Features: 60s Garage Bands: Other Influences


The Tropics

Based out of Tampa Florida, The Tropics began as a seven piece horn band featuring Mel Dryer on lead vocals, Buddy Pendergrass on guitar and Spencer Hinkle on drums, with Wayne Guida on Trumpet and Ronnie Ferrer on sax.

During 1965, in the wake of the British Invasion, the band changed from their basically R&B style to become a more Beatlesque type band, adding Eric Turner on guitar and Charlie Souza on Bass, dropping the horns and hiring a new drummer, Bobby Shea. They then added manager, Margie Sexton, owner of the famous "Surfer's Club," at Madeira Beach, an extremely popular teen-age night club in the mid-60's.

The Tropics with James Brown

In 1966, The Tropics, AKA "The Bitchin' Red Band" when playing on the Pier in Cocoa Beach, Florida, won The International Battle of the Bands held at the famous McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. The Band took first place over more than 1000 bands, which included such names as Chicago and Tommy James & The Shondells. Out of that came a recording contract with Columbia Records in New York and the single "Take the Time," produced by Teo Macero, which made it to the top of the charts and got a 92 on Dick Clark's American Bandstand!

On May 7, 1999, the Tropics reunited for a 30-year reunion at the St. Petersburg, Florida, Coliseum in a benefit show for All Children's Hospital. The reunion was a tremendous success and many good friends were reunited in a free-spirited, fun-filled nostalgic evening, reliving the innocence of those wonderful times. "It was Fabulous" says Margie Sexton, the bands former manager. It was also the time to get back in the studio and re-record some of thier favorite tunes, some of these recordings are available now on the 7 song CD, "The Tropics then & now 'Still get a Chill'" including the title song especially written for the occasion, "Still get a Chill!"

Band members include Charlie Souza, Eric Turner, Buddy Pendergrass, Mel Dryer, and Bobby Shea.

Several Tropics, Bacchus, and other Charlie Souza projects are avaliable from cdbaby.com . A Tropics documentary video is available for viewing at the official Tropics website, charliesouza.com.