We’ve managed to collect a few stories of fans talking about their memories of Chico. Of having seen him perform live and of meeting him or things that just made them love him or remind them of him. If you have a photo you took with Chico and a story about meeting him, contact us.
I was involved in the recording of Rock ‘N’ Roll Dance Party. The album was recorded (for the most part) in the band’s backstage dressing room and in one of their hotel rooms at John Ascuaga’s Nuggett Casino in Sparks, NV, on a mobile recording set-up owned by one of my friends, Gary McMasters.
I had met the guys in the 90′s when I was playing with The Zella Lehr Show in the casino lounge at John Ascuaga’s Nuggett Casino. After my gig one night, I went downstairs to the Nuggett Poker Room and sat down at a game. I was playing a lot of Texas Hold Em poker at the time, but, since there were no games going on that night, I decided to join in a Stud Poker game. I’d been on a roll of good luck and that roll continued that night. Unfortunately, there was one player across the table from me that was going up against me on most of the hands I was playing…..he was losing the majority of hands to me, as my good luck continued. We were bantering good-naturedly during the game. When the game finally broke up, I introduced myself and found out that it was Jocko! I told him how much I loved the band and that I’d watched his show a couple of times from the sound board in the Showroom that week. I invited him to drop in to the lounge to hear me play with my band and he told me that he and Lenny had already done so and that they liked my playing. He then invited me to meet the band and to jam with them. Of course, I accepted and dropped in the next night to take him up on his offer. That was the first time I met Chico, as well as the rest of the band and the first time I got to play with them. What a treat it was to play with Lenny…..he’d always been a favorite of mine. I especially hit it off with Chico and we hung out quite a bit during the time they were there. They asked if I’d like to play Baritone Sax on the album and I accepted…..c’mon, who wouldn’t? I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the band during their time there and I was stunned when I heard of Chico’s passing…..he was a fabulous human being and an all around nice guy. I stay in touch with Jocko and Screamin Scott to this day.
Rock & Roll will never die!
In 1985,I was a Disc Jockey/on-air personality for a radio Station in the Northeast.I had pre-arranged a backstage visit with Sha Na Na to record some station ID’s and get photos with them when they were in the area performing .I got to meet Chico Ryan and other members of Sha Na Na on July 23,1985 at South Shore Music Circus – Cohasset, Massachustts. It was a very brief meeting backstage as they were getting ready for the concert they were about to perform. I had remembered watching their TV series in the 70′s and early 80′s so meeting them was a real thrill for me. The one thing I remember about Chico was that he greeted me like I was a long lost friend even though we had just met. He was friendly and very approachable for a photo that evening. It is sad that he is no longer with us but this website will keep his memory alive his fans and friends. Thank you on behalf of fans everywhere for this site.
If it wasn’t for Chico, I never would have touched a bass guitar. I was just a girl with what my brothers considered an “unhealthy fascination” with yo-yos.
My personal fave was a purple Duncan Imperial, and for the most part I kept to myself. I cut through the front room one evening, and, uh, YOWZA!!! I think I hit myself with the Imperial when that uber-cute guy with the yo-yo suddenly showed up on screen. I remember my mom asking if I was okay, and I honestly didn’t feel a thing (except, perhaps, for puberty taking a sudden leap forward). I think I just kind of went “Ohhh yeahhhhhh…”
I have loved bass guitars, yo-yos and Chico ever since. Highlight of my musical life? Getting his attention at a concert in Phoenix. I took that purple yo-yo to the concert, and during one break between songs I shouted out to him and shot that thing right between the heads of two people in front of me, barely touching their hair. As I caught it with the same precision as I had launched it out with, he gave me the thumbs up and that devastating smile.
I learned how to play bass and joined a swing band, but it never went anywhere. I then got snagged for a garage band called “Funikoshi’s Dog”, and they stuck me on lead guitar. I WANTED BASS!!! They looked at me funny. Apparently, bass is the spot you get stuck on if you can’t do anything else. We played a few parties, but life got in the way and the band broke up. Fine by me, that meant I could get back to my bass.
