The Rusted Roses was formed in 2015 by Ben Karmelich with Jennifer Barsky, Terry Mernin and Joel Probasco after jamming together at a party at Ben's house. The name Rusted Roses came from combining Neil Young's "Rust" sound to the Grateful Dead's "Roses" imagery. The band quickly moved on to finding more bands that fit our genre and style.
We performed our first show on Oct 1, 2015 with Paul Bonnano on lead guitar. By our next show, Janet "Turtle" Ryan was added as a second vocalist. In 2016, Paul left the band, Terry moved from playing bass back to guitar and Tom Atkins then joined as our bassist. Vocalist Laura Daigle also played many shows with us often filling in for Janet or Jenn. Chris McKinney often joins us on keyboards.
Rusted Roses has played over 100 shows, has a repertoire of over 325 songs and has become a regular fixture at many venues and social events within the Los Angeles local jam band scene. Rusted Roses continues to play most weekends and is constantly adding new songs to our repertoire. We recently played a "Mystery Album" in 2022 and plan to continue that tradition every year.
Rusted Roses has performed as an all Grateful Dead band, an all Phish band and as an all classic rock band, depending on our audience. Usually we play a lot of Dead & Phish while mixing in so much more from that genre.
Ben Karmelich | Guitar
Ben Karmelich has been playing guitar since elementary school and was in his first band in high school playing Led Zeppelin and Queen. He started his first Grateful Dead band in 1985 with a band called The Other One. Ben became known as “Mr Jukebox” for his vast repertoire while playing at bonfire parties and singalongs. Ben started the BenCentrics in 2014 which played regularly in the jam band community and the following year, he started The Rusted Roses to fill his need for playing an expanded repertoire as well the Dead and Phish. Ben also plays guitar, fiddle and accordion in the original band, The Virtual Campfire. When not playing music, Ben works with the homeless communities and manages supportive housing.
Terry Mernin | Guitar/Vocals
Since learning Beatles’ and Everly Brothers’ songs on guitar with his brother back in Massachusetts, Terry has loved playing and performing many genres of music. He played in punk bands like The Karey Doolin Band and in soul and Motown bands like Homecookin’. After founding Dead To The Core in 2008 (along with Joel Probasco), Terry began a daunting quest; grappling with the enormous repertoire of The Grateful Dead. In 2015 he became a founding member of the vocal rock band Rusted Roses where he gets to play a wide variety of rock, country, reggae and jammy musical genres.
Janet Ryan | Vocals
Janet Ryan, also known as Turtle, got her start in music with her family. She sang with them nearly every day, and her mom and grandmother taught her how to harmonize. She went on to sing in choir at church for many years. She's been singing in the local jam band scene for over 20 years. You'll find her on stage with Cubensis, The ISMS, Sanford Street and many others. She joined Rusted Roses at their 2nd gig in 2015. She loves the energy she shares with the band and with the audience. When she's not on stage, she's on the ice as a competitive figure skater.
Jennifer Barsky | Vocals
Jennifer is lively and passionate singer that has sat in with Cubensis, David Gans, and several other local jam bands in the Los Angeles area. In 2015 she became a founding member of the Rusted Roses (and created our logo!). In 2016 she also joined The Isms, a local blues jam band. Jenn enjoys singing in a variety of different styles and ranges. Her favorite singers and influences include; Beyoncé, Amy Winehouse, Donna Jean Godchaux (Grateful Dead), Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane), Mélanie Pain (Nouvelle Vague), and Loulou Ghelichkhani (Thievery Corporation).
Tom Atkins | Bass/Vocals
Bassist, Tom Atkins, originally from New York, first picked up the guitar in his teens and became proficient over several years. From there, he borrowed a bass guitar and taught himself how to play, primarily playing along to Grateful Dead songs. In 1995, Tom relocated to LA, where he joined the SFV-based band, Stunt Road, as rhythm guitarist. After that path had run its course, Tom decided to focus on bass. Soon after, he joined CORE, another Valley-based band, where he stayed for 15 years. Thereafter, he was tapped to play bass in Rusted Roses, a position he has held for six years (and counting!). Tom cites Todd Rundgren and Phish as his favorite musicians. Tom resides in Sherman Oaks with his wife of 20 years.
Joel Probasco | Drums
Rusted Roses drummer, Joel Probasco, is a midwestern transplant who currently lives in Manhattan Beach. He is an old school drummer who fell in love with drums and drumming while watching The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. His influences range from Ringo and Charlie to Ginger, Mitch Mitchell, Bonham, Elvin Jones, Joe Morello, Bill Kreutzman, and many, many others too numerous to mention. Joel’s musical tastes also vary and include Folk, Blues, Jazz, Alternative Rock, and Country. He particularly loves the jam band scene and the music that is inspired by the improvisational nature and on-stage interactions that can occur in performance. Rusted Roses provides that lift and occasionally advances the trip forward.