clockwise from left: Doug Lubahn, Bob Seal, Dallas Taylor, Michael Ney, Cliff De Young and Robbie Robison
|Cliff De Young (vocals)|
Bob Seal (lead guitar, vocals)
Doug Lubahn (bass)
Ralph Schuckett (keyboards)
Dallas Taylor (drums)
Michael Ney (drums)
Robbie Robison (guitar)
Georgia-born guitarist Bob Seal teams up with Dallas Taylor (b. 1948, Denver, Colorado, US) during the summer when they meet in Phoenix, Arizona as Seal is heading to California. Taylor has already tasted the Sunset Strip scene while drumming with Lowell George’s Factory some months earlier.
They arrive in Los Angeles and set up camp in Manhattan Beach where they meet up with Robbie Robison (real name: Clyde Edgar Robison) and Michael Ney at a Peanut Butter Conspiracy gig. Robison is the husband of Barbara Robison (aka Sandi Peanut Butter), the Peanut Butter Conspiracy’s lead singer – and had recorded an album in 1964 as Robbie the Werwolf – Live at the Waleback Club.
Deciding to make a go of forming a group with two drummers they recruit Wanda Watkins as an additional vocalist and name themselves The Garnerfield Sanitarium.
In late 1966, Doug Lubahn (b. Colorado, US), who has spotted Seal and Taylor on Fairfax Avenue wearing signs reading “Seeking singing, writing bass player” joins on bass. Lubahn had moved to Los Angeles a few months earlier from Aspen, Colorado where he was working as a ski instructor and playing with several local groups. He is spotted by Mama Cass of The Mamas & The Papas and she encourages him to relocate to the West Coast.
They acquire Bud Mathis as manager and change name to the Brain Train – a name given to them by the Peanut Butter Conspiracy’s Alan Brackett. In the process they lose Watkins, who will turn up in another Bud Mathis outfit, The Joint Effort. Mathis finances a recording session at the Electro Vox Studios and takes the resulting demo recordings of Wolfang Dios’ “Black Roses” and Lubahn and Mathis’s “Me” to Elektra Records.
Elektra snaps the band up but persuades them to ditch Mathis and be taken under the wing of producer Paul Rothchild. The Brain Train moves into a large house on Franklin Avenue in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, which has previously been the home of WC Fields and begin reheasing material for their proposed album.
counter-clockwise from bottom left: Robbie Robison, Doug Lubahn, Bob Seal, Michael Ney and Dallas Taylor
Scene from The President’s Analyst
Barry McGuire cast as their singer, for some reason.
|(30) The group performs at the “Freedom of Expression Concert” at the Hullabaloo, Hollywood, alongside The Doors, Canned Heat, The Poor and many others.|
May Despite having put down most of the tracks for the album, Elektra decides that Robison’s acoustic approach is incompatible with the group’s new electric direction and he is dropped from the group, although he remains part of the entourage, operating his own light show, set up at the group’s live appearances. After auditioning many guitarists as possible replacements, including Doug Hastings (ex-Daily Flash and soon-to-be Buffalo Springfield) they eventually decide to go with keyboard wunderkind Ralph Schuckett. Schuckett overdubs keys to several of the tracks already in the can as well as collaborating with fellow newbie Cliff De Young.
June (11) The new line up performs at Cheetah, Venice, California with Kaleidoscope.
(30) The band performs at the Oracle Benefit at the Valley Music Theatre, Los Angeles with Kaleidoscope and The Fraternity of Man (the Byrds cancel – McGuinn was sick). After this Clear Light embark on a cross country tour driving non-stop to Philadelphia where the band goes on strike, forcing Elektra to fly them to New York. The group is met by Danny Fields, who checks the musicians into Albert’s Hotel. The band initially plays at Steve Paul’s Scene East in the Delmonico Hotel but on the first night Schuckett lambasts the crowd for not paying attention to the group’s performance and it is fired. The next day, Steve Paul places the group at his main club, The Scene.
