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Teddy and The Rough Riders
Teddy and The Rough Riders, 1961
Above: Promo shot, 1961, Dayton, Ohio. L-R: Phil Ackerman, Bill Trimmer, Jim Colegrove, Teddy Grills, Dick Fischer (drums).
Teddy and The Rough Riders, 1960
Above: At the Avondale Club, Dayton, Ohio, 1960.
L-R: Bill Trimmer, Dick Fischer, Teddy Grills, Jim Colegrove, Phil Ackerman.


TEDDY AND THE ROUGH RIDERS began in Fairborn, Ohio in the spring of 1958. Ted Grills was a former member of a rock 'n' roll band called the Saints. He left to form his own band early that year. This new band was originally called The Teddy Bears but for obvious reasons (Phil Spector’s group) had to change the name. Teddy Grills middle name was Roosevelt and he was doing most of the singing. That fall they began calling the group Teddy and the Rough Riders at Jim Colegrove’s suggestion.

The original band members were: Teddy Grills, vocals and guitar, Dick Fischer, drums, Jim Colegrove, lead guitar and vocals. Later additions were: Phil Ackerman, bongos, piano and organ; Bill Trimmer, bass and Bob Brane, saxophone. There were only two other members, ever, in this band. Dick Fischer was replaced in ’62 by Les Sayre on drums and Bill Trimmer was replaced by Denny Boyd on bass in ’63. Both Dick & Bill enlisted in the Navy.

The band got its first break when it began playing at record hops that radio station WING (Dayton, Ohio) disc jockeys were doing. The DJ’s (Jim Smith, Lou Swanson, Stan Scott, Gene "By Golly" Barry, Bill Henry) promoted their hops on the radio and the Rough Riders became a very popular band. No other band was doing this in the area in 1958. This set a trend for other groups to do likewise.

As a result of the DJ connection the band met Texan, Bob Holliday in 1959. Bob was a new DJ at WING that fall and took interest in the group. He became their manager. Bob took the Rough Riders to King Studios in Cincinnati to record in 1960. He got Eddie Smith to engineer. Eddie had worked on all the early James Brown sessions. By the fall of that year he had a deal with Jack Sanders of Louisville, Kentucky. Jack was a DJ at WAKY and had started a label called Tilt. He had issued only one single on the label at that time. Both Bob and Jack thought the release of a Rough Riders single could sell records quickly and get enough notice to get national distribution for the label. The plans were drawn up and by the time Tomahawk / Thunderhead was out for a few weeks, London Records picked up the Tilt label for national distribution.

The record, Tilt 778, became a regional smash hit, was advertised in Billboard, got excellent reviews but failed to become a national hit. In 1961, Bob Holliday started his own label, Huron, and the Rough Riders next two singles were issued on that label. The first was Huron 22002, Pathfinder / A Dream Come True. Both were instrumentals like the Tilt sides and both tunes were written by Jim Colegrove, as were the Tilt sides. The next single was titled Money & Gold, Parts 1 & 2, written by Teddy Grills. Both records were local hits. National distribution for Huron product was handled by King Records which was where all the Rough Riders masters were recorded.

During the early and mid-1960s Teddy and the Rough Riders played at hops, dances and stage shows throughout Ohio and Indiana, appeared on radio, television and backed up touring recording artists of the day such as: Chuck Sims, Terry Redman, Charles Brown, Janie Grant, Freddie Cannon, The Duprees, Jackie Dee, Johnny Tillotson, Bobby Vee, Charlie Rich, Bobb B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, The Chiffons, The Dovells and The Shangri-Las. They appeared at The Biggest Hop in Dayton held every Sunday by Bob Holliday at The Avondale Club featuring touring stars like Jack Scott, Larry Verne, The Five Keys and Lenny Welch. They played the teen hops at LeSourdsville Lake in Stardust Garden. They made journeys to Kentucky, West Virginia, Detroit and even got as far as Milwaukee for a gig that was aborted because the sax player, Bob Brane, was pulled off the bandstand for being under 21 (He wasn’t the only one).

