The Original EDEN :
L to R
Jeff "Nob" Wyatt (guitar/vocals), Stan Dorsett (bass/vocals),
Jim Folk (keyboards/vocals), Van Lautsch (percussion/vocals)
Photo by Bernie Wyatt
Here I will provide a brief description of some of the history of Eden as I recall it, as well as random thoughts and remembrances of the Saskatchewan music scene at the time. I would like to especially thank talented writer, researcher and prairie music historian Brock Silversides for helping to jog my memory on many additional items relayed below. This EDEN - the band page is accompanied by the EDEN Photos and EDEN Posters pages that you will see in the page navigation links. Some of the captions on those pictures relate to the written material below.
1971 - THE ORIGINAL EDEN IN THE
The band EDEN was a popular 1970's Saskatchewan rock group, which underwent a series of various membership incarnations, and a very temporary name change to SPIRAL. EDEN was founded in 1971 by Jim Folk (keys/vocals), Stan Dorsett (bass/vocals), Van Lautsch (drums/vocals) and me, Jeff "Nob" Wyatt (guitar/vocals). For most of the band’s existence our booking agents were the amiable brothers Don Hergott and the late Sam Hergott originally from Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Together they operated Quicksilver Talent Agency out of Saskatoon and Regina offices, promoting Saskatchewan music and serving countless prairie bands as well as the communities which hired their services.
Don Hergott had the thickest, coolest black hair & mustache I'd ever seen. He was a very nice guy and a supportive agent. He was fairly laid back and calm to be around. I never saw him worked up about anything. He and his late brother Sam kept us quit busy with booking one-nighters around the province for many bands that they represented. There was lots of work back then, but the pay was never great. That wasn't Don or Sam's fault. They got what he could for their bands. The vast majority of bands played for the love of performing music,... rather than for the love of money,... as the latter was very illusive. I believe Don and Sam did handle groups which included A Group Called Mudd, Wascana & Cambridge, who later became the Queen City Kids and I believe were then handled by Gary Stratochuk, who also personally managed Streetheart. Generally I thought Don Hergott to be a big brother and sometimes even a father figure. He would stand behind you if he liked your music and stage presence. If he didn't particularly agree with a direction (musical or otherwise) a band was taking, he would state his concerns, but he would never stop supporting you and working to get you gigs.
I believe it was my brother Bernie (aka Daniel Wyatt) who thought of the EDEN name for us,… or was it Van our drummer?? One day I'll find out for sure. Anyway, Bernie designed a couple of our promotional posters, as well as provided some cool black and white photography. The above outdoor black and white shot has always been my favorite. From left to right you see me, Jeff “Nob” Wyatt, Stan Dorsett, Jim Folk and Van Lautsch – the original EDEN of 1971. This is a classic 70's style band photo taken in the Qu'Appelle Valley near Craven, Sask., by Bernie Wyatt (aka Daniel Wyatt). That location also became a favorite, outdoor party place for the band and our friends during the summer of 1971. It was quite secluded and the farmer who owned the land didn't seem to mind us being there,... or perhaps didn't know.
A TRAVELLING BAND
EDEN originally travelled by station-wagon pulling a large custom built trailer provided by Jim's father Pat Folk, but it was just a few months before we outgrew this mode of transportation. On the EDEN Photos page you can see that original trailer with the cool paint job provided by my brother Bernie Wyatt (aka Daniel Wyatt). As our vision for the band expanded, so did the amount of gear we acquired and toured with.
Deciding to upgrade, we bought a 24 passenger school bus (from Wells Wayne Bus Lines in Southey, Sask.) with the seats removed. We eventually stencil painted on the side the silly phrase THIS IS NOT A SHCOOL BUS.... accidentally spelling SCHOOL wrong,.... what was I thinking,... or not(?). What dorks that none of us noticed until we pulled the masking tape stencils off. But we just laughed and left it that way rather than try and fix it. The roof had large pieces of yellow paint peeling and hanging, which covered rust beneath. Therefore we decided to have that roof sandblasted and coated with primer, since we were planning on eventually repainting the entire bus. We did finally at least get a coat of primer on that roof to protect it, although it wasn't long before we outgrew this puppy, finally blowing that poor overworked engine sometime in Spring of 1972.
We then purchased a 48 passenger school bus (also from Wells Wayne Bus Lines in Southey, Sask.) with a newly installed powerful 427ci engine complete with automatic transmission. Having our doubts about the automatic transmission safely pulling the weight of gear we'd accumulated, my mechanic father assured us that if we shifted it manually when climbing and descending hills (and kept our eyes on the tachometer and vacuum gauges) we'd save both the engine and the brakes respectively. He also told us that truck companies were actually starting to build dump trucks with automatic transmissions. His assurances proved correct. We used that bus for the remainder of the years EDEN existed, and it was a most reliable, powerful and comfortable vehicle.
