The Rock & Roll Relics Roster
Golden Girl Gail Chiappone and Couch Potato Chip Chiappone, natives of New York City, began
playing rock 'n' roll as young teens in the mid-'60s. Chip started his career with The Deserays and
Gail with The Spontaneous Apple Creation. They've been working together since 1969, when they
were both members of Freedomland. They were married in 1974, and retired from music. They
returned to the rock scene in 1980 with Tuffluck and then did five years on the Long Island
wedding and bar mitzvah scene with Quintessence. They've appeared with Johnny Maestro & the
Brooklyn Bridge, The 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Sweet Inspirations and, believe it or not, even
played one night as back-up band for Tiny Tim!! Chip and Gail are the Original Relics!
Pension Pete Storm - Lightnin' on the Keys - joined The Rock & Roll Relics in September of 2007. Pete hails from
Frederick, Maryland, where he began his musical career in 1956, playing bass guitar with a high school group
known as the Playboys. In 1960, he helped form The Shades with Demetri Callas (later a member of the 4
Seasons). Pete played drums for two years, during which the Shades backed up such acts as Danny & the Juniors
and The Dovells. They appeared with Little Anthony & the Imperials, Mickey and Sylvia, and Johnny Mathis. He
retired from music in 1962 to enter military service, but returned in 1974, playing keys and bass with The First
Time, performing old standards, '70s rock and country music. Another member of this group was Frank Raines,
who now does national appearances as an Elvis tribute artist (known locally as the "Dewey Beach Elvis"). Pete
again retired from music in 1979, pursuing his career in Education, ultimately becoming a Frederick County school
principal. When he retired from his "day job" in 2005, he decided to return to his roots, once more playing keys.
Pete is excited to join The Rock & Roll Relics, saying, "There's no better group to play my favorite music than The
Pete retired from music in 2015.
Although the newest lineup of The Rock & Roll Relics may, technically, be called
a new group - they played their first gig together in October of 2008 --
individually, they've been making music for over 200 years!
"We're doing this for fun...to remind people of this great wealth of fabulous music, and to see the delight in the faces of the young and
not-so-young people who come to our performances," says Chip. The attitude of The Rock & Roll Relics can best be summed up by the
lyrics of Bob Seger. "Call me a relic, Call me what you will, Say I'm old-fashioned, Say I'm over the hill, Today's music ain't got the same
soul, I like that Old Time Rock & Roll"! Well put, Bob!
History of The Rock & Roll Relics
The Rock & Roll Relics were never supposed to be anything more than a one night stand. Gail and Chip had retired from music when they moved to Maryland
in 1988. They hadn't given much thought to playing again until they met George Toth.
Geriatric George Toth grew up in the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania where he never played in a band! He became friends with Gail and Chip through
his wife, Judy, who works with Gail. He had often heard stories about the fun they'd had playing music, and he admitted that he was a self-taught
keyboardist with an unfulfilled dream to play in a band. So, as a birthday present, Gail and Chip (with the help of a drum machine) got together with
George to perform at his birthday party. They called themselves The Rock & Roll Relics. They performed about a dozen songs, and everyone had a blast.
Encouraged by friends to "go for it", the three decided that the time was right to dust off the equipment and bring back the fun music of the '50s and
'60s. Thus, The Rock & Roll Relics were born.
Their first appearances were at the Saturday Night Cruise-In classic car events in Mount Airy, where they played
most of the summer of 1997. By the end of August, the crowd size had more than doubled, with most of the credit
going to the excitement and nostalgia of the live performances. One night, the group was approached by Don
Saunders, who introduced himself as a retired drummer who also had the urge to perform again. Shortly after
making their club debut in October, Don joined the band, completing the lineup.
Run Down Don Saunders grew up in Rochester, New York where he, too, began gigging as a teen with local rock
bands. He "graduated" to the wedding/bar mitzvah circuit, and had pretty much retired from music by the time he
resettled in Maryland.
The immediate reaction to the new and improved The Rock & Roll Relics was overwhelming! They landed a steady gig at The Outta The Way
Cafe, which has become their home base. Other club work followed, as well as gigs for Washington's Oldies Station WBIG--Oldies 100.
Then came the special events, like a three-day classic car and doo-wop weekend called Gaithersburg Graffiti where they performed with
The Spaniels, The Jarmels and The Five Keys; The Wildwood Doo Wop Festival, where they appeared with Bobby Rydell and The Skyliners;
and their biggest gig ever -- opening for The Beach Boys at West Virginia University, in front of a Parents' Weekend crowd of over
8,000! It was at this show that the band introduced their original song "Surfin' 2000", a takeoff on the surf sound of the 60s with lyrics
about surfing the Internet. The ultimate praise came from Beach Boys' keyboardist Bruce Johnston, who told The Relics "You guys are
good...especially your girl guitarist!"
