Bobby Hi-Test and The Octane Kids!

In 1974 a group of friends at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA formed a rock and roll band to play their favorite music. Those that didn't play instruments ran sound, hauled equipment, and made up the extended Octane Kids family. Soon the band was playing at fraternity parties like St. Elmo Hall & ZBT, "Down The Road" venues like the Chute at Mary Baldwin College, outdoor ragers at Lake Reynovia & Port-A-Ferry Farm, and numerous other parties and happenings so prevalent in the mid-1970's.

The Octane Kids would often rehearse in the back yard of the house in Earlysvillle shared by Bobby Hornsby, Herb Fried, and Peter Fritchman.

L to R- Bruce Hornsby (Piano), Peter Fritchman (Drums), Bobby Hornsby (Bass), Bryan Bostwick (Drums), Ann Skinner (Vocals, Percussion), John Friant (Guitar), and Bobby "Cakes" Bryant (Guitar) Speaker grilles were tie-dyed for all amps and the Atlas-Sound horns (fugitives from a stadium PA) were colorfully painted inside and out.

The "definition" below is taken from the book "Skeleton Key, A Dictionary for Deadheads" and it sums up the Octane Kids pretty well. Thanks to David Shenk and Steve Silberman for this special book-click on the book to buy a copy!

Here's what Skeleton Key says about the band:

Bobby Hi-Test and the Octane Kids --- A Dead cover band that turned out a working member of the band: Bruce Hornsby. In the spring of '74, Hornsby's brother Bob--who was in a Deadhead frat at the University of Virginia, Beta Theta Pi--formed the Octane Kids to play frat ragers, featuring Bruce on Fender Rhodes and vocals. "We used to play college grain-alcohol parties" remembers Bruce Hornsby. "We did a little Allman Brothers, a little Band, but almost all Dead. We used to do 'Jack Straw', 'Sugar Magnolia', 'Truckin'', 'Not Fade Away', 'Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad'...lots of Europe '72 and Skull and Roses. We didn't do a whole lot of money gigs, but it was more about just going to this country house that my brother lived in with all these hippies, and sitting around playing"

L to R - Bobby, Bruce, and Ann Hornsby on another day in Earlysville -- John Friant blows some blues harp -- Bryan Bostwick on the Drums (note the black socks used as poor-man's microphone windscreens - they actually seemed to make a difference!)

L to R - Bruce Hornsby on the Fender Rhodes piano (with the border collie "Maggie") as The Octane Kids play a grain party at Port-A-Ferry farm near Batesville overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains -- Bobby Hornsby on the Rickenbacker Bass -- Bobby "Cakes" Bryant on the Fender Telecaster.

L to R - Ann Skinner on vocals and percussion -- Peter Fritchman on drums -- Bryan Bostwick with John Friant on guitar -- Bruce Hornsby with the Gawreet Notebook on his piano (the official Kids spiral notebook filled with song lists, lyrics, chord changes, and other important info).

L to R - The main man turning the knobs at the mixing board, affectionately known as "King Knob", is Herb Fried with his friend Josie -- Alternate sound man and St. Croix associate Jimmy DiBoise sitting at the Peavy board, behind him are dogs Rider and Maggie, as well as crew member Mark "Sperry, Spudnut" Perry (on ground) -- Crew member and general assistant "Boston" Bob Graham, (called Boston because he's from...) talks with Bruce "Captain Keys" Hornsby (back to camera) -- Ann Hornsby (Ann Skinner married Bobby Hornsby in 1974) waits for the Crew to set up "the Kids".

In 2014 long-time friend Nancy Warren found this Polaroid she took of the Octane Kids at Lake Reynovia on a hot Spring day.

Thanks for sharing Nancy!

Fast Forward through the nineties to the new Millenium:

L to R - Bruce and Bobby Hornsby share a mic on "Going Down the Road Feelin' Bad" at the Further Festival, Verizon Amphitheater, Virginia Beach -- Ann and Bobby Hornsby join Bruce Hornsby and his Band to perform "Jack Straw" at Bruce's millenium bash, William and Mary Hall, December 31, 1999.


L to R - Former drummer Peter Fritchman playing guitar in the Dead Supermodels and other bands in the Philadelphia area -- Bobby "Cakes" now plays guitar for the The Dog Boys in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Thanks for visiting The Octane Kids- If you have questions or can add photos, links, or remembrances, please Send E-Mail to Bobby Hornsby, who would still like to have the '69 tie-dye grilled Fender Bandmaster Reverb head he's sitting on while he waits for the next set... (he does still have the '65 Fender Tremolux head and the Bassman cabinet in the rear right of the photo)

Click here to see more old Octane Kids pics - Live from Lake Reynovia-April 21, 1974"

Octane Kids Related Links:

Bruce Hornsby: &

Bobby and Ann's son, guitarist R.S. Hornsby -

Like the drumhead says
...and you better believe that they're Gawreet!