Bob Schroeder Bio:
Bob is married to Ria (25+ years) with three (Four) children: Sydney (24), Cory (22), Lauren (12) and their poodle Mocha. Bob has worked at Pathology Laboratories in Lima, Ohio for 29+ years and is the Account Manager. On occasion, Bob’s daughters Sydney and Lauren will sit in with the band for a few songs to show off their beautiful voices. Ria and Bob for the past 22 years have fought to keep their son Cory alive who is diagnosed with a Mitochondrial disease. Most patients die by the age of 6 with this disease, but Cory is proving them all wrong!!! In 2007 Cory spent 51 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Toledo St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Bob’s musical career started in 1980 at the age of 16, when he along with fellow Exploiter Ed Burwell created the band The Blanchard Valley Bluegrass Boys. Their first album “Cabin in the Woods” was released in 1982 featuring Bob, Ed, Rudy (Mark) Okuly, and Lynn Fox. In 1983 they won the title “Best New Bluegrass Band in America” sponsored by KFC in Louisville, KY. One of the judges was John Cowan of the Newgrass Revival. They won $3,000.00, a trophy, and a recording deal in Nashville which was produced by Sam Bush of the Newgrass Revival. Their second album “Southbound Express” was released in 1984. Both albums contained mostly original music written by Ed and Bob. The BVBB toured all over the country and opened for many big name acts. That band ended its six-year run on August 3, 1986 at the Square Fair in Lima, Ohio.
On August 13, 1986 “The Buck Tanner Band” started with Bob, Ed, Gary Stennett, Mike Crisp, and Dan “Spanky” Corwin. A year later fellow Exploiter Frank “Elwood” Harnishfeger joined BTB and filled out a truly talented band that got to open for Waylon Jennings, The Danger Brothers, and performed many big festivals in Ohio. In 1989-1990 fellow Exploiter Mark “Slappa’ Utz joined the BTB.
In September of 1990 Bob, Slappa, Mike Crisp, Andy Flores, and John Mobley created the first version of “Exploit.” In 1993 they released their first album (CD) “Pretty Girls on the Dance Floor.” The title cut, which was written by John’s brother Wendel Mobley, received heavy airplay on many radio stations and is still the most requested song at Exploit’s performances. Exploit had several changes in their line up through out the years with Mike Mobley (who wrote Neil McCoy’s song “Billy’s got his Beer Goggles On” and “Easy” for Rascal Flatts), Ed Burwell joined in 1996, and Travis Williams, Travis Parsons, Rick Eddy, James Goar and Don Gray also were members. In 1998, Exploit released its second CD called “Summer of 98.” Exploit has opened for The Romantics, 38 Special, The Little River Band, Joe Diffie, Marty Stewart, Wade Hayes, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Staler Brothers and many more. Exploit has performed at the Country Concert in the Hills in Fort Loramie, OH, Maria Stein’s Country Fest, St Gerard’s Festival in Lima, OH, The October Fest In Columbus, The Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland where they opened for Pat Daley who has appeared on the Bob and Tom Show, Exploit was the first band to play at “The Rib Off” in Lima, OH which has blossomed into one of the largest Festival’s around and many, many more!!!
Bob formed the band “Flyer” along with Don Gray, Kevin Maiberger, and fellow Exploiter Mark “Slappa” Utz. This band started 2003 and played many local festivals and clubs. Flyer also got to open for David Lee Murphy “Dust on the Bottle” in Ada, Ohio. Flyer also was joined by fellow Exploiter Frank “Elwood” Harnishfeger. Flyer played at Maria Stein’s Country Fest, The Ohio State Fair, The Square Fair in Lima, White Oak’s Jamboree, The Auglaize County Fair, was the official back-up band for T-102’s Country Star Playoffs, and many, many more.
Bob’s other musical “notes” include being accepted at Bowling Green State University’s Music Department as a Percussion Major in 1981 and studying under Wendel Jones. Bob also received the Reed Scholarship from Ohio State University for Vocal Performance. Bob performed in several operas during his career at Ohio State University. Bob also received a Bachelor’s Degree from Ohio State University in Business Administration with specialization in Accounting in 1992. Performed with the Lima Symphony Orchestra and also directed the Praise and Worship Choir at the Immaculate Conception parish in Celina, Ohio.
Bob’s main job in Exploit is to Sing and play Bass. He also plays the Acoustic Guitar on some songs and plays the drums when Slappa comes out front.
Mark “Slappa” Utz Bio:
Slap-Daddy has played in Rock-n-Roll, Blues & Country bands. With 25 yrs under his belt in the music industry, he has performed in many types of venues such as county fairs, arenas & night clubs. Mark has played in bands such as Knee Deep, Horizon, Black Swamp Players, Buck Tanner, Exploit, Flyer, The Late Show, and Ricky Hall & The Goods. Slap-Daddy has jammed with all sorts of musicians & one of his most memorable was drumming for Nashville recording artist Kevin Sharp. From 1990-2000, he played music & traveled many miles with Exploit. He has also been an opening act for country artists including Joe Diffie, The Statler Brothers, Confederate Railroad, Marty Stuart & Neal McCoy as well as rock ‘n roll legends such as 38 Special, Little River Band, The Romantics & The Mama’s & the Papa’s.
