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Paper Sun / Freeport / Freeport Express

Cleveland, 1968-72


Paper Sun was formed in early '68 or so. Although not sure of the original lineup, in February 1969 the members included Eric Janson (guitar and vocals), Kevin Raleigh (keyboards and vocals), Greg Holt (bass), and Bill Stallings (drums). With this lineup they recorded some songs at Landen for the ill-fated Abbey Group deal. After Chess pulled the plug on the national distribution, a very limited local pressing of two songs - "Sweetest Thing on My Mind" (written by Phil Okulovich using his "Jason Richards" pen name) and "Here Comes Tomorrow" written by Raleigh - was done on the Abbey label.

Paper Sun, befitting the Traffic-inspired moniker, played a variety of late 60s rock sounds, and were popular at teen dances, such as the Hullabaloo clubs, around the area.

At some time the personnel changed where Janson was gone and two guitarists were added - Dennis Stredney and Roger Lewis. Lewis had been in the Poppy but had to quit due to an injury sustained in a band van accident. Either prior to or with this lineup they changed name to Freeport. Freeport was a huge band in the NE Ohio area in 1970 - playing constantly Cleveland and the Youngstown areas (thanks no doubt to Roger Lewis's connections). Otto Neuber was managing them, as he had going back to the Paper Sun period. They recorded an LP in Miami for Mainstream records, which included several originals and the Eric Carmen song "I need your loving'", of which Carmen had recorded a publishing demo.

An additional 45 was also released with two songs not on the LP. After the recordings, Bill Stallings was replaced by Myron Grombacher from Youngstown. The band became Freeport Express and played the NE Ohio clubs until 1972-3

Keyboard player Kevin Raleigh was later a member of the Michael Stanley Band, while drummer Bill Stallings spent some time as a DJ. Roger Lewis was in RMA. Greg Holt was in American Noise. Myron Grombacher, after joining Cocunut and a couple other bands, became the drummer for Pat Benatar (joining Clevelander Neil Giraldo). 

Photo courtesy of Tracy Brown.