July (6-23) Clear Light play at Steve Paul’s Scene, New York. While there, the group jams with various guests including Tiny Tim, Howlin’ Wolf and The Candy Men, formerly members of The McCoys. The band plays further dates in Boston before returning to Los Angeles.
August (31) – September (3) Clear Light performs at the Magic Mushroom, Los Angeles with Kaleidoscope. Soon afterwards, the band’s debut single, “Black Roses” c/w “She’s Ready To Be Free” is released.
(25) Lubahn participates in the sessions for The Doors’ Strange Days album.
(30) Clear Light appears at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, Santa Barbara with The Quicksilver Messenger Service, Van Morrison and Blue Cheer.
October (20-22) The band plays at the Cheetah, Venice, California with The Electric Flag.
(26-28) The group supports Lee Michaels and Pink Floyd at the Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco.
November The group’s eponymous debut album is released climbing to US #126. The band’s second single, “They Who Have Nothing” c/w “Ballad of Freddie & Larry” is issued to support the album. The debut longplayer is subsequently released in the UK, and although it is not a hit, it is greeted with interest, particularly on the underground scene. (Clear Light’s records are regularly featured on John Peel’s Top Gear). Bud Mathis licences The Brain Train demos to Titan Records in order to cash in on the release of the Elektra album.
(8) Clear Light appears on Pat Boone’s weekly show Pat Boone in Hollywood.
(17-19) They play at the Cheetah in Venice, California with The Nazz.
(22) Clear Light performs at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, California with The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, The Merry Go Round, The Hour Glass and others.
(25) They appear at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, California with The Youngbloods, Canned Heat and The Merry Go Round.
(30) – December (2) The band is joined by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for a series of shows at the Fillmore Auditorium.
(8-9) They play at the Boston Tea Party, Boston with The Street Choir.
(19-31) Clear Light perform at the Café Au Go Go in New York where they are joined by Tim Buckley on the 28th and 30th. After much behind the scenes manipulation and Svengali–ism by Rothchild, the band starts auditioning guitarists, including Kenny Pine and Jeff Jacobs, on the club’s stage to replace Bob Seal, who has come to blows with the producer. Danny Kortchmar, who has previously played with New York groups, The King Bees and The Flying Machine and recently returned from Los Angeles where he had tried out for Elektra’s project supergroup (later Rhinoceros) takes over lead guitar. Seal meanwhile relocates to the Bay area and, disillusioned with playing six string takes up the bass – gigging but not recording with Gale Garnett & The Gentle Reign. He later takes up the six string again, replacing the original guitarist in the Transatlantic Railroad. He subsequently teams up with former Salvation member Joe Tate in Redlegs, a popular Bay Area group.
from left to right, back row: Ralph Schuckett, Dallas Taylor, Michael Ney and Doug Lubahn
front row from left: Bob Seal and Cliff De Young
January (5-6) With Kortchmar on guitar, Clear Light play at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit with Gypsy and Children.
January Elektra’s news letter, Revelation announces that Clear Light have split up.
May (12) Taylor is sacked by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young after a gig in Denver and rejoins John Sebastian’s backing band.
March Debut Jo Mama album, O Sole Mio is released. Schuckett also appears on Carole King’s Tapestry album and follows this with two US and one UK tour with James Taylor in support.
Lubahn appears on the Everly Brothers album Stories We Could Tell.
Cliff De Young stars in the TV film Sunshine and subsequently releases a soundtrack album featuring songs by John Denver on MCA.
Cliff De Young releases an eponymously titled solo album on MCA. He continues to be in demand as a film and TV actor.
September Kortchmar joins Crosby & Nash’s backing band, The Mighty Jitters, and subsequently appears on their albums Wind On The Water, Whistle Down The Wire and Crosby/Nash Live.
June Schuckett appears on a recording by Free Beer, who release the album Highway Robbery on RCA.
