Toy Soldiers

R.I.P. TOY SOLDIERS (2007-2014)????

The Toy Soldiers photo from TS website

The Toy Soldiers from good old Philadelphia looks as if they have put themselves in the toy chest, well at least for now! They have been creating their own extremely lively brand of Blues, rock n’ roll and soul sounds for over five years and they have decided to take a break for an undetermined length of time, thus leaving a question mark as to whether they will be back in the future, but I’m sure you will agree they will certainly be missed.

It took a while as mist things do when setting up, they went through numerous musicians until they found their final five leaving the line up as follows;

Ron Gallo on Vocals, Guitar and Harmonica                                                  Dominic Billet is banging hard on the Drums as well as Vocal and the  Accordion                                                                                                                           Bill McCloskey on Base Guitar and Vocals                                                Matt Kelly on Guitar                                                                                                  Luke Leidy is on The Piano, the Organ and Vocals

They are well known throughout the states as a Blues, Rock n’ Roll Soul Band and their music and sound is 100% their own, their songs are written in house by most if not all the band members at one time or another.

There last Album “The maybe Boys” was a great example of their lively style and it was largely their own work with a few guest musicians as follows;

Ali Wadsworth- Backup Vocals                                                                       Vinchelle Woods-Backup Vocals                                                                                 Reed Kendall- Acoustic Guitar                                                                                     Pat Hughes- Trumpet                                                                                               Larry Toft- Trombone                                                                                                 Ben Vinci- Clarinet                                                                                                            It was released in September 2013 and is another great example of their soulful brand of Rock n’ Roll with a Blues twist, I loved their sound the first time I heard them playing and it would be a tragedy if this band failed to get together in the near future.

They have played in every type of venue imaginable, from the local bars around Philadelphia to festivals and concerts throughout the United States.

Their music is sold largely through Bandcamp Accounts which is a free app which you can download when you make a purchase and then you can support a band or an artist and have repeat downloads on your phones or tablets as well as receive updates on new releases etc. It sounds similar to itunes but maybe a little cheaper.

They produced an article say farewell with little if any reason for the breakup, maybe they git worn out with their fast paced playing and the constant travelling they did, but they did go on to say a little about what the future holds for each band member.

Ron Gallo is said to be continuing with his own production which is his own album entitled Ronny, see below for more on that one.


Dom Billet and Matt Kelly will go forwards with their own projects with their psychedelic Blues & Punk sounds, last year they opened up for the blues rocker Patrick Sweaney with more to follow no doubt. Dom is also plans ahead to backing Andrew Combs in Europe, Dietrich Strause in the Northeast, then he will continue travelling and backing numerous artists as well as producing some of his own work in due course.

Matt Kelly has been busy curating and completing a couple of projects one of them is “Spooky Suitcase” and the other is not yet titled.

The Don, Ron & Matt will have completed the Beach Binge Tour by now which was running down the East Coast from South Carolina to Rhode Island with Joe Fletcher and Andrew Combs

Beach Binge Tour

So as you can see they were mostly planning to continue playing in one form or another without ruling a comeback tour at some point. Meanwhile fans will have to make do with the Toy Soldiers existing albums

Their first album was “Whisper Down The Lane” and was described as “a gritty, dirty collection of liquor-fueled Americana music shifting flawlessly from roots to blues, to country, to rockabilly in an undeniable barn burner”by WXPN’s Bruce Warren.

Next up came the self produced “Get Through The Time” EP was a look into a more pensive, heartfelt side of song writing. Then followed “The Midweek Mountain Getaway” This was recorded live with fellow artist Jordan Hull which fully showed the live aspect of the band.

The next complete album to be released was “The Maybe Boys” This album was produced and recorded by Bill Moriarty and was shown to bridge the gap between all the bands previous efforts to date and combined the bands eclectic song writing style plus the explosive energy coming through with the live show’s

The band was named “Top Bands To Watch in 2013” by USA Today

Ron Gallo

Ron Gallo is going to carry on himself as well as with new musicians in fact he has already produced a new Album called Ronny and once again this can be found on Bandcamp.

Another Great Band From Philadelphia The Runaways

Do you remember the Runaways From Philadelphia?

The Runaways Logo
The Runaways Album Cover CherryBombJapan

I’m sure many folks do, even as far as England, Western Europe and especially in Japan. But they are almost overlooked here in the states, an often-forgotten band from Philadelphia’s history. They were always an all-female rock band, the Runaways gave a start to the famous Joan Jett. The Runaways were initially managed by Kim Fowley  after he helped put the band together but they broke ties with Fowley in 1977. They were successful around the world, becoming the most popular in Japan, while only maintaining mild fame here in the United States.

The Runaways
The Runaways Original Photo

While the Runaways time together was fairly short lived, forming in 1975 and playing until 1979 – their impact was great. Not only did the Runaway’s start Joan Jetts musical career, but they were wildly inspirational to hoards of young girl rockers dreaming of a place in the band. They went a long way in putting female musicians on the map and they showed the world that the spirit of rock and roll was for much more than just their male counterparts.
Their sound was similar to many of the emerging punk music that was popular during that period and being influenced by David Bowie. They were a perfect example of the symbiotic nature of rock. They took aspects of other’s styles and then blended it with their own to create a unique and distinguished sound, which in turn, influenced many more young musicians to come.

Meet The Members of the Runaway’s and Discover What Happened To Them.

