Garfield Heights, 1963-6
The Illusions were formed by some Garfield Heights high school students as the Twilighters. Unknown to them, the "Be Faithful" band had already taken the name, and sent them a 'message' by way of some thugs, with lawyer in tow, to change - or else.
Renamed the Illusions, the band included Chuck Matousek (vocals/sax/leader), Glen Estronic (keyboards), George Stage (drums), Eddie Kray (bass), and Tony Wesolusky (guitar). The band played clubs like the Americana (downtown Cleveland), the Cats Meow (downtown Cleveland), Dolphin Club, and one night at the Torchlite, which didn't work out well, as they were a fill in for the Twilighters and got a hostile reception.
The Illusions also played a KYW Radio sponsored show in Fairport Harbor, for which they had to join the musicians union. Once in, they played some benefits for the election of Tony Granada for union president.
With the band doing well, they decided to cut a 45, so they selected the Scruffy Group song "Little Girl" (which they heard from the record) and song by guitar legend Mickey Baker, "Big Beat '65". Glen Estronic was a Baker fan and brought the band the song. The 45 was recorded at Audio, with Arnie Rosenberg playing piano and some girl backing singers, and released on Pama (run by George Stage's uncle Patrick Connelly). The 45 sold well locally and got some airplay on KYW with Rosenberg's help. The Illusions did play a gig with the Scruffy Group out at Cedar Point.
The Illusions intended to follow up with another 45, in fact the band recorded a LP's worth of songs. The 45 was to a great version of the Gestures' song "Don't Mess Around" but for various reasons the record was never released. The studio pictures were taken at these sessions, from Audio Recording.
By the summer of '66 the Illusions were no more. George Stage spent the summer of '66 working at Audio Recording, and played drums on the Jerry G and Company "She's Gone" record. In 1968 George and a couple partners opened the Landen Magnetic Sound recording studio.