March Schuckett appears on a second Free Beer album, Nouveau Chapeau. Lubahn forms new a group, Pierce Arrow, with ex-Dreams member Jeff Kent and ex-Compton & Batteau guitarist/vocalist Robin Batteau. Schuckett fills in for Jeff Kent when he recouperates from a serious injury in 1978.
July A second Pierce Arrow album Pity The Rich is released, but is not a success and Lubahn leaves to pursue other projects.
Schuckett joins Ellen Shipley’s backing group and continues to do session work for such notable artists as Cher. Lubahn writes Treat Me Right for Pat Benatar, which appears on her album, Crimes of Passion.
Lubahn forms Riff Raff who release the album Vinyl Future for Atlantic. He subsequently joins the Billy Squier band.
Lubahn appears on Billy Squiers’ Emotions in Motion.
Schuckett produces an album for Clarence Clemons for Columbia Records. He also co-produces two tracks with Bruce Springsteen. Lubahn apears on Ted Nugent’s Penetrator and Billy Squiers’ Signs of Life. He also writes Talk To Me – recorded by Patty Smyth and Scandal on their album Warrior (which features Schuckett).
September British indie label, Edsel issues Clear Light’s album with the bonus cut “She’s Ready To Be Free”. In 1991, Lubahn sings background vocals on Billy Squier’s album, Creatures of Habit.
Einarson, John and Furay, Richie. For What It’s Worth – The Story Of Buffalo Springfield. Quarry Press Inc, 1997.
Thanks to Gray Newell for his extensive help in piecing this story together. Many thanks too to Marc Skobac for research on some of the live dates. Huge thanks also to Ralph Schuckett for filling in many of the gaps and Doug Lubahn for his input. Thanks to Marc Skobac for his corrections.
Be sure to check out the official Clear Light website.
Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2008. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.
|Kerrilee Male (vocals)|
Michael Rosen (guitar, vocals, trumpet)
Georg Hultgreen (guitar, vocals)
Trevor Lucas (bass, vocals)
Gerry Conway (drums)
August Canadian singer/songwriter and guitarist Mike Rosen is living in London and meets Norwegian singer/songwriter and guitarist Georg Hultgreen (b. Prince Georg Johan Tchegodaieff, Trondheim, Norway) in a restaurant in Bayswater called Bangers, where he is playing Gordon Lightfoot songs on his 12-string guitar. Hultgreen is the son of Russian prince Pavel Tchegodaieff and Finnish sculptress Johanna Kajanus. They suggest forming a group and round up players from the folk-rock scene. Australian singer/guitarist Trevor Lucas (b. 25 December 1943, Melbourne, Australia; d. 4 February 1989) is recruited after the pair see him perform at the Cambridge Folk Festival and he recommends fellow Australian Kerrilee Male (Newsome) as a singer. Lucas has recorded several albums in Australia before moving the UK in 1965 while Male has previously been a member of Dave’s Place Group with Dave Guard from The Kingston Trio. The final piece in the jigsaw is English drummer Gerry Conway (b. 11 September 1947, King’s Lynn, Norfolk), who was previously a member of Alexis Korner’s backing group. Rosen’s friend, Joni Mitchell names the band, Eclection because in her words, they were such an eclectic bunch.
April (30) Eclection appear on BBC Radio 1’s Top Gear performing Mark Time, In Her Mind, In The Early Days, Morning of Yesterday and Confusion, which is broadcast on 12 May.
January (23) Eclection play at the Speakeasy in London.
Down at the Boat: The bands that played at the Nottingham Boat Club by Keith and Juliet Atkinson and Tony James.
Thank you to Georg Kajanus and Gary Boyle for their input in this article.
I would particuarly like to acknowledge Mike Capewell’s exhaustive site for material:
The Family Bandstand also provided useful dates:
Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2009. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.