Joan Jett

Joan Jett 2013

Joan Jett was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though she didn’t grow up there, she came back long enough for the Runaways to make their start there. Joan got involved with music and performing early on, watching movies and going to shows. She knew from a young age she wanted to perform and inspire others.
At 13 years old, Joan began practicing guitar, her parents bought Joan her first guitar one Christmas. Joan tried learning guitar the traditional way, by taking lessons, but quickly learned it wasn’t her style, this was made clear when her teacher kept trying to teach her folk songs, when all Joan wanted to do was to play Rock music. Joan continued playing, but she continued in the only way that felt right – by teaching herself. It was this attitude that secured Joan’s and the Runaway’s success in rock music.
Joan became the rhythm guitar player for the Runaways, and later was to sing lead vocals as well. Throughout the entire band’s career, Joan maintained her dedication to the genre of punk rock, her one true love. It was one of the factors of their split in 1979. She later went on to have a very successful solo career and still performs today.

Cherie Curie

Cherie Currie (image from their website)

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Cherie Curie had been a David Bowie fan from very early in her life. It was her admiration for Bowie that sparked inspiration for much of the music the Runaways produced. Her tributes to David Bowie, through her hairstyles and outfits, are a true example of the way the spirit of rock spreads from generation to generation, keeping it alive even today.
Cherie auditioned for the Runaways by singing the song “Cherrie Bomb,” which Joan and Kim wrote on the spot from her. It was a moment of true genius, as this song became their biggest hit and still sings to the hearts of rockers everywhere.
In 1977, Cherie left the Runaways to begin her own solo career, no being there for the breakup in 1979. Later in life, she began acting, having a prolific career in both acting and music. She even opened her own art gallery later in life.

Lita Ford

Lita Ward
Photo From Lita’s Website

Lita Ford  was originally from London in England but later moved to California and then on to Philadelphia. She began playing and performing rock early in life, when she was just a teenager. Her ability to shred away on the guitar with passion blew Joan and Sandy away at her audition. They knew from the start that Lita was going to be their lead guitarist for the entirety of the Runaway’s time together.
Lita now plays music for videos games, touching the souls and minds of the young generation. She’s a perfect example of how the spirit of rock has the power to span generations and even mediums! Lita now has her own website

Sandy West

Sandy West (Image from their website)

Sandy West, along with Joan, had this vision for the Runaways and was there to make it happen, from the beginning to the end. She has a wide range of influences, from the Monkees to Led Zeppelin to Aerosmith. Each one played a part in making her the musician she was, and you can hear them distinctly in her drumming styles.
Instead of allowing the fact that rock was male-dominated discourage her, she used it as fuel to hone her skills and express herself even more. This is the kind of passion that carries through in her music and makes the Runaways so one-of-a-kind.
Sandy had a huge influence on the band, from helping to organize and find members with Joan, to writing some of the most popular and influential tracks, like “Born to Be Bad” and “California Paradise.”
In 2006,Sadly after a battle with lung cancer, Sandy passed away.

Jackie Fox

Jackie Fox(Image From Their Website)

Jackie Fox was the first and most well known bassist for the Runaways. Jackie originally auditioned to be the guitar player, however when they didn’t find her to be a good fit, they asked her to audition for bass. It was then that Jackie found her place within the Runaways and within rock.
Jackie left the Runaways in 1977 said to be fed up with continual bad feelings between band members. to pursue other jobs in the entertainment industry. After a while, however, she returned to what she really wanted to do – attend school. She graduated from UCLA and then attended Harvard Law School.
She’s played reunion concerts with her fellow bandmates and has had a successful career as a photographer. Her passion for life and the things she loves to do have made her a unique influence on the entire history of rock. Jackie is also known as Jackie Fuchs and writes for The Huffington Post Jackie has also written some of her posts on her blog entitled The Runaways Remembered which provides and insight to the internal strife that was going on.

The band has had many bass players throughout the years until they disbanded in 1979.   See below for the names and dates  of the members, it would be unfair to leave anyone out.

  • Joan Jett – rhythm and lead guitar, lead and backing vocals (1975–1979); bass guitar (1977)
  • Sandy West – drums, percussion, backing and lead vocals (1975–1979)
  • Micki Steele – lead vocals (1975); bass guitar (1975)
  • Lita Ford – bass guitar (1975, 1978); lead and rhythm guitar, backing and lead vocals (1975–1979)
  • Peggy Foster – bass guitar (1975)
  • Cherie Currie – lead and backing vocals, keyboards, tambourine, snare drum (1975–1977)
  • Jackie Fox – lead and rhythm guitar (1975); bass guitar, backing and lead vocals (1975–1977)
  • Vicki Blue – bass guitar, backing vocals (1977–1978)
  • Laurie McAllister – bass guitar (1978–1979)

Just Check Out This Trailer For The Runaways

It doesn’t matter what the final reason is, there are many pressures for any young group of people who are flung together, working and travelling for long hours, money, music, and other disputes always take their toll, tempers fray and strong wills clash so it was inevitable that the band members come and go, just like many bands before them, so as a result of these pressures the band members decided to call it a day citing differences of opinion over the direction their music and style should follow as the reason. The band ultimately decided to go their separate ways, but their legacy remains as strong as ever.
They have inspired so many young girls to pick up guitars. They showed the world that the spirit of rock is accessible to everyone. It doesn’t have a gender. And nothing is more apt when talking about the true spirit of rock.

The Runaways still have a live websiteif you would care to view it. It just shows that another band of yesterday can still make history