Home Early
New Millenium
this site
Used Parts
Next Used-Parts page

News:  On March 5, 2011,
Jim Wilson,
a member of Used Parts, was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. 
Congratulations to Jim!  You deserve it.

Lee McBee, another Used Part, was inducted into the KMHOF in 2009, along with Billy Spears.

Lee McBee died June 24, 2014.

Jim Wilson died October 12, 2019.

*** Used Parts video here ***

Used parts newspaper ad
This ad from the Lawrence Journal-World advertises one of the earliest appearances of Used Parts in 1978.
Our first gig was at the Lawrence Opera House (now Liberty Hall).

Used Parts was the best band, player for player, that I've ever been in. 

I do not remember whose idea it was to get together and form a band; I think there was some kind of shared consciousness that the five original "Parts" weren't doing much and might as well play together some.  The Billy Spears Band had broken up when Billy broke his neck in a swimming accident on August 3, 1978.  I became the regular breakfast cook at the Cornucopia Cafe "branch" which was in the Virginia Inn on 6th Street in West Lawrence.  Lee McBee cooked at the main branch of the Corno at 18th and Massachusetts.  Buddy was living south of Lawrence in a farmhouse, and a little later, when the Virginia Inn branch closed, Buddy got a job cooking at the Cornucopia too!  That was one rockin' restaurant, whose food I had enjoyed for about four years.  When things were lean with the Spears Band, Bob Case, Jimmy Ray Law, and I would play at the Cornucopia as "The Wakarusa Valley Bluegrass Boys" and get paid with a soup-and-salad bar.

I remember fairly vividly how we came to have our band name.  I wrote down a page full of ideas for names, and took it to the Opera House when somebody was playing who would be sure to draw a big crowd.  I asked everyone I could what name he/she liked best, and Used Parts was the winner.  For our first gig, just to reinforce the used-parts idea, I brought an aluminum-case Powerglide transmission and set it on stage.  Once was enough for that...

Opera House schedule August 1978
Here is a publicity schedule from the Lawrence Opera House, AKA Red Dog, AKA Free State Opera House, from August 1978.

It's the first public mention of Used Parts, and this was our first gig.

I had known John Lomas since he played in Polio with Michael Duby, although I'd never really gotten to know him.  In 1974, I would go to Paul Gray's Jazz Place (later the Jazzhaus)  for the weekly jazz jam sessions, and he was always there playing.  Lee and I, of course, went way back, but our paths had not crossed in some time.

Mike Beisner - who had worked as a horn player with Stan Kenton - was a Used Part, playing keyboards, for the first gig too.  Mike was a trumpeter/keyboardist/arranger/singer who joined the Four Freshmen in 1982 and performed with them for years.  Mike died in 2008 in his early 50s.

Jim Stringer was a Used Part for one gig.  He wrote:
"I was a charter member of Used Parts, as I recall was Jim Wilson, the sax player who used to be with Larry Emmitt and the Sliders. Lomas called and enticed me. Jim Wilson used to run the butcher shop in Eudora. I think Jim played for more gigs, as I recall -- but, as was my life at the time, I was traveling so much with Centron that the first gig had to also be my last... at least, I don't recall doing any after that, as much as I would have liked to."

Jim Stringer was right about his being a charter member, but wrong about Jim Wilson's being a member at the beginning.

It would seem that Becky Reed was not included at the very beginning!

early publicity

At left is an early publicity collage - hey, it was cheap to make - which shows, from top left going clockwise, Lee McBee, Becky Reed, John Lomas, Andy Curry, Jim Stringer, and Bud Pettit.  I like how whoever put this together made Stringer's "hands" rest on the shoulders of Buddy and me.

Any further uses of this collage for publicity just whited out his name and ignored his presence in the collage...

We practiced in my little house at 329 Elm in North Lawrence.  I still had the JBL speakers from the Penetrations days, at least until I lent them out for an outdoor gig and a lamebrain sound guy fried a high-frequency driver by sending a full-range signal to it.  We generally borrowed PA stuff from Billy Spears or Dwane Richardson.

Funny thing is, I don't remember where we practiced after I left that house and moved in with Amy Pavone in 1980.  I know we kept working up new material, but I don't remember where.  Ah, memory; where does it go?

early parts opera
                house 1

These five photos were taken at an early Used Parts gig at the Opera House (now Liberty Hall). 

You see that  most of us were still kinda doin' the cowboy thing in apparel.

John's trusty old Stratocaster consists of the neck and electronics  from the gold-metalflake 1960 Strat I owned during the Penetrations, and the body from John Wilhite's '65 Strat.  Doh!

John Lomas, Lee McBee, Becky Reed, Andy Curry
early parts opera
                house 2

John, Lee (hidden), Becky, Andy, and Bud Pettit.  Looks like we borrowed those white Peavey mics from Dwane Richardson for this gig.
early parts opera
                house 3

I got a basset hound puppy in 1978 and named him Clyde.  Poor thing, I actually brought him to an Opera House gig one time.  He just sat on the stage.

John, Lee, Becky.
early parts opera
                house 4

John and Lee.
early parts opera
                house 5

Bud with cheesy grin.  Notice the lamp on top of the bass amp, sharing space with beer.  The lamp was a fixture of ours until we realized it was just one more stinkin' piece of equipment to lug around.

Next Used-Parts page

Copyright 2006,2013 by Andy Curry