The Roadducks
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The Roadducks

Mount Vernon, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1976 | INDIE

Mount Vernon, Virginia, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1976
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"The Birchmere welcomes The Roadducks"

Jay Nedry has led the Virginia-based rockers for 44 years

It was back in 1976 when Jay Nedry teamed up with Bob Gaynor, and Bill “The Senator” Schmidle in their hometown of West Springfield to form The Roadducks, a rock band known for its strong playing and rockin’ ways.

“I’ve been playing since I was 13, and I remember that ‘fire in the belly’ when I first played, and I still have that every night,” Nedry said. “I told myself when I no longer have that, I’ll quit playing. It’s a privilege and an honor to be on stage playing in front of people and I treasure every second."

Over 44 years, the band has played approximately 5,550 shows from Texas to Maine, in venues ranging from the smallest club to the largest outdoor arenas. During their career, the band has toured with a virtual “who’s who” of American rock, sharing stages with Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels and Foghat among others.

“We have certainly had our share of ups and down, and good times and lean times, and times that were a little bit weirder band than it should be,” Nedry said. “But when you have a lot of people in the band, it’s hard to herd cats at times. These are talented people with strong personalities and different personalities, so you have to have a feel for it.”

In addition to drumming, managing and booking the band and driving the bus, Nedry also owned Jaxx Niteclub in West Springfield from 1992 to 2012, which allowed him time to raise his daughter Kristina, while providing a place for the band—and other local musicians—to play in Northern Virginia.

Sadly, Gaynor passed away in 2014, and Schmidle moved to Florida to play, but Nedry continues on as vocalist and drummer along with Gary Thomas (guitars, vocals), who joined in 1988, keyboardist Eddie Callan (from the album tour years), and new members Kevin O’Brien (guitars, vocals), Ted Heitz (bass guitar, vocals), and Paul Thompson (percussion, drums, vocals).

“We have this Allman Brothers-type thing happening with keyboards and drums and percussion in the back, with two guitarists and a bass player in the front,” Nedry said. “The percussion, for the dance music and the funk, just fits in perfect and added a new dimension to the band. So much so, that we’re adding another 10 songs. And we already have five hours’ worth of music, so for us, it’s fun.”

On July 31, the rockers will head to The Birchmere for a live show. This follows performances at the State Theatre, Mo’s in Springfield and the Harbour Grille in Woodbridge.

“For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been out trying to help some of the local places. We have a pretty big following and we wanted to give back to some of these clubs who helped us over the years,” Nedry said. “People are concerned and cautious—and they should be—but they are coming out. We’ve played outdoors in a parking lot or with social distancing inside, and they are able to generate some cash when they need it.”

With everyone cooped up for months, Nedry noted audiences have been real appreciative of seeing live music and getting out of the house for a bit. And the promoters are naturally happy as well.

“You want to see these places stay open,” Nedry said. “I can’t imagine what would have happened to me if something like this occurred when I owned Jaxx. I have a lot of friends still doing this and I’m happy to come out and help when I can. And the audiences have been really great.”

Besides music, Nedry is also committed to his education and recently received his degree in history from William and Mary, a masters at George Mason and will soon earn his Ph.D., with the goal to teach “The History of Rock and Roll: 1950-1970” to students.

“The course will be about politics and civil rights, and I’m going to use the music of the era as the soundtrack,” he said. “It’s not going to be the same-old dull history class, because you’ll have an entertainer leading them and cranking up the music. When your avocation is your vocation, life is good.” - The Fairfax Times


"The Roadducks"

The Roadducks — In February 1976 the Roadducks emerged from Northern Virginia and became the region’s finest and most beloved Southern rock band, a role they hold to this very day. The initial lineup for this great band consisted of lead vocalist Jay Kiernan (Mount Vernon, Virginia), guitarist Bob Gaynor (Norwalk, Connecticut, by way of William and Mary College, which is where he joined forces with Jay Nedry), guitarist Bill Schmidle (West Springfield, Virginia), bassist Jody Chambers (West Springfield, Virginia), keyboardist Dan Schrieber (Detroit, Michigan), and drummer Jay Nedry (West Springfield, Virginia). Over the years many musicians came and went, the most notable being the great vocalist Phil McCormack of McLean, Virginia (formerly of the band Jazzbo McMann), who became a member of the Roadducks in 1981 and ultimately left to join Molly Hatchet in 1996.

During their illustrious career the Roadducks worked summers at the famed Purple Moose Saloon in Ocean City and headlined all the top local clubs, from the Bayou to Hammerjack’s to the Copa (which would later become Jaxx). From 1981 to 1990 the Roadducks frequently toured the United States (playing arenas and festivals) with some of the top rock and roll bands in the world including the Outlaws, the Marshall Tucker Band, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet and the Allman Brothers Band. When Stevie Ray Vaughn needed and opening act for his first U.S. tour in September and October 1983, it was the Roadducks that got the gig.