I now play bass along with my records, CDs, and MP3s, and I enjoy those deep, rich tones immensely. My husband thinks it’s funny how I can fall asleep and keep thumbing those strings. He doesn’t know that in my dreams, I’m at a jam session with Chico and Dirty Dan…!
The ‘Rubber Ball’ incident reminded me of seeing Chico perform in concert with my friend. He would go on stage in roller skates singing ‘Travelin’ Man’ and skating around the stage. My friend would go nuts saying she couldn’t watch because she kept thinking he was going to trip on the many wires on the floor. Of course I was just there totally mesmerized by him and knew he had everything under control. He never missed a beat (and never tripped) during the performances I saw. After a few years he took the skates off for good I guess because I never saw him in them again. Of course I never stopped being mesmerized by him though, with or without the skates on!!! My favorite — CHICO. Met him, love him , and was devastated at his passing.
I also remember at a concert I went to where Chico was playing the drums on one number and he decided to flip the drumstick high in the air and try to catch it but missed then he tried again and caught it.
This was taken back in 1986 and I had asked Chico if I could get my picture taken with him. I just stood there and he put his arm over and pulled me toward him (maybe to make sure I got in the picture!). I sure didn’t mind though and this turned out to be my most treasured Sha Na Na pic!! Just thought I’d share it and a tribute site to him seems like the perfect place!!!
I never personally met Chico, though I was able to obtain an autograph after a concert in 1980 which I will always treasure. I did, however, meet his wife, Sue, at a show in Topsfield, MA. It was only three months after his unfortunate death and the first time she
had seen the guys since the funeral. I had lost one of my grandsons and a friend of his about a week before David passed and we shared a bit of our grief together. It’s a moment I hold close in my heart. I saw her again with her daughter, Kim, at the Memorial Concert this past year (2001), though I didn’t approach her. Lenny was able to attend which I was happy to see. He had lost 100lbs and even sang a few numbers. Chico was definitely the “cutest kid on the block” and his brother who was also there is the spitting image of him! The concert was great and I think David would be proud.
Pattibeth (on why Chico was her favorite greaser):
Well, I’ll give you ten guesses and the first nine don’t count! :p My favorite was also Chico. I have no idea why either because I was seven! LOL!! He just always made me all flubbery inside. 🙂 Looking at it now that I am older, he was such a cutie. He was always
smiling (he had such an incredible smile) and seemed so happy all the time. I guess I took it as a reflection of his personality. I also loved his voice. He had a meek, shy-type quality when he sang — especially something slow.
Part of the attraction could have been that he roller skated a lot. He did various performances while skating. I was into roller skating in a big way back then. I am really not sure I can pin point any deep reasons. I guess the mind of a seven year old must be peculiar too! I do know why I stuck with him.
I went to the mall in Knoxville Tennessee. I passed by a clothing store. I would not have noticed it. However, the Store did have one thing that had to do with SHA NA NA. The Name of the store was “CHICO’S”. It Made me Start thinking about a Certain Greaser in The Classic Sha Na Na Lineup That played Bass Guitar and Played with a Yo Yo. Hmm I wonder Who that Could Have Been? LOL Just Kidding! Yep it Made me think of David “Chico” Ryan! Grease For Peace!
The first time i saw Shanana in concert i was 14 yrs. old and went crazy ran up to the stage and shook Chico’s hand.
I went to a Sha Na Na Concert in August of 1998. I saw somebody different on Bass Gutar. I thought that Chico was sick. No I did not know about what happened to him at the time. After the concert I asked where he was. It was then that happiness turned to tears after I was told by Donny that Chico was Dead.
I (60′s teen) happened to see “Sha Na Na” in my Indiana hometown Augustfest a few years ago. If I recall right, Lenny was there. They really tried to perform good as they could and it was exciting for all the people.
