Little Caesar and the Consuls

ROCK THE BLUES AWAY – Our 2016 show at Koerner Hall – Russ, Walter, Martin (Photo: Judi Willrich)

I had been doing quite a few miscellaneous gigs with Sonny Milne on drums and mid-2013 he invited me to come out to a Little Caesar rehearsal to see if I was interested in being part of this legendary group.

At the beginning of my tenure, we had the following personnel.

2013 Lineup just before Russ joined the band
  • Norm Sherratt, lead vocals, sax
  • Tony Crivaro, lead guitar, vocals
  • Walter Tayler, keyboards, vocals
  • Sonny Milne, drums
  • Sam Carothers, bass, vocals
  • Doug Dixon, guitar, lead vocals

I was brought in as a second saxophone to give the band a fatter sound.

Private peek into a rehearsal…

2014 Playing at Acton Town Hall

In mid 2014 Norm Sherratt decided to resume retirement and Doug Dixon took over lead vocals. A highlight at this time was the show we did at Wasaga Beach.

A significant show during April 2015 was the Greenhurst Reunion. There was a crowd of around 1000, all packed into a small arena in Lindsay. A highlight of this event was cameo appearance of three legendary Caesar members: Norm Sharratt, Tommy Wilson and Steve Macko… What a blast!!

Further Personnel Changes

As groups evolve, lead guitarist Tony Crivaro packed it in and lead singer Doug Dixon also moved on. To fill these voids the band would call back a past member, the amazing Martin Damsell as lead singer and guitar player, thus enabling Caesar to rise again.

Martin Damsell

In the summer of 2015 drummer Sonny Milne decided to retire from the group so we replaced him with Blaine Pritchett.

Around this time there was a gap in our Gig Calendar so I found a place for us to get our show legs back on… the Brechan Legion. This was our Promo Poster…

2015 Little Caesar and The Consuls at Brechin Legion

As bands evolve, drummer Blaine’s seat would be taken over by Phil Strong.

So now the lineup looked like this…

2015 Lineup: Sam, Phil, Martin, Russ, Walter

This 2015 lineup would go on for 5 years and include many great shows and a serious recording project.

2016 / Show at Koerner Hall

Another significant gig was a series of dances held at the legendary Jubilee Pavilion in Oshawa. I hadn’t played there since the time I was with the Shawne and Jay and the Majestics.

It was arranged that Caesar play opposite a very popular local Oshawa group called Par Four, lead by lead singer and guitarist, Stu Smith.

Stu was like superman, not able to leap over tall buildings but, he almost single-handedly arranged that we would do this Two-Band show. He arranged the hall, designed, printed and sold tickets, put up signs all around the city and helped with table setup, just to mention a few things, beyond playing with his group.


Par Four at the “Jube”.

* John Bradley and Bob Perkin were former members of Little Caesar and the Consuls

Little Caesar at the “Jube”

Our Serious Recording

Beyond playing gigs, the Caesar group recorded a bunch of songs for a new CD called “The Music Of My World“. Most of the songs were originals and most of these were written by Martin.

CD (cover art by Dan Strathdee)

Our new CD was released near the end of 2018 with distribution through the Orchard organization.

L-R: Walter, Russ, Phil, Martin, James (Website image used until end of 2021)

With all this momentum of recording plus use of social media, I think the group was ready to make a major impression on the current music scene.

But then COVID-19 came along at the beginning of 2020 and everything was put on hold.

al fine

After 18 months of restricted gathering and no rehearsals, I felt it was time and took the opportunity to pass sax playing on to a “fresher” player. Since Gordon Aeichele had subbed for me while we were in Mexico to play a show in February 2020, he became the logical replacement, moving forward.

Gordon is a fine player. I caught his performance when the new lineup performed at Wasaga Beach in August 2021.

2021 Little Caesar and The Consuls at Wasaga Beach

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