Above: Promo shot, 1961, Dayton, Ohio.
L-R: Phil Ackerman, Bill Trimmer, Jim Colegrove, Teddy Grills, Dick Fischer (drums).
Above: At the Avondale Club, Dayton, Ohio, 1960.
L-R: Bill Trimmer, Dick Fischer, Teddy Grills, Jim Colegrove, Phil Ackerman.
TEDDY AND THE ROUGH RIDERS began in Fairborn, Ohio in the spring of 1958. This rock ’n’ roll band was originally called
The Teddy Bears but for obvious reasons (Phil Spector’s group) had to change the name. Teddy Grills middle name was Roosevelt
and he was doing most of the singing. That fall they began calling the group
Teddy and the Rough Riders at Jim Colegrove’s suggestion.
The original band members were: Teddy Grills, vocals and guitar, Dick Fischer, drums, Jim Colegrove, lead guitar and vocals. Later
additions were: Phil Ackerman, bongos, piano and organ; Bill Trimmer, bass and Bob Brane, saxophone. There were only two other members, ever, in this band. Dick Fischer was replaced in ’62 by Les Sayre on drums and Bill Trimmer was replaced by Denny Boyd
on bass in ’63. Both Dick & Bill enlisted in the Navy.
The band got its first break when it began playing at record hops that radio station WING (Dayton, Ohio) disc jockeys were doing.
The DJ’s (Jim Smith, Lou Swanson, Stan Scott, Gene "By Golly" Barry, Bill Henry) promoted their hops on the radio and the Rough Riders became a very popular band. No other band was doing this in
the area in 1958. This set a trend for other groups to do likewise.
As a result of the DJ connection the band met Texan, Bob Holliday in 1959. Bob was a new DJ at WING that fall and took interest in
the group. He became their manager. Bob took the Rough Riders to King Studios in Cincinnati to record in 1960. He got Eddie Smith to engineer. Eddie had worked on all the early James Brown sessions. By the fall
of that year he had a deal with Jack Sanders of Louisville, Kentucky. Jack was a DJ at WAKY and had started a label
called Tilt. He had issued only one single on the label at that time. Both Bob and Jack thought the release of a Rough Riders single
records quickly and get enough notice to get national distribution. The plans were drawn up and by the time Tomahawk /
Thunderhead was out for a few weeks, London Records picked up the Tilt label for national distribution.
The record, Tilt 778, became a regional smash hit, was advertised in Billboard, got excellent reviews but failed to become a national hit.
In 1961, Bob Holliday started his own label, Huron, and the Rough Riders next two singles were issued on that label.
The first was Huron 22002, Pathfinder / A Dream Come True. Both were instrumentals like the Tilt sides and
both tunes were written by Jim Colegrove, as were the Tilt sides. The next single was titled Money
& Gold, Parts 1 & 2, written by Teddy Grills. Both records were local hits. National distribution for Huron product
was handled by King Records which was where all the Rough Riders masters were recorded.
During the early and mid-1960s Teddy and the Rough Riders played at hops, dances and stage shows throughout Ohio and Indiana, appeared on radio, television and backed up touring recording artists of the day such as: Chuck Sims, Terry Redman, Charles Brown, Janie Grant, Freddie Cannon, The Duprees, Jackie Dee, Johnny Tillotson, Bobby Vee, Charlie Rich, Bobb B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, The Chiffons, The Dovells and The Shangri-Las. They appeared at The Biggest Hop in Dayton held every Sunday by Bob Holliday at The Avondale Club featuring touring stars like Jack Scott, Larry Verne, The Five Keys and Lenny Welch. They played the teen hops at LeSourdsville Lake in Stardust Garden. They made journeys to Kentucky, West Virginia, Detroit and even got as far as Milwaukee for a gig that was aborted because the sax player, Bob Brane, was pulled off the bandstand for being under 21 (He wasn’t the only one).
The Rough Riders recorded next in 1963 for Junior Achievement of Dayton in conjunction with radio station WING. They wanted
the Rough Riders to do one side of an LP and a folk group, The Guardsmen, to do the other side. The Guardsmen
were from Fairborn and were a part of what now is commonly referred to as "the great folk music scare" in the early sixties. The
resulting LP was called Swingin’ With WING on the MegaCity label. One of the young men in the JA group was Ron Copeland who went on to become a well-known DJ known as Sean Conrad. You can get his great autobiography at Amazon.com.
In 1964 Jim Colegrove and Phil Ackerman went on active duty in the Army reserve and the band ceased its activities for about five
months. That fall the band re-formed and again played together until the group finally split in the autumn of 1965. Jim Colegrove, Phil Ackerman, Bob Brane and Denny Boyd along with drummer Doug Porter, former drummer with Sonny Flaharty’s band, the Young Americans, formed a new group called The Knights (later called Thee Rubber Band). They began playing five nights a week at "Little Mickey’s", a favorite local club in Dayton on East Fifth Street. This group dissolved early in 1967.
Teddy & the Rough Riders was an extremely popular band at the peak of its career. It was not uncommon for the band to be mobbed for autographs by their fans
in those days. You could bet the dance hall would be full anywhere in the Miami Valley area if they were appearing. Their records continue to be reissued 45 years after the group’s demise. See the reissue list below.
Jim Colegrove continues to perform and record today with his band Lost Country as well as producing recordings for other artists. He has finished work on a CD of guitar rock ‘n’ roll instrumentals that include some that he wrote for Teddy & the Rough Riders that they didn't release. The record is titled 3 Quarter Dime on Cool Groove CD113. It is now available on Amazon.com. Bill Trimmer lives in Tucson, Arizona. Bob Brane lives in Largo, Florida. Les Sayre was killed in action in the Vietnam War. Denny Boyd passed away February 2009. Dick Fischer passed away in March 2014. Teddy Grills passed away in April 2014. If anyone knows the whereabouts of or what happened to Phil Ackerman please let me know. He was last seen living in Charlotte, NC in 2007.
Teddy & The Rough Riders Discography
Tilt 778 - Tomahawk/Thunderhead - 1960
Huron 22002 - Pathfinder/A Dream Come True - 1961
Huron 22007 - Money and Gold, Part
I/Money and Gold, Part II - 1961
LP - Mega City 1410 - Swingin’ With
WING, Side 2, 1963
Hey, That’s My Baby
You Drive Too Fast
Single - Mean Mountain Music MM-1420 - 1981
EP - Rough SP69 - 1991
LP - Fifty Eight LP 101 - Tomahawk - 1980
CD - Incognito Records (Germany) - 1999
High School Rumble Vol.1 (various artists)
Contains: Tomahawk - Thunderhead
CD - CTI-006 - Canetoad International (Australia) - 2002
Blast From The Past - Vol. 2 - Rockin’ Ronnie’’s Wild Instrumental Party (34 tracks -various artists)
Contains: Tomahawk - Thunderhead
CD - Sundazed SC 11146 - 2004
Contains: Thunderhead / Money & Gold (Part 2) / Path Finder
CD - Buffalo Bop Bb-CD 55174 - 2005
Strictly Instrumental - Vol. 8 - Cover Shot!
CD - Canadian CAN-2306 CD - 2005
Rare Instrumentals - Volume 6 - Cover Shot!
Contains: Money & Gold Pt. 2 / Pathfinder / Thunderhead / Tomahawk / A Dream Come True
CD - Sello / Marca - 2007
Nasty Rockabilly, Volume 12