January 21, 2022

Toupee News

Big news out of Toupee World Headquarters! For years the Bad Toupees enjoyed the silky smooth fingers of Bo Smith on the keyboards. And while we have had other keyboard players since Bo’s retirement, they were also guitar players and saxophone players, etc. Bo, was the last of the “dedicated” ivory twinklers! UNTIL NOW! The Bad Toupees are excited to announce that Pam Searle has joined the band on keyboards.

Of course, that name is somewhat familiar to you as Pam is married to our bass player Doug and has been around the Toupee camp since the start of the band. In fact, we had talked to Pam about joining the band several times in the past, but she was reluctant to jump in. Starting with filling in last year for a special gig we have been badgering Pam to join us…not only to add the dedicated keyboard sound we have been missing, but because she is basically a nicer person than almost everyone else in the band, except maybe Ashley and so we knew it would be a no brainer for her to assimilate easily!

Pam’s first official gig with the Toupees will be Friday April 22 at the Englewood in Hershey. However, Pam has been working with the band at their secret practice facility since sometime last year. This is so exciting! Come on out and say hi to Pam! Her bio has been added to our web site, but here is a little bit of the interview she and I did recently.

Buy the ticket, take the ride!

-Hunter S. Thompson

Pam Searle - Keyboards

You’ve been around since the band’s inception…what made you finally make the leap into a full-fledged Toupee!

I helped the band out last year at a gig and had so much fun. Since that time, and at the bands urging, I have taken the time to learn all their current set list and some extras and really enjoy, with the rest of the band, making songs sound as much like the record as possible. Also, I have always enjoyed the music the Toupees play and thought it might be more fun to play along then to sit out front and just sing along!

You have history with the bass player, can you elaborate?

Well, we both grew up in Reading, PA, listening to the same radio stations and style of music. At some point in time, we figure we were at the same dances when we were younger where Doug, who was a Trombone player in various bands, would be playing. Condensing the story a little, we met and eventually got married and I have watched and supported the Bad Toupees as a Toupette since the bands inception in 1993…so the transition to Toupee is just a change in a few letters.

Now that you have been practicing with the band for a while, is there anything that really surprised you when you were able to see behind the curtain?

Honestly, what goes on behind the curtain is much like what happens in front of the curtain. People may be surprised at how much laughter and good fun there really is. Doug, Paul and Toad have been together for 30 years and Bill and Ashley have been with the band for probably 7 and 5 years respectively so everyone gets along very well AND when someone does act like a dork, usually they and the rest of the band know it and "course correct" things pretty quickly.

Do you have any plans to do any singing with the band?

No, no, a thousand times no! In fact, that was my one criterion for joining the band…I do not sing. But I guess that is OK, because the original keyboard player never sang either…unless you count the fact that he said the only word uttered in the 1958 song by The Champs entitled “Tequila” when that was in the band’s repertoire.

Where do you see this going?

I really don’t know. For now, I am just having a blast being part of the band and working hard to learn songs they have been doing for quite some time. It really is fun when we work on new music because then we are all on equal footing learning it together. One of the guys in the band says that we are having more fun than we should be allowed at our age…that’s exactly how I feel!

October 8, 2021

Toupee News

Finally, the Bad Toupees return to the Halloween party trail with a real live dress-me-up party at the Hershey Italian Lodge. The Toupees used to rule Halloween. 1993 to 2003 were 10 years of major events, each one bigger and better than the last. Set decoration by Paul worthy of any Hollywood movie and costumes to rival any Broadway play!

Speaking of Paul he is our third interview on the new web site. Paul was a founding member of the Bad Toupees and beyond his vocal and guitar abilities he brought with him the largest and most animated and fun audience in the Boyd family that any band would be happy to have.

I had to come back to Hershey to do publicity for the Bad Toupees gig at a possible new location in Phoenixville named The Sound Bank. I took the opportunity to talk with Paul about the band over the years.

Paul Schroeder – Guitar – Vocals

We started last months chat with Doug back in his youth and his love for the Beach Boys, Chicago and Philly R&B. As a founding member of the Bad Toupees, let’s start at the beginning…the beginning of the band.

What’s your recollection of how the band got started? The band was born in late 1992. Toad and I, along with our spouses, had gathered at the home of mutual friends, drinking wine and singing along to rock and roll classics on my acoustic guitar. We reminisced about how much fun we had playing in bands in our youth. But by now, we had sold our equipment and were all “grown up” with careers and families. Anyway, somewhere between Stairway to Heaven and red wine being spilled on a nice white carpet, there were delusions (all fueled by more wine) of how much fun it would be to get together to “jam once a month.” Back at work the next week I get a call from Toad saying “guess what, I bought a drum kit”, and I thought, “holy crap” – game on. So, within a few days I found myself at the local music store buying a new electric guitar and amp.

