The Rondels

to give me the heads up. Long story short, I got the job with Philips, Smash and Fontana Records and that was the beginning of the rest of my life after The Rondels. We had been playing music for about ten years and had made around 80 recordings which have never been released. I am in the process of archiving them all and hopefully will have some up on my website which I am currently working on."

What funny moments do they remember from their time with The Rondels? Lennie laughed: "While we were staying at a hotel in Washington DC we bought this huge balloon and tied it on the faucet of the bathroom sink and turned the water on. Waiting to see what would happen, Ray opened the door after about ten minutes and there's the red balloon now hanging down over the toilet, on the floor, and into the bathtub. He shuts the door and we heard this little sound "pop". As water came under the door we checked out. Other than that we had a lot of fun together but never did anything too destructive or crazy.

Oh yeah, Ray did take a pee into Niagara Falls one night but Niagara got back at him. I'll let him tell you that story…" Ray took up the tale: "My wife Marilyn and I decided to enjoy our honeymoon at the beautiful Niagara Falls, but when we arrived engineers had actually diverted the falls so that they could study the erosion problem that was causing some concern.

We could not believe it, how can you divert a waterfall of such a huge scale? But there is was, instead of the beautiful sight that we had expected to see it was just a bunch of rocks!" There is a happy ending to the story though (which is officially documented), as Ray and Marilyn are still together after 39 years.

How has recording changed over the years? Lennie answered: "When we were recording in the '60s and before that in the '50s, the technology was really primitive compared to today, if you played guitar you plugged into an amp, put a microphone in front of it and played. For a drummer it was: tune your drums for the sound that you wanted, put numerous microphones around the kit and play, if the song had a vocal you sang as the track was going down.

There were no racks of effects in studios at that time and echo, compression and limiting were big achievements and additions that were only available at professional studios. It was mono and loud, I don't think we recorded anything in stereo until some sessions that we did later on in New York at Bell Sound. In our early days we recorded at many studios in New York including Regent Sound, Bell Studios, Associated Studios and Allegro Studios.

I've just remembered that we did The Jackie Gleason Show from Miami Beach on TV in 1966. It was amazing meeting him, and the most ironic part was that it was on The Jackie Gleason Show twelve years earlier that I had seen Elvis Presley for the very first time."

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Jimmy, Nicky, Lenny & Lennie in the mid-'60s

What happened to The Rondels afterwards? Guitarist Jimmy Petze worked for a phone company and also became a stained glass artist, but sadly he died from bone cancer in 1993 at the early age of 48. The Rondels' first drummer, Eddie Grispi, developed the very successful Kingston Kitchen Cabinet Company and also became a real estate mogul, owning many rental properties along the south shore of Boston. Sadly Eddie died of a heart attack, passing away on January 1st 2004. Bassist Nicky Latteo went on to work as a manager for Capital Food Markets, but he also pursued a career as a solo artist in many of the clubs and shows around the Boston area where he continues to perform to this day.

The band's second drummer, Lenny Collins, became a very successful promotion manager for Epic Records and worked with many of the label's important artists. Luckily he won the Massachusetts state lottery a week after his divorce (now that really was good timing!),

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Article written by Dave Burke of Pipeline Magazine www.pipelinemag.co.uk