I have tried to ensure the accuracy of this article but I appreciate that there are likely to be errors and omissions. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who can provide any additions or corrections. Email: Warchive@aol.com
|The Doors and Elektra Records’ producer Paul Rothchild is reported to have once lamented that Toronto R&B outfit, Luke & The Apostles were the “greatest album I never got to make”. Indeed, the group’s lone single for Elektra, released in early 1967, a year after it was recorded, hardly does justice to a band that provided a training ground for several notable musicians who went on to McKenna Mendelson Mainline, Kensington Market and The Modern Rock Quartet (MRQ).|
Luke & The Apostles found their roots in the blues band Mike’s Trio, which had been formed in 1963 by school friends, guitarist Mike McKenna (b. 15 April 1946, Toronto), formerly a member of Whitey & The Roulettes, and bass player Graham Dunsmore. Together with drummer Rich McMurray, Mike Trio’s started gigging at the Cellar club in the city’s Yorkville Village playing Jimmy Reed covers. Sometime in early 1964, McMurray introduced Luke Gibson (b. 5 October 1946, Toronto), a singer with great commanding power and presence, who was joined soon afterwards by classically trained keyboard player Peter Jermyn (b. 6 November 1946, Kingston, Ontario).
It was Jermyn who coined the name, Luke & The Apostles, in imitation of another local act, which had chosen a biblical reference, Robbie Lane & The Disciples and soon became a regular fixture on the local club scene. At first the group found work at the Cellar in Toronto’s hip Yorkville Village before moving on to the El Patio and ultimately the Purple Onion. In fact, such was the demand from local fans that, according to respected Canadian rock journalist Nicholas Jennings, the band was still playing at the Purple Onion a year on from its debut!
Before Luke & The Apostles started its run at the Purple Onion, Jim Jones was brought in to replace Graham Dunsmore on bass while Ray Bennett augmented the line up on harmonica for several months. Bennett ultimately composed “Been Burnt,” the a-side to what would become the band’s solitary ‘45 for Elektra, before moving on during the summer of 1965 (later joining The Heavenly Government).
It was shortly after Bennett’s departure that Paul Rothchild caught the group at the Purple Onion one evening in September. As Gibson recalled to Nicholas Jennings in his book, Before The Goldrush, Rothchild was so enthused he asked the band’s front man to audition the band to label boss, Jac Holzman by singing “Been Burnt” down the phone!
Boris’ Coffee House promo, courtesy Ivan Amirault
|McKenna remembers the audition vividly. “He actually called Jac and said, ‘listen to the guys’. I don’t know if it was too much smoke or whatever, but at the time they were just starting to get going and I think they were releasing that album that had all those bands on it, including [Paul] Butterfield. That was the first time we heard Butterfield and Rothchild brought it up to us and let us hear it and we were knocked out!|
Inking a deal with Elektra, the band flew down to New York in early 1966 and recorded two tracks, Bennett’s “Been Burnt” backed by McKenna’s “Don’t Know Why” for a prospective single. The two recordings were readied for release that spring but then tragedy struck. Paul Rothchild was arrested for marijuana possession and the band’s single was put on hold for a year while he served a prison sentence.
Undeterred, Luke & The Apostles resumed gigging in Toronto and began to extend their fan base beyond Yorkville Village, performing at venues like the North Toronto Memorial Arena on 28 May. But uncertainty over the single’s release and the band’s long-term future began to take its toll, and in early summer Jim Jones announced that he was leaving because he wanted to give up playing. Former Simon Caine & The Catch bass player Dennis Pendrith (b. 13 September 1949, Toronto), who was still in high school at the time, had the unenviable task of filling his idol’s shoes.
With Pendrith on board, Luke & The Apostles found a new home at Boris’ coffeehouse in Yorkville Village where they made their debut on 21-22 July. The group also began to find work beyond the city’s limits, travelling east to Oshawa on 24 July to play at the Jubilee Auditorium.
Later that summer, Luke & The Apostles returned to play several shows at the North Toronto Memorial Arena, and on one occasion (23 August), shared the bill with Montreal’s The Haunted and local group, The Last Words. But the most prestigious concert date during this time was an appearance at the 14-hour long rock show held at Maple Leaf Gardens on 24 September 1966, alongside a dozen or so local bands.
