THIS PAGE IS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT WILL KEEP EVOLVING. AS I COME ACROSS OLD PICS AND CLIPS I WILL CONTINUE TO UPDATE.
THE VERY FIRST BAND I WAS IN WAS MY JR HIGH BAND. I PLAYED TENOR SAX. IT WAS A COMBINATION OF MARCHING BAND AND FOR VARIOUS COMPETITIONS, SPLIT OFF INTO DUO'S AND TRIOS AND SUCH. IT WAS GREAT FUN AND LEARNING EXPERIENCE ( I WAS EXPERIENCED AT AGE ELEVEN!). NEAR THE END OF EIGHTH GRADE I DECIDED TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY GUITAR. MY FOLKS RENTED A STELLA ACOUSTIC SIX STRING AND I TOOK LESSONS. AFTER ABOUT TEN WEEKS I HOOKED UP WITH A DRUMMER NAMED "MOUSE" DREBECKI. WE LEARNED TWO SONGS FOR A SCHOOL TALENT SHOW. THEY WERE "RAMROD" AND "WIPEOUT". I PLAYED SAX ON RAMROD AND GUITAR ( NOW A CHEAP JAPANESE ELECTRIC ZIM GAR) THRU A FENDER DELUXE REVERB AMP. WE BROUGHT THE HOUSE, ALL SIXTH SEVENTH AND EIGHT GRADERS TO THEIR FEET, CLAPPING TO THE BEAT.
THERE WERE A COUPLE BANDS THAT FOLLOWED LATER ON THAT SUMMER (1964) AND INTO HIGH SCHOOL. MOST NOTABLY WERE THE "DIMENSIONS 5" WITH MOUSE ON DRUMS AND JP ILLES ON GUITAR. THE NEXT GROUP WAS CALLED "THE NEW LONDON 5, WITH JP ON GUITAR AND POSSIBLY JOHN DAUSS ON DRUMS. BY THIS TIME I WAS PLAYING GUITAR FULL TIME.
AROUND 1966 THINGS REALLY STARTED TO HAPPEN WHEN I JOINED THE WESTSIDE ROCK & SOUL BAND "THE OFFBEATS". WE PLAYED EVERYTHING THAT WE HEARD ON WLS RADIO OUT OF CHICAGO. ORIGINALLY THE OFFBEATS WAS A GUITAR BAND WITH TOM STAMMICH ON VOCALS, GARY WITKOWSKI ON GUITAR, DON VAN HULL ON BASS, SKIP SMELTZER ON DRUMS. AT SOME POINT AROUND 1965 OR 66 WE ADDED A 6TH MEMBER, BRAD RENZ ON KEYBOARDS, A FARFISA...NO LESS. HIS OLDER BROTHER BECAME OUR AGENT AND BOOKED SOME GREAT GIGS FOR US. THE HEIGHT OF THE OFFBEATS WAS AN APPEARANCE ON A CURRENT HIP LOCAL NETWORK TELEVISION SHOW CALLED "MOVIN' GENERATION" IN SOUTH BEND INDIANA.
SOMETIME AROUND 1967 THE OFFBEATS REPLACED LEAD SINGER TOM STAMMICH, WHO, AFTER AN APPEARANCE WITH THE BAND ON "MOVIN' GENERATION" WAS OFFERED A SPOT WITH A WELL KNOWN AND BOOKED REGIONAL ACT. AT THAT POINT VOCALIST CRAIG HITCHCOCK FROM JACKSON HIGH WAS BROUGHT IN. WE MADE A NAME CHANGE TO "BEN FRANKLIN'S ALAMANAK" AT THAT POINT IN TIME. WE WERE CARD CARRYING MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL MUSICIANS UNION. WE PLAYED OUR HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR PROM AS WELL AS NUMEROUS "SOCK HOPS" IN MANY TOWNS GYMS AND HALLS, VFW'S, LOTS OF PARTIES AND VARIOUS OUTDOOR CONCERTS, AS WELL AS DANCES AT THE LOCAL "Y" AND SUCH. NO RECORDINGS EXIST OF THE BAND. BELOW YOU WILL FIND SOME THUMBNAILS OF THE FEW REMAINING SHOTS FROM THOSE EARLY DAYS. CLICK ON 'EM AT WILL.
CLARK WEBER WLS RADIO
BEN FRANKLIN'S ALAMANAK
This band rocked South Padre Island. Tx from the mid to late '80s in various incarnations from a 3 piece to 6 piece group. The bands repertoire included songs by ZZ top, Chicago, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bob Dylan, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Santana and The Kinks as well as Original SPI NETWORK songs. They also appeared as the headlining act at the Annual Weatherford Jam in Oklahoma for a crowd of 4000 partying fools. Members of SPI NETWORK included DrewV- Guitar & Vocals, Phil Hill- Drums, Ronnie " Rocket " Gardner- Guitar & Vocals, Mother Mary Dunn- Vocals, Rick " Rerun " Saldano- Bass Guitar, Lips Henderson- Tenor Sax, Paul Brass- Keyborad & Vocals and Eddie Date- Guitar & Vocals. Click on the Thumbnails below for a better view.
The Hairy Canary Band - 1996 - Austin, Texas
This is the band that should have been really kickin' it out, but strangely only made into the studio to record a demo. Even though THCB was picked up by Austin's premier booking agency "Popular Talent", Hairy Canary never played a gig. A 4 piece rock band, Hairy Canary featured quintessential keyboard and vocalist (lead vocals on You're Mama Don't Dance) Steve Oneill of MTV and Cannes Film Festival fame, Austin transplant, Marley Foreman, on bass guitar and vocals ( lead vocals on You Really Got Me) and East Coast Drummer, Bryan Smith, with several major label albums to his credit. Click on the thumbnail to see Hairy Canary.
To hear the studio demo click on your connection speed
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