Baby Sirloin, an original progressive band, was one-of-a-kind. Of all the musicians I’ve collaborated with over the years, this group was the most inventive. We were together for about three years. The beginnings of the band came into existence as a three piece with Rod Reisman - drums, Fred Tribuzzo - bass and my brother, Denis DeFrange-synth keyboards. What started out as friends jamming ended up to be some of the most creative songwriting I had ever done with a group. We all came from different musical experiences but somehow, those differences worked together to create a unique and powerful sound.
I was invited to join the band as lead singer and was able to find my inspiration in writing lyric and melody to the unique pieces the band would create. We all wrote individually and contributed our own material as well. In so many ways, Baby Sirloin helped me to develop my own musical expansion. It was refreshingly unique, inventive and out-of-the-box.
Anything was possible with the wide array of moods, sounds and rhythms that Denis would create on synth and his other keys. The technology he brought to the gigs with his synths was ahead of the times. Visually, his Polyfusion with flashing lights and spaghetti patch cords would draw his own little gathering of observers.
Rod and Fred’s powerhouse rhythm section could be dynamically delicate or like a powerful steam locomotive. Those two were the most musical rhythm section I have ever played with. I always felt extremely supported as a vocalist and inspired. When the three of them played “Percolator” a song they wrote together, it felt like a well orchestrated explosion and never failed to knock people’s socks off.
We wrote and played with no boundaries of what we could create. I think that is why it worked so well. All of us had former music history together. I had played in a band with Rod years before and we did some studio work with other local musicians. Rod and Fred had played together. All three had done work with my original material. We all had these connections and familiarity with each other that felt very intuitive.
Rod came up with the idea for the name of the band, Baby Sirloin and its slogan “More meat to the beat.” Our name had people guessing and curious about who we were. I think even though we were serious about the music, we enjoyed being irreverent and having fun. I loved creating off-the-wall flyers which added to that curiosity.
The live WMMS Coffee Break Concert show helped us to gain some exposure and momentum. We began playing in Kent and Cleveland. Mother’s, (Mother’s Junction above Ray's Place) soon became our home-base where we played and grew our fan base. The loyalty and support of our fans was such a joy…almost like we grew up together. People were so accepting of whatever we brought to the gig music-wise no matter how whacky we may have gotten. “Moving to Mars” comes to mind as one of those songs. We had silly contests...Hat Night, the Ricky Ricardo laugh-a-like contest...we really could do just about anything we wanted. Many tried to label us, but our wide array of musical styles made us hard to define.
Those years were a vibrant period for us. We played in Kent at a time when the streets were rich with music. I remember playing at Mother’s and walking down to JB’s on water street to see the Number’s Band...you could feel the music community was thriving and alive and Kent was buzzing with that energy. Baby Sirloin was like a family, practicing, writing, gigging, having meals together. It was a closeness that I can’t really describe with words, but our audience felt it and connected to it and became a part of us.
As we evolved, Rod suggested we invite his friend Hai Muradian to join us. Hai sang and played guitar and flute. Some of his material was worked into the band. We played in Cleveland at Peabody's and did additional Coffee Break concerts.
Eventually, there came a time, when as individuals, our musical and personal needs moved to other directions and we disbanded. But man, what a good ride it was. Four decades later, we are still mentioned and remembered. I've been wanting to do this for quite a while..share the music and images we have of that time.
I want to thank Nick Amster, Audio Recording Studio in Cleveland, and audio engineers who had a hand in preserving our music. They were instrumental in getting the Coffee Break WMMS recording mastered. It's the first recording on top of the next column...
Baby Sirloin Biography
Baby Sirloin kicked off the 'Live at Audio' Coffee Break Concert on Cleveland's WMMS-FM in August 1979. This was accomplished in the first ten days of Baby Sirloin's full time existence. During the bands' two and a half year history, their original music has been aired three times on WMMS-FM, and again on the 'Coffee Break Concert' live from the Agora Ballroom May 81'. Baby Sirloin also played Sea World early in their career where the infamous instrumental 'Shamu' was born. In December 1979, BABY SIRLOIN was the warm-up act for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at the Painesville Agora.