To make this mechanical powerhouse suitable for band travels, we had all the seats removed and built a partition to house all our gear behind. Comfort was important, so we purchased 2 left over reclining double greyhound style seats from a local rock band called A Group Called Mudd and mounted them just behind the driver seat. This was a mighty piece of transportation for us in which we traveled to perform all around the southern and central reaches of Saskatchewan and slightly across the borders of Manitoba and Alberta. My mechanic father Jack Wyatt always kept our buses in good running order to alleviate some of the fears for all our parents as we traveled in extreme prairie weather conditions which ranged from +35 degrees Celcius to -50 Celcius. Although our parents did worry,... they were very supportive. We did have an occasional minor bus mishap or bus breakdown which left us stranded in snowbank in a ditch or in snow drifts on the road during Saskatchewan blizzards. But we're all still living with our extremities intact.
As a band we took turns driving and we developed a rather unique way of switching drivers without stopping the bus or even slowing down. Our drummer, Van, was the first to quickly perfect this skill and coach the rest of us in it's simple yet effective safety first intricacies. Actually, with all the extensive roominess around the drivers seat, this technique of swapping operators was quite simple to accomplish. AND there was another technique we developed for urinating without stopping the bus. This one was always good for a chuckle. The driver had full control of the door handle, which was part of an assembly extending from the door over to the dash board, right beside the steering wheel. When someone needed to relieve himself, the driver would hold the door open slightly (with the handle beside the steering wheel), while the bladder bursting dude would stand in the door entrance pit and ever so gracefully try to aim through that 4" opening that the driver was trying to hold steady. If we were going around the bend, or over a bad bump, anyone in the pit had to hang on or there would be excess liquid waste on his pants and shoes. And,...of course,... if you were the driver,... you had the power to play practical jokes on any poor dude who was at your mercy in the "piss pit". Unfortunately, the side of the bus took a bit of a "piss beating" depending on the cruising speed, wind direction and velocity, and such. Although the rain always seemed to keep it washed clean.
Early one evening we started to paint that bus dark forest green at Pat Folk's (Jim's dad) autobody shop, using some leftover paint we managed to compile. Or actually, Jim started painting it until his dad, Pat stopped by and decided to finish it. It was funny because Pat was going out to dinner with his wife Ruth,... so he was wearing a very classy suit at the time. As a side note:... with the utmost of trust and all due respect for Jim's abilities,...although he was a good autobody painter, Pat had done it for many, many years and had earned a reputation as being one of Regina's top autobody painters. After grabbing the sprayer, Pat made it look so easy and he completed the entire bus in about 30 minutes,... with his smock over his 3 piece suit and a ventilating mask over his face. It was amazing and amusing entertainment. I kept thinking about poor Ruth,.... patiently waiting in the car.
EDEN had steady work. These were the days when there was an abundance of available one-nighters on the prairies, and if bands didn’t mind traveling, they had a lot of work. The pay wasn’t so great, but the work was plentiful and the communities that hired them generally treated traveling bands with much appreciation and respect. It was not at all uncommon to pass other bands on the road, driving to or from gigs.
Playing mostly cover tunes, EDEN did however include some original compositions in our sets most nights. Some of the progressive 70's bands who's songs we liked to cover included, Santana, Deep Purple, Procol Harum, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes, Gentle Giant, Blodwyn Pig, Uriah Heep, Frank Zappa, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Rick Derringer, King Crimson, April Wine, Chuck Berry, Bloodrock, Alice Cooper, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Argent, A Foot In Coldwater, Sly and the Family Stone, and others. Obviously, we liked to learn some difficult stuff, just to stretch our horizons and abilities to see if you could actually do it. Thinking back, as a band we were certainly not lazy. We liked to work hard, and the rewards included that feeling of accomplishing something you never knew you could. We pushed each other to improve as musicians and live players in every aspect we could think of.
Generally when it came to our original music, one member would approach the others with a basic idea for the song then we'd work out the final arrangement together with each member contributing his own unique part. Sometimes the songs worked and sometimes they didn't. Plus at rehearsal times, before we'd dig in our heels, we often liked to unwind and clear our heads by jamming. It was a great way to loosen up and develop improvisation skills, as well come up with new song ideas.
HARD WORKING, FUN FILLED YEARS
EDEN's career had many highlights, an early one of which was having the pleasure to perform as a warm up act for the ever popular Canadian rockin' blues influenced show band Crowbar in the fall of 1971 at the old (now demolished) Exhibition Auditorium in Regina, Saskatchewan. The song that Crowbar will always be most renouned for is that well known radio hit Oh, What A Feelin (Whatta Rush). This concert occurred at a major crest in Crowbar's popularity, so they had no trouble filling venues and leaving people buzzing wherever they went. This was a memorable gig for us because the place was packed, the air was electric and we were scared out of our wits. And what do people do when they are frightened to this degree? They pray, of course,..... which was what we decided to do in order to calm ourselves down before taking the stage. Finally when a stage hand came backstage to retrieve us, we entered from stage left while the crowd roared and the smell of marijuana wafted through the auditorium. This was like a downsized version of a 70's Grateful Dead concert. Although we had a previous small Regina debut concert at a cool little venue often referred to as the "Zig Zag Drop In Centre" (named after the popular rolling paper brand), this particular night was our big Regina debut concert, the outcome of which would give us immediate popularity or an instant thumbs down from our musician peers and local rock music lovers. To our great joy and delight, this was one of those magical nights that musicians yearn for, when everything "clicks" on and off stage; one of those times when you can do no wrong and even "mistakes" come across as being well planned artistic occurrences. This was a make it or break it night and we road high on the public's good wishes and praise that we received in the following months to come. As a band we were so grateful for this experience and thus decided to always have a short prayer before we took the stage ever after that. Although none of us were over religious, we were spiritual minded and this became an integral part of the precursor to most every gig.
