Photos courtesy of Jim, Ritchie and David Henman.
Photos courtesy of Jim, Ritchie and David Henman.
According to Wayne Cullen – being a member of the Dudes was a very heady experience to be involved with …
“I was the youngest in the group (Brian Greenway a year or two older, I think). One thing after another added to the giddiness we eluded. The amount of press we received, The Phonograph Record article that Gary Sperrazza wrote that producer Mark Spector read and generated his interest. The showcase in Toronto where a slew of potential management teams showed up. Signing with Fred Heller, Nat Weiss, recording the album, touring with the Bee Gees, etc.”
Once the album was finished, Cullen days it was he who was the first to declare the disc sounded like ‘ crap ‘.
“This was a few days after Spector had played the final mix for us at volume 11 in Le Studio’s control booth. Raffi would sound like The Beatles in those circumstances.” Says Wayne.
The band members all received cassette copies and after a couple of listens, according to Cullen, it sounded so thin and lacking in energy.
“Our demos sounded far better. I did not believe the lack of dynamism could be explained by the performance of the band. I thought everything was sounding good until the mix (executed without any band involvement by Spector and his personal engineer, even excluding the house engineer.)”
He goes on …
“We agreed to being shut out from the mixing process reluctantly, to a degree, because we trusted Spector. Everything he had done to this point had matched our vision. There was no reason to believe this would suddenly stop.”
In retrospect, Cullen does recall expressing his displeasure with the song selection. He expressed his opinion to Spector and probably Bob and others that he was not keen on some of the song selection. Deeper and Deeper, Got Me Where You Want Me and Saturday Night were songs which Cullen thought were weak.
“I thought we should have included Teenage Love, Juvenile Delinquent and Meet Me After School or Sugar. These songs represented our live act much more than the three I mention above that were ultimately included.”
The band had never performed Saturday Night or Deeper and Deeper up to that point. In addition, Teenage Love and Juvenile Delinquent were the group’s signature showcase songs. The Dudes’ equivalent of Yes’ Roundabout or The Eagles’ Hotel California.
” In addition Teenage Love and Juvenile Delinquent had never been released by The Wackers. They had been recorded for Wack n Roll which was never released. (In any case, The Dudes live versions actually surpassed The Wackers’ recorded versions, in my opinion.)”
Cullen continues his explanation of a disappointing product.
“Meet Me After School and Sugar were David Henman compositions that I loved. Our demo of Meet Me After School could have probably been included on the album without re-recording. It was phenomenal. My vision was a rock n roll album that reflected more who we were live.”
Wayne says that Spector thought the newer Segarini black music-influenced songs would set them apart and create a breakthrough in the industry. Segarini, the band’s creative genius, was also keen on including his most recent compositions rather than the older ones.
“He was definitely in a different space, writing-wise. I felt we could branch out into the more varied repertoire after establishing ourselves as a potent rock band to begin with. We already had three different singers/songwriters, and the diversity is what was attractive. Some homogeneity would help – I thought.”
In a nutshell, Cullen says that at their primal selves, the Dudes ‘live’ were a rock n roll band. As the youngest and least experienced – being only one of two drummers, Cullen’s opinions didn’t gain the upper hand.
“We tried to persuade Spector to re-mix the album, then the higher-ups at Columbia. All in vain. They had spent a lot of money already and didn’t want to extend any further. I remember speaking to Spector by phone and telling him what I thought about the sound of the record. He said he had played it over and over and believed it compared favourably with state of the art recordings of the day (Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles’ Hotel California were two he mentionned).”
Cullen says nothing could be done. The abysmal album cover art was also finalized without any band input.
The album was released in Sept 1975 and sold 10,000 units. Cullen recalls
most of the sales were American and the single -‘ Saturday Night’ received airplay in various pockets.
Columbia was down about $175,000.
Please stay tuned for Cullen’s tale after the Dudes and what affect the entire ordeal had on the rest of his life.
Wayne Cullen – one of the drummers in the 70’s band; ‘The Dudes’ – continues the saga of the demise of a band.
A fate which should never have happened …
Cullen’s band – Bacchus, reached it’s demise around the same time Wayne’s favourite group, The Wackers, played their final gig. Cullen approached Bacchus’ booking agent (who also booked the Wackers) and asked for Bob Segarini’s phone number. Wayne wished to find out if Segarini planned to start a new project.
Wayne explains how he received the number and became part of a band. Part of a legend …
“Armed with the number and steeled nerves, I dialed the number. I introduced myself to Bob and popped the question. Indeed a new Wackers aggregate had been gestating and they were currently auditioning drummers. Kharma? I’d have to say so.”
