Reddy Teddy

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1972-73)  

- Matthew MacKenzie (RIP 1988) -- guitar, vocals

- John Marino -- drums, percussion, vocals

- John Morse -- vocals, percussion

- Ted von Rosenvinge -- bass, guitar, harmonica, vocals


  line up 2 (1973-74)  

NEW - Scott Barenwald -- bass, glockenspiel, vocals (replaced

  Ted von Rosenvinge)

- Matthew MacKenzie (RIP 1988) -- guitar, vocals

- John Marino -- drums, percussion, vocals

- John Morse -- vocals, percussion


  line up 3 (1974-77)  

- Scott Barenwald -- bass, glockenspiel, vocals

- Matthew MacKenzie (RIP 1988) -- guitar, vocals

- John Morse -- vocals, percussion

NEW - Bug Witt (aka Doug Irilio) -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  John Marino)


  supporting musicians: (1976)

- Willie Loco Alexander -- keyboards, backing vocals


  line up 4 (1977-78)  

- Scott Barenwald -- bass, glockenspiel, vocals

- Matthew MacKenzie (RIP 1988) -- guitar, vocals

- John Morse -- vocals, percussion

NEW - Joe Marino -- drums, percussion (replaced Bug Witt)


  line up 5 (2004-)  

- Jeff Locke -- guitar vocals

- John Marino -- drums, percussion, vocals

- Ted von Rosenvinge -- bass, guitar, harmonica, vocals





- A Supervox Christmas (Scott Barenwald)

- The Atlantics (Jeff Locke)

- The Devotions (Scott Barenwald)

- Robin Lane & the Chartbusters (Scott Barenwald)

- John Morse (solo efforts)

- Taxi Boys (Matthew MacKenzie)

- Willie Alexander and the Confessions (Scott MacKenzie)



Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Reddy Teddy

Company: Spoonfed

Catalog:  SP 3301

Country/State: Winchester, Massachusetts

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00



There's only so much room in the spotlight.  Unfortunately, it didn't include room for the Winchester, Massachusetts based Reddy Teddy.


Reddy Teddy came together in 1972 - featuring the talents of Willie Alexander sideman/guitarist Matthew MacKenzie, drummer John Marino -- drums, percussion, vocals, singer John Morse, and bassist Ted von Rosenvinge.  Playing clubs throughout the Boston area, the quartet began to make a name for themselves, eventually attracting the attention of Aerosmith's management company.  Unable to come to an agreement on financial issues, the band was more open to an approach by Mercury Records.  A number of demos were recorded, but no contract was forthcoming.  The band recorded some additional material on their own, but in 1973 original bassist von Rosenvinge quit, with Scott Barenwald replacing him.  The same year Reddy Teddy got their first major break when Aerosmith offered them an opening slot for a 1973 Northeast tour.  Mercury Records subsequently came knocking again; even signing the band to a contract, but plans for an album were shelved in the midst of 1974's oil crisis.  



Frustrated with major labels, the band made their recording debut with a one shot, power-pop single on the local Flexible Records:


- 1974's 'Goo Goo Eyes' b/w 'Novelty Shoes' (Flexible catalog number RMR 001)





Over the next two years the band remained a staple on the Boston clubs scene playing dates at venues like The Club, Dummys, The Rat, Messiah Parish Hall.  They finally found a mentor in the form of Willie Alexander who helped them sign a contract with the local Spoonfed label, which released "Reddy Teddy" in 1976.  Co-produced by MacKenzie, Alexander and local DJ Maxanne Sartori (a big booster of the band), the album offered up a collection of nine MacKenzie penned originals.  I'll be honest and tell you these guys were not the most original group you'll stumble across.  They certainly did not have a unique sound like Boston-based competitors like Aerosmith, Boston, or The Cars.  John Morse was a decent singer, but he lacked a voice that was instantly recognizable.  Same for guitarist MacKenzie.  With a couple of exceptions, his work was professional, but hardly glitzy.  The Barenwald and Witt rhythm section was equally strong, but hardly spotlight hogging.  And in spite of that special sheen, exemplified by tracks like the dark 'A Child of the Nuclear Age', 'Boys and Girls', and 'Novelty Shoes' the set offered up an engaging mix of garage, jangle rock, and new wave influences.  There wasn't a bad song on the album with the glistening 'Ooh-Wow!' and the Mott the Hoople-styled 'Magic Magic' providing a couple of highlights. While I found the album quite enjoyable, but collection wasn't done any favors by the muddy production sound.  Time and time the performances sounded like they had been recorded over a phone, or in a gym shower.  