I should say here that although I refer to the engagements we prairie bands played at were "gigs", "concerts", "engagements" and "one-nighters",... they were really mostly DANCES in those early days. They were often open floor events where many people danced, while others stood, watched and listened. All the prairie bands in these days played dances in the following types of venues:
--University halls (note: Pub nights at the University of Regina were always fun)
--lake resort pavilions
These last 2 types of gigs were mostly concert types of events because most everyone sat and listened.
The original EDEN was a rare breed of a 70's rock band, in that we discovered very early in our career that we performed and functioned much better when we took the stage without the influence of alcohol or any other substance. We treated our time on stage very seriously,... somewhat sacred, for lack of a better word. If people were good enough to pay their hard earned dollars to come see us perform and dance to our music we felt they deserved the best we could give them. Plus, we always felt better after a gig if we knew we'd given our best and played well. But we still had enormous fun, although our good feelings stemmed from adrenalin and the natural occurring biochemical endorphins in our young brains. Because of our abstinent on-stage behavior, I often thought of us as a bit of a 70's anomaly, since drugs and booze usually ran rampant backstage for many bands we knew. We didn't, however, have a "holier than thou" attitude and thus never liked to judge other bands for behaving that way. We just preferred not to. We reserved getting tipsy and crazy for our band parties, which always included our friends. Although we sometimes liked to down a few beers in the bus on the way home from gigs. Being parched after a gig, I used to like those partially frozen "beer slushies" that naturally occurred in the bus during those frozen winter months. These weren't slovenly, drunken travels by any means. They were just enjoyable refreshments after a gig and whoever was driving always had a sober, clear head.
Even our original roadie/soundman/lightman, Bob Ell, would sometimes take the stage with us for a song or two, playing his Gibson ES330 guitar. (note: Bob's daughter is the talented guitarist, singer and songwriter Lindsay Ell, who is making quite a name for herself in the music world). Our very reliable friend Bob departed from us after about a year or so to peruse a career in engineering. We were sorry to see him go. After his departure we relied heavily on our friend Keith Soehn and others to come along as road crew on our trips. We couldn't pay much (if at all), but we were always able to promise some fun and interesting times.
Although the band experience and performing music was indeed fun much of the time, there was still the business aspect that we could not ignore, and it was the dollars we earned from playing one gig that helped finance us getting to the next. And the music business, like any other business, has always had it's vultures that prey on honest, naive musicians. I remember one such incident of EDEN being booked to play at Temple Gardens in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. This grand old palace of a venue was built in 1921 and had an amazing history of musicians who had graced it's stage up until it's demolition in the late 70's. When I walked into this place for the first time, there was an apparent feeling of largeness to the room; both horizontally and vertically. It was by far more vast and impressive than any other Saskatchewan dance hall I'd ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
The year was about 1972 when EDEN had been booked into Temple Gardens by a promoter who had a bad reputation for not honoring contracts. This fellow indeed had a history of ripping off both bands and booking agents, and if you were in a Saskatchewan band in the early 70's, the promoter/agent name with initials J.V. might strike a familiar, dissonant chord with you. The Temple Gardens gig I refer to had a low turnout, partially because the promoter hadn't promoted the gig well enough in advance. But, in his defense, if I remember correctly,...it was also sub-below-zero COLD outside along with a pileup of previous snow falls making driving a little sketchy, however the bold hearts of prairie people seldom let the viscousness of winter dictate their activities. Never-the less, none of this helped in getting people swarming into the "Gardens" that evening.
Due to the low turnout, at the end of the night the promoter decided he wasn't going to honor the contract he signed with our booking agent. To the best of my memory, he paid us nothing, or only a portion,... but only after we threatened to report him the musician's association. This was a rather unfortunate and sour way to end the night and from then on the memory of Temple Gardens was not a fond one for me. It is strange indeed how one negative experience can cloud our vision of something that deserves our appreciation.
It wasn't until 2012 that my perception changed when I came to know Heather Hodgson (ex- Moose Jaw resident and writer) who, along with Gord McCaw, had been working on a book dedicated to Temple Gardens and its interesting and colorful history. The information and photographs that they, and others had been gathering were indeed of interest and I learned much, giving me an entirely new appreciation of Temple Gardens. And to top it all off, Heather remembered being there, dancing to our music that night. How cool is that?
