The Intruders, Critters and Sticky Wickets


(Jon Manners recounts the early days)


My very earliest bands were short-lived. The first one to take hold in the 7th grade, was called the Stingrays. Pretty cool name, huh? The lineup was Chris Calkins on trumpet, Bob Smith on accordion, Barry Smith on drums, and me on guitar. Chris was later responsible for getting me a lot of gigs, especially at high school functions.


The first working band was The Fabulous Intruders.  This quickly grew into a 7 piece show band with two lead singers that played a little bit of everything... Show tunes, Jazz standards, Bossa Nova... Not much rock! The band actually did pretty well and played a lot of gigs. Even won a battle of the bands that got us a gig at the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York. That was pretty exciting. While we were at the World's Fair, we also made a music video at the RCA pavilion. How many years before MTV was that? I sure wish I had a copy now. Somewhere, I've at least got a photo of us in the studio recording it.


Here's a photo before the Intruders expanded and became fabulous...


L to R: Ray Schilcher, Smiley (Alan) Matthews, Jon Manners, Barry Smith

(Click on the photo to hear an MP3 of the first original song I ever wrote, Tension, in 1964)


 The Intruders played at Norwalk High School at least once. I remember that gig in the gym, (what awful acoustics, they don't get much worse), it was a triple bill with The Ravens and some other band. The Playboys, maybe. The Ravens were a little older and very good. An offshoot of the legendary Bluebeats. They were Beatlesque. It was after this gig that I left The Intruders to play with Johnny Dotson, Tom Read, and Kelly Wright. I guess I saw The Ravens and I saw where I needed to go: NYC for some suede Beatle boots! The band was originally named The Critters and we all had faux leopard skin vests. Later, we became more in tune with the British Invasion and the name changed to The Sticky Wickets. The leopard vests got hung in the closet, and we all went MOD.

(Click the Wickets to hear another original, It Is Time)


There is a complete history of my entire music career at my own website,

It's a pretty wild trip with lots of photos and music clips from 1957 to the present. There are also lots of downloadable "quick takes" of some of my more recent songs. Quick takes are pretty much what they sound like. I sit down with my guitar and a microphone and do a quick, solo recording. Here's a sample called Mr. Energy's Answer  For a couple of years, I was adding one every month. Then I got too busy with other stuff. I still play out pretty regularly, and release a new CD every couple of years.


If you remember any of my musical exploits, or your own, or somebody else's from our High School era, please post them in the Sticky Wickets corner of the rememberNHS forums. I'd love to hear from you!  - Jon