1968-1971: The Duby Years
This page is light on images and sounds because I
really don't have but a couple of photos, and few recordings.
But, as they were somewhat dark
terms of judgment and success, perhaps that's appropriate...
I arrived in Lawrence, Kansas in the Fall of 1968, a
freshman at K.U. at the tender age of sixteen.
I lived at Battenfeld Scholarship Hall
which housed around 50 guys identified as smarter than
average and deserving of some kind of financial
assistance. Each man/boy
was expected to do some work in the house in exchange for the
privilege of living there.
At the same time, my father was
also at K.U.
getting his Masters in Social Work. One of his fellow
Duby, lived across from Memorial Stadium on Mississippi Street
with her four
children, Michael, Lana, Lisa, and Mitch. About November,
a call from Michael Duby.
At first I thought it was a woman calling, because his voice was
He was looking to start a band, and was I interested? He
wrote a lot
of songs, he said, and needed a guitar player to collaborate
So, I went over there. Michael was nothing like I had
He was tall (my height), wiry, with long hair and a beard.
He was full
of nervous energy which, at least to me, was hard to
resist. This is
an odd fact because a lot of people - especially males - simply
stand him, but he was really an entertaining guy, whether you
liked him or
Here's the only photograph
I have with Michael Duby, probably taken in Spring of 1969, on
It was badly
by water years ago.
From left: Mitch, Lana, Michael (with cat), Andy, and Lisa
And, yes, Michael was trying
look foolish for the photo.
Michael was playing bass, and he was, well...
not good at it. He had a very distinctive voice
not a good singer. One of his main singing influences was Marty
of Jefferson Airplane
if that tells you anything.
But what else did I have to do? I began to spend a lot of time,
a lot of dinners, at the Duby house. Michael and I would
time playing the same set of songs. I don't think we got a
better, because we really didn't have a clue about the
recorded music and playing in a group. We just banged away.
He had an almost-unplayable Teisco Del Rey
a solid-state Silvertone amp with six 10" speakers and a baffle
made of fiberboard.
My amp was a Lafayette P.A. amp with a homemade speaker
memory serves, I withdrew about $175 from my college savings
Winter break, unbeknownst to my parents, and bought a Univox
hollow-bodied electric guitar
by mail order.
I believe we played a few gigs that spring (1969), with a variety
Names that come to mind are John Toda and Walt Riker.
we liked was Bobby Mansfield; I think his first name was Bobby,
and I know
name was Mansfield.
We called ourselves The
(great name, huh?), and we would rent a
trailer and pull it with the Duby's
1960 Ford Fairlane. The gigs were high-school dances, and
those students wondered who in the hell decided to hire US.
For a couple of those gigs, we
managed to get Bud Pettit to play drums. He was by far the
and played with the power we needed to keep us together.
play a large part in my musical career.
Cementing my relation with Michael was the fact that I developed a
with his sister, Lana, who was a student at Lawrence High School
Lions!), in the Spring. I didn't do as well in my classes
this National Merit Finalist actually flunked a course.
I did go back home, to San Antonio, in the Summer, where I had a
job at Brooke
Army Medical Center
. This is where the Army had its
burn unit, and
I saw some crispy critters who'd been flown in from Vietnam.
The Summer of 1969 was when I began
in drug-taking as well. My sister and her friends had been
for a while, and she persuaded me to try it. It was a huge
for me, and I was convinced for a while that it was the key to
solving the world's problems. Hey - I was 17, okay?
Making a choice
Over the Summer, my mother
unauthorized withdrawal with which I had bought the Univox
She blew a gasket about it and cut off funding for college.
time, as well, my stepfather, Mike, had received orders for
The family wanted me to go to Japan, but I was stubborn and had
been bitten by the sex/drugs/rock and roll bug. I insisted
that I would return
to Lawrence in the Fall, and I did. In retrospect, I missed
a great experience. Ah, youth.
I was out of Battenfeld Hall, but
Duby had arranged a rental house a few doors down from the Duby
the southeast corner of 11th and Mississippi (the house is no
$75 a month, payable to Danna Santee, the Duby's next-door
neighbor and landlady,
and wife of Olympics medalist Wes
. The house had three rooms plus kitchen and
the first floor, and one large room upstairs. It would
double as a
Our band was now Amerikan Mercury. After importing a
guitar player from Chicago who didn't work out, we found Ron
to play lead guitar. He had a Gibson 355, and his favorite
was Terry Wierman
of the Fabulous
. Our drummer, Tom Burch, was from Fayette,
Tom and I would drop acid or mescaline and stay up all night
Cream "Wheels of Fire." We also had a female singer, a
Sandy Binns who, to our ears, did a bang-up job with Janis Joplin
Michael had procured a 1960 Oldsmobile ambulance to haul us to
even though the thing hardly ran and blew tires left and right, we
our band name on the back windows and thought we were traveling in
During this time, I procured a Fender Jaguar
I had enrolled in the Fall, majoring in Music Education, but I
going to class at some point, and as a result received 14 hours of
As my wife once said, "Smart people are stupid."
