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Chuck Bates / Chuck Bates and the Barons

Cleveland, 1962-5

Chuck Bates was a Cleveland singer who recorded two 45s. He definitely had the pre-British Invasio Cleveland teen rock style. 

There is almost no info about him from the newspapers, or anywhere on the internet or local music history accounts. Well, that's why we're writing about him. Charles Bates was his real name and not stage name. 

His first 45, probably recorded at Audio with session players, was recorded in late 1962/early 1963, and has a produced teen pop sound. The A side, Colleen, was written by Bates, Denny Rafkin (another vanished Cleveland singer), and Adelbert Beelman. Beelman would have been nearly 50 years old at the time, he had copyrighted a song in 1944, and we have no idea who he was. The other side "Just A Dreamer" was written by Jimmy Testa.

In early 1964 he started playing with a band, billed as Chuck Bates and the Barons. The Barons was a great choice for a Cleveland band, as Barons was the nickname of Cleveland's very popular American Hockey League team.

Band member John Havrilla provides some info on the Barons; "The Barons started off as Chuck, Richard Kriss (lead guitar) Steve Nemeth (drums) Lou Oblock (bass guitar) then I joined the band in maybe late 64 or 1965.We played at a lot of the Cleveland clubs and sponsored dances at the Polish Women's Hall (PW), also Spooks Hall. Chuck used to sing on the Gene Carroll show and at one time the Band backed Andrea Carroll for an event. We played at the D&A Lounge in the Warensville area 3 nights a week, the Twist Inn, Carousel Lounge, The Hide Away, Knights Hall, and Mayflower lounge At one time we there was a Black man practicing with the band who claimed to be a nephew of Chuck Berry and he went by the name of Chuck Berry Junior. I cant remember if he ever played on stage with the band. The band also played in some Akron area clubs. I think one was the Cove or Cave which might have been in Kent. One other bass player was with Chuck at one time. His name was John Marofcheck. I know the spelling is wrong, but John played base and lived on Turney Road. Rick lived on Sladden ave. off of Turney Rd. near Garfield Ht's. We practiced many times at the Hideaway Lounge off of Turney Road.

There was a break up in the band after a few years and Rich Kriss and Lou Oblock formed a new band called The Joyful Wisdom. When they left Chuck found a new drummer named John and I can't think of his last name, and the new guitar player was named Mike Winters."


Ad from March 1964, they got right on the Beatles bag!

Chuck recorded a second 45 in mid 1964. The backing band was not the Barons, it was members of Richie and the Fortunes (Tony 'Styles' Bodanza for sure). The 45 is more rockin' and has the Cleveland rock/British Invasion crossover sound. The songs were creidted to Redda Robbins, Styles, and Barry Lee.

Chuck Bates and the Barons played through 1965, there are no mentions of the band after then. According to a Joyful Wisdom interview from 1968, they formed in late 1967 or early 1968. 

Rich Kriss was the brother of James Gang bassist Tom Kriss. Rich later played in Steel Dog.

John Havrilla of the Barons is not directly related to John Havrilla of SIR recording.

Steve Nemeth got involved with radio, adopted the handle of Doc Nemo, and had an radio show on WZAK that became a local legend. He is given a lot of credit for opening the way for Cleveland's FM radio monsters WNCR and WMMS

Colleen / Just A Dreamer - Jay Kay 1001. 1962/3
Down Down When The Sun Goes Down / Why Can't I Get You Home On Time - Jay Kay 1001, mid 1964