In addition to an ever-expanding repertoire of classics from the 50s and 60s, the The Rock & Roll Relics began writing and performing their own songs. "That came about because
of Gaithersburg Graffiti explains Gail. "The organizers videotape the weekend events and then sell it to the car owners who had attended. They told us they wanted to use us on the
soundtrack, but that we'd have to write our own material." They decided to give it a whirl, and one of Gail's compositions, a twangy guitar instrumental called "Triple Bogey", made
it to the video -- earning The Relics their first royalty check!! The reaction to the original songs was great. "My Tootsy Roll" is a rocking dance tune with a bit of a country sound.
"How Many Nights" has the classic doo-wop sound with a lyrical twist. "Lookout Point" and "Cruisin' at the Dairy Queen" are car-oriented songs, and "Relics' Blues" is an
autobiographical romp. In the Spring of 1999 an opportunity to record the songs developed, and the Relics worked on the project through the end of September. In November, they
issued the independent release "Don't Quit Your Day Job!" with a CD Release Party at the Outta The Way Cafe.
That evening turned out to be a bittersweet event, as it also served as a Retirement Party for Geriatric George. The increasingly busy schedule became too much for George, and he
decided that he had had enough. "The Rock & Roll Relics are kinda like Menudo -- when you reach a certain age, they kick you out", he said. "But, seriously, it's been quite a ride.
This started out as a joke, and look at what we were able to accomplish. I've got the CD as a permanent reminder, and enough memories to last the rest of my life."
Metamucil Mike Riordan replaced George, making his first appearance with The Rock & Roll Relics in November, 1999. Mike began
playing guitar at age 9, and got his first electric guitar at age 12. He began sitting by the phonograph and learning Johnny Rivers solos and
Herman's Hermits chord progressions.
His interest in keyboards stemmed from those overly long church services he was required to attend as a boy. He says that the only saving
grace was when the big pipe organ kicked in! So, with money he saved from a summer job, he bought a Hammond B3 when he was 19. From
then on, it's been a succession of surf bands, folk groups, rock bands, top forty bands, country bands, tribute bands, and more than just a
few oldies bands.
In June of 2000, Don Saunders also retired from The Relics, to devote more time to his other passion - golf! Don and his wife Karen now
reside in Dana Point, California!!
Harvey Stone Age Stuart made his first appearance with The Rock & Roll Relics in July of 2000. From 1970 to 1980,
Harvey was in a number of bands in the DC area, including Apocalypse, Magic Touch, Rushmore, Razz, Fargo, First National
Band w/White Heat, and Nightman, and spent two years in Kansas with the groups Four Play and Oz. He retired in 1980, and
became a chef, which led to various positions in hotel, restaurant and catering facilities. After 19 years, Harvey started
playing again in 1998. He did a brief stint with a country band but he joined The Rock & Roll Relics to return to his rock
roots. Harvey retired in March of 2005. He and his wife Cathi now reside in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
In 2001, Mike Riordan was replaced by Tony Rigopoulos.
Li'l Anthony Rigopoulos joined The Rock & Roll Relics in September of 2001. Tony handled keyboards, guitar and vocals. He came from a musical
family, and was raised on a mix of '70s rock and disco, as well as Saturday opera concerts on the radio. Tony got the itch to strum a guitar when he
heard A Hard Day's Night. He studied vocal arts and music theory at Montgomery College and The University of Maryland, and has been playing in
bands since 1980, including Onyx and Platform Soul. Tony survived a major cardiac event in 2006, and decided to retire in August of 2007.
Bill "Broadway Willie" Miskell joined The Rock & Roll Relics in October of 2008. He began his
professional career in 1984 with "Joker's Wild". He was lucky enough to have played with local
legend Marlin King his first time out of the blocks, and remained a member of Marlin's group until
1990, when Bill and three friends formed the band "Street Noise". They travelled extensively up
and down the East Coast, playing at legendary venues like The Bayou, The Purple Moose Saloon,
Hammerjack's and others before retiring in 2001. After a 4-year hiatus, the band reformed in
2005 and has been playing a limited schedule. Billy jumped at the opportunity to join The Relics.
"It's a treat for any drummer to play with 2 legendary guitarists like Marlin -- and now Gail!"
"Keyboardist Bob Charkovsky (Bobby C.) is the Relics' newest member, joining in 2015. He brings musical genes
from Chicago, where Bob's father was a concert pianist, composer, and ultimately band director at the University
of Illinois branch. Bob's first gig was a 1971 summer job playing cocktail piano at the Skyroom Restaurant in
Monticello Indiana -- but only around his regular duties as a busboy! Soon thereafter he joined his first band and
ultimately became the long time keyboardist for Johnny Star & the Meteors, Chicago's top 50s-60s band. This led
to regular gigs backing Jay & the Americans and, on various reunion tours, the Chordettes, the Diamonds, the
Drifters, the Flamingos, Johnny Tillotson, Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits and Ronnie Rice of The New Colony
Six.While winding up a satisfying "day job" career in law, accounting and finance, Bob is now thrilled to join the
Relics and play the 50's-60s music he "grew up with but never out of". He also enjoys ballroom dancing, contract
bridge and, like his new Relics bandmates, is an avid baseball fan. Put me in Coach, I'm ready to play ... today!