The Roadducks

Personnel/Bios

Jay Nedry – (Drums, Vocals)

Jay started The Ducks in 1976. He grew up in Mt. Vernon, Va. and was sent off to Staunton Military Academy at a young age to prevent him from becoming a musician. After attending William and Mary, and James Madison University, during which he played in a number of bands, he returned to his parents home in West Springfield,Va in December of 1975. Ran into Bill Schmidle and the two of them drove to Williamsburg,Va. whereupon after a bender of historic proportions, Bob Gaynor was kidnapped and forced to join the Ducks. Jay has always managed and booked the Roadducks in addition to drumming and driving the bus. Jay owned and operated Jaxx Niteclub in West Springfield, Va. for 20 years (1992 to 2012) which gave him time to raise his daughter Kristina, and keep Rock and Roll alive in Northern Virginia. He used a lifetime of contacts to take a small bar in the burbs and make it internationally famous while providing local musicians  a big stage with pro sound and lights. Jay is now back in college and will get his Masters Degree in American History from William and Mary in early 2017. He will then be a professor at some college in Virginia and regale his students with stories of mayhem and disorder from his crazy days on the road. Currently working on a course entitled “The History of Rock and Roll” which young and old alike should take and will cover the years 1955 to 1975. Jay has always been the driving force of the Roadducks and continues to ‘have the fire in the belly’ when it comes to performing live on stage. The Mouth of the South and King of Soul has had the stage name Tyronne Boulevard since 1977, but answers to a variety of insulting monnikers.

Gary Thomas– (Lead Guitar, Vocals)

Played in the Band Savage from Franconia, VA. and joined the Roadducks in 1987. Played in a variety of local bands and fronts Chump Change and the Ducks at the present time. Gary is consummate pro on stage with incredibly soul-full vocals and a wide range of styles incorporated through a life time in the business. Still sings most Sundays at the First Baptist Church of Alexandria. Grew up in Virginia Hills and comes from an old time Alexandria family. The perfect man to front the Ducks.

Kevin O’Brien – (Guitars, Vocals)

Formerly with Red,Wine, and Blooze and seminal 90’s rock act Christian Scarborough. Kevin was born in Hawaii and raised in California. Learned to surf and play guitar at an early age. Moved east to Virginia in the early 1980’s where he began to jam and meet local players. Great stage presence with a captivating melodic style while being fueled with Pure Tone. A major addition to the Roadducks who will help carry on the legendary tradition.

Tom Sillis– (Bass, Vocals)

A noted local lawyer and long time player on the D.C. music scene. Grew up in Mt. Vernon,Va. and is an old Fort Hunt HS. boy. Played with the Darby Brothers in Krank Kall and recently with Chump Change. A dynamic stage show and great chops has been a fabulous addition to the Ducks.

Bill Culver – (vocals/guitar/percussion)

Bill was one of three lead singers for the original Band. Before leaving to become one of the country’s most respected and finest sound technicians. He still does sound for The Ducks locally and provides exquisite background harmonies.

In Memoriam (Semi-Retired):

We cannot fail to mention our historical members:

Bob Gaynor – (Rhythm Guitar, Vocals)

Bopper was also a William and Mary alumni, where he met Jay in 1969. After a variety of bands and solo acoustic gigs, he joined the fledgling Ducks when Jay and Bill showed up at his door and informed him that he was their lead singer. Bob passed away on May 14, 2014 He will always be missed and his spirit will always, like the Force’  be with us.

Bill ‘The Senator’ Schmidle – (lead guitar/vocals) – a founding member of the Ducks, also grew up in West Springfield. The Senator was the Rock & Roll anchor for the Band until his near tragic sky-diving accident. After his recovery, he rejoined The Dux before retiring to Florida where he still plays locally. He also owns one of Florida’s largest NAUGA Plantations. He can be reached on the website for his band Papacrawdaddy & Senator which plays on a regular basis in the Tampa Florida region. Continues to be one of the funniest human beings ever.