Heather and Gord's book should be published and available hopefully by December of 2013, and I will post information here as to how to obtain it when that information is available. In the meantime here is a link to a Facebook page dedicated to this magestic old dance hall and ball room.
Temple Gardens Ball Room
In those days, there was no real recourse when a promoter refused to pay the agreed amount; it was "band beware". Hmmm? Come to think of it, it's still much like that today. Up to that point we had been paying dues to the local musicians union, as we felt that such membership gave us some clout and protection from guys like J.V. But we found from this experience that our union was no help in this regard. It was at that time we discontinued paying any future membership dues, as we felt that union membership served us no purpose and gave us no real benefit whatsoever, only a false perception of protection.
I had previously heard of other bands that had similar experiences with promoter J.V. Integrity and honesty were not his strong points. I can only hope that our good old friend Kharma has taught him a thing or two over the decades since. There weren't many of his kind around in those days, and fortunately we never dealt with anyone like him again. Every other promoter we dealt with honored the contracts they signed.
I feel I should mention here too that there was a young, shy, unassuming, talented singer-songwriter who use to show up at some of our gigs. We used to enjoy letting him play some of his original material while we took our breaks. His name was Ron Thring and he wrote some very interesting folkie kind of songs very reminiscent of the style of Bob Dylan. We'd set him up with mikes on his voice and acoustic guitar and let him do his thing. Ron was never a member of the band, but since he played at some of our gigs he certainly deserves a mention here. I'm not sure where Ron is today, or what he's doing, but I remember him well and he's part of our history.
A FEW OTHER BAND MEMBERS INCLUDED KEN 'SPIDER' SINNEAVE, DOUG ZUROWSKI, BRIAN MORGAN, KEITH SOEHN, DALE SAUER...
After a year or more EDEN went through some growing pains. We became somewhat bored and unsatisfied with what we were doing. One of the issues was that we wanted someone to take over the lead vocal role, freeing up the rest of us to focus on backup vocals as well as our instrument playing. We thought it would help us to be more versatile and allow us to expand our repertoire. We were fortunate to bring on board vocalist/guitarist Dale Sauer to help us out. Dale not only had a great lead singing voice, but was also a very able lead guitarist. We were looking only for a lead singer and ended up with someone who I could also play dual guitar parts with. How cool !! The extra voice allowed us to do more vocally challenging tunes which included those of Uriah Heep. Plus, with 2 guitars we could play the record version of Deep Purple's Highway Star, complete with Ritchie Blackmore's overdubs.
I think it was somewhere around this time when we were able to have Guy Seifert as our reliable soundman, lightman and roadie. Guy was a cool longhaired, music loving kind of dude who road a Harley. I always felt safe with him around. He was a kind, thoughtful and fun-loving but he didn't take any crap from anyone who dished it out unfairly. If guy was your friend, you can be sure of a very loyal friend. Therefore I should also add the title "bodyguard" to the duties he willingly took on. We never had trouble that got out of hand with him round. He could give someone a simple look that would make anyone step back and behave themselves.
The growing pains of EDEN continued, however, and the band struggled between the thought of continuing playing "one-nighters" and possibly becoming a club or cabaret band. Full agreement on either was difficult for us to decide upon. Plus the chemistry of the band was in some turmoil. Looking back, it had to have been very difficult for Dale to come into a band that already had an established 4 man camaraderie. He must have felt like the odd man out sometimes. If it was me, I'm sure I would have. We had bickering going on amongst us like never before. That certainly wasn't Dale's fault, we were just too immature and unwilling to deal with band issues head on. Nobody wanted to bend and thus the 5 man chemistry didn't seem to be working anymore. The 4 of us original members finally were able to somewhat reluctantly agree to try playing the club circuit. That was not what Dale wanted, so he chose to leave the band. So there we were,... back to the original 4 rehearsing again,... putting the pieces together, and dropping some of our material. Being a band that was always in flux and known for changing plans midstream, we soon swung back to wanting to play "one-nighters". The thought of playing the club circuit somehow lost any appeal it had to any of us. Perhaps we just got scared. Regardless, the "one-nighters" continued for us.
In about 1972 we were presented with a sad and difficult time. Due to medical reasons, our original bassist Stan Dorsett was forced to sadly depart for a period. Jim, Van and I were a little perplexed as to how to deal with this as we couldn't imagine the band chemistry without Stan. Plus we had gigs to play and had to think about a bassist replacement. Because of time constraints, we were forced to play a few of our gigs with me on bass. We thought if Emerson Lake and Palmer could do it, we could temporarily try, although we had to perform our set lists slightly modified and the songs took on slightly different arrangements. For those trio gigs Stan was very gracious in providing me with his very cool Rickenbacker bass and Traynor bass amp. It seemed very weird playing without having the guitar parts, and it put more pressure on each of us to make our overall sound work.
