“Sugar and spice and all things nice, kisses sweeter than wine.” was the refrain heard throughout America in 1966 when Chicago’s own Cryan’ Shames began a successful sojourn up the record charts with the song Sugar and Spice bringing them into National prominence as one of the more versatile rock vocal groups of the late Sixties. A group of teenagers rehearsing and playing in garages and basements in the western suburbs of Chicago. Eventually, in 1966, to become the first Chicago rock group to sign, and record with a major, national label, Columbia.     


 The hauntingly beautiful compositions and intricate vocal harmonies that the Shames became so well known for, helped shape the Chicago sound in the late Sixties, and early Seventies.  Each new album became a celebration of fresh compositions, innovative orchestrations, and exciting vocal textures.  But the real strength of the Shames was, and is, their high-energy live performances punctuated by their strong visual presence that makes their audience smile and sing along.


Now, after Forty-two years and more than thirty-four recordings, the Shames are once again joining their voices in perfect harmony to bring back those memorable high-energy performances.  Many of their past hits along with some new surprises comprise a show that has delighted concert goers of all age groups for the past twenty-five years.  Each of the new Cryan’ Shames are extremely talented instrumentally and vocally as their show reflects.  With each member taking lead vocals as well as adding their part to the patented Shames harmonies.


Since their reformation in 1986 they have maintained a full schedule of appearances including such events as Taste of Chicago and Milwaukee Summer Fest.  Concerts at The Rosemont Theater, Park West, Star Plaza Theater, Chicago's Symphony Center and appearances at scores of civic fairs and festivals, as well as clubs, corporate functions, fundraisers and benefits, achieving attendance records, accolades and encore performances!


The past few years have proved to be the very best years the Cryan' Shames have ever had. The year 2009, with the return of Tom (Toad) Doody the original Lead Singer, is already shaping up to top all of those. With their reputation as one of the easiest to work with, most professional, and entertaining acts of their genre. They consistently please crowds of all ages without breaking your budget.


Proof positive that the music of the Cryan’ Shames has stood the test of time is the nonstop requests for their songs on the radio and the recent four CD release of every tune they ever recorded. Continuing to keep their name and legacy as fresh today as it was yesterday.





Jim Pilster, a.k.a. J. C. Hooke, (Latin Percussion, cymbal kicks and vocals) was one of the founding members of the Cryan’ Shames.  His on-stage antics and versatile playing add an exciting texture to the Shames performances.  As one third of the group’s rhythm section, Jim’s Latin percussion punctuates every song with a unique flavor.  “The Hooke” (which he wore and now hangs in the Hard Rock Café) continued his musical career with a variety of groups until the Shames reformed and still lives in the Chicago area.


Rocky Penn, (Drums and vocals) maintains the meter-like solid beat necessary to carry on the Shame’s tradition.  Known for his expertise on drums, Rocky possesses a thorough knowledge of most types of music from jazz to rock to pop, and his superb vocal talents’ lead and background, add immeasurably to the Shames sound.


Greg Brucker, (Bass guitar and vocals) is the third component of the strong rhythm section that makes up the Shames.  Greg’s remarkable ability to compliment Rocky and “Hooke’s” playing while maintaining his own individuality allows the Shames rhythm section to shine as never before.  His wonderful vocal talents helps fill out the multiple harmonies demanded in The Cryan’ Shames music.


Paul Wood, (Keyboards, Guitar and vocals) is the consummate professional musician.  The multi-talented Paul faithfully recreates the Shames original sound.  His multiple keyboard set-ups add a rich orchestral sound to the group, but can also add some surprisingly 'funky' feels with a rocking piano and distinctive voice.  Paul also plays a mean guitar that creates  intricate double leads throughout  the show.


Jeff Rutter. (Guitar and vocals), continues the strong tradition of Shames guitarists.  Jeff’s ability to identify with many musical styles makes him the perfect compliment to the Shames.  His consistently 'zany' stage presence along with an excellent vocal range blends perfectly with the group and its entertaining stage show.


Tom (Toad) Doody, (Lead vocals), Another original member. His smooth, very distinctive vocal styling and strong stage presence is still a crowd pleaser and places him high on the list of Chicago’s finest vocalists / front men.  Tom has continued to hone his skill in the studio while on a loooong vacation in southern California .


Michael Ayres, (Percussion, Vibes) eludes categories in the way he synthesizes divers musical forms. He expresses a natural feeling on vibes that is rhythmic, alive and atmospheric. As a percussionist his Latin and African influences are strong. As a drummer, rock and funk beats are part of the air he breathes.



Dave Zane, Occasionally plays guitar and Vocals.

















The Cryan' Shames Past Members