“When I arrived at the rehearsal space, there was another drummer being auditioned. He was really good but did not seem to fit musically. He was more jazz and soul oriented. Then it was my turn to sit in. With my knees wobbling and teeth chattering, we launched into a Wackers’ tune or two. For me, at the time, this was almost the equivalent of auditioning for The Beatles. In fact it was Bob, Kootch on lead guitar instead of bass, Leon Holt on piano and Norman Vosko on bass.”
One after another, the band asked Cullen if he knew such and such a song and Wayne responded affirmatively. He knew their repertoire almost cold.
“They seemed impressed and as Bob has often attested – he hates rehearsing. I was a very handy solution and I was asked to join my favourite band in the world!”
Cullen estimates this event took place in November 1973. Their first gig together was a two-week stint at The Mustache over Christmas and New Years’. Cullen believes it was February 1974 when he dropped out of university to play full time.
“My first experience in a recording studio ensued and produced a high beyond anything I had experienced to that point in my life. We released a single – All I Wanna Do Is Love You b/w I’ve Got A Feeling (not the Black Peas horror, obviously). Somewhere along the way and all-in-all we lasted about six months. Bob and I drove to Toronto to try to drum up (pun intended) some label interest in The Wackers.”
It became obvious to Wayne that something exceeding the reputation of the previous Wackers would be required. On the drive back to Montreal, Bob and Cullen hatched the idea of “supergroup”. An incorporation of Kootch on bass, Leon on keys, David & Ritchie Henman (whom the duo had seen perform several times in Silver) and Brian Greenway – recently a member of Mashmakhan. The idea of two drummers intrigued Wayne and the drummer loved David Henman’s songs.
“I was excited. Things got organized and we began recording the infamous demos before anyone fully committed to the project. It didn’t take long for everyone to see something special was happening and once the name was chosen -we were a band. The name could have been Seventh Heaven as far as I was concerned. There was some sadness about the final wind-up of The Wackers as an entity and losing bassist Norman Vosko.”
According to Wayne, The Dudes’ story is very long and complicated …
Stay tuned for part fI’ve…
Before disbanding in the fall of ’73, AW took the summer off for everyone to clear their heads. The band had toured almost non-stop since fall ’70.
” I went camping and fishing with Claire ( my wife) for a few weeks and when I got back I was contacted by a band from California called “The Wackers“. They were living and working out of Montreal and their drummer had broken his left wrist in a diving accident. I filled in alongside Ernie until that group disbanded in October.” Explains Ritchie Henman – the original drummer of April Wine.
At that point David and Ritchie Henman started “Silver” with Danny Ceaser on bass and George Mack on keys. George had played with the brothers and Jim Henman in “Prism” in ’68-’69. Silver and the new version of the Wackers (with Bob and Kootch from the original group along with local drummer Wayne Cullen and Brian Greenway on guitar), began jamming at Smitty’s, a country bar in NDG.
“The bar allowed us the run of the place on Monday nights. Neither band was accomplishing much on its own and it wasn’t long before the principal songwriters got together on the notion of joining forces.” He continues. “We originally called the group “All The Young Dudes” to draw a lawsuit from Bowie’s company. Thereby drawing attention … ”
The stragedy sort of backfired when the band was notofied that Bowie loved the name! Nonetheless, the members shortened it to “the Dudes” which had always been the plan.
“We quickly became the number one unsigned band in all of North America and spent several weeks in the Twilight Zone entertaining obscene offers from almost all the major U.S. labels.” Explains Henman.
” Finally, with New York Attorney Nat Weiss (the former partner of Brian Epstein) doing our bidding, we signed a historical contract with CBS in New York. We ate, drank and made merry while leaving the production of our debut LP to one Mark Spector, a terrific guy personally (very personally) selected by the current head of CBS.”
According to Ritchie, Mark was in way over his head with that band and the LP tanked.
“We did that one magical tour with the Bee Gees… nicest guys ever, and had some great gigs and get – togethers with our manager’s other acts. Groups such as Blood, Sweat and Tears and Ian Hunter.”
By the fall of ’77 the group saw no point in carrying on. They did one last set of recordings at Le Studio with the top engineers from Criteria Sound in Miami. It was a study for CBS to decide what should be done with the band and the resulting recommendation was that they should have been self-produced from the start.
“CBS took a pass and cut us loose and we went our separate ways. I started a few original projects for the next two years and had some great experience, enough to keep my hopes alive for one more “career” group.