Failure; Moving in with Dad
In January, I ran out of money, and
was shut off. I put my dreams on hold and moved in with my
his new wife, Thressa, in Overland Park. I got a job running
the Toddle House
at 63rd and Main in Brookside
is now an insurance office) on the graveyard shift, from 10:00 PM
AM. I took a couple of summer-school courses at Johnson
College. I also tried out for and got the leading male role (Tony)
in Johnson County's "Theatre in the Park" presentation of the
musical comedy "The Boy
." Thressa was an English teacher at Shawnee Mission
and she got me to come to her classes and give a presentation on
of rock music, as well as judge debates a couple of times.
My sister, Elisabeth, was a freshman at K.U. at this time, and her
Karen Lundmark, had a high-school boyfriend - Doug - who played
a rock band called Back Forty
in Leawood. They had
a guy who
played a Farfisa
and a Rhodes keyboard bass, but they wanted a bass
guitarist. So, I
rehearsed with them and played one gig, in Atchison. I
"Easy to Be Hard" on top of a PA speaker at that gig - I was
Mister Dynamic Performer! One perk from playing with these
guys was that, for some
reason, I got to borrow a Fender
AND a drum set for the summer. I kept these in my room
in my Dad's
basement and played them quite a bit. I sold the Fender
to an old country-and-western guy for $100. The Jaguar is
not a rock-and-roll guitar...
But Lawrence and Michael Duby were
me, and I listened. I moved back to Lawrence, initially
living in an
apartment more or less paid for by Michael and/or Danna
got Doug, from the Leawood band, to play drums. In 1970, the
Union provided a rehearsal hall, which was the building in North
known as the Teepee
Several bands, including ours, used the hall. In guitars, I
moved up to a 1960 Stratocaster with a gold-metal-flake refinish
job. Bought it for $175.
Michael had moved up as well, to an old Gibson EB-0
Michael put an ad in Rolling Stone magazine and, amazingly enough,
bite from a guitarist in Los Angeles named Jerry Zaremba. I
this could be the same guy that played Eddie Cochran
in The Buddy Holly Story,
as Jerry was 24 years old in 1970. Jerry came from L.A. on
At our first rehearsal, two things immediately became
was that Jerry was an excellent guitarist, and the other was that
extremely dismayed at having come all that way to play with
He almost cried.
We persuaded him to stay for a while, perhaps because we didn't
money to get him home. I'm glad he did. During his
stay, he and
I spent a lot of time jamming, with me playing bass. We also
to a lot of records, and he deconstructed the songs and explained
the parts fit together. It was my first real understanding of the
of arrangement in group music. Then we would drop acid and
through underground parking garages in my Volkswagen bug.
we ponied up the money for his trip back to L.A., and Doug dropped
the picture as well.
I moved into the second story of a
at 1104 Tennessee, where my sister and her boyfriend, Jim
, were living.
In the Winter of 1970-1, I had my first significant job on bass
Michael's EB-0), playing for free for a rock musical called "Sun,
by the K.U. Theatre Department. I still have the record, and
putting in lots of hours analyzing bass lines to play. I
smart about the sound of the bass: I used a bass-boosting
with an EB-0, whose sound is notoriously muddy to begin with.
Here's the album cover for
"Sun, Son." In those days the musicians didn't get their
names on the album cover.
|Here are some songs from
As I listen 36 years later, I'm impressed with the music, if
not all the
singing. And my bass parts are actually pretty good
for a 19-year-old
who'd never really played bass before!
Ju Ju Ga Ga
I Am Sun
It Straight With Jesus and His Pa
Be All Right
Relievin' Your Grievin' Rag
I googled for Janet Hood, the music writer, director, and
pianist, and found
that, apparently, she has collaborated with the lyricist,
Bill Russell, more
recently and notably! Look here.
Further googling finds that Janet Hood had a duo act a few
years later called Jade
I had a real crush on her...
During this time, I was living on white
, pancakes with wheat germ, and milk. I had no
job and virtually no income.
But it was then that I was introduced to the "real" blues with a Howlin'
album called "The
Real Folk Blues
." A revelation for me.
|Speaking of Howlin'
think it was 1971. I heard that Howlin' Wolf was
going to appear at
Memorial Hall in Kansas City. Michael and I, and
probably some other
people, went to see him. There may have been 200
people there, at most,
in a place designed to seat thousands. The Wolf
was not happy, and
you sure could tell it. But he had his fine band,
including Hubert Sumlin,
and I enjoyed it greatly.
In the early part of 1971, the hippie who lived in the attic
acid, lit some candles, and went out in the snow in his
The candles started a fire, and I woke up early in the morning to
calling out for anyone in the house. The house was torn
down, and it
was time to move on...
Here's a photo of me and my
which we had taken as gifts for the folks in late 1971.
warm and fuzzy, is it?
Copyright 2006 by Andy Curry