Paul Solon, Mike Kotyk, Leigh Moore - From a
Brandon Sun article, shortly after I joined.
Blind Justice formed in
the summer of 1970. The original lineup
was: Leigh Moore, formerly of The Children of Stone, Paul Solon and
Mike Kotyk formerly of The Rayle, and Del
Krauchi, 16 year old guitar whiz.
Del quit in Jan of 1971
and I had to audition to get the gig. On one of my first rehearsals
with the band a reporter from the Brandon Sun came to practice to check
us out and interview us. I was nervous.
Our first gig, after only
a few rehearsals, was at a BU Pub. I was still nervous!
That was followed by a
busy winter of high school dances throughout Westman.
Blind Justice was a new
experience in several ways. Although just a four piece, Leigh’s
versatile presence at the organ and his deep understanding of the
allowed us to do things other bands weren’t doing – in terms of
material and interpretation of that material. Both Leigh and Paul were
good singers allowing for harmony and vocal flexibility.
That led to an
interesting set list.
One has to keep in mind
that in those days a live rock show was still a relatively new thing,
and deeply appreciated. And by live rock, I don’t mean three guys in
suits and cheap guitars stumbling through Rock Around the Clock.
We might not have been
able to sound just like Led Zeppelin or the Allman Brothers, but we
were pretty sure that being loud was the first step.
Our crowds had never heard those bands live. They
happy with what we doing and cut us a lot of slack. We didn’t play a
string of hit pop songs, we played what we
liked. As long as it was loud, in tune, and you could dance to it, the
audience was content. Extended solos and jams happened without plan. We
often opened with an entire side of the first Santana album featuring
long instrumental and rhythm passages. I remember like it was yesterday
playing the extended middle part of Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ by the
Stones in the Rivers High School Gym. We slipped into a groove and just
ran with if for playing off of each other taking it somewhere else.
I had an SG just like the
one Clapton and Pete Townsend were using and a Garnet BTO nearly as
tall as I was. Leigh could play anything he could hear on a record and
I was able to learn from him.
Ken Storie, Paul Solon. Mike Kotyk. Leigh Moore
from a performance on Canada Day at Curran Park, 1971
By the spring of 71 we
had settled into a routine, which included consistent weekly practice
at the North End Community Centre, where we had the use of the hall in
return for playing an annual dance. We took what we were doing
seriously, and worked hard on arrangements and getting a tight sound.
Leigh was a perfectionist.
Mike Kotyk left the band
and was replaced briefly with John Morgan, then Jamie Durward. I
remember playing the fair (a televised live 1/2 hr set) with Ian Haslen
filling in on drums.
I have to say again that
the spirit of the times encouraged us to expand out horizon. We didn’t
have to learn the latest pop song to get work, we were busy as it was.
What was cool was to be seen as progressive or original.
It was that summer of
1971 when we decided to expand the band. Bands like Blood Sweat &
Tears and Chicago were taking heavy rock basics and adding horns.
Santana, one of our favorites, also recorded with horns. We had always
liked Santana and the Allman Brothers and adding a second drummer
seemed like a cool thing to do.
Mike Burtch was attending
university. We'd jammed with him a few times, and I believe that was
the start of the idea of expanding the band.
We could also hear
saxophone used by bands like the Stones and when we met a high school
student from Deloraine who could really play rock and roll, we added
to the band. We met Dave Hasselfield through his brother Bart, who I'd
met while playing in Deloraine with the Eighth Street Bridge and Clown.
Dave was only sixteen when he started. We also asked Bart to join,
intending to used a full horn section but he declined. He did hang out
with us and always was able to offer good musical advice.
By fall we had added a
trumpet player, Mike Pettit, another university student, and started
working on songs by groups like Chicago while we added horn parts to
much of our older repertoire.
We had always done two
songs by Ontario band Mashmekhan, so when they came to Brandon we were
in the audience. Their opening act was a vocal quartet featuring a
teenager from Virden, Gaye Harry. She could sing like Janice Joplin. We
added her to join the band and expanded our options even further!
