Wayne Cullen, one of two – yes, two drummers in The Dudes, recounts how he came to be in the greatest band that never was …
The greatest live band out of Montreal in the 1970’s and how the record company which was supposed to help the band obtain stardom – did the polar opposite.
The Dudes’ story is a sad one as the band were so close to the pinnacle of the International rock music scene.
Wayne was born in 1952 in the West Island of Montreal.
He started playing drums shortly after the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan in 1964. He started playing in a cover band with friends all through high school. His band; Bacchus – would change a few members around the end of high school yet the band continued to play the university and club circuit for several years.
“The influences and covers of the group included Traffic, Neil Young, Stones, Beatles, Byrds and Fleetwood Mac (Kiln House era).” Says Wayne from his home in Vancouver.
Wayne was a huge fan of The Wackers, a group he discovered through CHOM radio in Montreal.
“Chom began playing a few of their tunes from their first two albums around the time they moved to Montreal. ‘Body Go Round’, ‘I Hardly Know Her Name’, ‘Oh My Love’ and others. This was very much in line with the music I liked at the time but was not hearing. Montreal had gone prog-rock and was also heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin’s music at that time.”
For Wayne, The Wackers stood out because of melody, harmonies and short songs with jangly guitars.
“I never got to see them with Michael Stull.” Says Wayne. ” Instead, my first experience seeing them came as a foursome at FC Smith Auditorium. I was sitting in the middle of about the 10th row and was blown away. Their showmanship was far beyond anything else in Montreal at that time. Their clothes, stage gear, lights professionalism and utter talent. Bob ( Segarini ) and Randy were mesmerizing to watch.”
Cullen’s enthusiasm also arose from being a big David Bowie fan …
“They ( Bob and Randy) both wore make-up, which at the time was a very Bowie thing to do. They were much more of a rock ‘n’ roll band live than on their two records. My enthusiasm was immediate and complete. Their Beatle covers of songs such as ‘She Loves You’, ‘I’ll Be Back ‘and ‘Slow Down’ were exquisite… !”
Cullen would see the Wackers at every opportunity and was always immersed in a sublime musical experience. His band – Bacchus, started covering a couple of Wackers’ tunes – most notably; ‘Puttin Myself To Sleep’ and ‘Hey Lawdy Lawdy’, Its My Life’ and Wait and See’.
“My girlfriend and I drove to Ottawa to witness their final gig and wept as they ended with the song -‘Time Will Carry On (Even When We’re Gone, sniff, sniff). It was a medley from Hot Wacks. Afterwards, we wandered into the dressing room but had never met them and were not able to muster much in terms of words.”
Please stay tuned for part four…