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by Gary Gordon
The Archer Road Band, '84: A one-night-only reunion gig
featuring Bruce Shepard, Chaz Scales, Melvin Bunk, Kenny Shore, Gary Gordon,
live at Jim Evangelist's Reality Kitchen
I am beginning to hate lists. Why? I have ten reasons...
No, I don't have a list. I have one reason: lists do not convey the flesh and blood of the experience. When all is said and done, all you have with a list is a microscopic two-dimensional reference to what may have taken years of life to accomplish.
Bill DeYoung's article kicked up a stir that is still going on in a variety of emails, so I thought I'd take a moment to write a little bit more specifically and hopefully expressively about some of the musicians I knew in Gainesville-especially some of the folks who entertained so many people or inspired other musicians, and may not ever get mentioned in a list.
Sid Jourard, Marty and Jeff's dad, came over to our house one evening and brought his guitar. This was maybe 1962. That was my introduction to guitar. Sid was a colleague of my dad's at the university; I was a kid, so I never really got to know him other than his being one of the parents who drove in the carpool or was at a dinner party now and then. Sid, like Dr. and Mrs. Soar, and my parents, were supportive of Steve's and Marty's and my pursuits of rock n roll in high school. The Soars let us use their garage for practice; Sid and my dad would take turns picking up Marty and I after practice.
It was a time when not all parents were eager or tolerant of these pursuits.
Sid died in a tragic accident in 1973. Marty and I recently exchanged a few emails: for some reason each of us has been thinking about our age relative to what our dads were doing at this age. My dad died of heart attack in '78. He told me he enjoyed The Archer Road Band album, but he wasn't around when I was mayor. Sid wasn't around for Marty's success in the Motels. Sid was the first person I knew personally who died.
Marty Jourard and Gary, at Crescent Beach, New Years, '86
(Marty's Book: Marty wrote a book about how to start a band in 1997, called, pointedly enough, Start Your Own Band!)
A few years after Sid introduced me to the guitar, Mike Eaddy transferred to the junior high and brought a guitar with him. It was a Stella. Lillian's, a music store that for years has been a nightclub in downtown Gainesville, had Stella guitars. I got one for $30. Mike and I formed a duo and played at the 8th grade talent show: "Ferry Cross The Mersey" and "Michael Row The Boat Ashore". Mike also wanted to do Roger Miller's "King of the Road" but I couldn't handle the chord changes.
Mike was kind of an urban redneck. A bright guy who was pulled in the direction of being just one of the guys. He was a born storyteller. We drifted apart in high school as I got together with Steve Soar and Glenn Anton and Tommy Freeland to put together The Controls, a.k.a. Airemont Classic. It was an odd grouping. None of us was cool. None of us were jocks. If it hadn't been for rock n roll, Steve and I would've been nerds or geeks or scholars. Tommy was heavyset (as they say). And Glenn was tall-- really tall. Glenn and Steve knew electronics-- these were the days of Olson Electronics and tuner kits. Steve and I built our own speaker cabinets. Glenn and I had played at low-power radio, the kind where you could broadcast from room in the house to a radio at the other end of the house.
Gordon, circa 1965, at the home-made radio set-up he and Anton worked at before they started the band.
Possibly on the turntable: Liar Liar by the Castaways or The Game of Love by Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders
The last time I saw Mike, as I recall, was when the holidays were approaching in 1986. My wife had left me, I was seriously depressed, and I ran into Mike in a grocery store. He invited me to dinner with his family. I declined. I probably went home to drink, or went on the prowl to Richenbacher's, which, at the time, was the ground zero of Gainesville music.
Glenn, Steve, Tommy and I worked at our band, but none of us could sing. We took turns singing. But it didn't matter: none of us could sing. Steve was the lead guitarist initially because he could play "Wildwood Flower". In a few years he was well on the way to becoming a great guitar-player.
Airemont Classic, '68: Gordon & Soar; Anton & Bob Bates in background
Those were great guitar-player times. I still remember when we first heard Hendrix... Clapton... Townshend... Beck... Page. My image of myself was that I could never play like that, so I dug into the rhythm guitar and lyrics. Steve's image allowed him to think he could play like that, and man, in a few years, he did. But the first years were mired in learning our instruments, learning bar chords so we could play "Just Like Me" by Paul Revere & The Raiders and "Come On Up" and "Good Lovin'" and "Midnight Hour" by the Young Rascals. And we were learning to work with one another in a whole new institution: it wasn't Boy Scouts with a Scoutmaster and decades of rules and tradition; it wasn't "the Football Team", with a Coach, and more rules and traditions. It was a rock n roll band; our models were The Beatles and The Stones and the other bands in town. And somehow, we got better, got gigs, and emerged solidly into the lower echelons of Gainesville's bands.
Sometime in Spring '69 Marty Jourard took Glenn's place, and Joe Folsom (known to many radio audiences around Boston and San Diego in the 70s and 80s as JoJo Kincaid) became our singer. He could sing. And we became Uncle Funnel & The Push.
Uncle Funnel & The Push, with Marty Jourard on bass (and cowbell?), Steve Soar on lead guitar,
Tommy Freeland on drums, Joe Folsom on vocals, and Gary on rhythm guitar.
This was a promo mailing we put together to get gigs at area high schools.
Bob Fabrick took the photos.
Photoshop 6 was not available at the time.
But let me back up, because I don't want to just render the dates and names. This is about flesh and blood. Marty didn't just take Glenn's place like it was some smooth, orderly transition ordained in the Constitution. When we were The Controls, we were mostly Glenn's band. Glenn named the band. He wrote a couple of songs. He got the cards printed. When we became the Airemont Classic, at Tommy's suggestion, the band didn't really have a leader. I guess we were a collective. And I don't think Glenn liked sharing that much.
Glenn's dad helped get us gigs at one of the fraternities at UF, which lead to more frat gigs, and Marty started hanging around us, helping out as a roadie. At some point frictions developed, as they do. Then Glenn announced his family were going to be moving and suddenly, one day as we practiced in the Soar's living room, some minor dispute about how a song should go turned into a major shouting match and Glenn quit. And the thing is, most of us wanted him to quit, and most of us wanted Marty to replace him. And the other thing is Glenn and I were best friends when we started out on this band path a few years earlier. And the thing is, we never spoke to each other again.
Airemont Classic, '68, live at an outdoor party:
Steve Soar, Gordon, Bob Bates
Bob Bates was also in the band for awhile, but we really didn't need a third guitarist. I'm not sure why he joined or why we thought it was a good idea, but I remember the time we got a call from a frat to sub for a band that couldn't make it. We got in touch with everyone, but couldn't reach Bob, so we went to play the gig anyway, without him. Bob finally got the message about the gig and showed up, but it was painfully obvious that we didn't need him.
As I recall, it was Bob who suggested David Holton as a singer, and when we went to David's house to audition him, his friend Joe Folsom was with him. And after David auditioned, Joe just starting screwing around with a vocal and suddenly we were playing something like "Let It All Hang Out" and Joe was singing great. If I care to think about it, I can remember the crushed look on David's face.
Airemont Classic, '68, at the Grand Opening celebration for Sears... in the Gainesville Mall.
Bobby was no longer in the band, and this might've been Glenn's last gig.
It's not there anymore. Neither are we.
Then, probably a week after Marty was in the band, he announced that we needed a new name, and the name should be: Uncle Funnel & The Push. I would be Uncle Funnel, he said, since I was the leader. And we were Steve and Joe and Tommy and Marty and me.
Uncle Funnel & The Push, '69: Tommy Freeland, Joe Folsom, Marty Jourard, Gary Gordon.
Not pictured: Steve Soar
I've described above, in Part I, some of what Gainesville was like at the time. It was a university town where the revolution was going on. I saw Civil Rights demonstrations, then anti-war demonstrations. My friends Neil Fullagar and Pete Trimmer would talk all the time about the war. (Oh wow, I just remembered that for a brief moment Pete was our singer, before Joe. I don't think he ever did a gig with us, but I remember practicing in his basement, and Steve, who was a wiz with capacitors and all that stuff had just invented a distortion box he called a grunchtone. This was way before all the effects boxes that exist now.)
For those of us in junior high and high school, the cultural revolution, psychadelic music, and blacklight posters with naked women all coincided with our bodies starting to go crazy. At our high school, we had what were called Participant teachers-- these were university students in education who would be assigned to assist teachers in classes. One day after school one of the Participants summoned Steve and I to an out of the way area of campus and gave us a joint. Another time one of the most attractive Participants I'd ever seen invited me over to her apartment after school. Her apartment was in a new area of town dubbed Sin City-- it was a cluster of apartments occupied by students and achieved some national notoriety when Playboy dubbed UF the number one party school in either 1969 or 1970, and Sin City as the number one party area in Gainesville.
Uncle Funnel played a lot of Hendrix, Cream, Stones, and Creedence. Hey, you can't ask for any playlist better than that. We played fraternities and at the city Rec center on the west side of town, a cement block building that could hold around 100 people. Years later, when I was running for office, I participated in a candidate forum there and spent a little while flashing back to when I'd played there. We got the gig there initially because the woman who ran it was related to Jim Morrison and she'd heard us do "Hello, I Love You". Steve used a screwdriver on the strings of his guitar to get the special effect sound for the song.
And we played outlying area high schools where segregated bathrooms and water fountains still existed. We had a gig at one-Interlachen, I think, the week after the Allman Brothers first came to town. We didn't know who the Allman Brothers were, other than that they were participating in a battle of the bands sponsored by Sunn Music Equipment. We didn't enter because we didn't have any original songs. RGF was in it. So were several other Gainesville bands, and bands from as far away as Tallahassee, Tampa, and Daytona. The Allman Brothers blew us away, opening with Mountain Jam. (This was two months or so before their first album came out.) Steve and I spent the whole week figuring out and rehearsing Mountain Jam, with the dual harmony guitar parts, and when we got to Interlachen we played it for everyone gathered to dance in the high school gym. Nobody moved. Nobody bobbed up and down. Nobody got it. Nobody cared. I remember saying something like, "Okay, but in a few months you're gonna really like this kind of music," then we played Wipeout and the dance floor was jammed.
During this time we lucked into the use of a black VW bus, loaned to us by a colleague of my Dad's, Mel Garber. (If it weren't for the Education and Psych departments at UF, the band would probably never have existed.)
We traveled to Cedar Key for a New Years gig. Joe met a girl. Marty and Tommy got into an argument and Tommy quit the band. Fortunately he rejoined. The girl Joe met got pregnant. Tommy stole a neighbor's car to get to rehearsal, then wrecked it driving into the drive-way. Steve got better and better. I was just ordinary, but I got us most of the gigs and worked at keeping everyone together. Joe's pirate radio station got busted by the FCC-- I was actually listening to him broadcasting in my car on my way to his house and heard him stop a record in mid-song and read an announcement obviously handed to him by an FCC guy. A few months later he was a DJ on WGGG and late one night, during his shift, I talked him into playing the new (first) Led Zeppelin album, which was not on the playlist. Joe broke Zeppelin in Gainesville.
Sometime during this period Tommy thought he'd have to quit the band 'cause his folks were talking about moving. He brought a kid over to my house for a rehearsal, a tall, gangly guy who worked at the MacDonalds. His name was Stan Lynch. He rehearsed with us once, maybe twice, and we each have a vague memory that he played cowbell at one of our gigs-- maybe the Sears gig. But Tommy didn't have to quit, so Stan wasn't recruited.
The band was done when the school year ended. I was going off to college. Tommy's folks were moving to Jacksonville. Steve and Marty got together again eventually, ultimately enlisting Stan Lynch on drums; they became Road Turkey.
I worked that summer all over Florida and Georgia, touring with the Styrophoam Soul, playing bass. Mr. Morris, the manager of the band, was Randy's and Lonnie's dad. Randy played guitar, Lonnie sang. Mr. Morris called me "our Jew". One time he wanted to pay me with singles--a whole wad. I asked for larger bills. "That's our Jew," he said. One time we played a resort near Sebring. Most of the kids there were Jewish. He ran around telling everyone we were a good band, "We've got a Jew". It was too stupid to get upset about. Mark Loveland, who works at Goerings Books played keyboard. And I think the drummer's name was Jerry Simpson. Steve Ewing taught the bass parts to me before he left for the Navy. The Sytrophoam Soul descended from The Centurys, mentioned in Part One. Morris was, well, shrewd. At one point he had three bands named The Styrophoam Soul, so he could field three bands in one night. Several Gainesville musicians, including Jamie Sterrett and Stan Lynch played with this outfit. It was a perfect training ground for being on the road in the wrong kind of band.
Steve and I had a band briefly while we were at Emory University, in Atlanta. It never really had a name. We played a few times at the University of West Georgia in Carrolton, at these large in-the-quad type outdoor concerts and we became known as The Band From Atlanta. And we played one time in north Georgia, who knows where, and were almost busted at 3:30am on the way back to Atlanta in the middle of nowhere by two cops who stopped three longhaired hippies for "a broken tail-light". They didn't find the bag of dope. The only other things I remember about that band was that the bassplayer was named Steve Hill, we had a singer who also had the first name Gary, and the drummer, who had a VW bus, was named Brian; and that Steve was great on the guitar and I was exceedingly ordinary, a rhythm-guitarist, growing increasingly unnecessary by the moment. Plus, at that time, rock 'n roll was in Steve's veins, and ending the war and writing were in mine. Steve left Emory, returned to Gainesville, linked up with Marty and Stan and formed Road Turkey. I transferred to Northwestern and didn't have any kind of growth as a musician until I started playing with Don Beth in a totally acoustic, David Bromberg inspired fashion.
When Steve and Marty and Stan (and Carl) were Road Turkey, my friend Ira booked them several times into Atlanta clubs. They were a great band. He had also included them (as a trio) on the So It Goes... album he produced at Emory, before he left. That album cut and a few tapes of their live gigs is all I have of Steve's guitar work, but nothing recorded I know of matched his power, or Stan's power, or Marty's charm and gutsy vocals, when they played live.
Steve Soar, circa 1972
The last time I saw Steve Soar was sometime around 1982. He was visiting Gainesville, and I was getting into local politics. In the years between 1970 and 1982 he'd been out to L.A. and for reasons I never knew he left his pursuit of rock n roll, moved to Oregon or Washington and, I'm told, never plays the guitar. I knew there had been some wild years with Road Turkey, and some rough years in L.A. When we talked in a diner in '82 there was that chemical kind of pull to still be friends, but there was no longer much in common.
I saw Marty over the years and still keep in touch with him regularly. He emailed the photo below of Southpaw, a band he played in inbetween Uncle Funnel and Road Turkey.
Southpaw; Marty's in the front, on the right
The last time I saw Tommy was in '79. I was playing a solo gig at the College Inn and he came in. He'd seen my name listed in a Jacksonville entertainment publication I wrote for. We talked about the old days, which are, as I write this, really the old days: the time his bass drum pedal broke in the middle of a drum solo in Cream's "Toad" and he just walked off, declaring that was it for the night; the time he stole his neighbor's car in order to get to rehearsal, then swiped a pole just as he was pulling into the driveway at the place we were practicing, a sideswipe that ran almost the full length of the car; and the times when he wanted to play jazz rhythms during rock songs-hey, we were all learning, and his hero was Dino Danelli. Tommy said he was a UPS dispatcher; didn't play drums anymore.
The last time I saw Joe was in '84 or '85-- I was on the City Commission and he was visiting town. We had lunch. And I realized how remarkable he was. Joe, it seemed to me, was brought up as a redneck and bigot. I always felt he had problems with me at first because I was Jewish. Then there was Marty, with his Jewish afro. We worked well together, but it seemed like those attitudes were still there-- depending on who his circle was. When he left Gainesville he kicked around radio in the south, then went to Boston and somewhere along the line he changed. He shed the racism and bigotry. And it struck me as profound then, and still strikes me that way, that we all came up in that period of revolution, and he came out of it a real winner, dropping those hateful values.
I remember Marty telling me one time The Motels did a radio interview in Boston, promoting an album and concert, and there was Joe.
It's here, if I were writing a chronology, I'd talk about my return to Gainesville in '75 and the founding of the Archer Road Band, but instead, I want to get to some of the other musicians who made Gainesville a great place to be-- Maybe I'll do a Part III with specific emphasis on '76-'80, and bands like The Dixie Desperadoes, Lash Lane, the Jim Connor Band, and Mystic Raven; and places like The Alibi and The Lamplighter and Mad Monk's Inn and Cockneys and The Orange & Brew, and The Great Southern Music Hall & Backstage Bar, and folks like Don David and Mike Boulware and Bob McPeek and Ric Kaestner, and Waldo and Phil and Harve, and Charlie Hyde and Nancy Cook-- but this is starting to be just a list again, so...
Mike Boulware and Don David at Alachu-Aid I,
produced by Barry Sides, New South Music Hall Backstage Bar, '87
I was back in Gainesville last December, visiting, and to do a show. During the show I realized I could tell a story about when I'd first met almost every person in the audience. So I stopped for a moment and did. Then I think I got ridiculously sentimental, urging everyone to realize what a rich town it was, and to drop all the petty disagreements and differences that I'd been hearing about.
As I write this, I realize I can tell at least one story, if not several, about most of the musicians I worked with. I'm not gonna do that now, but I do want to mention a few folks who are amazing.
Nancy Luca, not mentioned in Bill's article, and who I referred to only briefly in Part I, was one of Gainesville's premiere guitarists in the 70s and 80s. Steve Soar pointed her out to me in around '73 when I visited town from Atlanta; she was playing in a country-rock band at Bobby's Hideaway. (Marty was playing sax in the other band-- they had two bands there that night). Nancy was (and still is) not only great, she was one of the first, if not the first, woman guitarist in the territory. For years it was Bonnie Raitt and Nancy Luca. She's in L.A., with a band, writing songs-some of them are available thru MP3.
In Part I, I described RGF as rock n roll incarnate. Well, Nancy Luca by herself is rock n roll incarnate. It doesn't take a whole band. Maybe it's because she's not only talented but also because she started young, but that guitar is part of her. It walks, it talks, it postures, it jokes, it wails, it moans, it begs, it teases, it demands, it cries out for more, it strokes, it caresses-- yeah, okay, am I talking about guitar-playing or sex? Well, rock n roll is sex. It's high energy. It's anticipation and delivery, it's frustration and fulfillment. If you have one without the other then it's folk music.
Gordon (with Mike Lowe's guitar) and Nancy Luca at the Blue Monday Jam at Richenbacher's, '87.
You get on stage with Nancy and the earth starts to shake. She is soulful and explosive, and now she's writing some great songs, too. I first really met her as a musician when she came onstage to jam on Blue Monday at Richenbachers when I was in the Blue Monday Band in '87. I mean, I'd known her and even interviewed her once for a weekly magazine, but that night we played together as Barry Sides sang one of his signature songs-- "Who Do You Love?"; --Nancy and I fell into dual Allman Brothers style playing and, in the immortal words of Commander Cody, it was "too much fun". She is rock n roll incarnate.
Charlie "Chaz" Scales, also not in Bill's article, is still one of Gainesville's most incredible guitarists. I met Chaz at The Alibi when the Archer Road Band was playing there. He came in with the lady who would later be my wife (now ex). Chaz replaced me in the Archer Road Band when I quit. A year later I hired him to work at Hyde & Zeke Records when I was manager. A few years later he became manager after I left. Now he owns the place. We worked together a lot in various versions of The Archer Road Band in the late 80s (and in The Band That Never Was with Don David and Bob Harris) and to this day I have no idea how he thinks on guitar. He is clever, inventive and thoroughly unpredictable. He plays the tune. He's got the right tone. But his leads are his leads, like no one else. Enjoyable, moody, exciting, climactic. It is wonderful to hear him play.
Buffalo Springsteen at Alachu-Aid I ('87):
Chaz Scales, Barry Sides, & Gordon
Michael Cripe and Bruce Klein were also not mentioned in Bill's article, although the Rhythm & Blues Revue was and Cripe played in that. Cripe is a blues guitarist, seems to tower on stage, he can be a really moody son of a bitch but he's got a great heart and he can make the guitar speak volumes. Bruce is mild-mannered until you put an electric guitar in his hand, then the expression and emotion flow, like oratory, like rants.
The Rhythm & Blues Revue with Michael Cripe on guitar, Greenpeace Benefit, '89
Billy Bowker and Larry Thompson didn't make it into Bill's article; two drummers with different styles, each profound and unique. Bowker's got a jazz influence and really plays off the other instruments. In the jams we did in The Band That Never Was he would play off Bruce Shepard's sax, Chaz's leads, my leads, our dueling leads, Bob Harris's keyboard, and Don David's bass. Larry is more rock n roll, and a steadier beat you couldn't want or wouldn't need. Choice riffs. Tasty comments. Plus the guy is funny as hell.
Larry Thompson, in A Gary Gordon Band at the Greenpeace Benefit, '89
Dave Durham and Kenny Shore, my partners in the original Archer Road Band (which also included Bruce Shepard after awhile) didn't make the article. Dave you may have seen or heard: he had a country band in L.A. in the 80s called Bull Durham that moved back to Florida in the 90s for a regular gig at Disneyworld. Dave was (and still is) a talented songwriter and singer. He's creative and tempermental and can drive you crazy with his perfectionism, especially during rehearsal. To some we just didn't seem to be the kind of guys who would end up in the same band-nevermind a popular band. Dave and I built Archer Road from a duo doing Loggins & Messina songs in a windowless cement block restaurant called Joe's Deli into a force for original music in Gainesville, during the disco era.
The Archer Road Band, '86: Gordon and Bruce Shepard live at Richenbacher's
Kenny was our bass player who I've worked with many times since, both in the late 80s and whenever I've returned for a visit and concert. He is a thoughtful, easy-going guy, good humored, with some definitely strong opinions that come out only when they need to, and he is a perfect singer/songwriter's bassplayer. He seems to approach bass playing the way actors approach a play: he learns the singer as well as well as the song. And he was in Skatterbrainz, along with Jane Yii, a band and another person that didn't make Bill's list.
Kenny Shore, Alachu-Aid I, '87
Skatterbrainz, at Throat Aid
(a benefit to raise money to help Jane with a throat operation), '86
Jane Yii is a wonderful singer/songwriter and guitarist. I don't know her that well, so I'm sure I'm gonna get this wrong, but she seems to have found a place in her creative spirit that allows her to focus on every aspect and every detail and every notion of every song that she plays-her own songs and her carefully chosen cover songs, so much so that each song she plays is a symphony, greater than the sum of it's parts. It's not just the lyrics, not just the guitar-playing or the meticulous approach she takes to getting the guitar tone right; it's not just her voice or her phrasing, or the way she works the mic or works the audience or the setlist order she assembles, it's all of that and more. There is an underlying talent and spirit there that is so compelling, so captivating that you always want to listen as intently as possible, and you always want to hear more. It's that perfect contradiction where you want to lean forward in your seat to get closer to what she's doing and you want to recline, letting her voice and music just wash over you.
Jane Yii, Alachua-Aid I, '87
I met Jane around '78 and shortly after recruited her to play at a Catfish Alliance benefit. Soon after that it seemed that we were playing every political rally and spaghetti dinner fundraiser held in town: No Nukes, No Death Penalty, pro-ERA, U.S. Out of El Salvador, U.S. out of Nicaragua, Take Back The Night, Pro-Choice, Save The Rainforest, and so on. She played at my campaign fundraisers. She and Nancy Luca had an all-girl band for a little while. And she and Kenny Shore put together Skatterbrainz. I haven't seen her play in several years, but I have no doubt that she is not only great, she is better. [Well, I saw her play last April ('02) with Kenny at The Milltop in St. Augustine, and she was great!]
Barry Sides, performing at the Greenpeace Benefit, '89
And to close out this Part there is my good friend, another brother really, Barry Sides, also left off Bill's list. Barry's from Chicago and although I don't remember the first time we met, I know it was in the heyday of the Backstage Bar and Wine Cellar. He was a solo acoustic singer/songwriter when Archer Road Band was getting hot. He had a great song about the folks who drive their cars on the beach and the state that allows them to, but unfortunately he either never wrote it down or lost it 'cause he no longer remembers it. Barry is a born promoter, a terrific blues singer, and is blessed with The Look. He produced and hosted a blues show for quit awhile on the local NPR station. He always participated in political benefit concerts and dinners whenever I asked him when I was doing the anti-nuke and other political stuff. He encouraged me to put the Archer Road Band back together after I left City Hall and helped get us the big reunion gig at Richenbachers. We've co-written songs (including Springsteen In Paris and Jimmy's Manatee Buffet), played in a variety of blues and blues-oriented bands, and worked together on a variety of productions and events.
Sides & Gordon, going over details before the huge Greenpeace Benefit, produced by Gordon, in '89.
But his role in Gainesville music is more profound than that. He started Alachu-Aid, an annual benefit concert effort at Thanksgiving to get food for the folks who don't have it, and later he turned it into a weekly event. Along with doing a great job of promoting himself (something less talented folks tend to scorn), he's booked numerous people into numerous venues, and he's assisted people in getting gigs in ways they're not even aware of. At one time Barry and I were accused of running the town. Between Richenbachers and the Thomas Center and other venues we did a lot. But the charge wasn't true. We never owned anything, and you know you don't run it if you don't own it. And when we did produce something, we always involved lots of people and made sure, if there was money, they got paid.
The Blue Monday Band: Billy Fritzius, Gordon, Sides, Mike Lowe, at a benefit at Lillian's, '88. Not pictured: Hal Saylor on drums
I missed the height of Barry's popularity, I think. He put together a blues band (with Mike Cripe) just before I left town, and they got a ton of work in the subsequent years, were the opening act for several big names at Gainesville's premiere venues. But I did see Barry play a duo gig with Cripe when I visited in '97, and heard how good his songwriting has become.
Tommy Holts on guitar, Don David on bass, Larry Thompson on drums
in A Gary Gordon Band, Greenpeace Benefit, '89
There were some other Gainesville musicians in the 70s I didn't know well and some bands I missed while I was out of town '71-'74-I know Marty Stinger, drummer, was in a really good, popular band. Tommy Holts, who I worked with a little in the late 80s, was active throughout the 70s. Bob Harris, who worked with Zappa for awhile, was in a fine band in the early 70s-- maybe the same one Stinger was in. Bob is an incredible singer, a fine keyboardist and a wonderful person to work with. He was in The Band That Never Was with Don David, Bruce Shepard, Billy Bowker, Charlie Scales and me in '89 and '90. Bobby McNellis played guitar in the late 60s, 70s and into the 80s. There was a guitarist named Steve Flake. A guitarist and songwriter named David Russell...
And there's the impact Bob McPeek and Ric Kaestner had when they came to town in '76, first with their used records store (Hyde & Zeke's; Real People In A Plastic Business), which became a hangout for many local musicians, and with their songwriting and the establishment of Bob's recording studio, Mirror Image.
Bob McPeek, singer/songwriter, guitarist, composer, studio mogul,
running sound at the Greenpeace Benefit, '89
And there's also stories of Scott Hampton and the Blue Monday Band and the Blue Monday Jam at Richenbacher's, which became the center of Gainesville music for awhile in '87...
The Blue Monday Band, '87, at Richenbacher's
with Mike Lowe, Gordon, Hal Saylor, Rob Peck (in for Sides), and Scott Hampton
And there's the combined, cumulative impact of Scott's Blue Monday Jams and Barry's Alachu-Aid benefits that really brought much of the music community together, regularly, for a good cause and many, many fine musical moments and opportunities for personal and collective artistic growth-- not to mention the opportunities to meet women who dug musicians.
Gordon, jamming with renown keyboardist Bobby Peterson at Alachu-Aid I, New South Music Hall, Backstage Bar, 1987
Me? I finally became a lead player, in the Archer Road Band, and a songwriter, releasing my first cassette, Warning Signs, in the fall of 1986. And I did some other stuff, too.
Gordon, in the shot used for the cover of his Warning Signs cassette.
Well, I don't know if I've accomplished what I set out to do, to add some flesh and bone to some of this history. I know there are hundreds of stories still untold, and many, many more people.
I still think RGF was Gainesville's greatest band.
And I still hate lists.
p.s. Last weekend (April 20), I went to Nancy Luca's gig at Brennan's, a bar similar to Richenbacher's, on the border of Venice and Marina del Rey. Nancy had an extra amp and guitar and invited me to sit in later in the evening. About half-way into her first set, Jeff Jourard walked in. Although Jeff lives only ten blocks from me, we don't run into each other a lot. So we chatted and he mentioned Nancy had invited him in to sit in.
A little later I got the thrill of seeing two of my favorite guitarplayers, and two of Gainesville's best lead guitarists, play together for the first time. First was Funk #49, and Nancy played some lead but let Jeff take the spotlight, which he did. He was sounding great, but it was clear he was also just warming up. And those who fancy guitarplaying were leaning forward, watching his left hand move on the fretboard. Then they played Changes (Hendrix) and that's where the fun began. Nancy wailed. Jeff wailed. I watched Nancy watching Jeff's hands and Jeff watching Nancy's. Then they traded licks in an all-out jam and the roof literally levitated three feet off the building. They finished up on another song which they also turned into a jam and wailed some more. The temperature hit 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It was 6.7 on the Richter scale. You get the idea.
After the gig Nancy told me she felt like she'd gotten a guitar lesson. She's great, and he's that good. And me? Sure, I played during the last set and had fun (especially on "Mustang Sally"), but the high point was catching them.
And here's to the equipment!
some of Uncle Funnel & The Push's shit, '69:
a Fender Bassman, a Fender bandmaster, a Kustom P.A., a reel to reel tape recorder, a tambourine.
Not pictured: Steve's rig
And here's the famous Dog Turkey photo; Road Turkey on the railroad bridge over south 13th St., circa 1972
The jam photo where everybody but the bass player turns away from the audience and each other
Sides, Don David on bass, Gordon, Holts, in A Gary Gordon Band
Greenpeace Benefit, '89
For more of the story...
Great Gainesville Bands & Musicians, Part III
and Great Gainesville Bands & Musicians, Part I
Gary Gordon Productions Homepage
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Marty Jourard's book: Start Your Own Band!