By that fall our set list
was miles away from where we had started. I loved the latest stones
album, and Brown Sugar had a sax solo! Leigh liked horn sections and
painstakingly charted trumpet and sax parts for Dave and Mike. Gaye
added harmonies and sang solo on some of the newer female rock. Horns
added punch to songs like Joe Cocker’s Delta Lady.
Sometime in the winter of
71-72 we went to Winnipeg to see the Ides of March whose horn-heavy
hit, Vehicle, was big. The opening act was a group from Minneapolis
called Gypsy that no one had heard of. They were talented but
unremarkable except for one very hauntingly powerful song called Gypsy
Queen. We found the album and wrote a horn part for the middle section.
How about the motto on the card! Size mattered!
At some point, likely the
fall of 71, local guitarist Tom Cornett approached me with an offer to
trade his nearly new SG for my older one. This was long before anyone
thought of these instruments as being potentially collectable. Gibson had replaced the original Les Paul with
the slimmer, lighter, SG because it was more modern – and it wasn’t
a decade later that rock guitarists re-discovered the Les Paul and it
went back into production. Tom's newer SG had a brighter sound and
seemed nicer to play. He liked the more traditional model for the
blues music he was interested in at the time. I made the trade and the
new SG served me well – but with the hindsight that a few decades
I wish I had kept the old one.
One my first priorities
upon joining the group was getting a better amp. Cam’s Musical Supplies
in Winnipeg was the music store in the city. At some point the
Gar Gillis began making guitar amplifiers and local heroes, the Guess
Who used and endorsed them. Randy Bachman popularized the B.T.O., a
huge rig with four twelve inch speakers, a horn, and a built in fuzz
tone / distortion unit called the “Stinger”. In Manitoba, in 1971, that
was the amp to have.
I had acquired a
reel-to-reel tape recorder somewhere and the folks at Garnet were
always willing to deal. I was very short of ready cash but they helped
me out by taking both the tape recorder and my old Traynor amp on
trade. I soon bought my first Wah Wah, which, because the distortion
effect was built into the amp, was the only other effect I used.
trip to Winnipeg Leigh purchased a Hammond B3 with a 122
Leslie – the ultimate
rock n’ roll organ to replace the M1 he had been using. He also
purchased a Hohner Clavinet. Later he added a Lawrence Audio electric
piano. Both the B3 and the piano were clumsy things to
haul but they added a new dimension to our sound.
We used a Garnet PA, then
had Brent Tuff from Virden build us Voice of the Theatre boxes. Later
we then bought a Kustom P.A. (And matching Bass and Guitar Amps - Metal
was the school bus. Here it is at Kemnay
Hall where we rehearsed during our final year.
For the first while we
had used cars and U-Haul trailers. I remember one incident when the
four of us were crowded in Mike Kotyk's mom's Cougar on our way to
Inglis. We were stopped by the cops while heading west on the Trans
Canada. When asked where we were headed Mike told him and he replied,
"You're going the wrong way aren't you?"
We became concerned until
we realized that he thought Mike had said “England”!
Smart ass hippies.
Paul Solon, Dave Hasselfield, Mike Pettit, Mike Burtch, Gaye Harry,
Jamie Durwood, Leigh Moore
the North End Community Centre
We were now an eight
piece band who traveled with a driver (Matt McCarty whom I met while
working at Beaver Limber in the fall of 71.); and we had two high
school students, Brent Chamberlain and Wayne Bjarski as roadies. We
also we had a ton of equipment. We equipped the bus with couches and
mattresses and we were set. We would role into town for a gig, help
unload Leigh’s Hammond and the piano, which were too much for two to
handle, and then while the roadies unloaded and set up we’d step into
the nearest bar.
While we were playing the
roadies were free to chase girls and drink beer in the bus. I believe
we paid them $10 each per gig.
I'm sure we all remember
the bus trip from hell, otherwise known as Gilbert Plains. We
were returning from a mid-winter gig and the bus radiator kept freezing
up. It would heat to a boil, Matt would pull over and let it cool, then
take off again for another few miles. We limped in to Onanole where
nine of us piled into one motel room.