How did you get from “jam session” to “real band?” Once we started jamming, several different guys came and went, but a core group of me, Toad, Kirk and Doug got into a rhythm. Once Kirk and Doug joined, we decided we needed a keyboard player for even more fun. We found out that Bo another guy with whom we worked played keys, so after some heavy persuading, Bo joined and we began hacking through a few classic rock tunes. We soon built a small repertoire of “somewhat passable” versions of songs we grew up with, so friends and family encouraged us to have a party. We concocted a Halloween costume party. By this time Bo had decided that our little monthly soirée should have a name, so he named us: The Bad Toupees and thus was born a band name and the first of ten themed Halloween parties, this one entitled, very creatively I might add “Night of the Living Toupees.” We didn’t have enough tunes for a full night, so we hired a DJ to help out. However, it turned out that everyone had a blast; a local booking agent was in attendance who wanted us for a couple of local clubs and so jamming went to full on band overnight.

I have heard that without the Boyd family in the early years the bands following might have been sparse. To what do you credit their support.

Nothing like inviting a large extended Irish family to your party – in fact, they “are the party”. They’ve always had our backs – the best, the greatest. This was evident starting with the first Halloween event, when my father-in-law, decked out in his disheveled Snowman costume, passed the hat through the crowd mid-way through the night to bail out the band so more beer kegs could be bought. (How cool was that?) The gang has been there from the very beginning and continue to come out to party and support our live performances.

What is the story behind “We love Paul” which has been reported to have been heard at every event the Toupees have ever played?

“I love you too!” What can I say – over the years I’ve come to know how Paul McCartney must have felt. It started out kind of like a parody of famous rock bands, not unlike Spinal Tap, but now it’s just something you expect to be blurted out and find yourself grinning when you know your family, friends, and followers are at your show. If I don’t hear it from the audience, I am sure to hear it from one of my band mates before an evening is over!

How did the band become a regional success story?

Wow, that sounds kind of lofty. If anything, I think we were in the right place at the right time. The late 1980’s and early 1990’s saw the advent of grunge and bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam among others. They are great bands with great music, but between the mosh pits and the volume and the lack of anything that sounded remotely like Van Morrison’s “Wild Night” among other songs in our set list…people our age were searching for something fun to do that took them back to their youth…and maybe, the Bad Toupees answered that call. It helped that we had a built-in crowd in the Boyd family and the support we got from the people we worked with and our friends was amazing! So, we acquired our own crowd of “Toupheads” who to this day will travel hundreds of miles a few times a year to party with the Bad Toupees. We’re pretty damn lucky!

How do you categorize the music you all choose to play?

When we started, and to this day, we run with the mantra of “is the song instantly recognizable?”, “is it danceable?” and, "can we even do it?" We generally try to run new tune suggestions through these filters and go from there. It certainly helps to have everyone in the band on board. While most of our material is from the classic rock era, we’ve been known to slip in more current stuff from time to time – heck, lately we’ve even played disco, and country!

What are some of your favorite memories of being in the Bad Toupees?

Where do I begin – there are so many. But there are several that stand out – having a local tv station record one of our Halloween party gigs and hearing from one of your out of town friends that “I saw you guys on tv!”, playing live on the biggest local rock radio station, having a reigning Miss America show up and party at one of our gigs, recording one of our Halloween performances and going into the studio to record original songs, resulting in two very cool CD’s, years of performing at the huge local “party with a purpose” Jammin’ for Jess fund raising events that helped raise over one million dollars – and there are many more but I’ll run out of space. My most favorite though is having the privilege to hang with a group of band members who are like family, and to bring a good time to all who come out to hear us.

The Bad Toupees have been together 28 years. What do you think is the secret to that longevity?

There are a few things that come to mind – friendship is first and foremost, we share a mutual respect for each other. We have common musical interests and tastes. Being in a band is really like being in a musical family – brothers and sisters who share a common love of music and the challenge of trying to cover all these great songs. Plus, it helps we don’t try to take ourselves too seriously. Most of all, it’s still a “goof” for us meaning we laugh and giggle a lot…maybe that’s why we’re still at it after all these years.

Anything you’d like to add?

Just that it’s been and continues to be, a great ride. An amazing mystical experience I don’t think any of us could have ever predicted. After 28 years we know there are more chapters behind us then in front of us, but we’ve played almost as much this year as we ever have in our existence. The two new kids in the band, Ashley and Bill, who have been with us now for three years, keep things fresh and keep me, Doug and Toad on our toes….so, as long as folks keep coming out to party with us, and we’re still having fun at the party, there are more chapters yet to write!

Editors Note: This is the fourth in my series of Toupee News stories for the Bad Toupees website. I’m spending more time at my home in Woody Creek. So writing is coming easier again! Hope you enjoy this “written word” and get on out to hear the Bad Toupees as soon as you can!! Keep watching for monthly updates!

-Hunter S. Thompson

Check out the Bad Toupees Facebook page and reach out to us for booking information!

September 16, 2021

Toupee News

Happy halfway through September! The BT’s recently got to play an outside end of summer party for almost 300 people at a backyard that is more resort than backyard! The weather was great and everyone had a great time!

Great reaction to last month’s interview with Ashley, so we thought we’d continue with a band elder, Doug Searle, the world’s longest running “temporary” bass player. Having just spend some time with the band in Hershey (don’t get me started) I needed to get back to Woody Creek and clear my head or maybe cloud my head depending upon your frame of reference. So, I invited Doug out to the ranch in Colorado. He flew in on the Toupees private jet and we spent a couple of hours talkin’ old school music. Doug is a Reading, Pennsylvania boy, so he grew up on the soulful sounds of The Delfonics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Spinners, The O’Jays and the Stylistics. We started there.

Doug Searle – Bass – Vocals

Age: Old enough to have been considered “middle aged” when the band started in 1993!

What made you embrace those Philly sounds so much as opposed to the other rock music being played at that time? I need to first make it clear that The Beach Boys are my all time favorite band. But, in 1968 I joined a local soul band called The Compliments and from that point forward my listening habits turned quickly to groups playing the Philly, Motown and Memphis sound among others. What else was a trombone player to do in those days? I think Thom Bell, who produced dozens of Philly group hits was the 2nd greatest music producer of the rock era with the first, of course, being Brian Wilson. To this day if I hear “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind (This Time)” by the Delfonics, I stop what I’m doing just to drink in that brilliant orchestration. The drum track is like a symphony in and of itself and the break featuring the French Horn runs is genius. I was also a big fan of Linda

Creed who wrote many of the Stylistics and Spinners songs and worked closely with Thom Bell. I could go on but.....

How did you become part of the Bad Toupees? Pure serendipity. A few of the guys at work were talking about getting together to jam. They didn’t have a bass player and since I dabbled around with guitar in those days, I told them I’d fill in on bass until they found a real bass player. Unfortunately for them, they still haven’t found one and I'm not even sure they are still looking.

Looking back over 28 years of the Toupees, what are some of your best memories? Way too numerous to mention. I just really get a kick out of watching people sing, dance and have a good time listening to the music we’re playing. But one of the most interesting was the night we played at Shakey’s and the reigning Miss America was there. She wasn’t wearing her crown but people still knew who she was. There she goes, Miss America, in the middle of about 300 of Shakey’s finest dancing with whoever was close to her. Her security detail and Shakey’s security were on def con alert that night.

Ashley said every band member has their own special “place or part” in the band, what’s yours? My place in the band is to link up with our drummer, Toad, and keep driving that engine room to keep driving people to the dance floor.

The Bad Toupees have been together 28 years. What do you think is the secret to that longevity? Thankfully in all our years and with the different line ups, we have been fortunate not to bring any, I don’t want to say the word but it rhymes with mass-holes, into the band. Its that simple.

You’ll have to play another 30 years or so to catch up to the Stones, but in reality, where do you see the Bad Toupees in 3 to 5 years? I can’t predict the future, especially at this age of life, but I hope we will be doing the same thing we’ve been doing since 1993, that is having fun helping people have fun.

The Bad Toupees seem to have had a resurgence in the last couple of years, why do you think that is? I think we realize what a good thing we’ve had going, and now that we have a little more time to do it, we should hold on tight and really enjoy the ride! Plus it helps that the people we play for have decided that coming out listening to and dancing to the music we play can still be a pretty fun way to spend a couple hours of their day.

What's your favorite part about being in the Bad Toupees? Playing music with people I enjoy being with and watching people enjoy themselves doing whatever they do to the music we are playing.

Anything else you'd like to share? No man. This was pretty intense I’m spent. I needa go get a egg maffuffn.’ I asked to have those served special on the Toupees private jet and they are great!

Editors Note: This is the third in my series of Toupee News stories for the Bad Toupees website, but the first I have been able to pen from my home in Woody Creek. It is much easier to write while “under the influence!” Hope you enjoy and get on out to hear the Bad Toupees as soon as you can!! Keep watching for monthly updates!

-Hunter S. Thompson

Check out the Bad Toupees Facebook page and reach out to us for booking information!

August 18, 2021

Toupee News

Whoa, ten gigs from May through November with a couple more in the pipeline! How cool is that? We've really been having a great time playing out lately and it seems like everyone was ready to put on their dancin' shoes! Whether you are a long time "Toup Head" or just heard us last week, we're glad you are along for the ride. Below we catch up with one of our newest (three years in) band members and ask some pointless, random questions.

