After forty years and several thousand gigs, there's been alot of notes played... some of 'em played where they ought'a be. Here's some collected memorabilia from the 1960 through the present.
My first band gig was in May of 1960... we played at a party for the running of the Kentucky Derby, the first Saturday in May. The band was called "The Coachmen". I think there have been 100's of beginning bands by that name. Members included Mike Forcade, Mike McDaniel on bass and over the course of time, Gayle Sanders (guitar), Steve Hansen (drums), Tom Harbor (guitar), JD Willhite (saxophone). Though we were far from the hardest workin' band in show business, we played quite alot for guys whose parents had to take 'em to gigs! I know this band lasted until at least 1964 because I recall hearing The Beatles for the first time in the car on the way to a practice at Steve Hansen's house.
I played in several High School bands. In typical high school band fashion, they formed and broke up in the course of hours. One called The Monkeymen had Jim Sweeny on vocal, long time Blue-Riddim drummer, Steve "Duck" McClain, Stephen Barncard (producer of the Grateful Dead's "Workingman's Dead" as well as many other well known recordings) on bass, Gayle Sanders on guitar (now CEO of Martin-Logan speaker company), Dick Henry on keys. I played only a few gigs with the band before they kicked me out because I couldn't spend Christmas in Colorado! Another band started with Rick Moors (now in LA) which may not have made it past the first rehearsal where we discussed playing gigs with our underwear outside our jeans and gloves on our feet! Eventually, I started The Bitter Ends with some other guys at my school... Scott Barnes on drums, Larry Franklin on rhythm guitar and Bill Russell on bass. Though we played one one or two originals, we were good enough to beat two dozen other bands at the 1966 Overland Park Battle of the Bands hosted by KUDL-AM radio, as I recall. I think the prize was $50.
I joined a band following my senior year that became, after several modifications, The Upside Dawne. The original band was Steve Hall (drums), Jack Manahan (organ), and Larry Miller (bass). This was primarily a cover band, but during my stint with the group is when I began writing. Other band members included Tom Burdine (bass), Paul Miller (bass), Scott Korchak (guitar, trumpet & vocal), later to be lead singer of the Reggae band, Blue Riddim, and Garth Fundis (trumpet & vocal), now head of NARAS, the Grammy folks.
In about 1968, three of the members of The Upside Dawne, tired of the covers and frat parties, lucrative though they were, split to form the band, TIDE. This band played mostly original material and focused on instrumental virtuosity. We did one of those "almost famous" things, though it may simply qualify as "ALMOST almost famous." Here's a bunch of promo pictures, and a couple of MP3's.
I continued performing continually after leaving TIDE at the end of 1974. But, I had taken a job as a sound engineer with Centron Films that required a great amount of travel, sometimes spending 250 days a year on the road. So, I filled in with pick-up gigs, first with The Billy Spears Band. Billy is a great fiddle player, winning the National Fiddle Championship in the years before it moved from Oklahoma to Winfield, KS. Other members of the band included Mike Roark (drums), Janet Jamison (fiddle, vocals), Billy Berosini (bass, he's the son of Las Vegas legend, Bobby Berosini... look THIS up on the web!), Bob Case (pedal steel). This was the first serious country band that I played with. I learned alot from Billy... he'd start out some fiddle tune at break-neck speed, play one chorus then yell, "Take it, Stringer" (pronounced Strang-er in this case.) The band began wanting to travel more and I was unable to commit because of the film job.
I formed a jazz quarted which was creatively called, "The Jim Stringer Band". Mostly, it consisted of pick up players and we'd play from charts. I also worked as a hired gun for many other bands including Paul Gray's Jazz Band, Chuck Berg, The Tom Montgomery Band and others. Through Paul Gray, I met Claude Williams and Jay McShann. Jay would play piano for Paul on occasion and this was sure a treat on nights I was playing guitar. Claude occasionally performed as a sideman for Paul, too, and he played several gigs with me as a sideman. Also though Paul, I picked up gigs with jazz players passing through the KC area including Joe Williams, Eddie Harris, Bobby Shew, Gary Foster and others.
My duties at Centron Films included sound recording, effecting, mixing, editing and music scoring, both from library and original music. I scored over 500 industrial and educational films in the 11 years I worked at Centron, working with clients including General Motors, Caterpillar Tractor, Deere & Co., The American Iron & Steel Institute, US Navy, and many others. I picked up jingle gigs on the side. For many of these, I worked with another Centron employee, John Clifford. He was a colorful writer who had started his career as a gag writer for Jimmy Durante.
Unfortunately, I have absolutely NO music pictures from these years, but I do have several MP3's that I've posted on the linked page.
Founded in late 1986 by myself (guitar & vocal), Susan Hyde (guitar & vocal), Steve Hall (drums), Russ Columbo (bass), and Mike Poholsky (pedal steel). This may be the best band in the world which no one will remember. We were way too rockin' and eclectic to appeal to country fans, but way too country to be comprehended by rock fans. The influences of the band included The Ventures, Emmylou, The Everly Brothers, James Brown, King Sonny Ade... the best description we could think of over the years was Surfin' Guitar Party Rock and Roll Shakin' a Spear and Wearin' a Cowboy Hat -- not the stuff that PR campaigns are built upon. The Novellas put out one cassette only release in 1989, "Gladys and Other Girls".
This group was started by Susan Hyde and myself in about 1989 as a side project to The Novellas. The intention was to play acoustic rock and roll -- a precursor to the "unplugged" rage a couple of years later. This band evolved continually... personnel over the years included: Kelley Mascher (upright bass), Scott Campbell (snare drum), Pat Tomek (drums), Sharon Ward (bass), Marvin Hunt (snare drum), Todd Gillette (drums), Sue Malloy (acoustic guitar). Eventually, the band became a rockabilly trio consisting of Sharon Ward, Todd Gillette and myself, that transformed into the Austin based "Git Gone" in 1994. The Stringers released one recording in 1992 titled "Rik Rak Rok".
I started this band in 1994 with Sharon Ward on bass and Karen Biller on drums. We played four or five gigs a week for the about 2 years! How we found that number of gigs in Austin is still beyond me, but it was really good for us all. In addition, I met Karen's husband, picker Dave Biller who was instrumental (ouch) in hatching the plot to record "Travis County Pickin'". When Karen left to join The Cornell Hurd Band, we hired Lee Potter, fresh from his Dale Watson tour.
I started the AM Band to fill gigs that Git Gone was unable to
do. In time, it became my primary musical outlet, an overall, the best band I've
ever had. With a full complement of virtuoso performers and some great guests
vocalists, it's been a continual privilege to even listen to this band, let
alone stand in front and claim it as my own group. Alums include Lee Potter
(drums), Dave Wesselowski (bass), Boomer Norman (guitar), Carl Keesee (bass), T
Jarrod Bonta (piano), "Uptown" Alan Barnette (vocal), Kevin Hall
(drums), Gene Kurtz (guitar), Jon Hahn (drums), Timmy Campbell (drums), Charlie
Prichard (guitar), Li'l Rachel (guest vocalist), Mitzi Henry (guest vocalist),
Susan Maxey (guest vocalist). In addition, I've had some great players for tours
incuding Brad Fordham (bass), Lisa Pankratz (drums) and Andrew Nafziger (guitar)
for our Twangfest-Nashville gigs; Bobby Snell (pedal steel) and Vance Hazen
(bass) for Europe Summer 2003. The band's musical mission is "Good music
that we like".