(In my recurring collection of twists of fate I have to add that
decades later Gilbert Plains would figure in another band trip from
hell - or more accurately this time - to hell).
memorable trips included the trip to Winnipeg where we were supposed to
play a street festival. The gig was rained out but on the way home we
picked up 12 hitchhikers.
We did gain some
distinction and people took note that we were not just you run of the
mill rock band. One highlight was playing the Vibrations Club in
Winnipeg. Who could forget the luxury rooms
the St. Charles Hotel. Despite the accommodations, it was a performance
highlight for the group.
Another was being the “House” band
at Danceland at Clear Lake
for a summer.
More lineup changes,
The eight piece band
didn’t last long. In hindsight, or even at the time, one could see that
there were too many conflicting ideas. Mike Burtch and Gaye left within
the year. Mike Pettit left in the spring of 72. We replaced them with
Barb Good a high school student from Souris on sax, and a young trumpet
player from Brandon, Garth Scott. That lineup lasted through the
but I think the experiment was over.
In a sense perhaps the
band had run its course. Leigh and I were both finishing our degrees at
BU and careers loomed.
Some of us were ready to
return to a basic four-piece rock lineup so when Dave lerft the band,
that’s what we did. Through the fall of 72 we went back to basics,
bringing in local drummer Marty Old. That winter Leigh left for Ontario
and we brought in Garth Dandy. I do have fond memories of our last
winter with that lineup. The money was sure better.
Earl Oxford School Yearbook
At the end of the winter
of 73 I was ready to begin a teaching career and had to move away to do
that. Paul and Marty carried on for a while before turning to other
Santana - Album 1 Side 1 (Evil
Jingo Etc.) Soul Survivor, Black Magic
Woman, Hope You're Feeling Better, Oye Como VaStones - Brown Sugar,
Can't You Hear Me Knocking
Mashmekan - , As Years Go By
Joe Cocker - Feelin' Allright, Delta Lady
Janis Joplin - To Love Somebody
Delany and Bonnie - ?
Chicago - Medley (Make Me Smile), Lowdown
Gypsy - Gypsy Queen
Bloodrock - Whiskey Vengeance
Three Dog Night - Liar, Instrumental?
Allman Brothers - Don't Want You No More / Ain't My Cross To Bear
Led Zeppelin - Thank You, Your Time is Gonna Come
Mandrill : Mandrill,
Rhinoceros : Apricot Brandy
Jethro Tull - We Used To Know
The Blues Project -
Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water
Sha Na na - Rock Medley
Sly and the Family Stone - Take You Higher - Medley
I hadn't seen these pictures until
Leigh Moore passed them on to me recently. He received them from Jim
Durwood. I think they may have been taken in the Souris Hall, but I'm
not sure. The time is likely the fall of 1971. Mike Burtch had joined
the band on percussion and Dave Hasselfield on sax.
Before long Mike was bringing a complete kit plus
his clavinet. Before he purchased the electric piano.
the SG I got from Tom Cornett
with his Telecaster bass
Brandon University "Pub"
Ken, Paul, Leigh, Garth, Jamie, Barb and…
Dave was off to the right
Barb Good (Now Barb Falloon) was
at Souris School, where I worked for 12 years.
Leigh lives in Prince
Edward County, east of Toronto where he plays with "The Fade Kings" It
was cool to re-connect with Leigh and exchange e-mails after all these
I've lost touch with Mike Kotyk,
and Mike Pettit.
Mike Burtch recently found this
and contacted me. He recently retired from his position as Curator of
the Art Gallery of Algoma (Sault Ste. Marie). He was just completing
work on a very interesting film project: Painted
Land: In Search of the Group of Seven.
Jim Durward also contacted me
it was nice to hear from him. He's written and directed a few movies.
Dave was playing jazz in
(and coaching football) in Winnipeg last I heard - I'm connected
with him on Facebook.
Paul lives in Brandon and is still
playing. I spoke to him recently, and saw his current band a Beatles