Wednesday, September 18, 2013


One of the finest of all Syracuse musical groups was "Jam Factory" whose innovative material and style achieved nationwide recognition. The nucleus of Jam Factory came from the Syracuse University group known as the "Sidewinders". Syracuse University student Howie Wyeth was primarily responsible for its inception. Wyeth foresaw a"big" rock band with a prominent horn section, an idea that was unheard of in most rock circles of the day. The Sidewinders established the tight rhythm and blues sound that led to Jam Factory. After Wyeth's musician auditions the band's first version included Bill Storm, Mark Hoffmann, Paul Petruccelli, John Hall, Steve Marcone, Mike Mattia, Dave Scribner, Ron Johnson, vocalist Charlie Brown ( SU football player) and Howie Wyeth (drums).

The bands second version consisted of Wyeth, Storm, Hoffmann, Marcone, Eddie Freeman (vocals),  Ian Taddeo (later Stompin Suede Greaser & The Alligators), Kent DeFelice ( from the Tradewinds), Earl Ford (who replaced Paul  Petruccelli) and Alan Sislan (replaced Mick Mattia). The Sidewinders played several CNY clubs including Deb's and the Little Brown Jug.

Then came the final version that we all know as Jam Factory (1969-71) Mark Hoffmann (guitar), Kent DeFelice (bass), Steve Marcone (trumpet), Earl Ford (trombone), Florida vocalist & keyboardist Gene McCormick (replaced Eddie Freeman) and Rochester native drummer Joe English (later of Paul McCartney's Wings) took Wyeth place.

Howie Wyeth graduated from Syracuse University in 1966. He studied percussion with Alan Abell of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He left Syracuse moving to New  York City in late 1968 teaming up with ex- Syracuse University friends (Otis Smith, Steve McCord, Paul Dickler, Paul Petrucelli, Billy Elminger, Louis St Louis, Mike Mattia & others) to form the band "The Albert". After two unsuccessful but great albums (1970-71) Wyeth went on to play, record or tour with Robert Gordon w/ Link Wray (drummer), James Moody (1970), McKenzie Spring, Leslie West (Mountain), Roger McGuinn, Don McLean, Blues Traveler, Rob MacDonald, Loudon Wainwight, Rob Stoner, LaBelle and  Hall of Famer Bob Dylan (1974-76) and others. He was seen on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, Midnight Special w/ Robert Gordon, Joe Franklin Show,  and "Hard Rain" with Bob Dylan.  In more recent years Howie concentrated on piano performing ragtime, blues and jazz in New York City clubs.  Sadly Howie Wyeth passed away on March 27, 1966 in New  York City at age 51.

Meanwhile Jam Factory was signed by Columbia Records president Clive Davis and released the popular EPIC album "Sittin In The Trap"(1971). They played the Syracuse War Memorial opening for Sly and the Family Stone and released the 45 rpm single "Talk is Cheap" that was released both in the USA and Canada.

Jam Factory was also included on the EPIC Records album "History of American Music" that was previewed on NBC's Today Television Show back in 1971. Then toured across the USA playing the Fillmore West in San Francisco (Dec 26-29, 1970) along with the Whiskey A Go-Go in Hollywood (Jan 24, 1971) plus stops in Denver, Aspen, Seattle & Albuquerque.

They shared the stage with such national acts as Rita Cooledge, The Byrds (Richmond, Va) Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Voices of East Harlem (San Francisco) Sam & Dave (NYC Central Park), Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Steve Miller, Grateful Dead, Billy Joel, Procol Harum, Issac Hayes, Beach Boys, Rare Earth, Ike & Tina Turner, Hot Tuna, Little Ricahrd, James Cotton, Chuck Berry, Boz Scaggs, Joe Walsh, Arlo Guthrie, John Sebastian, Sly & The Family Stone,  and Eric Burdon & War to name a what a list..... I was so lucky to have seen Jam Factory many-many times performing in Central New York mostly at "The Place" in North Syracuse, but also at "The Scene" and Campus Inn (Suburban Park).

Aftermath- Joe English later went to join Paul McCarthney & Wings (Venus & Mars, Wings Over America etc) touring the World.  The talented Earl Ford can be heard playing on many national albums (Tall Dogs) and Cds. Mark Hoffamnn went on to play with Baskin, Hoffmann & Lee, Magic Fingers and is still playing great music in CNY to this day.

PS- The band reformed with a`1999 version led by guitar great Mark Hoffmann.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Saturday afternoon September 14, Syracuse Chiefs Beer Fest was held at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse, NY from 1-4 pm.. Musical talent includes two three time (Sammys) Syracuse Area Music Awards winners. Mark Doyle and the Maniac and Dave Hanlon's Cookbook. Both Hanlon & Doyle are World Class musical performers and both are inductees into the SAMMYS Hall of Fame.

PS-History Note- They have not share a stage since they performed together the the popular CNY band "DUV".

Note- It was great to see some of CNY's great musicians and vocalists- Lee Tiffault, Frank DeFonda, Ava Andrews, Joel Kane, Pete McMahon, Mark Doyle and Dave Hanlon.