back in the day - Sonny Rowland
|gettin’ down with the round mound of sound
click on photos for larger image
|Sonny with his
Rockabilly Hall of
Sonny last took the stage as a pro with THE
TOASTED HIPPIES. Of late he has been retired
from playing. 6 months back, the lady in Sonny’s
life, Lynn, had health problems and was admitted
to a hospital in Grand Rapids. Sonny spent much
time near her while she was in the hospital.
|The Rockin' Ramrods
Sonny is in the middle
photo from Sonny's collection
|The Rockin' Ramrods
with the Everly Bros. on
the road 1965. Sonny
is standing in the
photo from Sonny's
Sonny is a one of a kind. A master showman and bass player who has
intimate knowledge of the ups and downs of the music business. He plays
bass in his own unique style; slapping and picking at the same time. His
method gives his playing a very strong attack.
Sonny comes from Peoria, Illinois. After high school
he went on the road. He somehow ended up in the
central Michigan area. He managed a lot of success
early. He was with 2 bands in the late 50’s and early
60’s that had charted hits. His work at this time with a
band called the Rockin' R’s earned him a place in the
Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
I can’t really get into his personal life too much. Rest
assured if you are familiar with soap opera plots you
already have a good idea of Sonny‘s life. He has lived
the life of a road musician, merchant, slot machine
technician and salesman of just about anything. He also
ran with an infamous 1960’s Midwest motorcycle gang
called SATAN’S SIDEWINDERS.
In 2003 Sonny was entered into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame for his work with the
Rockin' R’s. In the late 50’s, early 60’s he also had a successful band called the
Rockin' Ramrods. He has been a side man to many hit-making rock and roll acts
including the Everly Brothers.
In the mid Michigan area Sonny worked in
many successful bar bands. One band,
named Mariah, held a house gig at Ron’s
Roadhouse for over a year and had people
showing up from all over the state.
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