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the Wild Things

Mentor, 1965-9


The Wild Things recorded one of the coolest and most unique Cleveland area 45s of the 1960s. Their second and last 45 "ACID (Another Colored Ink Drawing)" is a fab number in the 'never took the stuff' attempt to sound like 'acid rock'.  The band was started by Mentor High School students Ron Ilkanich (rhythm guitar) and Kathy Shadle (drums). The original lineup included Ray Suhar (bass) and Gary Petit (guitar), also from Mentor. The band played a lot of local teen dances at the Painesville Armony

In 1967 Gerry Spaller (from Willoughby South High School) replaced Gary Petit and the band's popularity grew where they got a manager, Willoughby resident Dominic Apolito. He coached the band and contacted record companies to try and get a recording deal. Not having much success, he heard about the new Blue Onion record label started by Clevelander Dale Davis and they signed the Wild Things. Davis connected them with local songwriter Sam Carcioppolo. Sam was from Willowick and had already had some success with "Sally", recorded in 1965 by the biggest band in town at the time, the Futuras. His new song was "Summer's Gone" and it was polished ballad, well done enough to get the record some airplay in  Cleveland, and was claimed at the time, Fort Knox, Kentucky (OK, who knows a 'gold record' joke...), Cincinnati, and a few other places. Blue Onion threw some money to get the record distributed and included a lyric sheet with the 45. The flip side of the record "I'll Taste Your Lips" was written by Ron, a melodic ballad in the style of the Beatles or Beau Brummels. The songs were recorded at Audio Recording.

About 6 months later, the band, still doing well on the local teen dance scene, recorded "ACID." and another Ilkanich song, "Never Again" for their second 45. The sound is much different, with the lurching beat of "ACID." (including some hard to understand narration under a guitar break) sounding different other local records of the time. It doesn't seem like hit material unless you hear it as having 'out of left field potential' as a music trade mag might say. The flip side "Never Again" is more standard but also good teen garage. This 45 was the 4th release on Blue Onion and does not seem to have come with the promo copy and lyric sheet treatment of the first 45. The record is much harder to come by than the first.

The band had ambitions to make an LP and work on more original songs, but by late 1968, with everyone graduated from high school and looking ahead, the band ended. Ron Ilkanich joined the military in the summer of 1969. Gerry Spaller was playing in a country type band.

Ron Ilkanich passed away in 2012.

Summer's Gone / I'll Taste Your Lips - Blue Onion 101, Aug 1967
A.C.I.D. (Another Colored Ink Drawing) / Never Again - Blue Onion 104, Feb 1968