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JOHN laroe - lead guitar

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John's MUSIC bio

John loved all kinds of music as a kid, and would listen to a wide variety of LPs and 8 tracks that his parents & older sisters would be playing around the house and in the car as he was growing up.  There was a wide variety of music playing in the house, from Barry Manilow to Blondie to Duran Duran to Michael Jackson to Willie Nelson to George Jones & Tammy Wynette.  He also had a toy Mickey Mouse guitar that he was obsessed with as a little kid.  He'd constantly be running around with it and bashing its strings, and would regularly break the plastic strings on it.  He'd go and ask his dad to fix it every time he broke one.  His dad would tie a knot in it, and off he'd go again!


- As he got older, he got more into his own music, such as the hard rock & hair metal bands from the 70s & 80s.  Later on, his uncle introduced him to the blues, and he developed a deep love for the blues as well.  John's future brother-in-law (who was dating his sister around this time) also played guitar in various local bands, and John always thought that was really cool and that was another big influence on him.      


One day when he was around 12, he was in the car with his dad and suddenly felt a strong urge to play guitar.  He told his dad outright, "dad, I want a guitar.  I need to learn how to play".  His family thought it might be a phase, but it ended up being a strong passion.  His first guitar was an imitation Les Paul that they rented for a few months to see if he really had interest.  He loved the Les Paul look and sound, as this is what some of his idols like Slash & Zakk Wylde would play.  Once the rental ran out, his dad helped him get a Peavey Falcon from local music legend Roy Radmaker, who was the dad of one of John's friends.  He was a great country player, and turned John onto Peavey.  

John used that guitar to play in his first bands around the time he was 15 or 16.  These were some of his first experiences playing live music, and they played punk, southern, and classic rock for all kinds of house parties, keggers, Halloween parties, weddings, etc.  They'd play all night and then sleep in their car or wherever they could find a bed when the sun came up!  

John eventually graduated from his Peavey guitar and got his first real Gibson Les Paul around the age of 19.  It was a 1995 Gibson Les Paul Classic, from the same year that he graduated high school. To this day, that guitar is still his #1 go-to guitar and he's never looked back, as he's had numerous other Les Pauls throughout the years as well.  Some come & go, some stay, but he'll always be a Les Paul slinger till the day he dies. 

John has played off & on in a variety of professional working bands over the years, including Southern Comfort (classic rock), Full Circle (70s & 80s hard rock & hair metal), Renegade (southern rock), Figure 8 (all kinds of hard rock), and now with Head First Tribute band.  He's played at all kinds of live shows over the years, including all sorts of bars, open air street festivals (such as the Decatur Celebration), motorcycle rallies, the Illinois State Fair, weddings, and even once on live TV for a morning show!  He looks forward to continuing to play live as much as he can, and he's always loved playing at the East End in Monticello and is looking forward to rocking the East End again with Head First 

John's main guitar influences are Les Paul slingers such as Zakk Wylde, Slash, John Sykes, Jimmy Page, Warrent Haynes, etc.  Kirk Hammett & Angus Young were also huge influences on him as he was learning to play.  Some of his favorite bands are AC/DC, Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Guns n' Roses, Metallica, the Black Crowes, the Allman Brothers, Skynyrd, Zeppelin, Gov't Mule, etc. 

ROSEMARYE matheny rook - lead & backup vocals

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Rosemarye's MUSIC bio

Rosie started singing around the age of 5.


The coffee table in the livingroom was her stage lolol! Cher, Elvis and Janis Joplin were some of her favorites back then and still are to this day . 


In high school she was in chorus,  madrigals, plays and stage shows. She and Jim Rogers sang together several times for stage shows, a duet for prom one year and they were in their high-school musical Man of LaMancha...soooo much fun!

The first band that she was in was called Headlines. She was about 18 or 19 and her boyfriend at the time played drums and his brother played bass. They asked her to sing and got a couple more guys together and before they knew it they were playing gigs regularly around Central Illinois.


