues. He was a little older then. Just a couple of run throughs and they cut the master!

23: They got it out real fast!

B: We were there 'til about four o'clock in the morning! We started about nine o'clock at night - or eight thirty - and were done by four o'clock in the morning.

23: Banged it out - two sides. Was there anything else recorded at that session?

B: No.

23: There were two other 45s released after that?

B: By us? As far as I know, Shadows Of Dawn and that's it.

23: Is there any material that you know of that remains unreleased?

B: There were three songs we recorded over at the Greek Orthodox Church in Bethlehem. We were togehter maybe a year then. That was our original drummer, Danny Roth; our original bass player, Scobie King, was with us, too. That was before Chuck and Glen joined. They were replacements.

23: Was the band called King's Ransom?

B: Oh yeah - it was King's Ransom from day one. And Pete Helfrich, who is still around here, he did it (recorded) with a mobile unit. He had a house in bethlehem where we mixed it all later. Mike Homick had them pressed at Allentown Records. There were three songs on one side of a 12-inch.

23: When was that pressed?

B: That was '66. That was before anything. That was never labeled. We sent some copies of that to record companies in New York and got some nice rejection letters. Nobody's ever heard that except people that knew us then. I don't even have a copy of that, but I'd like to.

23: Integra (the label) was formed by Joe Mclaine(still on the air locally) and Bob Kratz. How did things work out with the label?

B: We had a lot of good ideas, a lot of dreams, but there was never enough cash. There was no national distribution; some radio stations got records and there was airplay in Milton and up in Michigan, but there was never any national distribution to give it a push.

23: Did the band tour?

B: Yeah, regionally - Milton, Sunbury. We played with The Four Seasons once. We opened for them at Ag. Hall (Allentown). We started out at The Purple Owl - that was when psychedelic (music) was coming in, and we got pretty heavy into that. And then King Arthur's Court, which was opened by Mike Homick, our manager. We played only once or twice at The Mod Mill - that was Jerry Deane, our competition. We played only once or twice at The Mad Hatter 'cause that was our competition, too - Tom Makoul. They were mostly into soul (music) at The Mad Hatter.

23: Did you work with any local bands?

B: We played with The Hikeys. The Combenashuns - We played with a couple of times down at King's Court. We got to be friends with them. The Lord's Estate.

23: Was there a lot of competition?

B: There were two stages at The Court. If there was another band across from you that was real good, it gave you the drive to be a little bit better. Joey Coloruso used to play down there with Quenn's Way Mersey. Excellent vocals.

23: You played in Philadelphia?

B: We played colleges down there, Drexel, and here, Lafayette, lehigh...lots of frat parties at Lehigh, Muhlenberg. We played at Bucknell frat parties.

23: What was your favorite part of the show?

B: We used to do Land of a Thousand Dances at the end of the second set - always! We caried on 15-20 minutes with a drum solo and craziness...a good time!

"Copyrighted and originally printed on by Mike Dugo".
"Listen live, online to their music at Beyond The Beat Generation, 60's garage and psychedelia".