The Fun and Games

The Fun And Games evolved out a Houston, Texas group, the Six Pents. Several members -- Rock Romano (guitar/vocals), Mike Cemo (drums), Paul Guillet (lead guitar), and John T. Bonno (bass) -- had played together in a high school band before joining forces with Richard Bain (vocals), D.J. Greer (piano), Sam Irwin (vocals/tambourine) and Carson Graham (drums). In 1964-1965, they became the house band at Houston's La Maison club, and recorded at Andrus Studios in Houston. After their first single, the Six Pents became The Sixpentz, and signed with Mainstream Records. The Sixpentz released two singles on Brent, a subsidiary of Mainstream (the label also released material by Word, who became Euphoria after they moved to L.A.). Eventually, the Sixpentz learned there was already a band called Sixpence, so, to avoid future confusion, they decided another name change was due, and became the Fun And Games Commission. Their first single -- "Someone Must Have Lied" -- was issued under this name before the group finally decided to shorten their name to the Fun And Games. They eventually came to the attention of Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/producer Gary Zekley, who, in the spring of 1967, had written a song called "Yellow Balloon" for Jan and Dean while producing a concept album of theirs, Save For A Rainy Day. Zekley knew the sunshine pop confection was a potential hit, so he re-recorded it -- under the group name Yellow Balloon -- with several of session musicians, and actor/musician Don Grady (who had already been recording for the Canterbury label with his own group, the Windupwatch Band). This group's soft-rock version scored a Top Thirty hit, while Jan and Dean's version failed to chart. Sensing he could find similar success with the Fun And Games, Zekley helped them secure a new record contract with Russ Regan's UNI Records. Shortly before signing, John T. Bonno and D. J. Greer were replaced by Joe Dugan (keyboards) and Joe Romano, on bass. Joe Romano went on to play with A 440 with future Jesus Christ Superstar actor/singer Ted Neeley. Zekley wrote and produced the Fun And Games' first single, and produced their 1969 album, Elephant Candy, co-writing seven of the twelve tracks with songwriting partner Mitch Bottler (in 1969, Zekley and Bottler would also pen "I'd Wait A Million Years", a huge hit for the Grass Roots). The Fun And Games' "Grooviest Girl In The World" climbed to 78 in the U.S. Top 100. During this same time, Regan unveiled the group at a huge music industry showcase at a club in Los Angeles, but -- once onstage -- singer Sam Irwin proceeded to insult many of the UNI staffers. Shortly after this obvious display of poor judgment, Regan completely pulled the plug on promoting the band. They dissolved not too much later. Rock Romano went on to form Doctor Rockit and the Sisters of Mercy. After he and the Sisters eventually split, and he continued to front Doctor Rockit. He also played guitar and bass with the Sheetrockers and bass with Duck Soup, an Austin, Texas group fronted by former Fun And Games vocalist Irwin. ~ Bryan Thomas

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