Headlines played 50's, 60's, 70's with some country thrown in every now and then. They had a lot of great times and have had a few reunions over the last 30 years.

When she was 21, Rosemary was approached  by another band that was starting up who played more rock and roll and she thought that would be fun for a change of pace.


The name of that band was Stiletto. They stayed busy playing around central Illinois  for about 2 or 3 years playing Janis Joplin, Joan Jett, Van Halen, Def Leppard  etc..  When she married her husband Mike, she decided to take the more domestic route and left the band to raise a family. 

Music has been a ton of fun over the years and she's made so many memories and have met so many great people along the way!

She's looking forward to singing lead and back-up vocals rocking out at the East End in the Tribute gig with Head First.

Rock on!!!  

STUART grove - back-up drums

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Stu's MUSIC bio

Stuart played the trombone for a portion of the Summer around 5th grade - the same year Monticello launched their band program - failing miserably.   


He lost interest after that Summer and never played again.  He could not read sheet music.  The only way he was able to stumble his way through the end of the Summer concert was via the help of a classmate, David Edbrooke.   He was kind enough to scribe all the note letters on the sheet music.  Stu didn't attempt to play another instrument until he was 19.

Over that period, he was always fascinated by the drums and the drummers in his favorite bands.   He knew he wanted to play the drums, but did not have the means to do so.  Periodically, he would sneak upstairs @ classmate Gretchen Hayes' house and play her brother's (Dennis) kit when he wasn't home.   Or, when visiting another classmate, Sean Dalton, he'd let Stu go to their basement and make some noise on his kit.  He'd even sneak on to the MHS stage after basketball practice and tinker with the jazz band's kit. 


Eddy Eades and Stu were basketball managers, so they had access.  Ed could even play the drums like a pro in the 8th grade.   He was up behind the curtain jamming one night as the Urbana HS team came walking in for a game that night.   Stu was out raising the side baskets as Eddy's solo was filling the gym - it was freakin cool!   Just another sign that Eddy had the "it" factor


Stu bought a used guitar and amp when he was 19.   Determined to become a musician - it quickly became a nice room ornament.  He had no knack for playing the guitar.   Again, he couldn't read music and was not coordinated enough to locate a note on the fret bar while trying to pick.


Shortly thereafter, a good friend of Stu's bought a small used kit for him because he was wanting someone to jam with.   He was just learning to play guitar himself and had heard Stu talk about his urge to play drums.    Stu was brutal on the drums, but after many a practice with his bud, they got better with time and started thinking about real band potential.   Within about 12-18 months they were doing their first opening gigs as Mabel's  (this was the inception of the band LYR).  He is forever indebted to this friend and his wife.   Had they not been kind enough to purchase him that kit, he may never have taken the leap himself and embarked on a lifetime of fun.  LYR's run was roughly '86-'89.   

Stu's musical influences growing up: KISS, KISS and more KISS, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest - (Eddy Eades introduced him to them. He remembers vividly the first time Eddy played "Green Manalishi" for Stu.   Had it cranked in his bedroom with the windows open.   Even did a silly little dance at the start of the song!  Eddy introduced Stu to UFO as well.  First tune he played for him was "Only You Can Rock Me" off the live album.  Stu was hooked. 

90 to '93 were Stu's band "Class-X" years.   Members were some components of LYR and others.    They played more of the classic rock genre: Kiss, Alice Cooper, Bad Co, Van Halen, BTO, Cheap Trick, Montrose, Def Leppard, AC/DC  to name a few.   Again, their stomping grounds were Mabels and Ted's Warehouse (Charleston).  They played a few other hole-in-the-wall dives as well as some parties and benefits.  They had all progressed from the hair-era and were more about having fun than looking good.  