Late in ’78 I was asked to join a local group called Lyrock who had an eastern tour booked but were losing a few members. I went to see them play and saw for the first time Don Beauchamp on keys and some vocals as well as old acquaintances Wally and Tom Rathie who had been in Frames, our fave opening act during the Dudes period.”
Interspersed with Lyrock’s cover songs were several originals by Don and Wally and Ritchie was blown away. This was the music he had looked for.
” I took the tour gig but as soon as I got back to Montreal I got in touch with the Rathies and managed to get an audition for their new group.” Continues Ritchie. ” They chose a local jazz drummer over me and I was quite devestated but a few weeks later I was called back. It hadn’t worked out and I was in!”
As Ritchie had expected, the group’s music got immediate attention and they organized themselves with an indie label and local production Guru; Guy Rheaume.
” Our first LP, ‘Rollin’ With The Times was an instant in-trade hit.” Says Ritchie.
“The entire Canadian radio industry seemed to adore us. Unfortunately, our manager, fearful of financial ruin refused to sign off more than 5,000 units for our first pressing. This – despite urging from people who didn’t even have a stake in it, to guarantee at least 20,000 units.”
He goes on.
“Incredibly, just as we were charted with heavy rotation on 52 stations coast to coast, our distributor went bankrupt. It took our manager six weeks to find a new distributor and during that time the available pressings sold out. This forced the stations to drop it..Crash and burn … another one-hit wonder.”
Ritchie had been through this type of thing before but for the other four members of Cruiser ( this being their first real crack at the high-end of the entertainment industry), Henman believes they were devastated.
“Don left town shortly afterward and Wally, Tom, Ed and I did some studio sessions together but it was never the same and we drifted away from it by ’82.
Says Ritchie; “Even for me the project remains both the best and worst I have ever experienced.”
The first LP was finally released on CD three years ago as was the never-released second LP, Strange News.
” And I’ll go on record as saying they are both masterpieces!” Adds Henman. “To this day, the best players I have ever worked with are Ed Stevens on guitar, Tom Rathie on bass, Walter Rathie on keyboards and Don Beauchamp on vocals”.
For this statement, Ritchie Henman does not have to clear his head …
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…
Ritchie Henman along with his brother David and cousin Jim, were the founding members of April Wine.
According to Ritchie who currently resides in Dorval,Qc – Wine was created to ‘not be a cover band’ any longer.
” When we disbanded our group Prism in the fall of ’69, I was in engineering at St. Mary’s University in Halifax as was cousin Jim. He and David had tired of playing covers at teen dances and felt the time had come to do something with their songwriting. Despite David’s claim that AW began as a cover band, it was actually formed specifically to cease playing covers once and for all.”
Myles had become the principal songwriter of the band because he wrote the most commercial music but according to drummer Ritchie – the original group was always a democracy and David was the unofficial leader for business purposes
” I didn’t write at all back then except for a minor contribution to “Wench” on the first LP. AW hardly played at all around Halifax before moving to Montreal to try our luck at getting a record deal.”
The brothers’ and cousin’s plan was to form a band with a “neutral” name which would provide a platform for songwriting. To allow a situation that would enable the writers to move on to personal projects within three to four years.
Within a few weeks of arriving in Montreal, the band recieved the attention of DKD, which at that time was still a booking agency. Their first big gig was Canada Day ’70 – three months to the day since leaving home. April Wine played with groups from each of the other nine provinces and performed before 20,000 screaming fans at Place Des Nations. The group representing Nova Scotia.
The headliners were the Guess Who.
DKD was part of a group of companies that included Aquarius Records and Terry Flood Management. By August the group had signed contracts with both of those companies.
Says Ritchie; “We had accomplished what we had set out to do by ’73. By that time the live performances had begun to suffer as a result of lackluster attitudes and it was time for me to move on. David was also keen for a change.”
By ’73, April Wine had established themselves as a successful enough outfit to go to the next step. In September of that year, the members simultaneously quit the band.Two months later Myles and Jim Clench decided to form a new band and asked David and Ritchie if they intended to keep the name; April Wine. The brothers replied; “take it and good luck.”
The original April Wine’s final meeting took place at The Maidenhead Pub in Alexis Nihon Plaza.
“It was a very amicable separation.” Says Ritchie.. “Lots of laughs and good memories. I came to enjoy the band a lot more after I left and we always remained friends”.
Myles and Jim would go to watch David and Ritchie in their new band ‘the Dudes’ and also jam with the band.
“Later on, when I was in a group called Cruiser, Myles called to congratulate me on our ’80 release, “Rollin’ With The Times”. An album which Myles felt was one of the finest ever Canadian LPs at that time.
