rehearsing in the North End Community
Ken Storie, Alan Rhodes,
Ian Haslen, Tim McGuinness
From June 1970 until
Dec 31 of
that same year Clown played dozens of dances in the Westman area. We
played popular music, lots of Creedence, Steppenwolf, Grand Funk
Railroad, and it went over well.
In the winter of 1970 Bev
and I moved from Winnipeg, where we had lived for just seven months,
to Brandon where we rented a small apartment on Franklin Street in the
East End. Before we were even settled I went to see my old friends in
the Eighth Street Bridge who were playing along with three other bands
Vincent Massey High School. It was an interesting evening.
Playing along with my old
friends was a band called Midas featuring Rob Eyers, a guitar player
and a very young bass player named Tim McGuinness. They played a bluesy
set and I was impressed with the musicianship.
Another band was The
Rayle, which at that time featured Paul Solon on lead guitar, and Mike
Kotyk on drums, people I would soon get to know better.
That night I ran into
some other local musicians and was asked to join a group called the
Elastic Band. The band consisted of Al
Rhodes, Julian Hoyak, Kerry Campbell, G.W. Hannay, and Ed Crawford. I
replaced Ed, whom I had never met. (In
a twist of fate, some decades later I played with his son Ted in Dr.
I recall that my first
gig with them was a High School Dance at Baldur.
We played the hits and I
think I found the material a little mellow for my taste, but I was
happy to be playing.
Ken Storie, Alan Rhodes
My memory is a bit hazy
about why the band folded, but within a few months Gay and Kerry
decided to quit. In yet another twist of fate (#13) it just so
as I was compiling this history in 2013, I was asked to fill in with a
band called the Bad Land Bandits whose drummer is G.W. Hannay, in fact
played a gig with them recently and G.W. was able to refresh my memory.
(The filling in went on for a few years, and with some personel changes
we now work as Crossfyre.)
It seems that Julian had
taken a teaching job and Kerry was leaving
town, so Al and I recruited Tim McGuinness. Tim, Al, and I were
interested in going into heavier rock territory and G.W. wasn't
interested, so we called Tim's friend Ian Haslen, a strong drummer with
double bass kit. For a time we also
included a second guitar player, whose name I seem to have forgotten,
but we realized that he just wasn’t adding something we needed.
band we became was very different from what we had started with.
Guitar, bass, drums and vocal. Simple, loud, heavy rock with a blues
edge. We called ourselves Clown, still my favorite name from all the
bands I've worked with.
We played nearly every
weekend in the summer and fall of 1970.
I look back with much
fondness. Tim and Ian were both excellent on their instruments, and the
power trio format was good for my development as a guitar player. We were pretty shy on vocals, with little
And we did get off to a
rocky start. At our first gig in Kelwood my amp died and I had to go
through Tim’s bass amp with him. It put a big hole in our sound
and the crowd knew it.
But it was all
from there and we soon found our stride.
The shot used for our poster -
wish I had that poster!
A favorite memory was
running out of gas at Redvers Saskatchewan after playing a dance
somewhere nearby. We had to wait until 7
am for a gas station to open.
I remember sitting at the
front of the stage in a hall in Deloraine, warming up, jamming some
blues with Tim, when we were approached by a shaggy haired young man
with “musician” written all over him. We had a good chat
about music and it turned out that he was a trombone player in the
school band. At that time very few rock bands used horns of any kind,
this guy was into rock n’ roll and knew his stuff. We would meet
Bart Hasselfield again.
Another summer memory is of a
small Rock Festival held on the university football field. All
the popular Brandon bands were there including a new one called Blind
Justice featuring Leigh Moore, a university student from Virden, Paul
Solon, (now playing bass) and Mike Kotyk, formerly from The Rayle, with
Del Krauchi, who had replaced me in The Eighth
St. Bridge, on guitar.
seriously good. Del played a red SG through a Fender Twin. I’d
seen Leigh before with the Children of Stone, an excellent keyboard
player and vocalist.
I felt that their
material was challenging, perhaps eclectic. Certainly what we would
then have called progressive, rather than traditional. I paid attention.
That fall there were the
usual high school dances, but a new thing that year was the concept of
University Pubs. The drinking age in Manitoba had just been lowered to
18 from 21 and that led to some new opportunities for bands.
were what we now called socials. We’d always had drunks at
dances, but now it was legal and out in the open. They were held in the
basement of the centennial auditorium building and they were wild.
I did upgrade my guitar
that fall – on a trip to Winnipeg I found an old Gibson SG at
Kolt Music. I had somehow acquired Dave Jason's old Hohner
Organ and I got the SG for the organ plus $150. It
was a serious expenditure. At the time it was just an old guitar
– nothing special. Today it would be a collector’s item. I
still had my Traynor with one Fuzz-Tone pedal. We played through a
simple Garnet PA with no monitors. We traveled in Allan’s car
with a U-Haul trailer.
Someone we met that fall
had recently returned from England with two 45’s. One by the Move
and the other a song called Paranoid by Black Sabbath. We learned the
Sabbath song right away. Both bands would be heard from again.
Our last gig was on New
Year’s Eve at Hamiota High School. Fittingly my amp blew a
speaker so we ended as we began .. limping along.
Earlier that month Ian
joined the Eighth St. Bridge who
continued to develop as a band.
They now had Ken Smith on guitar and Dave Meighen on keyboards and bore
no resemblance to the band we’d started in Buck McMillan’s
basement only three years earlier.
Before Tim and I had a
chance to consider our future I, got an offer from Blind Justice and I
couldn’t turn it down. To my mind they were the best band in town
and I went through a nervous audition before getting the nod.
Tim is still in the music
business. He composed some music for the fireworks display at Expo 86
in Vancouver. He has traveled in China demonstrating music technology. In 2012 he was teaching at the Vancouver Film
School; synthesis, Pro Tools, MIDI,
digital audio theory and SMPTE synchronization. He found this band
website recently and it was great to hear from him.
Ian was working for Long
and McQuade Music in Winnipeg the last time I saw him. He passed away
liked our set list, a stripped down sampling of current rock. I
remember these songs...
Hey Lawdy Mama,
CCR - Good Golly Miss Molly, Fortunate Son
Guess Who - Hand Me Down Love, No Time
Procol Harum - Whiskey Vengeance & ???
Steve Miller - Junior Saw it Happen
- Are You Ready,?, Closer to Home
Allman Bros. - Black Hearted Woman
Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl, Down By The River
Buffalo Springfield - On My Way Home
Cream - Strange Brew
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Moody Blues - Lovely to See You, Send Me No Wine
Spirit - I Got a Line on You
Mountain - Mississippi Queen
Three Dog Night - Nobody
Love - Message to Pretty (B Side of Book of Love)
Beatles - Let it Be, Get Back
Johnny Winter - Black Cat Bone
McKenna Mendleson Mainline - Beltbreaker
Chicago - I'm a Man, South California Purple
Thanks to Carol Girling who sent these photos from a gig at Oak Lake.