94-ish was Stu's last band "Ferocious Fish" and the last time he ever played live. They were together for about 3 mos and played one gig (6 songs) live.  Little did he know then that this would be the last time he'd play in front of an audience, until now at the upcoming Eddy & Jimmy Tribute gig.   All of the band members of Ferrocious Fish all went our separate ways in life after that.   Stu went on to get married shortly thereafter and sold his drum kit.    He didn't touch the drums again until about 2012.

Stuart still practices about 2hrs a week these days.   About 95% of the time he uses his Yamaha DTX electronic kit - Mostly due to ergonomics, sound quality and decibel level.  He has it set up in his office and plays along with tunes on his laptop.   He has a 7 piece Yamaha Stage Master acoustic kit in his basement for when he wants to be really loud.  

Stu's ready to rock it out on the drums with Head First at the Tribute gig coming Sep 30 at the East End in Monticello.

ROSS crotinger - rhthym guitar

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Ross' MUSIC bio

Ross started his music career in middle school, choosing unbeknownst to his mother, to play the trombone. This hacked-off his mother, as she wanted him to play the trumpet like his grandfather, and after whom he was named. Nonetheless he excelled at it and sat most of his high school career in first chair, with the exception of when his band practice room antics would piss-off the band director, which would cause him to be demoted to second chair for a few days.

Ross became interested in the guitar after buying the first two Boston albums, and Van Halen 1 shortly thereafter.

He really got interested in the electric guitar after seeing a middle school friend, Steve Scott, play.  Seeing another friend, Eddy Eades, jamming to KISS songs further heightened his interest.

Eddy introduced him to Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. And that was it - he was hooked. He was a founding member of four rock bands in high school: Nitro, Renegade, Vital Signz and Head First.

Ross left Head First in 1984, about a year before it ended as in was conflicting with school at University of Illinois. Nevertheless, he still would join the band at gigs they played in Champaign at Mabel's.

Over the subsequent years, Ross has invested heavily in his home studio and great gear and enjoys playing music with his friends.

RANDY brown - bass guitar & backup vocals

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Randy's MUSIC bio

Randy started his music career in 3rd grade when his mother put him in the elementary band, playing the alto saxophone.

He continued to play the sax all through elementary, middle and high school in the orchestra band, pep band, jazz band and marching band - playing  the alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.


In his freshman year of high school, he started playing the bass guitar in a local rock band formed by he and some friends in Monticello, IL.  He was the Vice President of the Band his senior year of High School and was awarded the John Philip Sousa award.    

He went on to perform in four bands of which he was a founding member through high school and early college, including the bands: Nitro, Renegade, Vital Signz and his last band Head First.  

Head First was a frequent headliner at Mabel's at the University of Illinois in the mid-1980s.  It's biggest concert held there was a Mardis Gras themed event, where it broke the record for hard liquor sales sold in a single evening! The band had a great local following and went on to open for members of The Grateful Dead who played under the band name Kingfish at Mabel's before  winning the Midwest Battle of the Bands at Illinois State University.   

His music influences are diverse - spanning early 70's through early 80;s classic rock bands like Deep Purple, The Guess Who, Led Zeppelin, Lynryd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Van Halen, UFO, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and many more.   

Randy loves live music venues and is still an avid enthusiast of Classic 70s & 80s rock-n-roll.

STEVE howard - lead vocals & drums

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ERIC boley - sound engineer

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Eric's MUSIC bio

Eric Boley also known as The Outlaw Soundman, has run sound for a wide variety of Champaign-Urbana and Greater Area bands - including:  Renegade, ESP,  American Heritage, Jab,  David Allen Coe, Candy Foster, Will Roger's Band, Kings Highway, Hoggwild, Evolver . . .and dozens more.  

Eric is also a frontman for a few bands.

He'll be mixing sound for Head First at the Jimmy & Eddy Tribute gig Sept 30 at the East End Tavern.  



A Special TRIBUTE to EDDY eades & JIMMY rogers

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