ROSIE

Country USA

Style Hard Rock

ROSIE was born the brainchild of former Godz and current Bob Seger guitarist Mark Chatfield (pictured here). The name Rosie, inspired, as Chatfield tells it,” by the old tale of Rosie Palmer and her five sisters”, may have seemed strange for a sharp edged, (all male) rock band at the time, but quickly etched itself into the minds and hearts of rock fans across this great land and over seas.

Over the years, ROSIE has taken many forms. This picture, taken from the back of their second album (Precious Metal),and consisting of,(from left to right) Bob Boos, Robert West, Carl Shelor, Ed Means and Mark Chatfield, is probably the line-up that most ROSIE fans envision when thinking of the band. Although, it didn’t start that way. ROSIE received it’s first national attention in 1980, after being asked to participate in the R.J. Reynolds National Battle of the Bands. They did so reluctantly, thinking it beneath them, but after mowing down the competition in the regionals, they were on a plane to Daytona Beach to compete against seventeen other bands from across the country, who, had won their region. The game was on! It started to get fun, and a little serious.

The competition site was in the back parking lot of a hotel on the beach with Van Halen’s P.A. system set up for the bands to use and record company execs. as judges. ROSIE rented a room in the basement of the hotel next door, set up, and ran through it’s set a few times working up a sweat until time to hit the stage, and hit it they did. At 10:00 a.m. on the first day of competition, ROSIE (pictured here with Chatfield, Dennis Craig (second from left), Boos and Shelor) rolled through their show like a freight train cutting down everything and everyone in it’s path, eventually winning the competition hands down, and being crowned Champion of the R.J. Reynolds National Battle of the Bands. Most importantly, they acquired a vehicle (R.J. Reynolds) to fund their first recording project.

That eventually became the band’s first record, 1981’s self-titled ROSIE. Before entering the studio however, the band decided on a personnel change. Hiring high energy wild man bassist, Robert West (pictured here). West proved to be a good move both musically and visually, they didn’t call him Wild Robert West for nothin’! Next, the boys went to Atlanta’s Webb IV Studios and laid down the aforementioned first record ROSIE, produced by world renowned engineer Ed Seay. The band came out of the studio with such a big sound, they decided to add another guitar player to the fold.Enter Jay Chesbro (second from left), but Jay was ill-suited for that position and soon bowed out, leaving a void to be filled by journeyman rhythm guitarist Ed Means (pictured here on the right).

Ed’s philosophy about guitar chording with low over tones and open strings helped ROSIE’S sound evolve into what was soon to be popularly known as “Precious Metal”. In 1982 ROSIE signed a recording contract with mid-western regional label Double Tree Records. They recorded and released their second album, titled “Precious Metal”, which very quickly sold an estimated forty thousand copies and caught the attention of the major labels. In the meantime, ROSIE was touring the country. The band would head south through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, play down the west coast of Florida to Miami, then up the east coast, through the Carolinas, then northbound to New York. They toured extensively throughout the mid-west and headed westward to California, where they would stay in Los Angeles and do club dates and showcases. In 1984, ROSIE was offered a recording contract with several major labels, but due to poor management and selfish tactics,(by someone who shall remain nameless due to legal reasons) they were unable to ink a deal. Disheartened, ROSIE hired an attorney and sued to get out of their management contract and eventually settled the suit, having to buy themselves out of the contract. This was ROSIE’S darkest hour, but they were intent on success. Shortly thereafter, Chatfield received an offer from Bob Seger to join his band and accepted. This left them without a lead guitar player and the auditions began.

After many grueling sessions with many different guitarists, and not finding the right one, lead vocalist Carl Shelor said “ENOUGH!”. Shelor claimed “I know the parts and I can play them”. That was that, and the band played on. After Chatfield’s stint with Seger, he played in Michael Bolten’s band but when that tour was over, he expressed a desire to reunite with ROSIE and the band welcomed him back with open arms. ROSIE went into Bison Studios, owned by J.D. Blackfoot, and started working on their next album. With Shelor and Chatfield being the principal songwriters from the start, the music flowed and they realized they were writing some of ROSIE’S best music ever!

Promoters in the area knew about Columbus, Ohio based ROSIE’S huge fan base and also knew the band could sell concert tickets. So when promoters would book a national act in the area and ticket sales might be slow, they would put ROSIE on the bill to insure a sellout. This resulted in the band playing in support of many acts such as Journey, Jefferson Starship, Kansas and Night Ranger just to name a few. Really, there are just too many to list. Also during this time, ROSIE was playing to standing room only crowds at clubs around Ohio, honing their new material, getting ready to record their third album.

That third album never came however as Chatfield got a call from Seger, and ROSIE was once again looking for a replacement. Shelor,(pictured here) always the high energy front man, didn’t want the duty of playing lead guitar again, saying “It’s like a ball and chain around my neck” suggested looking for another player. Enter Rick Asher (pictured here far left). Asher heard the news that ROSIE was looking for a guitar player and drove to Columbus from Tampa Bay. The boys were impressed with Rick and gave him the job. Unfortunately, it was the beginning of the end for ROSIE. Robert West (Bass) left to return to his native North Carolina, Bob Boos (Drums) moved to California where he became a Representative for Sabian Cymbals.

The one constant in the band,lead vocalist Carl Shelor and long time member Ed Means,soon grew weary trying to maintain the credibility and uniqueness of ROSIE’S sound with what Means described as “a revolving door of musicians” and they started to pursue other interests. In 1988, Mark Chatfield, who had moved to Las Vegas and opened COWTOWN GUITARS (see links), contacted Means and Shelor about a possible ROSIE reunion. After some planning,it took place at one of their old haunts. On November 25th & 26th of that year, hosted by the ALROSA VILLA (see links) in Columbus, Ohio, during Thanksgiving weekend, ROSIE brought the house down. Along with Kevin Valentine (the Donnie Iris band) on the drums and Wild Robert West back on the bass, ROSIE recorded ROSIE LIVE that was later released and became wildly popular. The reunion show was such a success in fact, that it became a ritual during Thanksgiving for many years. Starting in 1989, Jeff Peters(drums) and Mark Neff(bass) became anchored into the line-up and ROSIE began to expand it’s horizons by adding female backup singers and sometimes keyboards, taking a “the more the merrier” attitude but always, always staying true to the traditional ROSIE sound that they had cultivated over the years.

The last known ROSIE show was a double bill with Lita Ford in 1996…until December 29th of 2007 when the original line up from the Precious Metal album reunited (for the first time in twenty two years) for a “one night only” show that was sold out, standing room only. People flew in from across the country to witness the reunion. Radio stations and promoters from as far away as Phoenix, Arizona were calling to book the band for their upcoming outdoor festivals. Author and photographer Chris A. (who was gracious enough to lend some of his photos for this site) interviewed Rosie for a future edition of Guitar Digest Magazine. Clips of their performance were splattered all over U-Tube by fans and people who witnessed the show talked about it for months.

The show was such a success, and the outpouring of desire for more so great, that the boys (who it seemed, genuinely enjoyed themselves) agreed to do it again, soon! People always ask,”Why did ROSIE break up?” and the answer is simple, they never did. Life, and circumstances just took them in different directions. With two key members in different parts of the country,(Chatfield in Las Vegas and Shelor in the Daytona Beach area) scheduling obstacles make it difficult to reunite, but, you never know. Every year as summer ends and the Holiday season approaches, it seems there’s always the smell of roses in the air…

– Rosie [1981] EP
– Precious Metal [1982]

 

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Rating: 7.9/10 (9 votes cast)
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ROSIE, 7.9 out of 10 based on 9 ratings