New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

For great Jersey music and much more, tune into our radio station at

Ron Baumann of Red House

By Gary Wien

originally published: 01/26/2012

Red House was formed by a bunch of guys in Union County in the early 80s.  They became one of the most popular bands along the Jersey Shore and one of the leaders of the alternative scene taking place in clubs like the Green Parrot and the FastLane.

Success came quickly for Red House after the release of an independent record in 1987.  The band found themselves on the cover of the College Music Journal (CMJ), an unheard of feat for an unsigned band.  Record companies were soon bidding against each other to be the one to sign them. Red House ultimately signed with SBK and released a CD featuring the alternative hit “I Said A Prayer.”

Unfortunately, problems with the label surfaced after the band’s first tour.  A second record was recorded but never released.  The band ultimately called it quits and headed their separate ways.  I was able to conduct phone interviews with all four of the original band members of Red House, a band that always deserved a better fate.

The band started out as Toys.  How did that name come about?

We had some trouble coming up with a name back then, and it was a bunch of different names.  So that’s how it started.  I think we didn’t really start heading down to the Asbury area until, I guess, we got good enough to start playing at the Stone Pony and the Fast Lane.  I guess those were the kind of places that we always thought if we got there, we’re really doing something.  You know, get on the stage of the Stone Pony.

There was something special with the Jersey Shore scene at the time with 106.3 and bands like Red House, Dramarama, Whirling Dervishes and the Blases and clubs like the Green Parrot.

Yeah, I think probably it was a combination of the live music scene between the Pony and the Green Parrot and the radio station, which was local to the area.  There were a lot of different bands that were around at that time doing a lot of good stuff.  So the whole combination really did make it feel like there was something special going on there besides Bruce Springsteen.

What do you remember about the Green Parrot?

At times, I felt that maybe other bands might have resented the fact that we had kind of taken over the Green Parrot in a sense.  It seemed to me the doors were open to anybody, but evidently I think it was just monetary because we could bring in more money than anybody else.

The article continues after this ad


And, it seemed like the DJs really liked you guys and the place was pretty much run by 106.3 employees.

Yeah, that’s right. So, maybe some folks felt it was a little too incestuous and it wasn’t fair to other bands.  I always felt that, on one hand, it was nice that we kind of had a shoo-in, but, on the other hand, I felt there might have been some resentment with other bands because of that because we were too comfortable there.

Could you notice a difference in the crowd between the Green Parrot and the Stone Pony?

There was a whole different crowd at the Green Parrot.  That was a younger crowd, maybe a more college-oriented crowd.  The music was more on edge, more fresh.  I mean, I saw the Ramones at the Stone Pony and more established bands like that.  There was a little more attitude there.  They didn’t allow as much new music in there, and didn’t experiment as much as the Green Parrot did.

The Stone Pony crowd was certainly... well, it wasn’t as alternative.  I guess, at that point in 1988-1989, the definition of alternative music was really the Red House for lack of a better definition.  Because we weren’t playing anything that you could hear on the radio in the area.  I don’t know where REM was classified at the time, but the so-called alternative has turned into something that is completely different than what we were doing.  But, if I remember all the tags that were used to describe us, alternative was always used.  We were in the alternative press - CMJ was alternative.

Red House was from North Jersey.  Did the band feel like they were a part of the Jersey Shore scene?

Yeah, I think we did.  We’d been playing there so long and I don’t think there was too many bands from that area.  I mean, the Smithereens were from up north and Dramarama was from up north too.  So there really weren’t too many bands doing originals at that time in the area that were making any noise.  As far as I know, we were the first ones to really get an independent record on WHTG and Mike Marrone was the champion of that. 

When we put out our first LP, our first independent, that really started the ball rolling for us in that area.  Of course, we couldn’t get on the radio anywhere else.  We did dabble with some college radio, but there was really no coverage as far as the college stations were concerned.  So WHTG was really the one that started everything.  They gave us a much wider audience than we would have gotten otherwise.

Did you notice anything right away when the CMJ report came out?

Oh yeah, that was a big thing.  We created that first album, which we recorded in the basement and then it wound up on the cover of the College Music Journal.  Partly due, I guess, to Mike Marrone being the champion there and party because, I hope, the merit of the music. 

I think it was maybe a week or two after, that we got mail from RCA Records and they wanted us to come in.  We were getting phone calls because they wanted to check it out, see what was happening, find out why we’re on the cover.  So that was pretty exciting when it happened.  And it was all because of champions, people who really believed in the music like Mike Marrone and others.  I guess that was also the time when WHTG was new so they were able to take chances.  They didn’t have the format or weren’t as formatted as they are today.  I guess they weren’t making as much money as they are today so that probably has a lot to do with it. 

I think we also sent our first record to WFMU, but it wasn’t the right kind of music for WFMU.

Do you remember your first show in the Asbury Park area?

I would say that the very first place we ever played as a band in the Asbury Park area was probably the Stone Pony.  I think we were playing there before T-Birds was even open.  We played T-Birds a lot.   See, we used to play down in a place in Seaside called the Chatterbox.  We played there once, it was a battle of the bands.  It was in the dead of the winter, January or something, and we were all excited because we got to play down at the Chatterbox.  I bet that place burned down.  All the places we played burned down. 

The Green Parrot was our second home.  Our first home was a club called Mingles in South Amboy.  That one burned as well, and after that we had to find a new place.  So then, I think truly between ‘88 and ‘89, we really felt at home in the Green Parrot.  We were comfortable with the people who worked there and we pretty much had gigs whenever we wanted.  Because of our record coming out and the radio station, we started to sell out the club on a Saturday night.  So, because of that, it really did feel like something special.

How did you guys get involved with your manager Rich Stanley?

He was booking the bands there at the club and we didn’t have a manager.  We figured we needed someone to handle that kind of work; the managerial, bookings and all that kind of stuff because nobody in the band wanted to do it.  So we met him there and asked him.  He refused for a while, but I guess as things started to progress he thought maybe it was a good opportunity. 

And we stuck with him all the way through, even in the demise years.  There was talk about maybe we should get a new manager, but I’m glad we didn’t jump ship.  We stuck with everybody who was there from the beginning regardless and although we didn’t turn out to be a big success, at least I’m confident that we did the right thing with everybody.

Was it disappointing that the record label didn’t really seem to push you guys as much as they could have?

What happened was they claimed the single was doing okay, but it didn’t perform as well for the money they were spending on it.  They’ve got some kind of mathematical ratio showing the money they should spend and the response they should get.  And they didn’t get the response for the money.

The record label paid for everything: the videos, the albums, traveling... And that was nice.  It makes you feel kind of good.  We spent all those years in the Green Parrot moving all of our own equipment and now we were able to grow up a bit and go out on the national scene and we did that around 1990.

Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne, played keyboards with us for a while.  He recorded with us when we were recording our third album.  We recorded our third album, but it never got released.  They dropped us before they would release it.  That was a real toughie because things were going very poorly with the record company.  They had brought in people to write songs with Bruce.  They brought in this guy, Frankie Previtt, who wrote the big single off the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and then they brought in the guy who wrote “Eye of the Tiger” for Survivor.  As a result of the Memphis session, it was just a big mix of what we thought the record company wanted to hear and what we could tolerate. 

In hindsight, that was the beginning of the end when they started doing that.  For us, it was like a last gasp.  We tried to do what we wanted all of the time.  All through our career through Asbury through all the places we played and everything we did.  At that point, in our careers, when they started bringing in the songwriters everything fell apart because everybody started second guessing.  And that was the end. 

From the book Beyond The Palace by Gary Wien

For more by this author, click here

Light of Day's Main Event To Be Broadcast Live at McLoone's Supper Club
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If you couldn't get tickets for the fabled "main event" of the 2019 Light of Day Winterfest, you have another chance see the show.  For the first time in the 19-year history of the festival, the "main event", the star-studded “Bob’s Birthday Bash” on January 19th (a show that has long sold out), will be broadcast live via fiber optic cable at McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts To Hold Winter Open House On January 27
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will host a Winter Open House on Sunday, January 27 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Performing Arts School (PAS) located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights.
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, one of rock’s most iconic and enduring duos, will hit the road this March for their first ever tour performing as a duo: Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged. The Billy Idol/Steve Stevens tour comes to The Count Basie Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 4th.
McDonald's Gospelfest To Celebrate The Life of Aretha Franklin With Return to Prudential Center
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The 37th Annual McDonald’s Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center on Saturday, May 11 for the gospel event of the year. This year's event will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin with an All-Star cast. The 5:00pm to 7:00pm portion of the evening will feature a rising stars competition for all ages and cultures in categories including Soloists, Choirs, Praise Dancers, Singing Groups, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Poets and Gospel Rappers. The gospel concert, beginning at 7:00pm, will feature some of the most renowned gospel artists in music history with the goal of spreading love, peace and joy to all races, nationalities and beliefs.
Bickford Theatre Presents Herb Gardner's Groundhog Jam
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- The great Groundhog Jam has a long history of prying jazz fans out of their warm burrows and into the chill of February weather in order to welcome the advent of spring.  The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum continues a tradition of hosting this event on Monday, February 4 at 7:30pm. Herb Gardner, who plays both trombone and piano, is assembling a stellar group of musicians from the New York, New Jersey, and New England areas including: Fred Vigorito on cornet, Joe Licari on clarinet, James Chirilloon guitar, Mike Weatherly on bass and Robbie Scott on drums.  Daughters Abbie and Sarah Gardner will be handling the vocals and guitar.

Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie. He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own. Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.
Ana Gasteyer's "Holiday Tipple" LIVE! at the Grunin Center
The Grunin Center stage in Toms River, NJ is set this Saturday, December 15, 2018 with drums, a grand piano, a guitar, an acoustic bass, and various microphones for vocals. A stool and several microphone stands are bedazzled with colorful garlands of shiny red, gold, and green, and wrapped gifts are strewn on stage among the instruments. Projected white snowflakes adorn the walls, and Christmas music plays as patrons enter the theater to put everyone in the mood for tonight’s holiday show — Ana Gastayer’s Holiday Tipple!

Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

View all events


For more on our awards, click here

New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.