The show proved to be Pendrith’s swan song. The following month, Jim Jones had a change of mind and returned to the fold, leaving the young bass player to find work elsewhere – he subsequently rejoined his former group before hooking up with Livingstone’s Journey in mid-1967. At the same time, Gibson and McKenna decided to dispense with McMurray’s services and recruited a new drummer, Pat Little. The changes, however, did not end there. Sometime in October or November, Peter Jermyn briefly left the group and was replaced by future Bedtime Story and Edward Bear keyboard player Bob Kendall before returning in December 1966.
Amid all the changes, Luke & The Apostles resumed its weekly residency at Boris’, sharing the bill at various times with The Ugly Ducklings and The Paupers among others. They also got the opportunity to perform at the newly opened Club Kingsway on 15 October, opening for singer/songwriter Neil Diamond and travelled to Montreal at the end of the year to play some dates.
By early 1967, Luke & The Apostles’ single had still not been released. Nevertheless, the opportunity to return to New York in mid-April and perform at the Café Au Go Go buoyed spirits. The previous month, McKenna’s friend, bass player Denny Gerrard was opening for Jefferson Airplane with his band The Paupers and during that band’s stay in the Big Apple, Gerrard had met Paul Butterfield who was looking for a replacement for Mike Bloomfield in his band, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Gerrard immediately suggested McKenna and passed Butterfield his Toronto number.
“Denny had met Paul Butterfield and said, ‘if you’re looking for a guitar player’ because Bloomfield had gone into hospital or something,” remembers McKenna …[Paul] called me and I actually thought it was a joke! When I realised it was Paul I was absolutely blown away that he had called me.”
With Bloomfield looking to form his new band, The Electric Flag, Butterfield asked McKenna to come down to New York and audition but the guitarist kindly declined the offer. “I couldn’t go because that’s when Luke and I were going to go back to do some recordings and I said, ‘well if I leave Luke and the guys now, the band will probably break up and we’ve got recordings to do.”
|While Elektra had not seen fit to release Luke & The Apostles’ first recordings, the label still expressed an interest in recording the band. During its time at the Café Au Go, the label booked the group into its New York studios for a day to record an album’s worth of material, including the tracks, “I Don’t Feel Like Trying” and “So Long Girl”.|
During its first stand at the Café Au Go Go (where incidentally the group shared the washroom with The Mothers of Invention who were playing at the Garrick Theatre upstairs) Luke & The Apostles backed folkie Dave Van Ronk but were so well received that the club owner asked the band to return for a second week in late May-early June, opening for The Grateful Dead.
During this engagement, McKenna stuck up a friendship with Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who hounded McKenna to sell him his recently acquired Les Paul Special.
“I think it was the one that was on the Rolling Stone cover,” recalls McKenna. “I bought it in one of the stores in New York and he paid me a handsome sum for what I had paid for it.”
One night Paul Butterfield and his lead guitarist Elvin Bishop turned up to check out the band. According to Suzi Wickett, McKenna’s first wife, both were extremely impressed with McKenna’s guitar-playing style and unique sound. When Bishop asked McKenna how he created such “a sound”, the guitarist graciously explained his secret was in his mixture of Hawaiian and banjo strings used in combination, along with controlled feedback. “It was something I learned from Robbie Robertson and The Hawks,” explains McKenna. “The big thing in Toronto was playing Telecasters but you couldn’t get light gauge strings so what Robbie did was use banjo strings.”
The following night at the Café Au Go Go was standing room only remembers Wickett and everyone who was “anyone” had turned out to see this new band from Toronto. Among those attending were Bob Dylan and Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s manager Albert Grossman and rock promoter Bill Graham who each wanted to sign Luke & The Apostles to a management contract. Bill Graham even offered the band a slot at the Fillmore West in California that summer.