Ashley Smith - Vocals, Saxophone, Keys, Tambourine...when the mood hits her.

Age: Now who would ask a lady her age. Suffice it to say between zero and 30 +/-.

How did you get here: I made the mistake, er, I mean I had the good fortune of telling Toad that I played saxophone while they were looking for horn players to do some Chicago tunes for a couple of gigs. So they hired me and two other guys and we practiced with them for a while and did two big gigs. Sometime not long after the last gig they asked if I wanted to join the band for real.

Did you know the songs in the Bad Toupee catalogue? Not all of them, but I grew up in a musical household and my parents listened to all the songs the Toups play so I had heard them thousands of times.

What's your role in the band? I started just playing sax and singing background and the occasional lead, but now I sing a lot more and play keys and sax about equal time and at the request of the "boys in the band" I'm working on my "biggest" band contribution...the tambourine.

The Bad Toupees have been together 28 years. What do you think is the secret to that longevity and was it an easy transition into what was formerly an all boys club? There's no doubt that each of the Toups have a distinct job as performer and persona in the band that has perpetuated this ongoing party. Whether my entry into the band was really a formal invitation or an Alice in Wonderland trip to the tea party is still up for debate, but quick wit and my own quirks have allowed me to fit right in. We're "slammin' the D" at the right times in the right songs and that plus the endless laughter keeps things light and breezy! Plus, I am more like a little sister than a band mate so that helps.

The Bad Toupees used to say that they "don't do no disco and they don't do no country", but since you have joined the band they do at least one song in each genre. Why do you think that is? Don't we all want to see just how far we can push the envelope? And really, it's only Toad who kept the "no disco and no country" edict alive all these years and he has most definitely softened as he has gotten older.

What's your favorite part about being in the Bad Toupees? Well, there's a couple of answers to that question. First, I get to play music again on a regular basis and I missed that when it wasn't happening. Secondly, I understand how cool it was to join an established band with a following and play gigs with lots of happy people singing and dancing! And finally, to be honest, being part of the Toupees is more than just playing gigs for friends, family and fans. It is really about all the time we get to spend together especially in practice when the honesty of 28 years together allows anyone to say anything at any time...usually to the great laughter, shock and awe of everyone present. It's a great hang!

Anything else you'd like to share? I'm always accepting donations of any percussion instruments to expand my repertoire and secure that I'm an essential worker...also hiring a truck driver to haul said inventory. If it shakes, rattles, or rolls - we probably need it. We only add a real percussion guy (Craig Wrights - aka Tito) a couple of times a year for special for the rest of the year I am whatever ancillary percussion we need. I make faces about my percussion responsibilities, but I really don't mind and the boys love it...but don't tell them I don't mind. As I heard Sheryl Crow say one time in the middle of the song "Every Day Is A Winding Road" a song title that clearly applies to our band..."One, two, shake your ass!"

Editors Note: I am proud to be back again after a 10-year, lude induced, alcohol fueled, much needed respite along the northwest border of Cuzco, Peru in and around the mountain of Machu Pichu. I am so glad the band kept my job open and I am happy to again be covering and reporting upon the "Bad Toupees.” Keep watching for monthly updates!

-Hunter S. Thompson

Check out the Bad Toupees Facebook page and reach out to us for booking information!

July 14, 2021

Toupee News

Not unlike the rise and fall of the oceans waves, only less consistent…the Bad Toupees have been in and out of the collective zeitgeist since 1993…at least in and around Hershey, Central Pennsylvania and a small part of at least one Scandinavian country. At times, all-encompassing and awe inspiring like a run-a-way Thanksgiving Day balloon smashing into buildings along the parade route...and at others, quiet and more more reflective than Chinese music under banyan trees, but regardless, always in the lexicon of those who rock and roll!

But now, to quote Gloria Gaynor…”were back, from outer space” and yes, we "still have that look upon our face!” With the advent of the new site comes again, the Toupee newsletter. The last true semblance of semi-credible literary mumbo pocus designed to amuse and confuse, but not always in that order! Note: Mumbo Pocus is used only when Mumbo Jumbo is just not strong enough to capture the sentiment!

Band news, updates, backstage information and enough intrigue to fill hours of any “Behind the Music” documentary! Stay tuned, the keyboard on the old laptop is heating up! It is worth noting that the first newly revised Bad Toupee newsletter was written on Bastille Day, July 14th. Could this be a hint to a late summer 2021 tour in the South of France...or just coincidence? Time will tell!

Check out the Bad Toupees Facebook page and reach out to us for booking information!