Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band

the Band
John Gorka – banjo
Russ Rentler – mandolin
Doug Anderson – rhythm guitar
Richard Shindell – lead guitar
Tim Germer – bass guitar



The Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band was formed in 1976 at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The band consisted initially of John Gorka, Russ Rentler, and Doug Anderson. Later, Richard Shindell joined the group on lead guitar. Tim Germer was also part of the group, playing bass guitar. As Gorka would later describe it, "It was kind of a bluegrass band, but not a real formal, traditional one." Although the band never recorded an album or even went on a tour, three members (Gorka, Shindell, and Rentler) went on to have significant careers in folk music. Doug Anderson, is now a philosophy professor at Southern Illinois University, he lives in Denton (Texas) and continues to play music locally and Tim Germer is a software engineer in Northern Virginia.


Rich Shindell, Doug Anderson, John Gorka, Russ Rentler at the Floating Folk Festival -1978 Bethlehem, PA
(click on the photo to enlarge)


The original three members of the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band met as freshmen at Moravian College at an open mic held as part of freshman orientation.Gorka was performing on banjo and Rentler on mandolin. After meeting guitarist Doug Anderson in the audience the three formed a band. According to Rentler, "John played incredible 5-string banjo and Doug Andersen provided the solid rock rhythm on his custom made Froggy Bottom guitars." A year or two later the group was joined by "Rich" Shindell on lead guitar.They were also joined by Tim Germer on bass guitar.

John Gorka
The band played at various venues in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, particularly Godfrey Daniels, throughout four years of college. John Gorka, a history and philosophy major, shifted his focus to music before the end of college and went on to become a major figure in the contemporary folk of the 1980s till now. Click here for the John Gorka Biograpy on this website

  Doug Anderson
Doug Anderson followed a more academic path completing a Ph.D. and later joining the Department of Philosophy at Penn State University and the University of North Texas, as well as becoming author of the children's book Too Big To Dance. Doug Anderson continues to play music locally with the alternative country bands Bone Dry River Band (in Illinois) and a variety of Ol' Moose projects including new on in Denton.
 

 


After 55 seconds you can hear John's story about "The Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band world tour". John Gorka live at Wheeler Community Arts Center. Indpls IN - April 26, 2014.

 

 

 


Russ Rentler

Russ Rentler went on to medical school and continued to practice general internal medicine for several years. During that time he continued to pursue music on the side. Sometime around 2003 Rentler left his medical practice to pursue music full-time. His initial efforts have been well received in the press. In 2017 Russ made his first CD in eight years: Escaped the Tide. Russ: "Some of the songs have been banging around in my head for decades but were never put on tape including 3 that were written in my early college years at Moravian College "

 

John Gorka and Russ Rentler live at Godfrey Daniels Bethlehem PA with "That's how legends are made" (April 7, 2017)

Richard Shindell
Richard Shindell eventually left Moravian and pursued his musical interests at Hobart College in Geneva, New York. Now dividing his time between Buenos Aires, Argentina and New York's Hudson Valley, Richard Shindell is a writer whose songs paint pictures, tell stories, juxtapose ideas and images, inhabit characters, vividly evoking entire worlds along the way and expanding our sense of just what it is a song may be. From his first record, Sparrow's Point (1992) to his current release, Careless (September 2016), Richard Shindell has explored the possibilities offered by this most elastic and variable of cultural confections: the song.

Richard Shindell Doug Anderson Russ Rentler John Gorka

Recent videos

.. John Gorka (2016)

"Love is our Cross to Bear" was one of the four song John Gorka recorded February 8, 2016 in the Hague, the Netherlands for the "John Gorka video website".

 

External link: John Gorka, official web site

   

 

 


.. Russ Rentler (Sept 2016)


Russ on his Youtube Channel:

This is a claw hammer tune that put together. Named after a local creek running off the Blue Mountains

External link: Russ Rentler, official web site

   

 

 

 

Doug Anderson (May 2017)

Doug on his facebook:

"I got to play a little music in China (May 2017) at a great little open mic with a pick-up band that included my ol philosophy friend Ahti Pietarinen playing djembe!! We're a little side-ways on Ophelia and the E-string got caught on the fret board on Cripple Creek, but the audience was very generous and enthusiastic"


External link: Doug Anderson at University of North Texas

   

 




.Richard Shindell (March 2017)
Richard Shindell Performs "Careless" and "Your Guitar" [Acoustic Guitar Sessions, March 2017]

He stopped by the Acoustic Guitar Sessions to perform two songs from his most recent album Careless: the heart-rending title track and “Your Guitar,” in which the Argentina resident sings of his travels from from California to Patagonia from the perspective of his guitar.

External link: Richard Shindell, official web site

   


 

 

The Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band is a result of John Gorka's studying the history of street bands in New Orleans

The Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band was an early New Orleans band regarded by some as the first jazz band.
A 1897 photograph of an early New Orleans band led by Emile “Stalebread Charlie” Lacoume (second from the far left). Members of the group were Harry Gregson, Emile “Whiskey” Benrod, Willie “Cajun” Bussey, Frank “Monk” Bussey and a boy known only as “Warm Gravy.” Another member who was known as “Chinee” and a singer known as “Family Haircut.” This band performed in the streets of Storyville in the 1890’s and early 1900’s. From a book  “Storyville, New Orleans” by Al Rose. 

   

 

The Razzy Dazzy Spasm collaboration

 


Richard Shindell debut CD: Sparrows Point © 1992 Shanachie 8002

..............Track 11: By Now ( with John Gorka (the harmony singer)
.................... Listen to the whole song in low quality

.................. Click here to buy the CD
.................. Click here to buy the high quality MP3 song


 



DVD "Gypsy Life"

Road Of Good Intensions

Russ Rentler is playing mandolin on the great John Gorka DVD/Blue Ray "Gypsy Life"
Click here to buy the DVD

© 2007 AIX Records AIX 83053



 

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