Richard Pash and the Backdoor Society


Avon Lake, 1966-70

Richard Pash and the Backdoor Society were a group that was formed for one and only one reason - to play as a house band for a nightclub in Avon Lake called the Tropicana. The group was fronted by Richard("Dick"), a singer who had started his career in Oklahoma but ended up in Lorain with nothing but a station wagon and the clothes on his back - so the legend goes. He was rumored to have been married several times and was probably about 25 when the group formed.

Shoremen Enterprises was formed as an offshoot of Lorain TV station WUAB. The main 'A&R' man for Shoremen was Bob Huge, former front man for Bobby Hues and the Capris. Other members of Shoremen were Larry Goldbach, Mike Buckley, Barry Gerber, and Ralph Beroni, who was mainly an investor. Each person made an initial investment of $500 and later added in another $500 a piece. Shoremen was chosen as the name as the members had all attended Avon Lake High School, which used Shoremen as the name for their sports teams (Avon Lake is on the Lake Erie shoreline).

Shoremen, mainly Bob Huge, recruited a band through means currently unknown. The combo was 'led' by Scott Dull, a recent graduate of Westlake High School, who had played guitar in a few little known groups, including one called the Sonics. Other members included Kenny, the keyboard player from Bay Village (not sure about that), Dave Hoffman on bass (from Rocky River), Ray Kuhn on drums (from Avon Lake), all having previous band experience as well. The group played several nights a week at the Tropicana, and became a sharp outfit that could handle just about any thing. Typically a night included two-three sets with the group performing top 40 and some standards.

In the summer or fall of '67, Bob Huge proposed the group make a 45, so they made a date for Cleveland Recording to lay down some original songs. "I'm Getting Better" was intended as the A-side, a slow pop number not unlike a Johnny Rivers track, written by Pash with Huge's assitance. The orchestration was provided by the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Snapshots were the backing vocal group. On the flip side they recorded a song that seems to have been a collaboration betweem Hoffman and Dull, the fierce garage fuzz raver "I'm the Kind". Pash provided the words which may or may not be taken as autobiographical. The feedback from Dull's Fender Jaguar guitar at the start alledgedly was intended to scare programmers into flipping the record back to "I'm Getting Better"! The drum track was recorded seperately and mixed in to the final recording. This was done in anticipation of Kuhn's departure, so that another drummer could lay down his take. Kuhn stayed with the band but left some months later. A third and still unreleased song was recorded, a Pash composition called "Moon Slave". This song was a "ballad" with prominent organ.

The record was issued on the Shoremen label, naturally, and 1000 copies were pressed, 500 for sale at the club and local stores, 500 for distribution by Midwest out of Cleveland. It's not clear how much local play the record received, but Huge got report of airplay on KWFB in LA.

Eventually the group decided to try something different, so they found a new booking agent who got them engagements at some clubs in Clevelands Flats district. This started in '69 or so, and somewhere during this period Pash travelled to LA for an audition with Capitol (yet another Capitol-Cleveland connection). Nothing came of this, and the group disbanded in '70-'71.

The Shoremen operation ceased in '72 when Buckley and Gerber's contract with WUAB expired. Larry Goldbach and Bob Huge continued to work together. One other record was released by Shoremen in '69 - a tribute record to Martin Luther King, credited to the Procession, who were Bob Dunkle and Ken Sauer.

In '78 Bob Huge re-recorded "I'm Getting Better" at a studio in Toledo with himself singing the lead. This was never released.

Credits to Bob Huge, Richard Pash, Matt Baker