Now going for a second run with Exploit, it should be more exciting than ever. Slap-Daddy also loves to make you laugh with his silly antics & skits that he performs with Exploit. Just listen real close to the beat, as Slap-Daddy moves your feet….
(Remember, where one door closes, another one opens.)– It’s the hallway that’s HELL to go through! To Live is a chance, to die is a must… ~mju~
Frank “Elwood” Harnishfeger:
I was born and raised in Lima, OH. I went to South Jr. High School and Lima Senior High School where I was the Pep Band Director. I started playing piano when I was 5. Mom bought an organ and piano for the house and I used to sit down and pick out songs. I started playing piano for our church at about 11 years old. We went to a Pentecostal church and that is how I learned to play “Rock & Roll”. I did not take music lessons, so I always thank GOD for teaching me how to play.
I am married to Diane. We have been together since April 26, 1986. We have 4 children: Chad – 23, Jeremy – 19, Melissa – 14 & Hannah – 6. Our dog’s name is Ari Sarsilari Harnishfeger.
I have been playing locally since 1979. I have been wearing my hat and glasses since that time. A local Lima musician named me “Elwood” the first time he saw me, and the name has stuck since then. Some of the bands I have played with are:
The Rods – Buck Tanner – The Hipsters – The Starving Stars – Jo Momma’s Band – Hired Hand Band – Flyer – Exploit – The Naturals – B3
I have opened for Waylon Jennings. I played with: Leslie Gore, The Shirelles and The Dixie Cups. I have also rented my keyboards to: Mitch Rider and The Detroit Wheels, Ray Stevens and Ray Charles.
There are many great musicians in the Limaland area, and I have been blessed to play with many of them. I hope you will enjoy the latest band I am playing with!
The Blanchard Valley Bluegrass Boys History
The Blanchard Valley Bluegrass Boys formed in May of 1980 featuring:
Ed Burwell on Banjo, Fiddle and Lead and Harmony Vocals
Bob Schroeder on Upright Bass, Lead and Harmony Vocals
Mark “Rudy” Okuly, Acoustic Guitar, Harmony Vocals
Lynn Fox on Mandolin, Harmony Vocals
In September 1983 they won “Best New Bluegrass Band in America” which was a contest held in
downtown Louisville Kentucky, sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken. They audition by submitting a 20-minute tape
and received notification that they were 1 of 6 bands competing for the title. There were over 50 submitted bands.
When they won the title they received a Trophy, $3,000.00 and a recording contract which 2 of the songs on this album
were a part of: “Southbound Express” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling”
the judges for the contest were John Cowan of the famed Newgrass Revival and Dan Crary a famous Bluegrass Guitarist and several others.
Sam Bush from the Newgrass Revival produced the recording of the 2 songs mentioned above that were recorded at Studio 19 in Nashville.
BVBB also competed in the International Bluegrass Championships in Nashville placing 6th in 84, 5th in 85, 10th in 86.
They opened for many big time Bluegrass Artist, also Charlie Daniels Band, Oak ridge Boys, Allison Krause (1998 reunion).
I hope you enjoy this blast from the past from a band that I was very proud to be a part of when I was a teenager and beyond.
Unfortunately the band dispersed in August of 1986 playing their last gig at the Lima Square Fair!
Also for those who may not be aware, Rudy Okuly passed away several years ago! RIP Rudy Rudy Rudy!!!!
Southbound Express (Ed Burwell, Bob Schroeder), Ed Lead Vocals, Bob Baritone, Rudy Low Baritone
Chasing A Memory (Ed Burwell), Ed Lead Vocals, Bob Baritone, Rudy Low Baritone, Lynn Tenor
Pike Run (Ed Burwell), Instrumental
Peaceful Easy Feeling (J. Tempchin), Bob Lead Vocals, Ed Tenor, Rudy Baritone, Lynn High Baritone
Jordon (traditional), Bob Lead Vocals, Ed Tenor, Lynn High Baritone, Rudy Bass
Bugle Call Rag (Instrumental)
I Just Think I’ll Go Away (Stanley), Bob Lead Vocal, Ed Tenor, Lynn High Baritone
Lonesome Tonight (Ed Burwell), Ed Lead Vocals, Bob Baritone, Rudy Low Baritone
Life of Misery (Ed Burwell), Ed Lead Vocals, Rudy Baritone, Lynn Tenor
I Don’t Care (Bob Schroeder), Bob Lead Vocals, Ed Tenor, Rudy Baritone