Ralph Covert
When Ralph started The Bad Examples back in 1987 he wanted to work with great musicians who were always great guys- and he’s always been able to do that. The current lineup of the band is officially Ralph, Tom O’Brien, Pickles Piekarski, Steve Gerlach, and Larry Beers, but you might see Terry Wathen, David Thornton or John Richardson providing the big beat on any night.

Tom O'Brien guitar
Tom was almost the band’s first lead guitar player but he was already such an in-demand and versatile player that it took a while for him to join up. His lyrical and melodic playing helped define the band’s sound. For a few years Tom couldn’t tour with the band but now he’s back- and in Ralph’s World too! Not only has he also become a superb mandolinist but he’s been recording keyboards on some RW tracks and for the Examples' new Smash Reccord.

Tom "Pickles" Piekarski bass
He already had established himself nationally with John Prine’s Famous Potatoes and later Mike Jordan’s Rockamatics when he brought his bass to The Bad Examples. Besides having the perfect melodic pulse for Ralph’s songs, he’s been a great harmony vocalist.

Steve Gerlach

Steve Gerlach electric guitar
Guitar ace Steve Gerlach already had a regional hit with The Phantom Helmsmen (a band he led with his brother Tom) before joining The Bad Examples. When the Examples weren’t touring as frequently Steve never stopped- having his own bands (MysteryDriver, Cane Corso, The Most Dangerous Race, and now Tomorrow The Moon) and being guitarslinger-for-hire with such icons as Tommy Keene and John Cale. He often shares vocal leads with Ralph- and you’ll also hear his voice in many commercials these days as he’s always busy doing voiceovers for everything from beer to banks.

Larry Beers

Larry Beers drums
Larry Beers was almost a Bad Example a dozen years ago. That's when Ralph was first admiring his percussive skills with the Way Moves and later The Charming Beggars. The ever-in-demand drummer continued to play with a wide variety of bands but his most noted work comes from his roles in The Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra, Sonia Dada, Ulele, and most recently everyone's favorite marching band Mucca Pazza. Now he's the main pummeler behind Pickles Pierarski in the Bad Examples and can be heard throughout "Smash Record."

Terry Wathen
He was there behind the drum kit at the very start and until 2009 was the drummer’s drummer for The Bad Examples. He'll still play with the band live and in the studio now and then and helped shaped the sound of Smash Record. During the early 1990’s he also played in The Blue Balls, a Chicago-styled blues band with Pickles and John Duich.

Steve Wozny
Keyboards have been essential to the Examples’ recordings and when Steve joined the band full-time they got a guy who could lay down a greasy groove on a B-3 and play as pretty a piano as you could dream. He’s also toured with Badfinger and has a solo album to his credits. (And we should mention that he played with B.B. Spin’s Johnny Moe with David Thornton way back when… ). Not coincidentally, Woz and Tommy O’Brien were roommates around the time of the debut disc and later on formed The Johnsons together. RIght now the band's three-guitar line-up onstage leaves little room for the big B3 but you can hear some of his grooves on the new Smash Record.

John Duich
John honed his guitar chops in Chicago’s blues scene- most notably with The Legendary Blues Band which consisted of Muddy Waters alumni. He had also recorded for Alligator with Valerie Wellington and toured with Zora Young. His years with the band had them touring heavily and usually playing a scorching blues set when Ralph would leave the stage for a few songs. He eventually decided to return to the blues full-time but passed away unexpectedly on January 8, 1998. If you go to Buddy Guy’s Legends club you can see a poster prominently displayed from a benefit for his two sons- a testament to how loved and respected he was. John's son James Marshall Duich is now playing in Devils And Ropes.

John Richardson
John started pounding the skins for the band around 1996. He’d been playing with Shoes (whose Jeff Murphy recorded the Examples first great sides), Tommy Keene and Badfinger. He’s still providing perfect pop precision with Badfinger, The Gin Blossoms, and other hitmakers around the country

David Thornton
Born in Chicago, David’s been drumming with many of the Windy City’s best for a couple decades now including the late great Mark Hannon (“The Blues Cannon”), Betsy & The Boneshakers (which also usually includes Pickles Piekarski), Loose Lips, former punker Johnny Moe, and the Johnsons (with Woz, Tom O’Brien and Gordon Patriarca). He can also be heard on the Ralph’s World recording “The Box Of Fun.”

Rob Newhouse
Outside of Chicago, he may be better known as Rob Elvis of The Elvis Brothers, the pop-rockabilly band with a couple of great major-label albums and super-fun international tours. He took over lead guitar duties in the Examples for several years in the late 90’s. Like Ralph he also taught at the OTS- including children’s classes. He’s back in Chicago teaching and rockin’ for the pre-K crowd in The Swing Sets with Laura Doherty (who had an album one album out on Waterdog Records).

Ron Barnes
In early 1998 Ron brought his sensational sticks to The Bad Examples and wound up chairing both that band and Middle 8- the group co-founded by bassist Brian Sheridan (now also of the RW live band and The Good Mondays). Besides continuing to play with an amazing array of Chicago’s top local outfits (including Liquid Soul, Maggie Speaks, Kimi Hayes, the Ken Arlen Orchestra), he’s one of the principal percussionists with the world-famous Willow Creek Community Church and has worked with former Styx vocalist Dennis DeYoung.

Greg Balk
The tall man with the big bass was in the original trio version of The Bad Examples and can be heard on MEAT: which includes the earliest version of "Not Dead Yet". Greg had been in The Service- the band that later found even greater (and funnier) success when they morphed into The New Duncan Imperials.

Joe Campagna
Joe was the very first in a series of stellar lead guitarists for The Bad Examples when the group expanded from a trio to a quartet. He's never strayed far from the guitar earning deserved respect in Chicago's blues clubs and cutting some hot records. He also became one of the most sought-after guitar techs in town including stints with REO and Survivor.