Bad Sneakers stories

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Ward, 1980 Ward, 1980

Dale, 1981 Dale, 1981

Where are they now?
Dale:
"These guys from Washington managed the Jamaican reggae star Eek-A-Mouse, and they became Bad Sneakers' managers in 1985. But we never did get to meet Eek, and worse, we suddenly had a lot of down time. So of course I became a part-time journalist. Songwriting, journalism – it's all just telling stories. And some of them are true."
» Read more


Neal:
"I suppose I knew Bad Sneakers was over when Dale quit, but I remained in denial for a while. Making the 'Big Ducks' album was a miserable experience, and to this day I can't listen to it. Within its tortured tempos and chaotic arrangements I can only hear the sound of our grand experiment ending – not with a bang, but with a quack."
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Marc:
Producer, engineer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with more than 150 CD projects to his credit, Marc is owner of Target Studios and one of the most respected producers in the mid-Atlantic region.
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Shane:
Originally from Miami, Fla., Shane left Bad Sneakers in 1986. He worked as a recording engineer at Calliope Studios in New York City, and went on to engineer, mix and produce several gold, platinum and Grammy-winning records over the next 15 years.
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Ward:
Ward left Bad Sneakers in mid-1983 and purchased the M&K recording studio in North St. Georges, Del. He produced two live albums recorded at Wilmington's Grand Opera House: "Animals, Vegetables and Mineral Springs" by Jerry "Crabmeat" Thompson and "You Shoulda Been There" by the Johnny Neel Band. Ward ended his own life Dec. 29, 1983.
» Ward's obituary


Keith Moss:
In the mid-‘80s, Keith ran Bad Sneakers’ stage lighting and later worked as audio technician. From 1988 to 1991, he played guitar with Neal in Newark, Del.-based Laura and the Levelheads. A Levelheads standout: Neal's ballad "Hit and Run."
» Read more


Joe Dombroski:
Joe directed Bad Sneakers' first videos in early 1980 and joined the crew as audio technician. He is now president of event production company Brandywine Electronics Ltd.
» Brandywine Electronics


Scott Humphrey:
Scott, who sometimes preferred to call himself "Pierre OmFRAY," ran Bad Sneakers' stage lighting. He is now president of Light Action Inc., a full-service production company specializing in theatrical lighting, roofing and staging systems.
» Light Action


Dante Pagano:
Dante toured with Bad Sneakers as audio technician in 1981. Where is he now? Good question. Neal recollects.
» Read more


Greg Mack, Martin LeMaire:
Both served terms as Bad Sneakers' audio technician – Greg in 1981-'82 and Martin in 1985-'86, when he and Marc recorded and mixed "Big Ducks." Both are currently members of the Funsters, a Delaware-based 10-piece band with a 15-year track record. Coincidence? You decide.
» The Funsters


Joe McFadden:
Audio technician circa 1984. Credited on "Beat the Meter" as "live sound, security head." Current whereabouts unknown.
» Report a Joe McFadden sighting


Paul Lohr:
Paul handled management and promotion for Bad Sneakers as well as the Johnny Neel Band circa 1983. Paul is now president of New Frontier Touring in Nashville, Tenn.
» New Frontier Touring


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Ward, 1981 Ward, 1981

The venues
Landmarks on the rock 'n' roll highway
Bruce Springsteen never thought, "Wow. I'm playing on the same stage that Bad Sneakers did." But the other way around? Sure.
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The wreck of Big Red
Neal:
"We knew it was to have been the last voyage of Big Red, our faithful but worn-out equipment truck, because we had already purchased its replacement. We never imagined that Big Red would go out like a true rock star, with a spectacular show that almost took two band members out with it."
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All Week: Snake Beards
Dale:
"We weren't the kind of band that trashed hotel rooms. Mindless vandalism was just too boring. With us, it had to be creative vandalism."
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Promo photo, 1981 Promo photo, 1981

Fan mail: good, bad and just weird
Lusty Maria Rickie:
"I am from London, England, and need Love 'BAD.' If you take me up on the offer of a sexy foreign woman you must [illegible] me. I was once in a band. I wrote two top hit singles in Liverpool, England. I'll sell them to you for a million pounds or my body for a million dollars."
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So how come you guys never made it? Did you suck, or what?
Neal:
"This is an entirely reasonable question to ask, and I've thought about it a lot through the years. I've come to two conclusions. First, I'm pretty sure we didn't suck. Second, I'm absolutely certain that Bad Sneakers was doomed from the start."
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'You were a big part of our lives'
A fan looks back:
"You guys were awesome! Nothing like anything we had been hearing at the time locally or on mainstream radio. ... One of the best live shows I have ever experienced. "
» Read more


Copyright © 1979-2008, Dale Dallabrida, Neal Tillotson and Bad Sneakers. All rights reserved.