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Photo courtesy of John Wallerich


Photo courtesy of John Wallerich


Photo courtesy of Kenda North

 

Chapter 3

We were young, full of zeal, and it was the first band any of us had been in where there wasn’t a fat guy.  We all looked good, liked each other, and most of all we loved our music. 

Russ Fields sang lead vocal.  Frank Luchsinger played lead guitar, Chris rhythm guitar, Al played keyboards, I played drums, and Scot played bass guitar. Everyone sang except for Frank and me. 

Scot didn’t start out as a bass player.  Like Paul McCartney, Scot switched from guitar to bass out of necessity and thanks to his broad musical background, played a fierce bass.
 

 



Photo courtesy of John Wallerich

 

Frank Luchsinger was the youngest and in the beginning at 15 years old needed one of us with a driver’s license to pick him up for rehearsals.  Though we all had obvious musical ability, Frank was particularly talented.  He was the quiet one until it was his turn to solo.  Then we’d just fall back and accompany him as he’d amaze us with his prowess.

 

 


 

Al Penny’s influence beyond his heavenly voice, was that of court jester seamlessly interjecting his uncanny skill at cracking us up without notice.  Despite Al’s reputation of showing up two hours late for every rehearsal (Al was born two days late) we indulged his tardiness if only to enjoy his marvelously uplifting company.  You will never find another singer as accomplished as Al at effortlessly pulling harmonies out of thin air.


 

Russ Fields was a natural singer.  His voice brought forth soul and passion from enviable depths.  When Russ sang it was time to listen.  Oh that we could have had him longer.  He passed away in 2001.  Russ lived a troubled life.  As teens we were all the much more aware of the trauma Russ had experienced at only 12 years of age to come home from school and discover his mothers suicide.  Russ was also epileptic subject to grand mall seizures the details of which you needn’t imagine. 


With the 1010 lacking a bass player, Scot eagerly acquiesced.  Scot lay hold of those four strings and played them masterfully.  His musical integrity now brought forth on the bass guitar propelled us to a sophistication we’d never before experienced. 

Driven by youthful passion we began to face grown up decisions.  We were a suburban teenage band at the crossroads.  Management contracts were being whispered from questionable sources.  Possible recording opportunities loomed on the horizon.  Chris was destined soon for university in Boston.  Al was being courted by more established bands.  Though we all wanted to continue together it became obvious that the 1010’s future was in question. 

Chris soon left for college.  Al accepted bids to sing for “The Second Story”.  On the brink of fame Scot, Russ, Frank, and I were determined to continue. 

Around that time, the Buffalo Springfield had broken up.  In my youthful naiveté I figured Stephen Stills was out of a gig and might be looking for a band to join.  Why not play with the 1010?  Not having any connection to the Buffalo Springfield I turned to the hippest local connection to the underground music scene I knew of, WSDM radio.

At that time in Chicago, WLS and WCFL AM radio dominated the world of pop music.  Emerging alternative music groups were then featured on “underground radio” programs that hippies would broadcast on obscure FM radio stations. 

In Chicago, one such program on WSDM FM, “The Station with the Girls and all that Jazz” was hosted by “Copper”, one of the leading hip voices in the underground music scene.  I tuned in to her every night to hear music by artists  like “The Velvet Underground”, “Moby Grape”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Traffic”, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and many others that were not played on the AM pop radio stations.

One day I called WSDM and left a message for Copper saying that I was looking for contact information for Stephen Stills in hopes he’d want to join my band.  Copper called back the next day.  She choked back laughter as I  told her I thought perhaps Stephen Stills was looking for a gig and asked if she knew how to reach him. 

Copper was a young DJ pioneering what was to be the very short lived life of Chicago underground radio.  She was amused by my boldness.  A friendship soon blossomed and we began dating. 

Her real name is Patty Shannon, a beautiful, petite, girl with long thick straight red hair.  She’s also smart as a whip!  We became instant friends admiring each other’s talents and not sure what to do with the attraction we had for each other. 

Patty came to hear the 1010 at one of our rehearsals.  She liked what she heard and offered to play our music on her radio program the next evening.  We were thrilled at the prospect of being on the radio but there was one problem.  We didn't have an acceptable recording! 

We also didn't have Chris Rhodes.  He was at school in Boston.  Al rejoined us to help put together a recording.  John Walerich was the only guy we knew that had a tape recorder and we persuaded him to bring his tape recorder to Al's house.  We stayed up all night trying to produce a decent recording.  The later it go the worse we sounded.  We recorded a sorry version of Chris's "Sea and Sky".  Scot and I drove down to WSDM the next day but our 1/4 track tape wouldn't play on the 1/2 track tape players there. 

I was exhausted and frustrated but determined to get our song played on the radio.  The following week I returned to WSDM with a borrowed 1/4 machine and we finally did get to hear our music on the radio.


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