We put the word out and the band auditioned and enlisted a series of bassists. These included good friend, and ex-bandmate of Jim's, Doug Zurowski (who played with us for many months) and Ken Sinneave, who years later came to be nicknamed "Spider" because of the dexterity, accuracy and speed of his finger co-ordination - resembling that of a crawling spider. After Doug left us, we were introduced to Ken by Guy Seifert who was our sound man, lightman and roadie at that time. We jammed once with Ken,... and BINGO. somewhere in about 1973, Ken became our new bass player.
Ken had a nice Fender Precision with an Ampeg amp which reminded me of a medium sized refrigerator. A big and heavy mother it was. Ken also played a remarkably mean and dirty sax in those days. We always made sure he had a sax solo featured every gig. The Edgar Winter tune A Different Game was the song in which Ken unleashed himself on sax,... tenor sax, I think (possibly alto?). Ken would set his bass down when his sax solo approached and our keyboardist Jim Folk would take over the bassline on his ARP synthesizer. On the original Edgar Winter recording, an approximate 1 second delay was used on the sax solo. At the start of the solo Edgar would play a short phrase, then the notes would echo and disappear. He'd play a few more notes and they would echo and disappear. It was so cool the way Ken handled this, because (since we didn't have any delay unit) Ken would actually PLAY the disappearing delays. Fortunately our sound system did have reverb. So,... with a little bit of applied reverb and Ken mimicking the echos by actually playing them,... it sounded very similar to Edgar's recording. Ken was and is a creative guy.. (HAHA) My mind is flashing back and digressing to a party following a gig in Saskatoon where one of our road/sound/& light guys (Keith Soehn) was trying to play Ken's sax, while Ken was pouring beer into the bell. Yah there was alcohol consumption involved that night.
In further regard to Ken's sax playing with EDEN,... we also covered Pink Floyd's Money,... but I don't know why Ken didn't play the sax solo in there. Jim played a synth solo instead of the sax solo. That may have been Ken's preference,... I forget. I know Ken certainly preferred playing bass. The impression I had was that sax to him was a fun toy to play for a song or two. He was always always a natural performer. If he was ever nervous, it didn't show. In fact he was a bit of a ham on stage,... but certainly a "tactful ham"; not arrogant in the least. But in Ken's defense,... the members of EDEN were all a little "hammy", so he fit right in.
Ken never had his nickname "Spider" while with EDEN. The nickname he had with us was SNUFFY, and sometimes SNUFFS or SNUFFLES...which was a bit of a take off on SINNEAVE as well as SNUFELUFIGUS from Sesame Street. This name was invented by either Keith or Van. I don't know that he particularly liked being called SNUFFY, but it's a name that stuck and he must have got used to it (sort of),... at least while he was with EDEN anyway. And beside, he took it well. However, with my nickname being "Nob", I was the brunt of far more silly jokes, as you can well imagine.
I always thought that Ken's nickname "Spider" came from the Streetheart era,.. but it very well could have come from the Wascana or Witness period. Yah, everybody knew he was specially gifted. You would know that the first time you'd hear him play. The bass parts he was able to accomplish at such a young age were phenomenal. In EDEN we tackled a bit of Yes and Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Ken had no trouble learning and playing those advanced bass lines,.. as well as throwing in some of his own "SPIDEY" riffs for good measure. The name SINNEAVE in Regina became synonymous with bass guitar. He's one of those rare gifted musical individuals that you don't come across everyday. Plus he was a nice guy and fun to work with.
To the best of my memory the reason this incarnation of EDEN disbanded in later in 1973 was due to Ken being offered a bassist position with the hot local jazz fusion band Wascana. Then, with the inclusion of Witness lead vocalist and front man Kenny Shields as well as drummer Bob Ego, the Wascana name was changed to Witness, which was a shortened name from the predecessor Witness Inc., which Kenny successfully fronted in years previous. (Here's a Nov 19, 2011 article about Kenny in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix "When Radio Ruled and Kenny Shields was King"). Some members of this re-incarnated group eventually went on to form the popular Canadian band Streetheart under the management of Gary Stratychuk. (note: Gary also managed local, rising bands Kick Axe and The Queen City Kids). For a much more complete history of Wascana, Witness, etc., as well as the full band memberships, see Bob Deutscher's Chronicle of Bands 1962 - 2003. Bob Deutscher was Wascana's guitarist and has done an excellent job keeping track of this musical history.
Our time working with Ken was fun and productive. Ken Sinneave has since become a legend as one of Canada’s greatest bass players, having played and recorded with names such as Streetheart, Tom Cochrane, Loverboy, Lee Aaron and Kim Mitchell. Unfortunately we don't seem to have any surviving photos of that time period with Ken. Maybe there's still more boxes to look through.
