Everybody has a story. This is mine. We go way back. My family is from Northern Ireland, coming to America sometime in the early 1770s. My great-great grandpa Charlie made it to Georgia and then to West Virginia where they settled in for awhile. I grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and moved to Wisconsin for work as a sales representative. I turned down a transfer opportunity and became a tried-and-true Badger. I loved Wisconsin and didn’t want to leave. I built my house in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, in 1976 and became a long-time resident.     I’m proud that I started the first high school soccer team program in Cedarburg. I’m proud also of my 25-year tenure with the city’s commission that oversees parks and pools and I am an active member in our Rotary. I found success as a director of advertising and as a senior account executive in an advertising agency. My last real adventure was starting a millwork business with a friend. Just about lost our ass the first year but pulled it out so now it’s a successful business that I retired from. Those are things I did to make a living so I could do what I love doing – making music.   In high school my instrument was the upright bass. Today, it’s rhythm bones introduced to me by my father when I was 30. He had forgotten all about them until I asked him “What were you doing when you rattled some sticks together?” “Why that’s playing the bones,” he said. He showed me the basic triplets with a couple wood slats then made me a pair from some old hickory– warped them in water.   In December, 2005, I had the opportunity to play with the Milwaukee Symphony at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center. I was to play the bones, and wanted to do Parade of the Wooden Soldier. “No one knew what the bones were all about…including the conductor Andrew Massey.” I had to demonstrate playing the bones with the music for the conductor, who responded, “Well, I think it will be quite fine.” The conductor introduced Dave: “This fellow is going to do something with the bones.” He gave me seven seconds, but I spoke for two minutes. After my performance, I was given a standing ovation. (Read more interesting details of Dave’s story by clinking the link above)   If you are a rhythm bones player, Dave wrote about the “Responsibilities of a Bones Player” for the RBP Newsletter (click the link above).


David Boyles Has Passed

Long time member, David Boyles, from Cedarburg, WI, passed away on April 28, 2021.

We met Dave at Bones Fest III and watched him in a dueling rhythm bones battle with Spike Bones. Later that day he became a Founding Member of the Rhythm Bones Society, and attended many Bones Fests over the years.  Dave made and sold cow rib bones under the name, Black Bart. Click HERE to see Dave’s Profile Page.  Click HERE to view a Profile video of Dave.

In 2007, Dave and Don Gilmore hosted a most memorable Bones Fest XI at the Riveredge Nature Center north of Milwaukee and at the Milwaukee Irish Fest.  David and Lisa Edgar’s band, Razzmatazz, played for Bones Fest XI.  Click HERE for more about that Fest.


Lisa Edgar’s reflections:  I first met David over 35 years ago when my band was playing for a meat packing company convention. Dave had made some bones as promotional gifts for the attendees and was invited to the dinner party . He ended up playing with us that night and we’ve worked together ever since.  But he didn’t perform exclusively with Razzmatazz – he was always being invited to jump on stage and play with all manner of musical groups including his step-son’s rock band, and countless Bluegrass and Irish bands. He loved to play.  He loved to entertain.  He loved to dance. He put his whole body into it. Beyond being talented, he had unmitigated enthusiasm for playing music and making people happy.

He was such a great character and I am so grateful to have known him as a friend and band-mate over all these years. I have a treasured pair of bones from Dave he gave to us as a wedding gift inscribed: “Max and Lisa – Make beautiful music together”

Dave adored his wife Peg, and he regaled his band-mates with his schemes and designs to surprise her for birthdays and anniversaries. One such plot involved getting a local cop to pull Peg over on her drive home – sirens blaring – and when she rolled down the window, she was handed a ring from Dave – his anniversary gift… Surprise!  “Yessir that’s my Baby” was the song Dave always sang for her whenever she came to a gig – complete with an elaborate bones solo, of course.


Dave returned from his first Bones Fest absolutely incredulous –  he told us;  “You can’t believe this! There are a whole bunch of guys like me!”  He had found his mates. We called him the Boneman.


Steve Brown reflections:  My earliest memory of Dave Boyles was at Bones Fest IV. It was my first Bones Fest, and I was still a little hesitant about how I was relating to all these rhythm bones players. On the Saturday morning I got my chance to play in front of everyone, and when I finished and came off stage I was greeted by Dave Boyles with a big hug and a big smile! I enjoyed his company in a number of Bones Fests, and stayed at his house when he sponsored Fest in Wisconsin. He had a lot of energy, and was a great ambassador for rhythm bones. We will miss him!

Dave’s Media

Dave Boyles’ Video Profile

Dave Boyles Plays After You’ve Gone


  This lively music is by Lisa Edgar and RazzMaTazz with Dave on rhythm bones, washboard, cymbal, and other percussion, and Joe Aaron on clarinet, Tom Los on revolving sousaphone, and Pete Runde on trombone. The rhythm bones begin about half way through the song, and include a rather nice bones solo.