Jeff Rosen (above, with The Curved Invaders) was one of two vocalists for The Dizeazoes, the other being Mike Shelton, also known as Cosmic Starfire, and The Iggy Guy, and one of the most important figures in the early St Louis punk scene), but, for all intents and purposes, Rosen was the main vocalist for the band. He was the only vocalist to appear at both Dizeazoes shows, or at least the only one who had a chance to sing, and appears on most of the recordings of the band.
Rosen was an old friend of both Wheeler and Dardick. He had known Dardick since elementary school.
"He lived around the corner from me in University City [a neighborhood in St Louis near Washington University]," says Rosen. "Larry and I were music fans, mostly 60s and early 70s rock/pop, and shared the same kind of humor."
Rosen and Wheeler met in high school but didn't become friends until a chance meeting.
"A friend and I met Jeff in Forest Park one lazy day," Wheeler remembers. "Jeff and I recognized each other from high school, knew each other by sight, but had never talked much. We started talking and found that we had a lot in common, our tastes in music, and our sense of humor."
Rosen remembers Wheeler as, first and foremost, a music fan.
"We were fans of the same type of music," says Rosen. "I was impressed by his record collection. He had a lot of obscure albums I'd never heard before. He also turned me on to the Bonzo Dog Band, which is still one of my favorite groups. We also shared an irreverent sense of humor, so we also hit it off pretty well."
At first Rosen was reluctant to join the band, but after attending several rehearsals became excited to participate.
"He just enjoyed spending time with us," says Wheeler. "We were friends, and we needed a lead singer. Plus Jeff was a bit of an exhibitionist. He was not afraid of playing the fool for some attention, and he appreciated an enthusiastic performance, and could be counted on to give one if he got the chance."
"I had fun singing for the Dizeazoes, but I knew that I didn't have a great voice," says Rosen. "So I hammed it up a bit just to have fun with it. They seemed to appreciate it."
As noted, Rosen shared vocal duties for The Dizeazoes with Mike Shelton (below), also known as Cosmic Starfire, and The Iggy Guy. He and Wheeler had met in 1973 when his girlfriend noticed Wheeler wandering around in a homemade Iggy Pop t-shirt.
"Mike's girlfriend spotted me at one point, asked me about it, and said, 'Oh, my boyfriend's going to want one!', recalls Wheeler. "She got my phone number. Mike called me up, and pretty quickly he and I became acquaintances if not friends. It wasn't too long before I had convinced him that he should come and sing with us, 'cause we did a bunch of Stooges songs."
Shelton had played in a few local bands, and had developed a reputation around town as an important figure in the underground music scene. Wheeler considers Shelton's involvement with The Dizeazoes "a major feather in the bands' cap".
Shelton and Rosen shared vocal duties in the band (a third vocalist Terry Henner would also help out, primarily for practices in Columbia, MO, but Henner was also present at the second, and final, Dizeazoes show). Rosen would sing the oldies and Shelton would sing The Stooges material. This would lead to some confusion as The Dizeazoes gained a reputation. Paul Wheeler recalls a funny incident:
"Larry and I were playing with Howard Levinson in Kid Sister and Jeff Rosen was visiting us in Columbia, MO," says Wheeler. "We brought Jeff with us to a Kid Sister rehearsal and introduced him to Howard as one of The Dizeazoes' lead singers. Howard's reaction? 'Oh, did you cut yourself? Did you roll on glass?' Jeff was a bit shocked at the thought of it, may not have even understood the Iggy reference, and vigorously shook his head at the thought of even doing such things. That was Jeff's introduction to Howard. Larry and I knew him by then, and just chuckled at his question."
Mike Shelton was one of the most important, if not the most important, figures of the early St Louis underground, and really, his life is worth an entire article. In my research, his name has constantly emerged as "the guy", the one that everything seemed to revolve around. Mr Shelton, unfortunately, perished in a tragic car accident in 2004. There is a nice tribute to him here.