EDEN was noticeably influx at this point. We went so far as to briefly change our name to SPIRAL and try something completely different. Jim, Van and myself asked Brian Morgan (on bass and backup vocals) to join our ranks along with our good long time friend Keith Soehn (on synth/tape and backup vocals). They were a great couple of guys, but for some reason the overall musical chemistry between us wasn't working on a consistent basis. I remember feeling unsatisfied after many of the gigs we played. There's no blame here. Sometimes combinations of people just don't function as well as you'd like them to, regardless of how much you want it to work. And it may have absolutely nothing to do with the individual talents. Something that Keith brought the band which was quit unique and "ear catching" was the use of pre-recorded tape to the band's performances. We always finished off the night playing along with a tape recording of the final crescendos of the great opera aria Nessun Dorma from the classic opera Turandot by the Italian composer Puccini. And Keith had the volume "cranked" through the sound system. It was so cool !! With this we always turned heads and got full attention at the very end of the night. Nessun Dorma is a work that became Luciano Pavarotti's very own trademark.
1975 - THE ORIGINAL EDEN REUNITE AGAIN...
Somewhere down the road EDEN once again reformed, resurrected and reunited with our original bassist and good buddy Stan Dorsett, and the original, yet renewed band happily played out its remaining years with it's 4 founding members. It was an inevitable reunion that just felt good and the timing was right and we were "pumped". We played our final gig sometime in late 1975 or early 1976, although we briefly reformed in about 1981 for some rehearsals and demo recording sessions of some original material. Those tapes are packed away in Stan's archives.
By 1982 times had changed, our lives were different and priorities needed to be re-evaluated. EDEN parted on very good terms. The fire had simply died and there were other aspects to our lives that needed tending,... we had grown and needed to think seriously about earning a living. We remain friends to this day and when any of us do get together the memories are fond and the laughter is immediate and contagious.
As a band, when we were “on” we were "really on". But when we were “off”,…well,…we were disappointed. The EDEN years were creative, challenging and fun days. It was an education in music, life, sleep deprivation and long distance driving. We were more than friends,... we were family. I feel privileged to have been able to work with these extraordinary and talented individuals who will always be my close friends. My thanks also go out to those hard working "road toads" and sound and light guys that worked their butts off for paltry pay, greasy burgers and fries, a few beers and lots of laughs. These included Bob Ell, Guy Siefert, Keith Soehn and others who travelled with us from time to time.
I am also so very grateful for the fact that we have so many existing photographs of those EDEN years. Many thanks to the photographers, who included Ray Bell, Bob Ell, Bernie Wyatt (aka Daniel Wyatt), Jim Folk, Stan Dorsett, Van Lautsch and others. Thanks to all the above for supplying the photos that I posted on this site.
SOME FINAL RANDOM THOUGHTS AND MEMORIES OF THE 1970's SASKATCHEWAN MUSIC SCENE
At this point I'm going to admittedly ramble a bit with some of my fond memories of the 70's Saskatchewan music scene. Regarding the band A Group Called Mudd,...I liked these guys right from their beginnings. The first very incarnation was as a power trio; Doug Rusu - guitar and vocals, Cal Bradley - bass and lead vocals, and the late Neil Doege on drums and backup vocals. It was a sad day when Neil died in a boating or rafting accident somewhere around 1969. As far as I remember, he apparently headed down Wascana Creek during a spring flooding. The flow and flooding was quite heavy. I'm not sure of the sequence of events but the result was that Neil drowned, but the whole musical community of Regina was extremely upset.
This earliest form of A Group Called Mudd was very enjoyable to listen to. The first time I heard them play live was at one of their evening rehearsals at RUSU'S service station in the vehicle repair bays. Doug Rusu's dad owned this place. It was located on the southwest corner of Victoria Ave and Dewdney Avenue in Regina. Steve Hegyi was a good friend of bassist and lead vocalist, Cal Bradley. We just dropped in on them one cold winter evening. Their musicianship and presence was very good and they left an impression on me. Even at a rehearsal they looked and sounded like rock stars. I remember they played some awesome Cream and Blind Faith covers. Cal had a great voice for singing lead. Neil reminded me of drummer Mitch Mitchell to look at. I thought he even kind of played like him. At this rehearsal I still can remember them practicing Blind Faith's "In the Presence of the Lord". I was held quite spellbound while I listened to this local power trio. Doug Rusu's guitar playing, I thought, was reminiscent of Eric Clapton. Eric was probably one of his idols, I suspect. And probably Jeff Beck. Doug didn't play flashy, speedy riffs. He played nice, tastey, well planned full, very delibrate fat notes. "Fat" because he used a Gibson Les Paul guitar in those days. I can't remember what he used for an amp,... possibly Marshall.
Over time there were various re-inventions of A Group Called Mudd. Neil had passed away and at some point Cal Bradley left and Kenny Shields (formerly of Witness Inc. and then simply, Witness) became their vocal front man. I thought it worked very well. The band totally reinvented itself. And it was a good invention. Power trios didn't seem that popular anymore. Bands wanted the addition of keyboards now. Even well known international power trios like the band Mountain were adding keyboardists to their band lineups. The only original member of A Group Called Mudd was now Doug Rusu. They also shortened their name to simply Mudd somewhere around or slightly before this time. All along people usually just called them Mudd anyway. Besides,... they made their initial tongue in cheek point with that cool long name. It got attention and interest.