Marilyn DeFrange is the lead vocalist for Baby Sirloin. Her songwriting talents and strong lead vocals have added a lyrical and melodic finishing touch to the BABY SIRLOIN sound. Marilyn has been singing, writing and performing her own songs since childhood.With Baby Sirloin, she plays rhythm guitar and numerous percussion instruments. She has previously played with Akron-Kent-Cleveland area lounge/dance groups, "Paradise" and "Pyramid" and a lounge duo, “Double Take". Marilyn was sensational as the lead singer for "Stratus", a favorite progressive band in northeastern Ohio that featured her brother, Denis, on electric grand piano and synthesizers. Marilyn has also made a number of solo appearances on WKSU-FM where she has performed her own songs.
Rod Reisman, the original BABY SIRLOIN, has been drumming for the past fourteen years, building up an impressive back ground of experience with recording groups and well-known Cleveland-Akron-Kent area bands. Rod's time with Kent's "15-60-75" (aka "The Numbers Band") included two live broadcasts over WNCR-FM, a show at the Smiling Dog Saloon (Cleveland) where the band opened for Danny Kalb (former lead guitarist for the Blues Project), and a show at the Cleveland Agora, where the band opened for "Pure Food and Drug Act" (featuring Harvey Mandel, Paul Lagos and Sugarcane Harris). His year on drums with the 50's group "Monopoly" led him to back-up Bo Diddley at Packard Music Hall in Warren, and both Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley at Cleveland's Public Hall, sharing the bill with Dr. John and disco star George Mccrae. It was on the "Monopoly" radio show on WKNT-AM and FM that the BABY SIRLOIN character first came to the public's attention. Less than a year after leaving Monopoly, Rod landed in Los Angeles, where he played at various clubs and recorded at the Record Plant with the dance/soul group "Crystal Brandy". While with "Crystal Brandy" Rod also traveled through Korea, the Philipines, Japan, Diego Garcia (an island directly south of India!), Thailand, and Taiwan on a USO tour. Back in California, he played at Disneyland, the Playboy Club in Century City (as a replacement group for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes), and the main ballroom of the Century Plaza Hotel. Upon his return to Kent, Rod and Marilyn played together in "Paradise". One year later Rod joined Buckeye (formerly the Buckeye Biscuit Band), a band that has played in most parts of Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. With Buckeye, Rod recorded an album on Peabody Records, entitled 'Fresh Candy'. When the Buckeye Biscuit Band opened for the New Commander Cody Band (featuring Nicolette Larson) Rod was in the drummer's chair. He also played the very first "Deva" concert in the Recital Hall at Kent State University.
Denis DeFrange has been playing various keyboard instruments for the past 15 years. Six years ago Denis branched out, by adding synthesizers to his arsenal of keyboards, and since then has recorded and performed on numerous electronic instruments. His current work with Baby Sirloin reaches from rhythm and melody into unlimited sounds and textures, showing that he is an expert player of synthesizer and effects. Denis played with the popular progressive dance group, "Stratus", and has also performed as a member of "Night Life", a local Avant garde group composed of members of "15-60-75" (the Numbers Band) and Tin Huey (Warner Brothers recording artists). His specialized work in electronic music has brought him a regular spot on WKSU-FM's "Industrial Wasteland" program for more than a year. Denis has· also performed with Mark Frazier, a powerhouse drummer, at the Bank in Akron and other area clubs. Their free-form approach has received glowing responses from the enthusiastic audiences that they have played for. In Baby Sirloin, Denis is not only the "keys" man, but he is also a strong singer and songwriter. Denis has recorded on the Akron based label Clone Records. The album, entitled 'Bowling Balls from Hell', was reviewed by Billboard Magazines.
Fred Tribuzzo has been playing bass for 8 years. His role with BABY SIRLOIN extends from traditional bass parts to melodic and horn line structures. He composes on bass and piano, and with Rod, Denis, and Marilyn has written a variety of tunes. While in New Orleans, Fred performed with the R&B group "Racehorse" at the Club Jababa in the French Quarter. Upon arriving in Cleveland he joined up with "Hot Foot", a dance lounge group, and played the northeastern Ohio circuit for several years. While in "Hot Foot" he recorded at Brother Love Studios in Cleveland. Fred and Rod have been writing songs together for nearly six years, so there is a strong and lasting foundation from which the BABY SIRLOIN rhythm section works. Along with the other SIRLOINS, Fred has performed on WKSU-FM's "Fresh Air" program and has recorded at Manray Studios in Akron.
Now the band can share this musical history and make our music available to anyone who remembers and wants to experience us again. Some live recordings that were digitized from cassettes will be available on my site in the future. These are not as good quality as the studio recordings, but the music still shines through. If you are on my mailing list or a Facebook friend, look for notifications of any upcoming music uploads. I hope you enjoy them!