the Epiks / Opus IV
Mingo Junction/Steubenville, 1964-8
The Epiks started as a British Invasion styled band. The original/early lineup included Dale Lesnansky (bass), Vito D'Aurora (organ), Tony D'Aurora (drums), Bob Parissi (guitar), and Dale Grimm. Parissi, Grimm, and Lesnansky were from Mingo Junction while the D'Aurora brothers were from Steubenville. In the spring of 1965 they recorded a 45 in Pittsburgh and got a release on Process records, a PA label that was predominanly country. The two songs were the uptempo Beatles/Merseybeat sounding "Give Me a Chance" and the slower "When We're Apart". Both songs were copyrighted on July 1, 1965. On September 27, 1965, three more songs were copyrighted - "I Don't Care", 'Let's Do It Again", and "I Don't Care". All five songs were credited to Dale Lesnansky and Vito D'Aurora.
The band was very popular locally and played school dances and events. An April 1965 story mentions Jesse Brown, "Steubenville's Answer to Sammy Davis Jr" as being in the band as well.
In '67 they changed their name to the Opus IV and got a record released on MGM records. By now the band was Lesnansky, Vito D'Aurora, Parissi, and Bill Gunion on drums. The band was playing at Club 22 in Cadiz were they were a big attraction. Club 22 was partially owned by Pittsburgh pop legend Bobby Vinton, and he, along Club 22 principal owner Joe Gorlock got together with Gene Allen and Kenny Sonn, who had written songs for Vinton. The band got a deal with MGM and recorded one of the Allen/Sonn songs, the swinging dance number "Mess Around". The flip was a Lesnansky/D'Aurora original "About Her". The 45 is credited to Rexford Productions which was owned by Vinton.
"Mess Around" was a local hit but didn't break nationally. The band recorded another 45 with Gene Allen. The A side was (What's Good) A Life Withour Love, written by Allen and another one of his writing partners, Ron Dante. The same Ron Dante who a couple years later was the voice and songwriter for the the Archies. It was produced by Joe GorlockThis record was also a local hit, by on Allen's own LEA label.
In 1968, the band was recruited by Gorlock and Allen to take over as the 8th Day. That story can be found under the 8th Day name.
Later in 1968 or early 1969, Bob Parissi joined the 006's, then the Universal Joint, and finally Wild Cherry. While in Wild Cherry he was Rob Parissi but in the Opus IV time he is listed as Bob. Interestingly, he never wrote any of the songs for the Epiks/Opus IV but wrote a #1 national hit song and several other popular songs later.
Bill Gunion is deceased.
Give Me A Chance / When We're Apart - Process 146, July 1965
Mess Around / About Her - MGM 13731, May 1967
(What's Good) A Life Without Love / Five Miuntes to Train Time - LEA 2, 1967