Not that it mattered since the album did little commercially. Former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham signed on as band manager, arranging some showcase performances in New York City.  Playboy name-checked them in their 1977 Annual Jazz and Pop Poll of on up-and-coming bands, but Reddy Teddy never managed to breakout beyond the Boston area.  They called it quits in 1978.  



"Reddy Teddy" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Boys and Girls   (Matthew MacKenzie) - 3:11   rating: *** stars

Opening with a wall of jangle guitars, 'Boys and Girls' offered up a weird mélange of Byrds-influenced folk-rock, a power-pop refrain and a touch of new wave angst.  Admittedly the song sounded like it had been recorded in a gym shower, but the melody was tight.  

2.) Shark In the Dark   (Matthew MacKenzie - 3:03   rating: *** stars

Apparently a closer approximation to their live shows, 'Shark In the Dark' upped the rock quotient; adding a dark, snotty edge to the sound.  Too melodic and commercial to be punk:  to edgy to be pop.  Plus they mentioned The Beatles in the lyrics.

3.) Ooh-Wow!   (Matthew MacKenzie - 4:00   rating: **** stars

Imagine The Raspberries trotting out their best Elvis Presley impressions after having overdosed on caffeine ...  A rollicking, dance ready rocker, the 'Ooh-Wow!' refrain was simply blissful.  YouTube has a March, 2007 live performance of the tune: Reddy Teddy 'Ooh Wow' 3 3 07 - YouTube

4.) Novelty Shoes   (Matthew MacKenzie - 3:35   rating: *** stars

Showcasing a slinky, modestly garage-meets-glam edge, 'Novelty Shoes' was a re-recorded version of the "B" side of their 1974 debut single.  YouTube has a live performance at: Reddy Teddy - Novelty Shoes - 1-28-12.MPG - YouTube

5.) Moron Rock   (Matthew MacKenzie - 3:46   rating: *** stars

Come on - tell me the title doesn't make you smile ...  Anyhow, the title pretty much captured the sludgy, bar band vibe with John Morse's lead vocals sounding like he'd ingested a little too much helium.  


(side 2)

1.) A Child of the Nuclear Age   (Matthew MacKenzie - 6:03   rating: **** stars

The song title and the opening sound effects were certainly disturbing.  Not exactly the kind of thing you'd want to dance to on Saturday night.  Once the tune actually kicked in the tune had a raw Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople vibe.  Liked MacKenzie's thrashing lead guitar.  

2.) Magic Magic   (Matthew MacKenzie - 3:44   rating: **** stars

Borrowing part of The Batman Theme, 'Magic Magic' offered up a slice of chugging bar band meets Mott the Hoople and The Talking Heads.

3.) Romance   (Matthew MacKenzie - 4:53   rating: *** stars

The autobiographical ballad 'Romance' was unlike the rest of the album.  Surprisingly pretty melody and they even added a dollop of reggae into the mix.

4.) Teddy Boy   (Matthew MacKenzie - 5:16  rating: *** stars

MacKenzie was reportedly a big Pete Townsend fan and it shows throughout the rocker 'Teddy Boy.'  Closing out the song, MacKenzie's backward guitar segment added a bit of Jimi Hendrix psychedelia to the mix.



After the breakup the members struck out on their own.

Baerenwald joined Robin Lane and the Chartbusters.

MacKenzie joined John Felice’s Taxi Boys, The Nervous Eaters, and briefly returned to Willie Alexander’s band.  Only 36, he died in a car accident in 1988.

With former Atlantics guitarist John Locke stepping in, the band reunited for a MacKenzie tribute show in 2004 and then started playing locals dates.  They have a website at: