For a musician, Connersville, Indiana was a great place to grow up. I joined my first band at 14 and started gigging and learning from the local musicians. Some of the locals were Danny and Dave Toler (Allman Brothers), Rick Zerringer (Derringer), Roger Troutman and everybody’s favorite, Lonnie Mack. I tried very hard but was never as good as those guys. Drummer Bill Hackelman and I would listen to AM radio on the way home from gigs. Our favorite station was WLAC from Nashville. John R and Hoss Allen would play this incredible soul music that we farm boys weren’t familiar with. Their sponsors were Royal Crown Hair Dressing and Pure Rose Petroleum Jelly with ‘a thousand and one uses’. We were enthralled. Bill and I quickly tired of the surfing music we were playing and formed a band called the Houserockers with Hammond Organ wizard Ron McLaughlin and bassist Mark Holmgren. From the get-go we had the right equipment and a rootsy R&B sound. Soon we were hired by DJ’s from radio stations in Indianapolis and Cincinnati. The Kingsmen(Louie Louie) were big on college campuses so we learned the whole album note for note. We became quite busy at Purdue and IU. We were drawing big crowds and that is a strange thing to look back on. It was unsophisticated music played by unsophisticated musicians. But they said we had “the sound.” All I know is that we had a love affair with that music. Then off to college.
It was 1966 and Vietnam was heating up. I wanted to go to college and get a BS but what I really wanted was a 2-S. (For you youngsters, ask your history teacher.) I stayed very busy playing music at Ball State with groups including Mondays Blues with Mac and the Toler Brothers and The Cardinals. I got my BS and lost my 2-S. My lottery number was 157. I remember playing at the Purity at Miami University and when the TV guy pulled a number, the bar maids would write it on your forehead with a red magic marker. (I know…ask your history teacher). I laid down my SG and picked up an M-16. Rock & Roll took on a new meaning.
Well, music took a back seat as we started a family. Joyce and I had two kids, Jason and Mandy. They in turn married and now have their own families. (5 grandchildren!) I was blessed to have had a 30-year career teaching severely emotionally handicapped students and teaching Jason everything I knew about music. However when the empty-nest syndrome hit I picked up the old guitar and started playing again with different groups. I especially enjoyed playing in the praise band at Powdersville Community Church. We played a bunch of Lindell Coolie music. Check his stuff out--it’s great.
Now in retirement I’m having a ball playing with the ECPB. The Party Band has some serious talent (it ought to, I paid for Jason’s sax lessons) but more importantly, they are really nice people. I am a blessed man or as Joe Walsh said, “Life’s been good to me”. When I joined the band, I wondered what it would be like playing for big crowds again. Well, since you asked, it’s like being 18 again only this time you get to play music with your son.