Phil McCormack – (vocals) – Co-founder, with Jimbo Manion, of Jazzbo McMann, Phil joined The Ducks. After 10 years, he was recruited to replace the late Danny Joe Brown in Molly Hatchet. Continues to be a major presence on stage and has become an outstanding song writer. Will always be a Roadduck as it is a lifetime gig.

John ‘Moe’ McChesney – Moe ran lights for The Ducks before working with Johnny Winter and Molly Hatchet. His ability to drive a truck while asleep made him a valuable addition to all Bands. Married, has a son, and should soon be Governor of Maryland. Still is a consultant for Pollock Johnnies in BMore. Can also be found “down the ocean, Hon’ yodeling on the boardwalk.

William Henry ‘Billy’ Cracknell – Billy, grew up in Mt Vernon,Va., joined The Ducks in 1982 and played bass for 3 years before retiring from the touring band. Billy is currently the Tour Manager for Vince Gill, and has been in that position for Toni Braxton, Brian Wilson, Blondie and Deana Carter. He just finished ten fabulous years with the Wilson Sisters and Heart. Lives in Nashville, he too, will always be a Roadduck.

Tim ‘Turtle’ Tomlinson 11/50 – 7/13 – We mourn the recent passing of our old friend and early sound engineer Tim Tomlinson. Tim went to William and Mary with Jay and Bob.

David Thorne – Another West Springfield boy, Joined as sound man in 1976 and switched to Bass later that year. Left the band in 1981 to become an IT guru. Still lives on the Golf Course in West Springfield and is a founder of the International Curling Association.

Rob Melchiorre – Rob played Bass with us for many years. Unfortunately he was killed in a motorcycle accident in July 2016. We miss his friendship greatly.

From the book Capitol Rock by Mark Opsasnick

 

The Roadducks — In February 1976 the Roadducks emerged from Northern Virginia and became the region’s finest and most beloved Southern rock band, a role they hold to this very day. The initial lineup for this great band consisted of lead vocalist Jay Kiernan (Mount Vernon, Virginia), guitarist Bob Gaynor (Norwalk, Connecticut, by way of William and Mary College, which is where he joined forces with Jay Nedry), guitarist Bill Schmidle (West Springfield, Virginia), bassist Jody Chambers (West Springfield, Virginia), keyboardist Dan Schrieber (Detroit, Michigan), and drummer Jay Nedry (West Springfield, Virginia). Over the years many musicians came and went, the most notable being the great vocalist Phil McCormack of McLean, Virginia (formerly of the band Jazzbo McMann), who became a member of the Roadducks in 1981 and ultimately left to join Molly Hatchet in 1996.

During their illustrious career the Roadducks worked summers at the famed Purple Moose Saloon in Ocean City and headlined all the top local clubs, from the Bayou to Hammerjack’s to the Copa (which would later become Jaxx). From 1981 to 1990 the Roadducks frequently toured the United States (playing arenas and festivals) with some of the top rock and roll bands in the world including the Outlaws, the Marshall Tucker Band, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet and the Allman Brothers Band. When Stevie Ray Vaughn needed and opening act for his first U.S. tour in September and October 1983, it was the Roadducks that got the gig.

Thus far, the Roadducks have released two albums on the Duxsongs Music label, “Get Ducked” in 1987 and “Get Ducked Again” in 1990. The band is still going strong today, with originals Jay Nedry, Bill Schmidle, and Bob Gaynor (who now handles most of the lead vocal work along with his guitar duties) being joined by guitarist Gary Thomas (Alexandria, Virginia), bassist Bill Cracknell (Mount Vernon, Virginia), and keyboardist Ed Callan (Frederick, Maryland). The Roadducks are still rocking and headline regularly at Jaxx in West Springfield, Virginia, the incredibly popular nightclub now owned and operated by the dynamic Roadducks founder Jay Nedry.

“Printed with the kind permission of my dear friend of 25 years, author Mark Opsasnick.”