|Satan's Breed looking dead serious as they laugh themselves to the grave. From left: Terrence O'Donnell, Jack Zelano, Dennis Moretti, Joe Sevigny, Ronald Lemme. Courtesy of Joe Sevigny.|
When Beelzebub stepped down in North Kingstown, R.I., in colonial times to create Devil's Foot Rock, his other leg must have been planted in West Warwick, future home of five high school students gripped by the "devil's music" who called themselves Satan's Breed.
The nucleus of Satan's Breed started raising hell circa 1963 as the Angi-Ds. This young outfit featured songwriters Ronald Lemme (lead vocals and bass) and Dennis Moretti (saxaphone and vocals), along with Jack Zelano on guitar and Joe Sevigny on drums. The source of the peculiar name? Dennis' old Italian uncle. (Though its meaning is still not quite clear; perhaps his name was Angelo D?) These 15- and 16-year-old West Warwick High Schoolers luckily had the foresight to press up two of their original tunes on a blank label 45 with handwritten credits, presumably in an extremely minute quantity. "I Like Girls" bounces in a catchy, early frat garage style, complete with dual whistling (!?), handclaps, impromptu background vocal screeches and ultra-crude production. But the flipside is something else altogether. Its menacing, slow tempo bumps and grinds while Ronnie lasciviously growls 'n howls, saliva practically spilling over onto the turntable. And the hormone-spiked guttural delivery expounds matching gutter-al sentiments throughout four minutes of raunchy double entendres. It's no wonder that community elders raised a concerned eyebrow to this new thing called rock and roll 50 years ago.
In late 1964 the Angi-Ds restructured into Satan's Breed, adding neighborhood friend Terry O'Donnell on organ. The five-piece played venues of all sizes, from high school dances and YMCA gigs to Rocky Point amusement park and actual nightclubs. The evil moniker spooked some pious school administrators, however. The brothers at Catholic high school LaSalle Academy in Providence refused to let the Breed play at a battle of the bands, but eventually gave in to the crowd and gave the band a chance to perform. Satan's Breed hooked up with an enterprising 26-year-old schoolteacher, Al Aubin, who became their manager. (Be sure to check out the press/promo pages below.) In fall 1966, the crew traveled to AAA Studios in Boston to record a '50s-styled ballad, "Little Girl," and a fast, organ-dominated Animalized rocker, "Laugh Myself To The Grave." The record label name, A-L-M Records, reflected the combination of of Aubin-Lemme-Moretti. Joe Sevigny recalls:
"The only reason we recorded this record was because of Al Aubin. We were playing at January's club in Pawtucket and Al liked us so much that he took a chance and wanted to manage us. Al financed the whole record, which cost him a considerable amount of money. We all thought we were headed to the big time but it didn't turn out that way. I'd like to thank Al for taking that chance even though it didn't pan out."With three of the five members 19 years old and out of high school, Satan's Breed focused on a steady stream of gigs. The record did receive some local airplay, but failed to break into the highly competitive (and greased palm) market. The band continued on into 1968, and dissolved due to college and the draft.
In the 1970s, Joe Sevigny and Terry O'Donnell teamed up in the band Mother Goose, along with Phil Plante from the Offbeats/Petrified Forrest. (The band never made any recordings.) Sevigny still sits behind a drum kit for jam sessions at Chan's jazz and blues club in Woonsocket. In the decade following Satan's Breed, Dennis, Ron and Jack went on to play with drummer and future NFL coach Bob Wylie. Zelano, like so many other Rhode Islanders of retirement age, now resides in Florida. And Terry O'Donnell — we'd love to hear from you: Get in touch!
This entry is dedicated to the memories of Ronald Lemme and Dennis Moretti, who sadly passed away in 1999 and 2009, respectively.
|From pentagram to peace sign? Mother Goose, left to right: Terry O'Donnell, keyboards; Peggy (originally from NJ), lead singer; Phil Plante, lead guitar; Joe Sevigny (in background), drums; Mike McElroy, bass. Courtesy of Joe Sevigny.|
|Mother Goose business cards courtesy of Gary Rawlinson.|
|The official Satan's Breed biography/press package from late 1966 (click for full-size view). Courtesy of Al Aubin.|
|Sheet music for "I Like Girls" plus two unrecorded tunes. Anyone read music out there? Courtesy of Al Aubin.|
Little Girl / Laugh Myself To The Grave
A-L-M (201,129 / 201,130) Dec. 1966
I Like Girls / C'Mere Women
no label (FL-000) 1964
I Like Girls