Ritchie Henman lives in Dorval ,Qc.and reminisces of his early days as a drummer.
“My first favourite drummers were the drummer for The Ventures and,locally (Halifax) Tim Garigan, who at that time (’62) was the drummer for a local band – The Esquires. They went on to become The Great Scots and Tim went on to play with Pepper Tree who released one Lp in ’71.”
By the late sixties, Henman had graduated to Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck) and his first pro drum kit was ordered to be identical to his set. It was a ’68 Ludwig Silver Sparkle.
And the beat goes on …
Photos courtesy of Ritchie Henman.
It is also something the Montreal – born drummer turned guitarist extraordinaire cannot figure out.
Even after all these years …
” It all started with a journalist who wrote that I was visited by Hendrix’s spirit and he reincarnated himself through me.” Marino says. ” What’s funny is that Hendrix was still alive at the time. I mean … really!”
Although Frank Marino may not have been the second- coming of Mr. Hendrix physically, the now fifty- eight- year-old is a throwback to the love generation. An integrity of love and peace which has been his best companion through four decades.
“During my time ( seven albums ) with Columbia records, I was always arguing with ‘the corporation ‘ over things – petty things. Details such as album art, length of songs. It was an ongoing battle.” Laughs Frank.
A battle which started the very first day he signed his first contract with the company.
” We were all in a meeting. All the bigwigs, myself, friends, family and members of the band. All set to sign this huge contract” Marino explains.” All of a sudden, this guy points to my friend who had been acting as the band’s manager and says – he has to go! I was floored!”
Marino told the executive that if his friend goes – he goes too. The ‘suits’ would not budge so Marino walked out and went home. A record deal and all that money left sitting on the table.
” Did they think I was fucking joking?” Asks Marino. ” They soon found out I was not …!”
Six weeks went by and Columbia called back. Your friend stays they told him. Frank Marino -1, Corporation – 0.
“Thats the problem with life and the way it is in the music business. A marketer figured out if you take ten bands which sound alike, put them together and give the tour a name, some sorta theme – money can be made. What happened to the music?”Asks Frank.
Marino comes from the ‘hippie generation’, Woodstock and music were his classroom as Marino spent a grand total of sixty- nine days in high school.
“I come from a family with older siblings and the whole peace and love era. I started experimenting with LSD at a young age. Unfortunately, I took too much too often and was ‘ trapped’ in a different world. I was hospitalized for a long time at the age of thirteen and when I came out, music was my life.”
While in the hospital, Marino …, out of sheer boredom, learned to play the guitar. An instrument which was lying around for kids to play with.
“It was a small guitar and I thought, why not? It was after all, the instrument of the sixties !”
Following his release, Marino discovered himself, along with some musical buddies ( some of whom would become Mahogany Rush ), would soon pay $1.00 to jam in a room at 2424 Ste. Catherine St. in Montreal. A house which is currently an old folks home. Instruments were not provided yet it was a place to hang out with people who shared the same interests. Similar to kids of today bringing their Xbox to a place where others share their games. A place where Marino plied his craft and made friends who are still in his life today.
What a life it has been …
“Imagine, I was a seventeen year old kid who had signed a huge record contract at a time when kids- especially not Canadian kids, made it big in music and the United States. I was a pioneer who used distortion to the max. At one time, my guitar was hooked up to twenty- two pedals. Only Hendrix had done it before and that is probably where the Hendrix references commenced. Add all this to the fact I just came from a major acid trip – who else was I going play like? Pat Boone?”
Marino also says the guys who followed him, guys like Robin Trower – never claimed the Hendrix influence even though it was so obvious.
“I always said I was influenced by Jimi. My first album was dedicated to him and the song ‘Buddy’ was about him. I think guys like Trower and Stevie Ray Vaughn did not pump the Hendrix influence because they saw what happened to me and all the negatives it had.”
Marino also never wanted to be a star. The only reason he agreed to his first record contract was for the access to equipment.
“Robert Nickford had a company named Ko tai Records and he says here! Make a record and you can use this amp and these peddles. What kid do you know would say no …?”
Nickford then made a deal to merge his company with a record company in Detroit. The company was named Nine Records. Marino then became part of Twentieth Century Fox until joining Colombia in 1974.
Even now, Frank does not understand how musicians are considered some sort of gods.
” I felt uncomfortable getting In limos …” Adds Frank. ” I would rent a car and drive to the next gig. To me – Jesus is the only God I know …!” He also does not understand when musicians say their lives are hard.
” You get free food and free booze. If you are young you have girlfriends everywhere. If you think getting on a plane a few times a week is tough, try packing boxes for some asshole every morning at six. That’s tough!”
