Just make sure he doesn't steal anything!

While a lot of you got to know me as the “Roy Shaffer” character from The Davey Mac Sports Program, most of you probably don’t know how I first got involved with Dave.

East Side Dave McDonald and Roy Shaffer at SiriusXM.

During his down time in Studio B at SkinnyMan, my right-hand-man, Sean Barry used to regularly listen to the Ron and Fez Show on SiriusXM.   I had never really been a radio listener, let alone a fan of any shock-jock shows. At the time, I wouldn’t have been able to distinguish the difference between Opie and Anthony.  One of the more colorful characters that Sean brought to my attention was a maniacal on-air personality named “East Side Dave”.

One morning Sean came into my studio, letting me know that East Side Dave had just announced he was leaving the show. He had announced on the air that he was looking for a new home.  Sean asked what I thought about letting him host his new  sports show here at SkinnyMan.  I didn’t see any harm in it, as long as the show took place after normal business hours.  Sean’s first step was setting up an introductory meeting with Dave’s degenerate associate Chris “Pepper” Stanley.

I said, “Sure. Just make sure he doesn’t steal anything!”

On May 15, 2011 Pepper came by to scope out the place.  He reminded me a bit of Silent Bob and refused to take of his blue blocker sunglasses while indoors.   He reeked of cigarettes, and his hair was in serious need of a shampoo.

I could sense that Pepper was impressed with Sean and our studio’s facilities, but he would never show it.  I met him briefly, and he thanked me in advance for letting Dave and he use Sean’s studio for their show.

The following week, Dave McDonald came up to SkinnyMan for the first time. While Pepper played it cool, Dave was gushing about how awesome the studio was, and how impressed and excited he was.  In person, Dave seemed very different from the shit-eating monkey I was expecting to meet.  From the stories Sean had told me, I was expecting to meet the G.G. Allin of radio hosts.

Dave, Pepper, and Sean started doing the weekly sports show.  For the first initial episodes, Sean and I sat on the couch in the back of the room just to see what the show was about.  Because it was my studio and equipment, Dave never had a problem with us watching, and would sometimes even bring Sean and I into the conversation.  Truthfully, I’ve never had any interest in sports, but this particular show was different.  While Dave and Pepper always had serious conversations about athletes and games, he would always manage to go off on these comedic tangents about the most bizarre, yet revealing moments of his life.  I was intrigued, and quickly realized Dave’s talent underneath his frat-boy exterior.

On August 3rd,  2011 Dave approached me before the show.

“Hey Roy- You play keyboards right?”

“Yes David. Why?”

“I’m going to do a David Letterman impression, and I think it would be funny if you played the Paul Shaffer character.”

“Sure. Why not.”

And with that response, the Roy Shaffer character was born.

The following week before the show, we all laughed about the character.  I have a very distinct memory from that moment.  Dave looked at me very seriously and said, “Well that it. From now on, you ARE Roy Shaffer.”

The birth of Roy Shaffer.

Remembering Levon Helm


I did not know Levon Helm personally, but I did share an experience with him that could be seen as a testament to his personal character.

A few years back I took my family up to Levon Helm’s home in Woodstock, NY to witness one of his Midnight Rambles. Today’s show was a special “Kids Ramble”, so I knew it would be a great musical experience for my two kids, aged 3 and 5 at the time.

In typical Harter family fashion, we arrived a little late, and were forced to stand next to an empty Slingerland drum kit that was set up on the side stage. A few songs into the band’s set, I felt someone rudely pushing my daughter and I aside, obviously jockeying for a better view of the musicians. As I turned around to give this asshole a piece of my mind, imagine my surprise when I realized it was Levon himself, trying to squeeze past us to get behind his drums!

Once he started performing, my kids were in complete awe. They had never seen a drummer who was that close, personal, and LOUD. Of course, I was also in awe, as my entire family was standing two feet from one of the most legendary musicians of our generation. Levon, sensing my son’s fascination with the noise he was making, leaned over in mid-song and handed my son a drumstick, without ever missing a beat.

What Levon did next completely blew my mind. He started encouraging my son to start hitting the cymbals while he was still performing! My three-year-old son, no stranger to hitting things, began bashing away at Levon’s cymbals, while Levon just laughed and continued to groove. He genuinely seemed to enjoy the racket more than my children! He never once told my son to stop, even while his cymbal work was beginning to throw off the rest of the band! Levon just kept smiling, and egging my son to keep playing along.

They didn’t allow cameras at The Ramble, so I have no photographic evidence of the event. But it doesn’t matter. It was such a great personal moment, that I don’t even care if people believe me when I tell the story.
My wife, who really didn’t know too much about Levon Helm or The Band before that day, walked away a fan-for-life.

Myself, well let’s just say, whenever my kids interrupt me in the solitary composer’s confinement of my own studio to, “Help Daddy make music”, I never turn them away.

Thank you for that Levon.