|Even though The Rare Breed’s ‘Beg, Borrow & Steal’ is highly revered among collectors of ‘60s rock—it even appeared on Rhino Records’ Nuggets boxed set—there has long been somewhat of a “mystery group” tag applied to the band that recorded it. Due to the machinations of the Kasenetz & Katz (K&K) hit making process, the song was later released as by The Ohio Express, resulting in the true identity of the recording combo remaining unknown. Until late 2008 that is, when Barry Stolnick and John Freno—original members of The Conquests, the original name of the recording group—posted a video on YouTube. As a result, 60sgaragebands.com is now pleased to be able to provide information on who exactly The Conquests were, how they became affiliated with K&K and, more importantly, why they are now telling their story.
The Conquests were Barry Stolnick (Bronx, New York), John Freno, Alexander "Botts" Norbit, Joel Feigenbaum and Tony Cambria (all Brooklyn, New York).
|An Interview With Barry Stolnick
60sgaragebands.com (60s): Where and when was The Conquests formed?
Barry Stolnick (BS): John and I started playing together with various musicians about 1964. We had many different names at different times, and I'm not sure when it morphed into The Conquests.
60s: How active of a performing band was The Conquests?
BS: We worked regularly.
60s: What type of gigs did the band typically play?
BS: We played private parties, battle of the bands, many different nightclubs and venues.
60s: How did The Conquests first hook up with Kasenetz & Katz?
BS: I did ask John about this question. One of the writers of the song, Sylvester Bradford (along with Joey Day), saw John singing and approached him. As far as he can remember, it was his affiliation with K&K that formed the connection.
60s: Did you personally think the song had hit potential while recording it?
BS: While we all had the hopes of all young musicians that it would be a hit, we really had no idea.
60s: Were you aware of K&K's machinations prior to agreeing to record the song for them?
BS: If by machinations you mean their plans to release the record without crediting us, we had no idea.
60s: What was your and the band's reaction as the song was released as by The Rare Breed and again after it found success as by The Ohio Express?
BS: As kids, we were thrilled to hear our song on vinyl.
60s: How did your association with K&K end?
BS: After we recorded the song, we had no further contact with them.
60s: When did The Conquests call it quits?
BS: Once we recorded the song, The Conquests no longer existed. We still played under different names (of which I can't recall).
60s: Did The Conquests record any songs prior to K&K?
BS: At the time we recorded 'Beg Borrow and Steal,' we also recorded 'Lightning Doesn't Strike Twice.' We were told it wasn't released since Lou Christie released 'Lightning Strikes' about the same time.
60s: What was your reaction when 'Beg, Borrow & Steal' was included on the Nuggets boxed set?
BS: I wasn't aware that it was until years late. I wasn't surprised.
60s: After 40 years, what inspired you to finally tell the band's story, and to post the YouTube video?
BS: I was searching the song on the Internet and noticed there was a lot of confusion as to who recorded it. One day when John and I got together, I suggested we put the song on YouTube to clear up the confusion. In one take, with a small Casio camera, we just did it. We hope to put 'Lightning Doesn't Strike Twice' on YouTube also at some point.