The term "bar band" is generally considered a perjorative, a way of saying a band doesn't have the whatever to become recording artists and/or touring bands. In Cleveland's very competitive club scene during the late 1970s, the numerous 'bar bands' that played the Agora, the Corral, Spankys, etc didn't feel like they needed to apologize for trying to be the best of the 'bar bands', spending 3-4 hours a night cranking out a fine tuned mix of new rock hits, 'classic rock' , and a few choice 50s/60s nuggets, and the people the packed the bars just wanted to have a good time, Cleveland style.
Wild Horses started slowly, but by the turn of the decade, were probably the biggest 'bar band' in town. Instead of learning the latest Foreigner or Aerosmith songs, they played a lot of late 60s/early 70s Rolling Stones and other songs from the era now known as "Classic Rock". The classic lineup of the band included Steve Jochum (lead guitar), Billy Buckholtz (vocals, keyboards), Roger Kleinman (bass), Tony Mazzone (drums), Dennis Christopher (percussion, sax). Mazzone had been in East Wind, he replaced orginal drummer Rick Sostaric, while Jochum had replaced Andy Leeb.
In 1978 the band made their 1st 45, covers of the Beatles "I Saw Her Standing There" and J. J. Jackson's "But It's Alright". The record didn't get a lot of notice, but in 1980 the band started getting serious about playing original songs. Jochum came up with "Funky Poodle" and the record with it's catchy reggae groove (despite the title, the song was not funky musically, and in fact didn't really sound like the band) completely blasted off, getting huge airplay on every Cleveland rock station. The record was picked up for national release on the Midwest/Sweet City label run by Carl Maduri, and got airplay in several other markets. Along with the 45, the band released the LP "Unbroken" on their own which sold pretty well for a self distributed LP. With the success of "Funky Poodle" the band was voted as most popular local band in few different polls.
Trying to keep the momentum they released another 45 "Carbona Mona" (from the "Unbroken" LP). "Carbona Mona" had a 1960s vibe to it, even a bit like the mid period Ramones. It was moderately successful but nothing like "Funky Poodle". In 1982 the band recorded a second LP "Bar Wars" and released a 45 "I''m Into Shoes". The flip side was "Gimme Shelter", always a highlight live and a fitting way to be the band's last release. Neither the 45 and the LP were as successful and were as stated the band's last releases.
The second LP title of
"Bar Wars" was in a way prophetic as Ohio was raising the drinking age
to 21, many of the old clubs were closing, changing, and for the Agora,
burning down. The great nearly 20 year 'golden era' for Cleveland rock
clubs was over. Wild Horses continued to play their music for a couple
more years but after 11+ years decided to end their original run. The band has played reunions throughout the 2000s.
I Saw Her Standing There / But It's Alright (PS) - no label 001/2, 1978
Funky Poodle / Neighborhood Angel - no label 100/200 (no PS), Midwest 6005 (with PS), 1980
Carbona Mona / Oh Yeah! - Sweet City 7383, 1980
LP- Unbroken - Generic 3311, 1980
(I'm Into) Shoes / Gimme Shelter - Generic 3561, 1982
LP- Bar Wars - Generic 4422, 1982