The new drummer was Bill (Bilbo Baggins) Bobinski with the long curly hair and long mutton chop sideburns. People often just called him "Baggins". What a good showman drummer he was. He was a very positive guy to hang out with and he always looked like he was having such fun when he played. Bill had a big set of drums with an extra large kick drum. As a drummer he was powerful and precise. The bass player that handled the bottom end was Brian St. Goddard and the classy hammond B3 organ was played by Dennis Meneely. (Dennis plays in the Edmonton band Tacoy Ryde). The overall combination of musicianship was 70's rock at it's best. The time period here was about 1970 to 1973. I wish to thank Joan Stewart for clarifying Brain's and Dennis's names and providing the URL to Dennis for me.
Kenny Shields did add much to this new Mudd with his voice, stage presence and energy. Plus the babes liked this skinny blondhaired, baby-faced guy who looked very much like British rock star with a pretty cool voice and rock'n'roll scream to match. He was the first lead vocalist I ever say to wear gloves,.. I think with the fingers cut off (sometimes). Looking back I think Ken wore 2 gloves initially, but I know for sure he wore one when fronting Streetheart as you can see in this Streetheart YouTube video. He started doing this long before Michael Jackson made "the glove" famous.
EDEN played one or 2 double bandstand gigs with Mudd, booked by the Hergotts of Quicksilver Talent Agency, of course. I just forget where these gigs were.
The new musical style of "Jazz Fusion" hit the world-wide music scene as well as our local music scene. And 2 of our most prominent Regina bands entered into it's ranks. They were Wascana and The Flying Colors. Both of these local bands had prominent brass sections. To assist and influence this, guitarist John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra (with violinist Jean Luc Ponti) as well as Jeff Beck (with keyboardist Jan Hammer) did separate concerts in the mid 1970's to present their own unique interpretation of this new and popular musical style to Regina audiences.
In regard to the band Wascana, the jazz fusion thing they did was very good, AND they had great stage presence. They were tight, well rehearsed, energetic and enjoyable to watch and listen to. Definitely they were all very talented. I was always impressed to see Daryl Gutheil play organ with his left hand and trumpet with his right. The Gutheil brothers (Daryl on keys, brass, vocals and Don on bass and vocals) possessed amazing talents, as did the rest of the band.
Bob Deutscher of Wascana (formerly Andante) had the kind of guitar style that suited a horn band (or even an R&B or blues band for that matter) because he wasn't strictly a "power chord" kind of player anyway. His style contain many tasteful intricacies. Besides, a power chord style wouldn't have worked as well with a heavy brass band. Bob knew the kind of playing that would suit the band's music and he knew how to deliver it. He could play colorful, intricate guitar parts, AND he had a great voice.. His guitar style could be likened to a combination of the guitarist from Terry Kath from Chicago and Steve Howe from Yes. Bob played tastily and never overused distortion. In fact most times he used very minimal distortion in the years I heard him play. My own thinking was (and still is)...IF YOU TAKE A GUITARIST'S DISTORTION AWAY YOU CAN HEAR HOW GOOD HE IS,... OR ISN'T. Bob was good!! And he still is!!
I'm going to side-track for a moment to make mention of a prairie rock festival that took place on June 21st, 1970. Thanks to researcher/author Brock Silversides for providing this exact date. This festival was referred to as the Fairy Hill Rock Festival which took place near Southey Saskatchewan. Click on the YouTube video below. It was originally captured on 8MM film, then later transferred to VHS and then to DVD. Just so it wouldn't be silent, some Three Dog Night audio was dubbed in to provide a soundtrack. This is some great old footage, and I'm thankful to Terry Young for posting it. Terry is the son of drummer Don Young. (Note: Terry is currently the bassist for the Regina band 6 Cylinder Symphony). He contacted me and provided more information on this event, which I've included here. He revealed to me that there was more footage, but it was not suitable to show on YouTube. It involved some topless girls dancing in the crowd, a guy in a black robe (later shedding the black robe) and some other crazy things from our youth. I was at that festival and remember seeing some of what he described. Many thanks to Don Young for keeping this video safe all these years. Some of the filming was done by Don, who had passed on the camera to another operator at some point so he could perform. As a matter of fact, Don is the drummer you see in the first band, Andante, shown in this footage, along with guitarist/vocalist Bob Deutscher, bassist/vocalist Don Gutheil and keyboardist/vocalist Daryl Gutheil. There are also glimpses of 2 other prairie bands from that era. I believe the 2nd band in the video was the original power trio version of A Group Called Mudd with Doug Rusu (guitar/vocals), Cal Bradley (bass/vocals) and Neil Doege (drums). I can't make out the 3rd band in the video. If someone can, please let me know. The last band shown is Andante, once again. The band 49th Parallel headlined, from what I remember. I also recall the lead singer Arnie Guzyk walking on crutches. Brock Silversides did a little digging and discovered that Arnie had shortly before been involved in a motorcycle accident, which explains the crutches. That is quite possibly 49th Parallel's bus driving down the hill in the video, but I can't be sure. Thanks to my keyboard buddy Ray Silzer (who I used to play with years ago) for letting me know about this video after it was posted.