What amazed Frank and continues to amaze him, is how he was always left out of the Canadian music scene. A factor which the guitarist attributes to his fame in the U.S. and being a native Quebecer.
” Whenever there was a Canadian ‘We are the World’ or something like that, I was never called and asked to participate. One – people assumed I was American and two; the Quebec music scene was like a seperate entity.Especially in the seventies.”
Montreal was rocking during that decade with artists such as April Wine, The Dudes, Nannette Workman, Offenbach and many others lighting up the city’s nightlife. Marino is good friends with many of them including Myles Goodwyn – which led to Frank playing on the April Wine song; ‘So Bad’ off of the album ‘The Whole World is going Crazy.’
” When April Wine was hitting it big, their manager – Terry Flood, came and asked me how to penetrate the American border and make it big. Terry and other Canadian bands came to me because I was huge in the States. In fact, to this day, aside from Montreal, I have still not played very many gigs in my own country. I told them – don’t ask me! I just stumbled into this …!”
Bands like Supertramp, Genesis and The Police are great examples of the type of love affairs nestled between French- Quebecers and musicians’ pillows. An amorous connection which made these bands more popular in Quebec than anywhere else. Frank Marino is part of that list.
“If not for the support of the French-Quebecers, I don’t think I would have gotten so big.” Says Marino.” To be able to sell out the Montreal Forum three times you have to be good and at the same time – have loyal followers.”
One of the reasons Francesco Marino did not gather a flock of English Quebec fans was the lack of support from the English media. Notably the radio stations …
“If I had a cover song, like Purple Haze for instance, places like Chom – fm would play it. Aside from one original song; Dragonfly, the English radio stations would not play my tunes. I think its because they wanted to be ‘safe ‘. Another reason was my music was not vocally pleasing. In a five minute song, I would sing for a minute.”
Marino had many loyal fans in the States and his popularity happened so fast, Marino admits his career went backwards.
“Most bands play bars and clubs when they start out. Work their way up. In my life, it wasn’t until a good thirteen years later that I saw the inside of a club. Up until that point, I had been doing arenas and open air festivals. I had a billboard on Sunset Strip before I was twenty…”
It was backstage at these festivals where the reality of the music business set in. Marino encountered many musicians who would talk of money only. Marino’s visions of a Woodstock setting, a situation where music would be the topic of conversation, were shattered. It was at this point he realized be was not in Kansas anymore. According to Marino, it was more like ‘Oz’.
“I was and continue to be anti – establishment.” Says Frank. ” For me, there is no room for business in the music business.”
He continues.” If you think about it, the music business is the only business where people suceed because others fail. Musicians want other musicians to fail. This is the mentality. You can always pick out a musician at a concert. Everyone is dancing and boppin’ and having fun. Not the musicians. They are usually in the back row, arms crossed and thinking; lets see what you got Marino or whoever happens to be on stage.”
Marino’s battles with Columbia continued over artistic ideas. Culminating with the album Juggernaut. According to Marino, halfway through their deal, Columbia had chosen the album cover art for his record; ‘The Power Of Rock And Roll ‘ – which seemed to be straight out of Playboy. When they started to play games during the next one, Juggernaut, Marino decided that enough was enough. Frank ended their partnership after seven albums in an eight album deal. A stipulation in Marino’s contract allowing him to do so.
Frank Marino then began the happiest period of his life. After a brief sojourn into the music business in the mid- eighties, a period which brought the same b.s. , Frank finally said ‘screw it!’ Starting in 1993, he fathered three lovely ladies with his partner of thirty- three years. According to Marino – there has not been one day since, they have not made him smile.
“Go figure?!” Says Marino. “All three of them are musical!”
Frank’s eldest daughter (19) is a classically trained soprano vocalist and the two youngest ones – (16 and 13) both play acoustic guitar. It is no wonder as Frank brought the kids on every tour since the day they were born.
Marino, always a technological ‘geek’ – started to run a small business on the side helping people to program and fix their computers. Sometimes people would recognize him and freak out but for the most part, Marino was just another dude fixing computers.
One day, Frank ventured onto the Web and came across a fansite for Mahogany Rush. He did not realize there were so many fans talking about him and his guitar playing. Marino soon joined ‘the chats’ as himself. It took a while for people to believe it was him and it made him want to play music again. For the music …
“Now – we go on the road for thirty gigs or less when we feel like it. When we are fed up – we go home. There is nobody telling me do this – do that. No record company telling me I have to make a record. It is freedom …”
Just like Woodstock …