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Biography

The origins of ROADMASTER can be traced back to the day original vocalist Asher 'Adam T. Smasher' Benrubi trued to intimidate High School freshman Michael Read into giving him his lunch way back in 1967. The bullying failed and the two became friends, leading to the formation of Indianapolis' leading college band PURE FUNK with guitarist Rob 'R.S.' Swaynie A stable line-up was eventually established in 1971 featuring guitarist Rick Benick, keyboard player Michael Read, his bass playing next door neighbour Toby Myers and drummer Stephen Riley.

The band mixed the Progressive stuff in with a heavy dose of R&B (a leftover from the college days) and, as time progressed, got into covering material from the J. GEILS BAND and UTOPIA, by which time the band name had been switched to ROADMASTER. In fact, it was UTOPIA main man TODD RUNDGREN who discovered the band. Rundgren invited the quintet to Bearsville Studios in upstate New York to record a three track demo that led to a deal with the Indianapolis label Village Records and the release of a self-titled debut in 1976 produced by Kirk Butler and Mike Griffin.

Steven Riley quit the band after the release of the record during early 1977, allegedly because he'd been offered Barry Brandt's job in ANGEL. Brandt, however, stuck with the white ones with Riley joining ex-ANGEL bassist Mickey Jones' club band EMPIRE. Riley eventually resurfaced in Chicago as a member of THE B'ZZ before going on to greater success replacing the original drummers in both W.A.S.P. and L.A. GUNS. Asher 'Smasher' Benrubi also quit the band and the vocalist was swiftly replaced by Stephen 'Mac' McNally (who had actually sung backing vocals on the first album), with former EXILE drummer Bobby Johns taking the place of Stephen Riley.

By the time recording of the band's second album, 'Sweet Music', was underway, Village Records had become a subsidiary of Mercury. The band had seriously defined their sound in the interim period and the album has long been considered a Pomp Rock classic. At this point ROADMASTER began to venture further afield on the live front, playing across the States with such luminaries as RUSHBLUE ÖYSTER CULT, PAT TRAVERS and TED NUGENT.

ROADMASTER's third album, 'Hey World', sold, by Toby Myers later estimate, something in the region of 300,000 copies. Mercury Records began to get excited and, in order to generate further sales, attempted to persuade the band to write shorter songs with a rawer edge. West Coast dates in August of 1979 found the band opening for PAT TRAVERS and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT.

The fourth ROADMASTER record, 1980's 'Fortress', was produced by Flo & Eddie, but the album failed to sell and the group was quickly dropped from the Mercury roster. MCA Records showed some interest in signing ROADMASTER, even financing the recording of some demos, yet ultimately passed on the band. At this point Toby Myers received an offer from John Cougar Mellencamp to team up with his drummer Kenny Aronoff in his new tour band. Myers took him up on the invitation and thus ROADMASTER pretty much fell apart

Michael Read and Rick Benick spent a lengthy period in HENRY LEE SUMMER's backing band, touring and recording with the man.

However, the band reunited in 1989 for a number of local shows. A later set of which the 'classic' line-up was augmented by second guitarist, 22 year old Tony Burton and was also joined on stage by original vocalist Adam Smasher (who had become quite a successful local disc jockey) for a mid-set run through of material from the first album. Original PURE FUNK guitarist Rob Swaynie also stepped up for a run through of an old R&B standard.

A live album surfaced featuring seven tracks recorded at The Vogue Theater in Indianapolis during one night in July 1989 plus five brand new studio recordings made the following September. Amazingly, fans outside of Indiana only got wind of the album's release four years later when a few copies made it into the hands of ardent collectors. A live video 'One For The Road' was also available locally, featuring this show with Adam Smasher and Tony Burton not caught on the album.

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