Back to my fractured story. Yes, Wascana was influential in spreading the local interest in jazz fusion. Another talented jazz fusion band was The Flying Colors,... formerly known as The Checkerlads many years before. The Flying Colors later became known as Airborne. They were a talented bunch of guys who immersed themselves in jazz influences, which naturally flourished in their music. The band membership may have changed around a bit, but the members I know of included the late Gary Arnusch on drums (who sadly passed away around Christmas of 2007), Rocky Rathgeber on tenor sax, Larry Reich on guitar, Ron Brooks on trumpet, Arnie Davis on sax along with bassist Tim Krieser (who sadly passed away in July of 1997). For many years Tim was a guitar tech at The Music Box in Regina, which later became Long and McQuade. He worked there with my good buddy and EDEN bass player Stan Dorsett. I always trusted leaving a guitar for Tim to work on, because when I got it back it was adjusted, fine-tuned and set up to perfection. He was very particular about his work, and such a nice person to deal with. Tim eventually was able to fulfill a dream and open his own store in Regina called One World Music.
Being a guitarist myself, I always especially listened to guitarists in the bands I heard. Larry Reich's guitar style with The Flying Colors was jazzy and enjoyable to hear. His chord mastery made him play with a distinct rhythm and groove. And his solos were always clean and precise with colorful note combinations. Here I quote Stan Dorsett,.."Larry was missing some fingertips on his chording hand but he played thru the pain with great solos...". Many thanks to Tim Krieser's sister Debbie for helping me get the above band names and musician names correct.
There were other local bands that were influenced by the fusion scene..... but I can't say it spread like wildfire. It was just another genre that we all became accustomed to and sometimes somewhat confused by. The common local thinking was that you had to have horns in a band to play fusion. That is until (as I stated earlier) Jeff Beck came to town and blew everyone away at Regina's old (and now gone) Exhibition Auditorium. Wait a minute,... It may have been Exhibition Stadium. Either way,.... they're both gone. At this point I really don't remember any other prominent, local horn jazz fusion bands other than Wascana and The Flying Colors. Other guitar, bass, keyboard and drum bands were influenced (certainly EDEN was) by the fusion thing ... but mostly we just used it as an excuse to jam more and play longer solos.....haha..... but EDEN didn't really play fusion. Not many bands did as I recall. I'm going to state a bold opinion here.... I don't think many local musicians did understand at the time what fusion was anyway, and I place myself in that category. For me it took time to sink in because I was hearing a lot of very different music that was being labeled as "fusion". As I recall the whole worldwide fusion movement became very watered down in a few short years to the point that people would gag if they heard the term, because everybody and their dog were calling their music "fusion". Unfortunately it was sometimes a bastardized form and it eventually became a fad to be a "fusion" band. This was unfortunate. .......OK.... I said it. Although I hope I didn't offend the bands that were playing real jazz fusion, because I certainly would put Wascana and The Flying Colors in fusion's legitimate ranks. But,..being a guitarist myself,... I mostly liked what Jeff Beck did with it, although I don't know that in the strictest sense his music at the time was really jazz fusion. It was just some very cool instrumentals in interesting rock arrangements, structures and rhythms. OK.... Weather Report... what an awesome fusion band they were. But more than being fusion,... I think they were more "progressive jazz" at it's best. They were blazing a trail and extending modern jazz into different galaxies. I Wish I could have seen them in concert at their prime with the late renowned fretless bassist Jaco Pastorius.
There are so many other 70's Saskatchewan bands and musicians that respectfully deserve mention. Only a few of the Regina based ones are listed above. The city of Saskatoon as well as other communities had their fair share of very impressive bands. Please don't think I'm intentionally trying to ignore anyone. The intent of this page is not to write a complete history of the local music scene at the time. Someone much more qualified and smarter than I can take on that mammoth project. These thoughts are just some of my memories of the local musicians and bands I knew.
Anyway, that's enough of my rambling remembrances for now. Back to EDEN, which is who this page is dedicated to.
2005 - CALGARY REUNION OF THE ORIGINAL EDEN
In July of 2005 the original EDEN members got together in Calgary for a band reunion. Although the performance was rusty, it had lots of heart. the EDEN Reunion page shows a few photos of that celebratory reunion and jam in the city of the Flames. Photos were provided by Jane Dorsett. Down the road I hope and expect there will be another reunion as we grow balder.
This EDEN - the band page is accompanied by the EDEN Photos and EDEN Posters pages that you will see in the page navigation links. Some of the captions on those pictures relate to the written material above.
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Burnaby, BC, Canada