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the Measles / Lacewing

Kent, 1965-74

The Measles were a Kent institution for 10 years, lasting through numerous personnel changes and a couple near misses at national breakthroughs to posthumous fame as a starting point for a rock-n-roll star and an anonymous appearence on a million selling 45. The Measles, chapter one, were formed by four Kent State University students in 1965. All four members were accomplished musicians, none more so than New Jersey import Joe Walsh and Larry Lewis as dueling guitarslingers. Original bassist Chas. Madonio left to join the Majestics (aka Styx) and was replaced by KSU student Bobby Sepulveda. Buddy Bennett was the original drummer. 

The Measles hooked up with the Kent bars and got a fast reputation as a top-flight band. Although they played the top 40 dance action, the Measles pushed the envelope as much as they could, quickly mastering the burgeoning harder garage and psych sounds. An attempt to record some original songs at Akron Recording did not pan out, but through producer Bill Palmer they met Andy Apperson who arranged them to audition in New York. Apperson had already got the Music Explosion on the charts and the Kasenetz-Katz operation wanted more Ohio acts. Several songs were recorded in the spring of 1967. Although nothing came of the audition, the Measles were still packing the Kent bars. In the spring of 1967 Ritch Underwood (from the Majestics/Styx) joined as guitarist, which allowed Joe Walsh to play keyboards. 

In the In the summer of 1967 bassist Bobby Sepulveda was drafted, and replaced with Chas Madonio (after the Styx disbanded). Joe Walsh grew restless with the bar scene and started sitting in with different bands including the Measles' main Kent rivals, the Turnkeys. Walsh had also spent some time in the Chancellors. Joe's replacement was former Comin' Generation guitarist Bob Webb. This occured around the time Walsh joined the James Gang. The Meanwhile, the Ohio Express, the band that got the deal with Kasenetz and Katz, got a 45 out with "Beg Borrow and Steal" and the flip side "Maybe". Unknown to almost everyone, "Maybe" is actually a Measles song (composed by Joe Walsh), "I Find I Think Of You", that was stripped of the vocals. Shortly afterwards, the 1st Ohio Express LP was released that included two Measles songs, the full-up "I Think Of You" and a Bobby Sepulveda song, "And It's True". Bobby Sepulveda discovered this bizarre lineup when he heard the LP playing in the military barracks! 

The Measles added a female singer, Mary Sterpka, and new bassist Jeff Curry, keyboard player Dave Andress (who had been in the Chancellors), and later, a new drummer, Tim Frazier, and got another recording deal with Mainstream records. A name change to something "hipper" was needed, so Lacewing became the new and short lived moniker . The Lacewing LP was recorded at Criteria studios in Miami, just like the other NE Ohio bands like Decembers' Children and Freeport. A 45 of "Paradox" was released but neither the 45 or LP got much action, as there was no promotion even at the local level. After the Mainstream deal had played out, the band reverted back to the Measles and continued to be a Kent club band for a few more years. Buddy Bennett returned as the drummer for the early 1970s version of the Measles, along with Bob Baird  (formerly of the Zoo) on bass. Joe Walsh added some continuity to the Measles/Lacewing path when he included Mary Sterpka to sing the backing vocals on the James Gang hit "Midnight Man". Bob Webb joined the James Gang on the last LP.