The Rough Riders recorded next in 1963 for Junior Achievement of Dayton in conjunction with radio station WING. They wanted the Rough Riders to do one side of an LP and a folk group, The Guardsmen, to do the other side. The Guardsmen were from Fairborn and were a part of what now is commonly referred to as "the great folk music scare" in the early sixties. The resulting LP was called Swingin’ With WING on the MegaCity label. One of the young men in the JA group was Ron Copeland who went on to become a well-known DJ known as Sean Conrad. You can get his great autobiography at

In 1964 Jim Colegrove and Phil Ackerman went on active duty in the Army reserve and the band ceased its activities for about five months. That fall the band re-formed and again performed together until the group finally split in the autumn of 1965. Jim Colegrove, Phil Ackerman, Bob Brane and Denny Boyd along with drummer Doug Porter, former drummer with Sonny Flaharty’s band, the Young Americans, formed a new group called The Knights (later called Thee Rubber Band). They began playing five nights a week at "Little Mickey’s", a favorite local club in Dayton on East Fifth Street. This group dissolved early in 1967 when Jim and N.D. Smart left Ohio and headed to the east coast to form Bo Grumpus.

Teddy & the Rough Riders was an extremely popular band at the peak of its career. It was not uncommon for the band to be mobbed for autographs by their fans in those days. You could bet the dance hall would be full anywhere in the Miami Valley area if they were appearing. Their records continue to be reissued over 50 years after the group’s demise. Unfortunately, there are many unauthorized uses of T&RR tracks these days that are detrimental to the artist and authors. See the reissue list below.

Teddy & The Rough Riders Path Finder, their 1961 single on Huron, was re-issued on London’s Ace label series Teen Beat - Vol. 6 in 2018. The series showcases instrumentals.
3 Quarter Dime

Jim Colegrove continues to record in present day as well as producing recordings for other artists. He completed a CD of guitar rock ‘n’ roll instrumentals that include some that he wrote for Teddy & the Rough Riders that they didn't release. The record is titled 3 Quarter Dime on Cool Groove CD113. It is available on Jim also works with Roscoe West as Men of Extinction. They have CDs on Cool Groove Records. Bill Trimmer lives in Tucson, Arizona. Bob Brane lives in Largo, Florida. To our great joy, we have heard from Phil Ackerman, who is alive and well and living in Charlotte, NC. Les Sayre was killed in action in the Vietnam War. Denny Boyd passed away February 2009. Dick Fischer passed away in March 2014. Teddy Grills passed away in April 2014.

Teddy & The Rough Riders Discography


Tilt 778 - Tomahawk/Thunderhead - 1960

Huron 22002 - Path Finder/A Dream Come True - 1961

Huron 22007 - Money and Gold, Part I/Money and Gold, Part II - 1961

LP - Mega City 1410 - Swingin’ With WING, Side 2, 1963

Distant Thunder
Danny Boy
Harlem Nocturne
Hey, That’s My Baby
You Drive Too Fast


Single - Mean Mountain Music MM-1420 - 1981

EP - Rough SP69 - 1991
Path Finder/Tomahawk/ Thunderhead

LP - Fifty Eight LP 101 - Tomahawk - 1980

CD - Incognito Records (Germany) - 1999
High School Rumble Vol.1 (various artists)
Contains: Tomahawk - Thunderhead

CD - CTI-006 - Canetoad International (Australia) - 2002
Blast From The Past - Vol. 2 - Rockin’ Ronnie’’s Wild Instrumental Party (34 tracks -various artists)
Contains: Tomahawk - Thunderhead

CD - Sundazed SC 11146 - 2004
Dancehall Stringbusters!
Contains: Thunderhead / Money & Gold (Part 2) / Path Finder

CD - Buffalo Bop Bb-CD 55174 - 2005
Strictly Instrumental - Vol. 8 - Cover Shot!
Contains: Thunderhead

CD - Canadian CAN-2306 CD - 2005
Rare Instrumentals - Volume 6 - Cover Shot!
Contains: Money & Gold Pt. 2 / Path Finder / Thunderhead / Tomahawk / A Dream Come True

CD - Sello / Marca - 2007
Nasty Rockabilly, Volume 12
Contains: Thunderhead

CD (MP3 album) - Red Devil Records - 2013
Wild Guitar Instrumentals
Contains - Tomahawk

CD - Ace CDCHD 1518 - 2018
Teen Beat, Volume 6
Contains: Path Finder

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