Crimson Rose's reign as THE Grateful Dead band in Westchester spanned a good part of the 1980's. The boys in the band started their journey young…very young. By the time the band started hitting the club scene in Westchester at the Fore n Aft and Left Bank they were not only too young to drink, they were too young to even get a learner's permit. Even before they graduated high school they were packing them in, especially on their Tuesday night residency at the Fore n Aft where hundreds of fans religiously caught the band. Towards the end of the 80’s the band fell apart following the death of drummer Ron Sassone.
Crimson Rose combines music from the Grateful Dead & family songbook along with a dose of southern rock and a few originals for a unique mix of songs played Crimson Rose style. The band is loose, playful, unscripted with superb musicianship and stellar vocals. The band was and is a bunch of guys making music having fun onstage. That fun vibe is contagious.
When the band members went their separate ways most continued to make music. Guitarist Doug Grean was Scott Weiland's Wildabouts guitarist and music director, worked with STP and Velvet Revolver and is a studio musician and producer who has worked with artists such as Slash, Sheryl Crow, The Crystal Method and Glen Campbell and shared the stage with Bono and Stevie Wonder on national TV. His latest project is the award winning and critically acclaimed Starman series which can be viewed on Youtube Bass player
Greg Koerner is on perpetual tour with Gent Treadly and has backed Vince Welnick, Charles Neville, Garth Hudson and other luminaries, often with twin brother and Crimson Rose guitarist Jonathan Koerner by his side. Jon has been immersed in Jazz jams in New York for many years, branching out to play keyboards along with guitar duties.
Keyboardist Avram Lavinsky has recorded an album with John Popper and worked with Blues Traveler along with an album of his own piano music. He’s is best known for his work in the seminal jamband Dreamspeak .
Marc Loponte is vocalist with Stella Blue's Band and spent many years with another Fore n Aft Grateful Dead favorite High Time in the 90’s.
David Hickey southern rock and blues vocal extraordinaire continues to make music as a guitarist and vocalist and is a regular in the New Orleans music scene.
Once again the musicians of Crimson Rose will converge from around the country to reunite once again and share the spirit of the Deadhead community of the 80’s, Tuesday nights at the Fore n Aft, and the annual Rye Harrison game. Past Crimson Rose reunion shows at Garcia’s have proved very popular as they were the first band ever to sell Garcia’s out. Get your tickets now. You don't want to miss this very special one off night!
Before Dead Center at Garcia’s at The Cap, Westchester Country was the home to the longest running Grateful Dead Night in the country at the Fore n Aft in White Plains. Some of the greatest musicians in the Deadhead world graced the stage playing the music of the Grateful Dead. Those musicians would later on become members of DSO, God Street Wine, Stella Blue’s Band, and BRO. Going to Dead night at ‘The Aft was a right of passage in Westchester County. The band that dominated the scene there was Crimson Rose. For 8 of the 17 years, Crimson Rose and its successor High Time (Which featured members of CRB) played to a full house every summer.
Crimson Rose was a very young band when it started playing clubs in Westchester. Not only were the band members not old enough to drink, (When the drinking age was 18) they were too young to drive. Their musicianship belied their age. Jonathan Koerner was a shredder, his twin brother Greg equal to the task on Bass. Doug Grean was a creative counterpart. David Hickey a soulful blues vocalist reminiscent of a young Gregg Allman at his peak. Marc LoPonte gave the band strong vocals and harmonies, Avram Lavinsky skillful on the keys and Ron Sassone and Rich Baker were the band’s solid double drummers.
One of the highlights of the bands career was a legendary Jorma Kaukonen show at the Fore n Aft largest crowd in its 36 years operating as a rock club. Over 600 people crammed into the 200 seat club for a Jorma Acoustic show with Crimson Rose as the opener. Towards the end of Crimson Rose’s electric set a 40 something year old Jorma Kaukonen hopped onstage with an electric guitar and started jamming with the band of teenagers from Rye. Instead of leaving after a song or two Jorma kept the set going leading the band through some Hot Tuna songs, then ending with a rousing version of Jefferson Airplane’s Volunteers. Shortly after the CRB and Jorma left the stage, the Fore n Aft was raided by Fire Marshals who made everyone leave, and reenter before they would allow the show to go on. It’s the stuff of legend.
Crimson Rose’s popularity was no fluke. Members of the band continued in the music world long after the band broke up.
Guitarist Doug Grean is a noted Los Angeles producer who was a long time collaborator with Scott Weiland. Doug can be heard on recordings of Velvet Revolver, Sheryl Crow and Stone Temple Pilots among others, he’s appeared on the Grammy’s, Jimmy Kimmel, Howard Stern, Jay Leno, AXS-TV among others; He played with Slash, Stevie Wonder, Steven Tyler and a bunch of other Rock n Roll A-listers. His current jamband project is Saturn Returns.
Bass Player Greg Koerner has been juggling a life as a Father, practicing attorney and touring musician. He was Vince Welnick’s (Tubes, Grateful Dead) Bass player after the Grateful Dead broke up, Briefly played bass for Dark Star Orchestra, tours regularly with Charles Neville, and worked with Garth Hudson and Kenny Brooks among others.
Avram Lavinsky was a founding member of the Bill Graham presents band Dreamspeak, and can be heard on a Blue’s Traveller record, and has collaborated and recorded with John Popper. He has released a solo album and plays honky tonk at small clubs while raising a family
Marc LoPonte remained active after Crimson Rose joining High Time, and the Lost Highway Ramblers. He was music director at WFUV and a DJ at Westchester’s 107.1. He returned to the NY area after living in Cambridge, MA for many years. He’s best known as vocalist in Stella Blue’s Band
Crimson Rose has not played a music club in over a decade. Their last club reunion show was in 2001.