Serving the Greater Lehigh Valley area with great Classic Rock and more.
In the late '70s and early '80s, Randy and Greg played in the local classic rock band Ceramic Ant,
which later became Strange Brew.
They reunited in 1990 to form an acoustic duo, which was named the Critters, after Randy's nickname.
Greg and Randy played at local clubs for several years as a duo.
In 1995, bassist Bill Fox, whom Greg had played with in the progressive rock band ShadowPlay,
was invited to sit in at a job, and the additional vocal harmony along with his fluid bass playing
soon made Bill a regular member of the group.
The "duo" now had three members.
The following year, keyboardist Bob Ashmore, also formerly of ShadowPlay, was invited to sit in
and add piano and synth parts to the Critter's acoustic sets.
Like Bill, the addition of Bob's virtuoso keyboard skills and uncanny ability to get just the right
sound, quickly made him a permanent Critter.
The "duo" now had four members.
The band had fun working with several drummers over the years, and finally settled on
Strange Brew drummer Bill Fenstermacher in 2002 as the band's permanent drummer.
The "duo" now has five members, making the Critters the largest duo in the universe!
With the current line-up, the Critters perform an eclectic mix of acoustic guitar material,
acoustic/electric guitar material, and unusual/well composed classic rock material that no
other band in the area could even dream of attempting to play.
Randy is a founding member of the Critters.
With Greg, he was a member of Ceramic Ant, which eventually became Strange Brew.
In 1990, Randy and Greg formed what has been the nucleus of the Critters.
Randy is a lead singer and guitarist in the Critters.
More about Randy is in the works.
Greg Van Allen
Greg Van Allen has been playing guitar for over 30 years, and along with Randy Brensinger was
a founding member of the Critters in 1990.
In addition to the Critters, Greg plays in the acoustic trio Trilogy, which plays locally
at The Shanty in Allentown, Blue Mountain Vineyards in New Tripoli,
local festivals and private parties.
Greg has also rejoined the local classic rock band Strange Brew, which he co-founded in the 1970s.
Greg enjoys playing guitar and bass in the pit orchestra for musicals at Pennsylvania
Playhouse in Bethlehem.
Greg is a lead singer in the Critters and plays acoustic and electric guitars and bass.
Bill Fox was the first addition to the duo.
Bill has been playing guitar since the fourth grade and has added saxophone, bass, synthesizers,
mandolin, and percussion to his list.
Bill earned a BS in Electrical Engineering at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, while
he studied Music Theory, Composition, Electronic Music, and Audio Recording as a minor in music.
After coming to the Lehigh Valley in 1992, Bill played in the pit orchestra for Munopco's production
of "Promises, Promises" where he met an actress/singer he later asked to join ShadowPlay.
Bill joined the Municipal Band of Allentown, playing alto saxophone.
Also in 1992, Bill met Bob and Greg at work.
From 1992 to 1995, Bill joined Bob in his progressive rock and progressive jazz project which soon
became known as ShadowPlay.
After a succession of musicians, Greg joined the band as guitarist.
When ShadowPlay lost some members and took a year-long hiatus, Bill asked Greg if he could sit in
with the Critters some time.
In late 1995 it happened and Bill has been a Critter ever since.
In January of 1996, Bill returned to playing in pit orchestras, mostly at the Pennsylvania Playhouse.
He played in Jesus Christ Superstar where he met future members of ShadowPlay.
In October of 1996, Bill reformed ShadowPlay (whose first gig was a three hour show at Musikfest in 1997)
and Bob and Greg both returned to the band while all three maintained membership in the Critters.
Somewhere along the way, Bill got Greg interested in playing in pit orchestras.
Upon retiring from engineering in 2001, Bill now owns a recording studio, promotes and organizes
the Soundscapes Concert Series, volunteers as a DJ at WDIY (hosting EMUSIC since 1997) and WMUH
(hosting The AM/FM Show and Afterglow since 2002), and plays in several bands:
The Critters, the Municipal Band of Allentown (a concert band), Malarky (a Celtic band), Gritz (a
Country band), Pinnacle (a progressive rock trio), and Xeroid Entity (an electronic music trio).
Bill plays bass and acoustic guitar in the Critters and sings harmony.
Bob joined the band after hearing the trio in 1996 while his progressive rock
project, ShadowPlay, was on hiatus.
He started out as a guitar player, taking lessons for a few years.
Then he formed his first rock band in 1965, shortly after the Beatles came to America.
He worked this band for 10 years.
Bob attended music school as a keyboard/composition major earning a B.A, M.A, and
He performed in a 30 piece jazz band at college in addition to various rock and progressive
rock bands along the way that featured music by Yes, Genesis, ELP, Kansas, Steely Dan, Beatles,
CSNY, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Santana, King Crimson, Jeff Beck, Stanley Clarke,
Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Jean Luc-Ponty and other excellent composer/performers.
Bob joined the Critters full time after ShadowPlay folded in 1995.
(ShadowPlay played music by the artists previously listed and was the culmination of a project
Bob attempted to keep on track for approximately 10 years.
Bob plays synthesizer in the Critters, covering all the piano, organ, string, brass, piano,
and mellowtron parts, as well as special effects and any other instrument emulation the band needs.
Bill is the most recent addition to the band.
He replaced "Ringo" the drum machine and a long line of temporary drummers.
Bill started taking lessons on snare drum at the age of eight years old.
After driving his parents crazy banging on chip cans, they bought him a drum kit.
Big Mistake for them.
He made the whole family and all of the neighbors nuts.
He started playing in a band at 12 years old and the people that he made crazy gladly drove him
to rehearsals and gigs.
That was only to get rid of him for a little while and apparently it worked.
He has been playing in bands ever since.
The strange thing is, these people he drove nuts still come out when he plays.
Perhaps that's why he was allowed in the band...
Bill plays drums in the Critters.