Thus far, the Roadducks have released two albums on the Duxsongs Music label, “Get Ducked” in 1987 and “Get Ducked Again” in 1990. The band is still going strong today, with originals Jay Nedry, Bill Schmidle, and Bob Gaynor (who now handles most of the lead vocal work along with his guitar duties) being joined by guitarist Gary Thomas (Alexandria, Virginia), bassist Bill Cracknell (Mount Vernon, Virginia), and keyboardist Ed Callan (Frederick, Maryland). The Roadducks are still rocking and headline regularly at Jaxx in West Springfield, Virginia, the incredibly popular nightclub now owned and operated by the dynamic Roadducks founder Jay Nedry. - Inside Nova Tix


"Rocking ‘n’ rolling with the punches: After 40 years Jay Nedry ’18 graduates, pursues career teaching music"

In the fall of 1969, the United States was in the middle of the Vietnam War, the legal drinking age was 18, and Jay Nedry ’18 was beginning his first semester at the College of William and Mary. What should have been a two-year stint in the College’s ROTC program turned into almost 50 years of traveling, taking classes and playing plenty of rock music.

Nedry went to high school in Staunton, Virginia, at the Staunton Military Academy. When he graduated, he had two years of ROTC credit, which he says made doing the ROTC program at the College an obvious choice. However, in December of 1969, he sat waiting to find out whether or not he’d be drafted to fight in the Vietnam War.

Changing times on campus

“They needed so many guys to go to Vietnam that they said, ‘We have to make this fair to everyone, and we’re going to have a lottery,’” Nedry said. “Every boy who was born in 1950 [picked] a lottery number. … We gathered in the basement of Yates Hall, and we watched them pick our fate on national television.”

Just a few weeks later, on a trip down to Florida to see Led Zeppelin, Nedry was in a car accident that broke his back and changed the direction of his life. Over the next few years, Nedry broke his back several more times — in April 1972, Nedry was still working on course work to complete his first year at the College. Then, he broke his back again.

In the meantime, Nedry was not oblivious to the changing times on campus. He saw the end of visitation policies — College rules forbidding men and women from visiting each other’s dorm rooms — as well as changes to alcohol policies on campus. During this period, he visited a bar in Blow Memorial Hall that would serve students. He also witnessed a major historical moment in the student body’s reaction to the Vietnam War.

“In May of 1970 … kids were protesting the Vietnam War, and four of them got killed at Kent State,” Nedry said. “So many students gathered in the Wren Courtyard two days after it; almost half of the student body was in the Wren Courtyard. We went out on Richmond Road between the driveway at the Bryan Complex and Paul’s Deli. We sat in Richmond Road and blocked traffic coming into Williamsburg … Richmond Road was the only way to get into Colonial Williamsburg at the time.”

Nedry said that prior to the Kent State shootings, he felt that not as many students were active in protests against the war. However, he said that afterward, the campus community was much more involved. After the sit-in on Richmond Road, the College ended the semester ahead of schedule, sending students home early and postponing exams until the fall semester.

The Roadducks hit the road

After Nedry’s final back injury, he transferred to James Madison University, which was called Madison College at the time. For approximately two years, Nedry attended JMU, but then he dropped out to travel the country with his band, The Roadducks.

Nedry started The Roadducks with friends he made during his freshman year at the College, including Bob Gaynor ’74. The Roadducks are based out of West Springfield, Virginia, and Nedry has played 5,470 shows with the band, lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and New Haven, Connecticut, and toured for over 40 years. Nedry has also run nightclubs, booking acts he’d previously toured with and other bands he admired.

When Gaynor passed away in April 2014, Nedry saw that as a chance to, as he said, “get serious.” For Nedry, this meant finishing his degree back where he started it.

“I didn’t want a college education — I wanted a William and Mary education,” Nedry said. “I didn’t want a college degree — I wanted a William and Mary degree because it’s the best. The faculty is phenomenal. I hadn’t been in school for 40 years, didn’t know how to turn my computer on … but I wanted to see if I could compete academically or intellectually, compete against the best.”

Nedry started full-time at the College in the summer of 2016 and graduated two years later with a GPA of 3.82 — something he said he’s proud of because he learned to work seriously and didn’t miss a single class.

“I’m taking The History of William and Mary with [Executive Director of Historic Campus Susan Kern, Ph.D. ’05]. She runs The Brafferton, the Wren Building, the President’s House,” Nedry said. “I’ve had classes with [Leisa Meyer]. I went back to William and Mary to get my ass kicked by teachers like that. I got an A in all three classes I took with [Meyer]. I earned that, and that’s why I went back. To learn how kids are learning today.”

Even though Nedry graduated in 2018, he’s not done taking classes at the College. This semester he’s enrolled in two: Kern’s The History of William and Mary and a Victorian literature course with English professor Mary Melfi.

“I’m not through educating myself,” Nedry said.

Mastering his craft

Nedry is also still touring with his band and is enrolled in a master’s program at George Mason University. His goal is to teach history at a community college after he graduates. He’s also working on research for his master’s thesis — a look at the history of rock and roll from 1950-70.

