the Majestics / Styx


Kent, 1964-7

Over their nearly three year existence, the Majestics/Styx were one of the top draws in Kent's highly competitive band/club scene. Bassist Chas. Madonio and drummer Gary Slama were members of the Playboys when a Wooster band called the Majestics, with Denny Scott on keyboards tried to recruit Gary into their band. Gradually Chas and Ritch Underwood (guitarist who had moved from Pennsylvania) were recruited into the Majestics and the band took up residence at Kent bars like the Cove. They held down top spot at the Cove for 6 months until enterpreneur Joe Bochette opened his club, J.B.'s, in March of 1966. J.B.s had planned to open with another house band but the Styx's (they changed their name in early '66) huge following mounted a telephone campaign and they got the gig. J.B.s got nine months of packed houses every Friday and Saturday night where the Styx performed one of their signature numbers, a cover of the Kingsmens' "Gamma Goochee" where the dancers would form a circle and perform movers called out the band, including an occasional "drop your drawers"! Oh yeah they did, as only Kent's world famous nightlife could! During this time the band cut their only recording, a cover of the Byrds "He Was A Friend Of Mine" backed with a original instrumental, "Athena". The record was initially sponsored by Ross Cibella, who had a connection to the Cove owner Larry Durham. Cibella did not come through on promises to get the record on a national label so the Styx released the record on their own and sold out the 500 copy pressing with help from airplay in Akron and Youngstown. The band credited members as "producer" and "arranger" on both sides. In late '66 5th Quarter club owner Joe Shannon polled his crowd to see which band they wanted, and the Styx were chosen, so they moved there for the better part of the year. However, the larger 5th quarter seemed to lose some of the inimacy that J.B.s had and the crowds were not quite the same.

In 1967 Ritch Underwood left the band. The band continued for a short time after but changing times forced an end to the group in late '67. Chas Madonio joined the Measles, and Rich Underwood fronted Mononoply, an 'oldies' style band that is still playing.