Back in the mid-1970s, there was a band at the Jersey Shore that grew to become a household name in that part of the state. They were called Colony, and from their home base at the Stone Pony, they stretched out both musically and geographically to become a mainstay on the circuit up and down the shore, as well as out to Pennsylvania.
Colony was made up of Ralph Jones on bass, Owen O’Shaunasey on vocals, Ronnie Mayu on drums, Larry Capola on guitar, and Michael Garcia on keyboards. “They were the stuff,” says Bobby Mancari, present day guitarist with popular shore band the Cherubs. “They really had it going.”
Together five years, they entertained crowds with versions of songs by many of the big artists of the day. “We did Hall & Oates, Yes, a little bit of everything,” explains Ralph. “That was when disco was coming out, and we were trying to hold out.” Some of the more popular songs the band performed were “Angry Eyes” by Loggins and Messina, “I’ve Seen All The Good People”, by Yes and “She’s Gone” by Hall & Oates.
While the group drew accolades as the house band at the Stone Pony, they eventually all wanted to head in different directions. “We all wound up doing different things,” says Ralph. “We all wanted to do something different, so we all shook hands and said good luck.”
Owen moved on to the popular shore band Fresh, who created a name for themselves at hotspots such as Club Spanky in Long Branch, which was owned by the legendary Rod Fishbone. Today, Owen resides in Pennsylvania, and plays in a country and western group.
Michael became a member of Waterfront, a big band on the circuit disco days, and who were one of the premier horn bands during the heyday of the disco dance craze. Ronnie did a stint with the legendary Yasgur’s Farm, and today is still a force on the Jersey scene with the Mango Brothers, serving up great southern rock and roll with Sonny and Joe Prewitt, who formed the band after the demise of Southern Cross.
Larry moved to Florida for a period of time. “He just got back in Jersey,” say Ralph. “I think he’s starting up something again.”
Ralph went on to join Waterfront. “They were working as Waterfront when I joined them,” he says. “We made a lot of money as a disco band, the whole club scene had changed. I wasn’t into it at all, but it was a good moneymaker.”
At that point, he got a call from Lenny Molinari from the band Salvation, who asked if he’d like to put together a classic rock band. He decided to give it a shot, and the original Yasgur’s Farm was born. Today, Ralph is back with the re-formed Yasgur’s Farm. “It was easy to get back together when Lenny called,” he says. “That was great music, I really enjoyed it.”
Ralph recalls the days of Colony with fondness. “It was mostly just being down in Asbury Park,” he recalls. “We were the house band at the Pony three or four nights a week. The crowds were better then, they were more responsive. They didn’t really dance that much, it was more of a listening crowd. We always had a good time there.”
Copyright © Hal B. Selzer/The Aquarian/East Coast Rocker and transcribed with permission.