"Bend Me Shape Me"
The group was formed in Cicero, Illinois as Gary & The Knight Lites. The founding members included Gary Loizzo- vocals and guitar, Charles Colbert, Jr.- bass guitar and vocals, Al Ciner- guitar and vocals, and Jim Michalak on drums. Early releases included- "I'm Glad She's Mine," "I Don't Need Your Help," "Will You Go Steady," "Take Me Back," among others. The group's greatest success as "The American Breed" was the single, "Bend Me, Shape Me", which reached number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968. The song, written by Scott English and Larry Weiss, had previously been recorded by an all-girl band known as the Shape and had been a hit on the British charts for the British group Amen Corner. It had also been recorded by The Outsiders after they had reached the top ten with "Time Won't Let Me" in 1966. Contributing to the success of the American Breed's version of "Bend Me, Shape Me" was the excellent arrangement of the song by the band's record producer, Bill Traut, who added horns among other changes. The group also appeared on the 16 December 1967 episode of the television show American Bandstand, along with Pink Floyd.
Jimmy Herter (Guitar, Sax, Flute Vocals) grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Although his roots are in the Midwest, Jimmy headed out west in the late 70’s and found a niche in the LA scene. The Jimmy’s worked with producers Andrew Gold and Kenny Edwards from The Linda Ronstadt Band and found themselves sharing their original music on stage with the likes of such acts as the Talking Heads, The Romantics, and Greg Kihn. Later in the 80’s, paying tribute to the 60's, Jimmy has shared the stage with Jan & Dean, The Strawberry Alarm Clock, Gary Lewis, and countless Jimmy played lead guitar and sang for Nicolette Larson from ’85 to ’95. He also toured overseas with "Beatlemania Live,” playing the part of George in this and other "Beatle Bands". Jimmy performed in a famed faux Monkees tribute “The Missing Links” playing the part of Peter Tork. After twenty years in LA, Jimmy returned to Chicago in 1997 to play premier events with the Montgomery Street band. Now he brings his expertise to The New Invaders' "Ultimate 60's Experience," as well as The Associates.
Ron Romero (4 and 12 string bass and vocals) is a music veteran from the Chicagoland area for the past 30+ years. Having played with many projects in the Midwest, he has performed many styles of music over the years from 60's music, New Wave, rock and country. Ron played bass with the original lead singer of the Shadows of Knight (GLORIA!) Jimy Sohns and his "Rock and Roll Side Show" that include other past members of the Shadows of Knight and the New Colony Six . He has had local radio airplay with songs such as Cover Girl and Undone recorded and performed with his band The Phones in the 80s. Being an avid Cheap Trick Fan, Ron has appeared on several tracks on Cheap Trick tribute CDs over the years and even covered the song "Southern Girls" with his band 22 Down on their self titled debut album playing a rare 12 string bass guitar. Ron has shared the stage with members of the Shadows of Knight, the Cryan Shames, New Colony Six, and Dennis Tufano of the Buckinghams.
Dean Schuldt (6 string guitar and vocals) Has been playing, around Chicago-land and the Midwest, for over 35 years, playing mainly clubs and festivals. Over the years, Dean has played, everything from Country to Metal. His bands have had the good fortune of sharing the stage with, Three Dog Night, Jan and Dean, The Boyyz, the Hounds, Mammoth, Survivor, as well as members of the Buckingham's. He has been the "first call" fill in player with several local and Midwest bands.
Past projects include, Sin City, Emerald City, Bullwinkle, Visibly Shakin, Southern Knights, and Badd Penny. Along with Acoustic Avenue and Electric Avenue, Dean is the lead guitarist, and vocalist for Funhouse.