But behind the scenes the band was slowly disintegrating, as Wickett explains. “The pressure was ‘on’ for Luke & The Apostles to decide which manager they were going to sign [with]. The band had been away from Toronto for three weeks; they were in a prime position for national exposure [and] the hottest people in the industry were vying for their commitment to a management contract. Unable to reconcile differences of opinion and personal ambitions, the group fragmented returning to Toronto disillusioned and hostile.”
|Luke & The Apostles, however, were not quite ready to implode and resumed their regular gig at Boris’. More importantly, Bill Graham approached Luke & The Apostles and asked the band to open for Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead on 23 July when both groups performed at Nathan Phillips Square in front of 50,000.Graham was suitably impressed by the band’s performance that he asked Luke & The Apostles to repeat their support act at the O’Keefe Centre from 31 July-5 August. During the show the band performed covers of blues favourites “Good Morning Little School Girl” and “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover”.|
The concert, however, proved to be the group’s swan song and after a final show at Boris’ Red Gas Room on 6 August, Luke Gibson accepted an offer to join the progressive folk-rock outfit, Kensington Market where he would develop his song writing skills.
Peter Jermyn was also ready to move on. After passing on an offer to join The Blues Project because he would have been liable to be drafted, he subsequently moved to Ottawa to join the band Heart, which evolved into The Modern Rock Quartet. Jim Jones meanwhile played with several bands, including The Artist Jazz Band.
Left with only the band’s name, McKenna and Little decided to go their separate ways. McKenna immediately found work with The Ugly Ducklings before forming the highly respected blues outfit, McKenna Mendelson Mainline the following summer.
Little became an early member of Edward Bear before joining forces with future Blood, Sweat & Tears’ singer David Clayton-Thomas in his group Combine (appearing on the original version of “Spinning Wheel”). In June 1968, however, he joined The Georgian People (later better known as Chimo!) before moving on to Transfusion, the house band at Toronto’s Rock Pile.
Although it was a sad end to what was a great band, the story doesn’t end there. In December 1969, Gibson, McKenna and Little met up to discuss reforming the group. “People didn’t forget,” Gibson explained to Bill Gray in an article for The Toronto Telegram on 19 February 1970. “We used to get asked constantly, all of us, about The Apostles. Everyone seemed to have good memories of the band. We were, after all, kind of unique around Toronto.
“The trouble was, it was only after we broke up that the scene here started to change. Other bands started to come around to the kind of things we had been doing. The blues and rock thing began to dominate and I guess our influence was recalled, that’s why our posthumous reputation has remained so high.”
Completing the line up with former Transfusion guitarist Danny McBride on second lead guitar and McKenna’s pal, ex-Paupers bass player Denny Gerrard (b. 28 February 1947, Scarborough) during January 1970, the group enlisted Bernie Finkelstein (today Bruce Cockburn’s long-standing manager) to represent them.
But the new line up remained unsettled and by the end of the month former Buffalo Springfield bass player Bruce Palmer (b. 9 September 1946, Toronto) came on board in time for the band’s debut shows at the Café Le Hibou in Ottawa from 10-14 February. After opening for Johnny Winter at Massey Hall on 15 February and playing several low-key dates around the city, Palmer dropped out and Jack Geisinger (b. March 1945, Czechoslovakia) from Damage, Milkwood and Influence arrived in time to play on a lone 45, issued on Bernie Finkelstein’s True North Records.
The resulting single, Gibson, McKenna and Little’s “You Make Me High”, is arguably one of the best records to come out of the Toronto scene from that period, and even managed to reach #27 on Canada’s RPM chart in October of that year. The b-side, “Not Far Off”, written by Gibson has a Led Zeppelin feel and some tasty guitar interplay between McKenna and McBride.
The band returned to Toronto’s live scene, supporting Lighthouse at a show held at Convocation Hall on 1 March. A few weeks later, the group performed at the Electric Circus (13-14 March) and then towards the end of the month appeared at the Toronto Rock Festival at Varsity Arena (26 March) on a bill featuring Funkadelic, Damage and Nucleus among others.