I stayed around that evening afterwards and met Chico (who seemed maybe to be representing them) who was friendly and signed my program, thought that was good of him to stay around and chat some with me. I asked him about Browzer and he was nice about that too. I still picture-see Chico being nice to me, taking the time to talk. Can’t
recall if I took a photo.
Chico threw me his yo-yo at one of the concerts…wish I had hung on to it,
but I (being young) played with it. Silly me I thought he had managed to lose control over it and approached the stage to attempt to return it to him! He just kind of giggled and told me to keep it!I did get his and the rest of the groups autograph while at the after concert party. Chico got chicken wing sauce and grease on the book while signing it. It’s funny to remember these things.
During a SNN concert in Columbus, Ohio at the Ohio State Fair, Chico was performing Ricky Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man” while he rollerskated onstage. It was customary for the stage to have large white lightbulbs ( a larger version of the lightbulbs surrounding a
mirror” at the foot of the stage. Somehow, Chico didn’t stop as quickly as he probably intended and he skated into the lightbulbs. Two shattered and glass fragments flew everywhere. Unfortunately, a cute little girl with blonde hair was hit by the glass. I don’t know the extent of her injuries, but her parents were leading her out of the concert area-rows and rows of folding chairs. It was also customary for an officer from the Ohio State Highway Patrol or two to guard the stage area. The trooper was helping the man and woman get their child safely out of the area. There was silence for a few minutes and then the guys resumed their show. Everyone, that is, except Chico. He followed the
family. I don’t know what he said to them, but he was truly concerned about the little girl. Before he got back onstage, I saw him speak to the other officer. I don’t know if he offered to pay for the physician’s treatment or if he wanted to keep tabs on how the little girl was doing. Rumor had it ( I can’t substantiate this) that he took care of the expenses for the family. I hadn’t thought about that concert until I heard that Chico passed away, then the other day I downloaded “Travelin’ Man” and it brought the memory back. What a sweet, caring guy!
I remember one concert in Glens Falls New York ( the same show as the Rockin the 80′s CD) Chico was doing “Traveling Man”. When he played his guitar solo, the guitar went dead. He yelled out “does anyone have a guitar?”
I have to share a Chico moment…….he was the nicest person you ever wanted to meet. We moved to Michigan Labor Day of 97 – found out by luck SNN was playing at the local college – like 2 miles away. So OK – forget unpacking – off we went. We being me and my son (then 7 yrs old). Met up with the guys in the lobby – got some autographs – all were very pleasant but obviously tired and rushed….not Chico – calm as could be – even asked me if I could hold his ice water while he signed. WHY DIDN’T I KEEP THAT GLASS??????? But he was chatting asking about my “old: SNN t-shirt as the glass is dripping all over my arm, shoes and kid. DId I care????? Nah – keep chatting dude. He apologized profusely and even got me a napkin to dry up. Like a napkin was gonna dry up THAT puddle. I was embarrassed but SO excited. My son thought I was being stupid but thought Chico was pretty cool. We had a major lecture in the car on the way home….”PRETTY” cool – um, let’s try way cool or THE coolest LOL.
*Apparently Chico thoroughly enjoyed playing jokes on people. Here are a couple of them.
Chico played a joke on Jocko. Long story short, there was a guy involved with the band that Jocko thought had swindled them out of some money. This guy skipped town and Jocko looked high and low for him for a long time. Finally, after a very long time, Jocko gave up and kind of forgot about it. One time, at an airport while waiting to catch a flight, Chico had this dude’s name paged to go to one of the courtesy phones and watched as Jocko jumped out of his seat to go catch him. Chico and the other guys who were in on it, laughed and laughed.
Another time the guys had to stay in a hotel near the airport. Lenny bitched non-stop because he figured the jet traffic would keep him up all night. Chico had the room directly above Lenny’s. Chico had a boom box with him and just happened to have a sound effects tape that included jet noises. He placed the boom box face down on the floor, covered it with pillows to drown out the noise in his room, and played the tape all night just to irritate Lenny. The next day, Lenny was pissed and asked how come the rest of them seemed so rested with all the noise.