Because of our formal musical training most of the guys played at least two instruments (me – tenor/baritone sax and organ/piano), Bunnell – trombone, Odom – trumpet and guitar, Faulkner – flute, alto and tenor sax and bass guitar). That fall we all enrolled in Santa Monica City College (SMCC) and in the marching/concert band and jazz ensemble. There we met Howard Lane who joined the group at lead guitar (played trumpet in school bands). In spring of 1966 Forrest was replaced by Dave DeFore, drummer from a rival band, “Dave DeFore and the Fugitives” and son of actor and my to-be father-in-law, Don DeFore (most well known as the neighbor on “Ozzie and Harriet” and the dad on “Hazel.” He also starred in a number of movies as well).
To have something to play that was portable I bought a Farfisa Combo Compact organ. (See more on "what did I play? page). It was bright red, had basically one sound (familiar to you as the organ sound on most 60’s recordings like “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love.” You can hear my version on the “Recent Projects” pages.) It was a great instrument for my needs. It had a built-in stand which folded up into the case but when set up it was too short for me to stand and play. I ended up building a wooden base to put it on – a bit rickety but functional. Years later I sold the Farfisa to another musician friend from SMCC band, well-known jazz flute player Tim Weisberg.
At the end of the summer we met with Wally Holmes who became our manager and co-wrote many of the band’s songs. Wally had been Odom’s jazz trumpet teacher and Junior High band director. Holmes was also a well-respected jazz trumpet player and composer. Among Wally’s other bands, a few years after the InRhodes was the Hues Corporation (“Rock the Boat”) for whom I played rehearsal piano when they were getting started.
Wally, his wife Peach and their kids, Mike, Cindy and Jimmy were a big part of all of the InRhodes lives.
Although we were all in school full-time (to maintain student deferments and avoid the draft) we split our time between playing local gigs and recording (hence my “D” in German 1 . . . twice!) Dave was a student at USC and a member of the FIJI fraternity, a connection which opened the door to literally dozens of USC and UCLA fraternity party gigs. Among our competitors for those gigs and occasional competitors at local battles of the bands were some well-known LA bands. Notable was our neighboring rivals from Westchester High School The Crossfires who became The Turtles (“It’s Ain’t Me Babe,” and “Eleanor”) and which included Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (later known as "Flo and Eddie").
These are some, but not all, of the InRhodes recordings. Some great one's are lost to history ("Ali Baba," and "Doin the Slush"). The quality varies a lot come some are copies of cassette copies of old 45's, but hopefully you'll enjoy the energy!
“Get Back to the Earth” is a song about loving mother earth (I guess – the lyrics never really made any sense to me!) This song has a New Orlean’s style “dirge” as a bridge ( think "Second Line") – we found an old huge bass drum in the studio storeroom to play. That’s Wally Holmes on the trumpet solo. This one definitely had the record company executives scratching their heads!
Wally wrote a second version of the song with lyrics for "Back to New Orleans" - same song just different words. Don't know which was more strange!
“Happy Clothes” was a reflection of the times with references to “getting off the ground,” “spinning all around” and generally having a groovy time.
“Hold the High Ground” sort of typifies the mix of pop-sounding vocals with a “psychedelic” interlude and a spoken versus by Jim Bunnell. This was "all InRhodes" musically. At the very end Jim Odom goes off the deep end with a falsetto part. A lot of Holmes/Bunnell lyrics are well worth listening to carefully.
“Lookin Around” is the quintessential InRhodes song. Has a recurring organ riff (the famous Farfisa sound) and four-part harmonies over a bouncy, pop tune and lyric. Good time feeling unless you listen to the lyrics about being confused in relationships – "am I in love?", not wanting to be “tied down” but not wanting to be alone – typical teen angst music! That’s the tune we played on Pat Boone’s show and probably at 90% of the gigs we ever played. There are a couple of different versions of the song.
“Marjorie” was a song we recorded several times in different styles. These versions feature the typical complex harmonies of Jim Bunnell, Jim Odom and me plus we played all the instruments (really nice flute work by Faulkner). The "chimes" version was recorded at Wally Heider Studios on Fairfax. Towards the end you’ll hear some chimes come in – your’s truly playing. Heider’s studio in those days was pretty small and because you have to hit chimes pretty hard to get a full tone, I had to be in a separate recording “room” (think closet). Problem was they couldn’t get the headphones loud enough for me to hear the band over the chimes, so Wally (Holmes) had to direct me through a little window to be able to play along in synch.
Some of the tracks rely heavily on “Wrecking Crew” members, but also some of our band playing parts as well. For example in this tune, “Things are Gonna Be Different (from now on)” has Odom and Bunnell playing brass along with Wally and a professional brass section. Howard Lane plays the lead guitar parts. Oh, sorry for the "skip" near the beginning - told you these were copies of old 45's!
“Try and Stop Me” is also a tune we recorded in different styles. This was the last and I think most interesting version. Starts with a “bounce-the-needle-off-the-record” bass guitar and brass intro. I think elsewhere (the blog maybe?) I told the story about splitting the signal for a bass part so we could add a fuzz tone sound, but anyway, that was this song. Norm Ratner, our producer loved it so much he kept asking the engineer to cut the master track “hotter” and “hotter” – that is setting the volume higher and higher so that the final copy was actually fairly distorted – the whole record, not just the bass part. Anyway we didn’t like it, but that's the version that ended up as the one record company released. This version of “Try” also has some great sax work by Mike Faulkner, in addition to the bass parts. It's another good example of our “power brass” and thick vocals that was a hallmark of much of our music.
“Walking Down the Avenue” comes from the love song side of our material. Has a few “psychedelic” references but the chorus has almost a march feel to it – at least in my brain.
"Rhodes Island" was written by Wally Holmes to show off our musical talent. We'd switch from a Byrds or Stones song or something with complex vocals to a piece with all or mostly all brass, like this one. Rhodes Island has Bunnell on trombone, Odom on trumpet, Faulkner on tenor sax, me on baritone sax and then Howard on guitar and Dave on drums.
Mike Faulkner and I also did a tenor sax duet called "Tenors Go Ahead On!" that was lots of fun to play! Wish I had a recording of that - but here's a picture (use your imagination!)