“I got a little transistor radio in the 1950s — they became quite a phenomenon,” Nedry said. “A transistor radio is like a bicycle; it provided you freedom … you could sit in your treehouse or your fort and you could listen to rock and roll, the stuff you couldn’t listen to when you’re home. … My generation grew up with the [Brown v. Board of Education] decision. Schools were segregated, and then they were integrated; I grew up with Jim Crow. I’ve watched a lot of these things change, and I’m going to be able to teach my students this, going to be able to give them the context of this. I’m going to use the music of the period as the soundtrack.”

Now, Nedry spends time in Northern Virginia taking his graduate classes and working as a teaching assistant at the Northern Virginia Community College’s Loudoun County campus and in Williamsburg taking undergraduate classes purely for the sake of education. When he’s not in the classroom, he’s still out touring with his band, which he’s sworn to keep alive for as long as possible.

“I started going to William and Mary when I was 13,” Nedry said. “I went to band school for a month in Monroe Hall. I’ve been associated with the College for 54 years. I’m like a little kid that’s been given a do-over, and I’ve taken full advantage. I’ll always hope to be able to take classes here.”

Nedry said he is very thankful for the people he’s met at the College and the relationships he’s been able to form, including a friendship with former College President Taylor Reveley. He said he treasures a photo he has of himself with Reveley after he received his diploma.

“If I’m not the happiest William and Mary graduate, then I am certainly in the top three,” Nedry said. “I’ve never been happier than when I’m back in Williamsburg.” - The Flat Hat


Discography

The Roadducks Budweiser Beer Song / Curtain Call 45rpm vinyl record - 
The Roadducks Keep On Rockin' / Budweiser Beer 45rpm vinyl record - 
Get Ducked
 33rpm vinyl album and CD- 1987
Get Ducked Again CD - 1990
Roadducks Live at The Bayou DVD - 1983
Roadducks Live at The State Theatre DVD - 2020

Photos

Bio

The Roadducks were formed in January of 1976 by Jay Nedry, Bob Gaynor, and Bill ‘The Senator’ Schmidle in the band’s hometown of West Springfield, Virginia.  These 3 core individuals along with Bill Culver (Dec. 1976) have created a lasting legacy powered by 5,600 shows (as of 2 / 2021) from the band’s hometown of West Springfield, Virginia. Along with stops in New Haven, CT (1977-79) and Virginia Beach (79-81) The Roadducks helped spawn a cultural phenomenon as defined by the times (post-Vietnam, Women’s and Civil Rights movements) that continues through to today.

The Roadducks are known for their relentless 44 year tour schedule – 2 singles – 2 albums, a concert DVD set, and multiple national tours with:

  • Charlie Daniels
  • The Allman Brothers
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • The Gregg Allman Band
  • Marshall Tucker Band
  • Blackfoot
  • The Outlaws
  • Molly Hatchet
  • Black Oak Arkansas
  • Rossington-Colins Band (members of Lynyrd Skynyrd)

And A Variety Of Other National Recording Acts.

The 2020 Roadducks consists of founder Jay Nedry (drums, vocals and management); Eddie Callan (B3 organ, keyboards, vocals); Paul *Bama Ivey (lead guitar, vocals); Jay Powell (guitar, lead vocals); and Edmund Allen Brown (bass guitar, vocals). The untimely passing of co-founder Bob ‘The Bopper’ Gaynor in May of 2014 was devastating to all of us who knew him and had the pleasure of enjoying his limitless talents and dynamic vocals. Bill ‘The Senator’ Schmidle is alive and quite well and playing guitar in Florida. Phil McCormack who recently passed away also while fronting Molly Hatchet and was living in Jacksonville. Dave Thorne is still leading a double life as Orville P. Fodderhead, noted computer genius, while still residing on the Golf Course in West Springfield. After conversations with Senator, Phil, Dave, and Bill Culver, and others, I (Jay ) have have decided to carry on with the tradition of the Roadducks. We have collectively played 5600 shows since March of 1976, in 31 States, while touring with some of the greatest names in the history of Rock. We have recently brought the web site up-to-speed, so will continue to add info and data as my skill set develops on the computer. I will encourage pictures and stories and we will have a place for those to be added in the near future. I encourage everyone to come see the new version of the band as it is still smokin hot. We are doing some of the old songs, some R and B, and lots of timeless rock and roll. The band is still irreverent and satirical and will never take itself too damn seriously. Many thanks to all of the fabulous musicians who have played in the group, sat in, filled in, or just helped out. 44 years is a long time to hold a band together, and to continue to do it well takes a broad commitment of time, talent, and energy. The best way to reach me is email jcnedry@email.wm.edu. I am back in college and finally graduated from my beloved William and Mary in the May of 2018, getting my Masters and PHD from George Mason and then be a professor teaching US History somewhere here in Virginia. And no, not for any reason ever, will I get back into the nightclub business… Lol! hope to see you at some local rock bar sometime soon. Keep supporting live music in the DMV area.  Jay Nedry

The band’s secret weapon is Bill Culver, soundman and vocals (since 1976), brings a fabulous dynamic with his mixing abilities and vocal harmonizing skills. Bill does local shows – road performances are done by Eddie Kaplan (since 1993).

Band Members