Apple Core

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1979-80)

- Ross Chalfant -- vocals, drums, percussion 

- Gary Cobb -- vocals, guitar, bass 

- Stacey Phelon -- vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards

- Dan Ryan -- vocals, lead guitar, bass, keyboards



- none known





Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Behind the Tear

Company: JSR

Catalog: JSR LP 1502

Year: 1979

Country/State: New Jersey

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: reportedly a 500 copy run; still in shrink wrap (opened to play once)

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD  5340

Price: SOLD $40.00


I couldn't find a great deal of info out there on this outfit, so anyone who has the scoop, please feed if to me and I'll gladly update this write up.  


A late-1970 quartet featuring the talents of drummer Ross Chalfant, bassist Gary Cobb, and multi-instrumentalists Stacey Phelon and Dan Ryan, these guys were apparently from New Jersey (the LP was recorded in Long Branch and the band's management company had a 201 phone prefix).   Also, as you probably guessed from the band name, these guys had a major Beatles fixation (I'm surprised their choice of names didn't get them slapped with a lawsuit.).  


Anyhow, someone must have found a pile of these albums a couple of years ago because dealer lists and the internet were suddenly awash with also sorts of nonsensical hype - Beatlesque ...  lost classic power pop ... etc., etc.  Yeah, normally any of those descriptions would be enough to send you screaming for the exit signs, or grabbing on to your wallet to avoid the major fleecing that was headed your way.  That's where it gets funny.  Self-produced, "Behind the Tear" actually had a distinctive Fab Four feel to it.  In addition to a nice Beatle covers (I'll Be Back'), originals like '25 Ways' captured the Beatles vibe better than most better known bands who've managed to make a career out off ripping John, Paul, George and Ringo.  Mind you not everything here worked well.  The band's attempt at early Merseybeat material ('At the Scene') was competent, but not particularly inspirational and a couple of non-Fab influenced efforts ('I'll Be Back' and 'Close Your Eyes') were pretty but forgettable.  Far better were their stabs at mimicking mid and latter period Beatle efforts.  The title track sported a nice pop-psych vibe and they turned in a killer cover of Boyce and Hart's 'I'm Not Your Stepping Stone' ...    Tuneful, energetic and simply lots of fun to listen to, this is a hundred times better than lots of the big ticket items hyped by dealers.  Bet these guys were a blast to have seen in concert.  


"Behind the Tear" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Rock and Roll Star   (Stacey Phelon) - 2:38

2.) Behind the Tear   (Gary Cobb) - 3:14

3.) I'll Be Back   (John Lennon - Paull McCartney) - 3:50

4.) Jada's Masquerade   (Gary Cobb - R. Frank) - 3:11

5.) At the Scene   (D. Clark - L. Davidson) - 3:25

Gary Cobb had a couple of interesting things to say about this track: Just wanted to say that in your review of the album you mention that we attempted early Merseybeat with 'At the Scene' by the Dave Clark Five.  Actually the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes were Merseybeat but the DC5 offered the 'Lively Tottenham Sound' due to their different geographic locale.  The DC5 were never 'Merseybeat'.  And you're right - we shouldn't have attempted it!


(side 2)
1.) Steppin' Stone   (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Hart) - 2:13

2.) Look At Me Now   Dan Ryan) - 4:50

3.) Twist and Shout   (B. russell - Phil Medley) - 2:05

4.) 25 Ways   (Dan Ryan) - 4:40

5.) Close Your Eyes   (Stacey Phelon) - 2:59


As far as I can tell Phelon is still in New Jersey where he remains active on the production and engineering side of the house (Daisycutter, Gigantic, Monster Magnet, Speedmuffin, etc.).  


Thanks to Gary Cobb and Dan Ryan for taking the time to drop me a line.



It was a blast to see our album on your site!  That was 1979 my friend!  I'm Gary Cobb, bass and rhythm guitarist for Apple Core, (Stacy Phelon and I switched off, depending on the song - a holdover from our live shows.)  The idea for 'Behind the Tear' came when I was thumbing through a magazine with a ripped page and fantasizing about going 'behind the tear' to a different world.  You're right about our live shows. Wild.  People LOVED what we did with 'Steppin' Stone'!  We were killer at the colleges and along the Jersey coast.  The album doesn't really do us justice, the record company having been a fledgling venture presided over by an AT&T retiree who fancied himself George Martin but couldn't deliver those crisp dynamics.  Ross Chalfant had an unbeatable backbeat, Dan Ryan played an incredible lick, Stacy had great rock vocals and we all sang and wrote.  25 Ways is my favorite, Dan wrote it.  We had a lot to learn but we were young and just finding our way.  Finding our sound. 

We broke up in 1980. After Ross left we continued on with other drummers but found that our direction also changed musically.  There was some dissension in the ranks and that was it.  I played bass and offered vocals to our manager Bob Frank's other acts, on demos and such.  Just studio work.  From 2010-2012  I performed in a duo at a club near Freehold, NJ.  I'm pretty much out of it now but....who knows?!

Stacy had a studio of his own in Long Branch NJ and recorded many fine acts.  He may still be at it.  Dan Ryan lives in the South and is still writing and recording.  Ross I'm trying to reach.  Hope this helps!

Gary Cobb November 2013


Thanks for your overall positive review of our poorly recorded album that  makes me cringe today…  I’m Dan Ryan,  lead guitarist for Apple Core.  Gary and I are alive and well …  “At the Scene” and “ I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone” , filled the dance floor and paid our bills…  It shows that Stacy was a match for Steve Tyler, as well as singing anything by Led Zeppelin.  We thought of ourselves as competitors in those days.  Stacy and I went to NYC and visited every recording studio, including  the bozo Don Kirshner, when  we realized we wasted our time because acts like the Ramones and Sex Pistols were more important .


Dan Ryan November 2013