In early 1985, the Red Hot Chili Peppers took a swing through Ohio, and within a matter of mere months, the city of Columbus produced the Royal Crescent Mob. "The R.C. Mob," as they were affectionately known to fans, was an appropriate moniker in that they were to the Red Hot Chili Peppers what Royal Crown Cola once was to Coke; similar in taste but different, some preferred Royal Crown to Coke, and it still moved plenty of cases of soda -- at least for a time. The Mob, main members being singer David Ellison, guitarist B. Emch, and bassist Harold "Happy" Chichester, were a force to be reckoned with in the Midwestern American club scene of the late '80s, routinely packing houses beyond capacity and regaling enthusiastic crowds with a tightly played and highly appealing blend of punk and funk. Their two big numbers early on were an original called "Get on the Bus" and a cover of Ohio Players' "Love Rollercoaster," and both were featured on their independently produced, six-track EP Land of Sugar, which appeared in 1986. The drummer's chair was a revolving door in the Mob until Carlton Smith settled into the job in 1987.
Although poorly recorded and difficult to find even when new, Land of Sugar was quickly snapped up by college radio stations and went into heavy rotation, generating enough interest in the Royal Crescent Mob that they were able to distribute their next two independent releases through Celluloid. Omerta and Something Old, New and Borrowed (aka S.N.O.B.) appeared in short order, and the latter title is sort of like "Land of Sugar II" in that it incorporates all six of the previous releases' songs. Both of these records did very well at college radio, and in late 1988, the majors came calling. The Royal Crescent Mob settled with Sire, which released the band's Richard Goetterer-produced major-label debut, Spin the World, in 1989. At that point, it seemed like the Mob, likewise, was on top of the world, but of Spin the World's ten tracks only "Hungry" charted on the Modern Rock chart, and it peaked at number 27.
Midnight Rose's appeared in 1990, and by this time the Royal Crescent Mob, at least in the studio, were trying to move away from "the white boy funk thing" into something that was more like "regular rock," and who can blame them? The Red Hot Chili Peppers were already doing the same thing. Midnight Rose's failed to click, and the Royal Crescent Mob were subsequently dumped by Sire, even as their live shows continued to draw huge crowds. Although the Mob were able to muster up a disc of a live set, Good Lucky Killer, in 1993, their days were already done by this point. Happy Chichester later formed the group Howlin' Maggie, and in an interview taken long after the Mob split, he stated that while relations between Sire and the Royal Crescent Mob remained positive, the promotion and publicity for their releases were done out of house. As a result, the Mob were unable to communicate with that part of their operation, and felt that it ultimately let them down. On the other hand, the Royal Crescent Mob's greatest strength was as a live act -- they could really turn on a crowd in a big way -- and this did not translate to the medium of recording with ease. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis