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Rampagers / Bill Tatman and the Rampagers

Portsmouth, 1965-68


L-R: Ronnie Clay, Jack Gillum, Steve Hornikel, Bill Tatman, Ron Conley

The Rampagers started as high school students from the Portsmouth area. Ron Conley was the guitarist and leader, from West Portsmouth. The original band was Bill Tatman (from West Portsmouth) on drums, Carl Rose (also from West Portsmouth) on rhythm guitar, Steve Hornikel (sometimes spelled Hornicle) on bass and Fred Stevens. Carl Rose had been in the Hollywoods.

After a few months,  Ronnie Clay joined on bass, from South Shore (in Kentucky across the Ohio River), Jack Gillum joined as the drummer, Steve Hornikel moved to keyboards, Stevens and Rose left, and Bill Tatman stepped out to be the lead singer.


The band started playing local teen dances and were very successful. They got a gig as a house band at the Franklin in Portsmouth and played their during 1966. They won a Battle of the Bands at the local River Days festival.

They recorded a nice sounding teen garage 45 in the summer of 1966, cut at the WPAY radio station studios in town. The 45 included two songs by Conley. The 45 was released on the Al-Fang label, run by WPAY DJ Al Mann. There were two records on the label, the other record by Cokie and the Tyrones. The record sold pretty well locally. In the 2000s a picture sleeve, made then and not vintage (with a band photo thatwas a hybrid of the Goats and Rampagers and not the band that played on the record, see below) was offered for sale online.

Donna Riesenbeck joined the group as a co-lead singer, after having been a guest for several gigs.  

Gene Cohen took over management and he wanted to shuffle members around between the Rampagers and another Portsmouth band he managed, the Goats (who included Carl Rose). In 1967 they went on another tour of the Midwest, according to a local newspaper. They were playing sourthern Ohio during the summer of 1967 and returned to the Franklin. The summer 1967 gigs by the Rampagers were a mix of both bands, probably more of the Goats with Bill Tatman as the lead singer. Because of time and fading memories, the timeline and specifics of the band members during this time is hard to pin down. Members of the two bands, with some members of the Bare Facts, had a short lived show band called the Spanish Armada, with up to 10 members. Bill (Boyd) WIlliams from the Bare Facts was the lead signer. There was only one Spanish Armada show listed in the Portsmouth newspaper from August 28, 1967.

Later in 1968, the band reorganized as Sinamon Leaf. See that entry for more info. 

Ronnie Clay is deceased.

What's Wrong With You / Tell Me - Al-Fang no # (Rite master 16569/70)