I attended my fifty-year high school class reunion recently. Another one of those “golden anniversary” milestones intended to make you feel grateful you’re “not dead yet.”
The best part of the reunion gathering was reconnecting with classmates who also were members of a garage band I was in fifty years ago. The band was “Volume One” and our legacy will remain largely confined to whatever each of the four remaining members recalls about the experience. To that end, here are my recollections.
Volume One formed in May 1968, rising from the debris of two splintered garage bands, the Jaywalkers and the No Left Turns. Classmates Dean (bass), Mike (rh gtr/kb), Joe S. (voc/tr) and I (voc) along with two other guys, Tony (ld gtr/voc) and Dick (dr/voc) picked up the pieces of our collectively shattered past, met together in my parents’ basement and launched a musical endeavor that lasted only through the summer of ’68. But what an amazing summer it was!
In addition to each of us working conventional summer jobs, the band rehearsed in my basement twice a week. By the end of June we’d honed a repertoire of songs in front of various siblings, friends and neighbors who would stop by to listen. The set list took shape and included songs by Hendrix, the Animals, the Stones and Cream among others.
In July, Volume One debuted as the break band for the One Eyed Jacks from Champaign, Illinois at the E.J. Dalton Youth Center in Rockton, Illinois. August found us in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin playing at the community center for a teen dance. Some city officials there harped about our decibel level being too high and demanded that we “turn it down.” When I asked them them to produce a decibel meter, they threatened to unplug us. The hiring agent intervened and argued that the kids loved us. She handed me a check for the contracted amount and told us to continue playing. We finished the show without incident.
Volume One played their third job at our beloved hometown Club Pop House. It was the pinnacle of our short-lived career together as a band. Our final gig was as a contestant in a “Battle of the Bands” at the Meadow in Janesville, Wisconsin. We placed third, winning a twenty-five dollar gift certificate at the local music store. I’m not sure what became of it before we finally split up for the last time, each of us going his own way.
On Monday, August 6, 2018 I’ll feature a segment of three songs from the original artists (People!, Cream and Vanilla Fudge) that my 1968 garage band, Volume One, played as part of its regular set list fifty years ago. Tune in to Asheville FM (ashevillefm.org) Monday, August 6 at 2:00 pm EDT for “Life Out of Tunes” with Joey Books.