The Royals…Live At Scorgies?!? – by Del Rivers

One of the Scorgies artifacts I came across recently was a cassette of The Royals – Live At Scorgies which was actually recorded live but with applause dubbed in! It was intended for booking the band into other bars, but with the credence of having played at Scorgies. I think my friend Jon Pirincci (of Musical Messages Agency) dubbed the tapes. I actually met the guys from the Royals literally by accident at a tent festival show that featured Roy Orbison (prior to The Traveling Wilburys). We had to wait a long time for Roy because he was “warming up his voice.” Years later I found out about his secret cocaine habit;  perhaps that could have been the reason for the long wait.

I’m not sure if I first met George “Michael” Schnell and Mick Hargreaves of the Royals at a Red Wings game or an N.R.B.Q. concert (either before or after). Regardless, we became fast friends with common musical tastes. They used to have a partyin’ apartment right across from Wegmans near East Avenue that was always filled with pot smoke, music, and bed sheets hanging over the attic ceiling (like a harem den!). They were transplants from NYC and had common friendship with the Tension guys;  guitarist Mike Pappert (from Fairport) and Swing Set drummer Dave Martin (Liebowitz), who I believe was also from NYC.

George Schnell was a meticulous guitar player who eventually opened the Studio At The Village Gate recording studio. He’s known for recording bluesman Chris Beard and was briefly a Country Music DJ; and still spins  at Jeremiah’s Tavern on Monroe Avenue. Mick Hargreaves used to videotape bands for local cable TV then moved to NYC with The Diljoys and formed the Tonebenders with guitarist Doug “Davies” Cox. He later became a member of the Grip Weeds and is presently a solo artist.  By the way, one former  Royals member, drummer Joe Minotti, is currently in  Joe Hendrick & The Mudflaps.

George told me that he envisioned the Royals as a cross between 10 CC and Dave Edmunds. Eventually, as all bands seem to do, the Royals came to an end (much like Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe’s band Rockpile). George Schnell continued on with variations of the Royals; but by then it was pretty much a party house band providing studio support for his original songs.

The. tape Live at Scorgies had covers of Dave Edmunds’ Dear Dad, Nick Lowe’s I Knew The Bride, the Beatles One After 909 & Honey Don’t and Elvis Presley’s Little Sister. The originals were Get Me Out Of The Red and Let’s Jag. Get Me Out Of The Red was played extensively on local radio stations. The Royals came close to releasing a 45 single (or album) of Are You A Dancer?” b/w I’m Falling that was produced by Jeff Tyzik (yes, it’s the same big band RPO leader!). Upon listening it’s apparent that the Royals, like many other bands, could have been on the cusp of having a hit record. And like the other Scorgie’s bands – maybe they could reunite eventually for a night or two – this time for real!

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  1. Stan the Man’s avatar

    Del, thanks for putting together this piece! There were so many bands that played Scorgies. Some got the “glory” and went on to higher acclaim (like the Chesterfield Kings, Colorblind James and the bands reuniting on the 21st). Others, like the Royals, toiled in the minefields pleasing folks like you.
    I remember the first time I met Mick and George, they were interviewing NRBQ at the Red Creek. The lads thought the interview was quite funny and it wound up on a tape that NRBQ sold through their fan club. I never did see the Royals at Scorgies but saw them a few times when they played at that crazy Italian Restaurant in Panorama Plaza.
    I run into George here and there and will hep him to your article. Can’t wait to see the next edition of “Del’s (virtual) Corner.”



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