In the first week of April, Luke & The Apostles embarked on a brief tour of Boston with Mountain but behind the scenes, the band was slowly unravelling. Following a show at the Electric Circus in Toronto on 9 May, McKenna dropped out to rejoin his former band, now going by the name Mainline.
The band ploughed on appearing at the Peace Festival at Varsity Arena on 19-21 June on a bill that also included Rare Earth, SRC, Bush and George Olliver & The Natural Gas among others. But soon afterwards McBride also handed in his notice and later became a mainstay of Chris de Burgh’s backing band.
Transfusion, clockwise from top: Danny McBride (with Gibson ES335), Tom Sheret, Pat Little, Simon Caine and Rick Shuckster.
RPM, August 15, 1970
|In his place, Luke & The Apostles recruited Geisinger’s former Influencecohort, Walter Rossi (b. 29 May 1947, Naples, Italy), who had played with The Buddy Miles Express in the interim.|
With Rossi on board Luke & The Apostles made a prestigious appearance at that summer’s Strawberry Fields Pop Festival held at Mosport Park, Ontario on the weekend of 7-8 August 1970. A short tour followed, including several appearances at the CNE Bandstand in Toronto where the band shared the bill with Lighthouse, Crowbar and Dr John among others. Then on 1 September, the group headed down to New York to perform at the popular club, Ungano’s.
In an interview with Peter Goddard for Toronto Telegram’s 17 September issue, manager Bernie Finkelstein was confident that the band had a promising future ahead. “We’ve been asked to go back to Ungano’s in New York City for the middle of October,” he said. “But we might wait to get the material for our first album ready so that we can release it around mid-October.”
Unfortunately, the promised album never appeared and soon after a show at Kipling Collegiate in Toronto on 9 October, Luke Gibson left for a solo career followed shortly afterwards by Pat Little. The remaining members recruited ex-Wizard drummer Mike Driscoll, performing as The Apostles before splitting in early 1971. Rossi subsequently recorded a brilliant, Jimi Hendrix-inspired album as Charlee in early 1972 with help from Geisinger and Driscoll before embarking on a successful solo career which continues to this day.
Gibson also embarked on a solo career and in 1971 recorded a lone album for True North Records with help from Dennis Pendrith, Jim Jones and Bruce Cockburn. Gibson continued to gig throughout the 1970s and 1980s with his bands Killaloe, The Silver Tractors and Luke Gibson Rocks before eschewing a singing career to become a film set painter. Little rejoined Chimo! for the band’s final single and then hooked up with Rick James in Heaven and Earth for two singles on RCA Victor in late 1971. He also reunited with McKenna to record an album with the band, DiamondBack.
Legend surrounding the band, however, has grown over the years and in the late ‘90s, early members Gibson, Jermyn, Jones and McKenna reformed the group with future Downchild Blues Band drummer Mike Fitzpatrick for the “Toronto Rock Revival” concert held at the Warehouse on 2 May 1999. Later that year Jermyn, Jones and McKenna became house band at Yorkville club, Blues on Bellair and were joined intermittently by Gibson.
As recently as 1 June 2002, Luke & The Apostles were playing at the club and local label Bullseye Records recorded one of the shows for a proposed live CD, comprising the old favourites and more contemporary material but so far nothing has been released. Nevertheless, the band still commands a loyal following and hopefully a full length CD release detailing the group’s colourful career will finally do justice to one of Toronto’s most overlooked and talented bands.
45 Been Burnt/Don’t Know Why (Bounty 45105) 1967
September 1965 – The Purple Onion, Toronto
To contact the author, email: Warchive@aol.com
Many thanks to Mike McKenna, Peter Jermyn, Mike Harrison, Carny Corbett, Bill Munson, Craig Webb, Suzi Wickett, John Bennett and Walter Rossi. The Toronto Telegram’s After Four section has also been invaluable for live dates and reviews. Also thanks to Ross from www.chickenonaunicycle.com for the scan of the San Francisco Scene program. Thank you to Ivan Amirault for the scans from RPM.
Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2005, updated 2009. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.
RPM, August 22, 1970