I started playing guitar at age 9. My first guitar was a $12 dollar Stella acoustic that my parents helped me buy from Calfee’s Pawn Shop in Sherman, TX. I’m the oldest of nine brothers and sisters (including myself). My Dad was in the Air Force and we traveled around some, that’s how we ended up stationed at Perrin A.F.B., close to Sherman. My parents and the rest of my relatives hail from small towns (Carencro & Arnaudville) outside of Lafayette, Louisiana.
My first band to play guitar in was called The Spellbinders. We were all in the 7 th grade except for the drummer who was a year older than the rest of us. The members of that band were: John Blystone / Guitar, Roger Marshall / Bass, Marc Jaco / Vocals (who later took Rogers place on the bass), and David Dennis / Drums. We played sock hops, cottilion dances, the Youth Center in Sherman and at Perrin AFB and the Perrin Recreational Area at Lake Texoma. John, David and I still go out and eat lunch together occasionally and David and I work together on Texas Dept. of Transportation informational/training videos.
After the Spellbinders, at age 15, I started playing guitar for another band in Sherman called, “Love Is”. I thought it was a stupid name for a band, but we must have been pretty good because we won a battle of the bands contest, and beat out some of Sherman’s best bands that had been playing together for a long time. The members of that band were: Dale Bolin / Drums, Bob Maret / Vocals and Guitar, Danny Melton / Keyboards and Vocals, Skip Tumbleson / Bass and Vocals. We frequently played at the Sherman and Perrin Youth Centers, the Municipal Building in Sherman, Tanglewood at Lake Texoma, and a place called the Sputnik Club in Cartwright, Okla., without our parents knowledge. Glad we’re still alive after working there!
At age 17, I started working with an extraordinarily good keyboard player that was stationed at Perrin AFB named Mel Davis. We worked together as a duet in a jazz club at the Trade Winds Motel, and played a few times at the Student Union building at Austin College in Sherman. Mel was from Philadelphia, PA and told me there was plenty of work for musicians in Philly, so after my 18 th birthday I packed up and went to the east coast. Mel started working in one band and I started working in another. I played rock n roll and blues in plenty of clubs not only in Pennsylvania, but in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. It was fun until I got mugged by three huge guys who took my guitar and ran down the street with it. The guitar they grabbed was a 1966 Gibson SG Special with P 90 pickups in it (for you guitar enthusiasts). I was very bummed to say the least, but in a stroke of luck I found a 1961 Les Paul Custom white wonder with double cutaways at 8 th Street Music in Philly.
After all I’d been through I was ready to leave the city of no brotherly love and moved out to Los Angeles. With the help of a great friend, Allen White, I found an apartment at 109 Breeze Ave., Venice Beach, CA. There were all kinds of musicians and just a lot of “hippy freaks” living there. It was definitely a unique part of the world!! An old friend of mine that I’ve known since I was 12 yrs old, Gordon Eatherly, and Dale Bolin (pictured left) had moved out to Venice Beach with me in search of the almighty record deal….all we met up with were crooks and whackos. One guy named Snuff Garret came over to talk to us about a record deal, pissed me off and I kicked him out, only to find out later that he was a big cheese in the record business that could’ve helped us. Oh well…After that Gordon and Dale left which was good for thembecause on Feb. 9 th, 1971 at approximately 6am, an earthquake of magnitude 6.6 on the Richter scale hit the LA area. I woke up violently as my bed started walking across the floor with me in it!! Yikes! Well, that was the first and last time I’ve ever felt the earth shake that hard. It wasn’t long and I was on my way back to Texas.
Summer 1971, met up with my old friend Dale Bolin, who was at the time working with a great Hammond B-3 keyboardist named Ron Mason. They had a 2 piece band that Leon Russel and Freddie King were interested in signing to their new record label called Shelter Records.
After he listened to Dale and Ron play we all got to jam together. I was stunned at first that I actually got the chance to meet and jam with Freddie King. After we jammed we started drinking gin and listened to him tell stories about his travels around the world, opening shows for Eric Clapton and listening to Clapton play almost all of Freddie’s songs. Five years later Freddie died, and it had me tripped out for awhile because of when he died….which was on my birthday Dec. 28,1976. That day the world lost a great singer/guitar player, and song writer. I feel very honored and lucky to have met him. In 1974, I had the honor of playing in aband that opened a show for him at Tarrant County Convention Center in Ft. Worth.
Steve Dupuis & Delbert McClinton
Ron Mason & Delbert McClinton
Shortly after that Dale introduced me to a guitar player named Jimmy Lowrance who he said played with a style similar to mine. We had a great time jamming and ended up playing together in a blues / rock band called Nevada Brothers. Through the approximately 4 almost 5 years that the band was together the personnel changed a few times. The band started out with Dale Bolin / Drums, Ronnie Roth / Vocals, Jimmy Lowrance / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Steve Dupuis / Lead, Rhythm & Slide Guitar, can’t remember the bass players name, and Danny Melton/Keyboards & Vocals.
The next phase were the same guys except: Tim Gross / Drums, and Jim Smith / Bass.
We opened shows for a band called Rare Earth at the Lubbock Colliseum and at the auditorium in Abilene. We got canned after receiving a standing ovation in San Angelo. Then it was back to Dallas where we played clubs like the Cellar, (which was downtown across from KLIF), LuAnns, and a club on Greenville Ave. called James Comedy.
After that we started working with Robert McDowell / Drums and Bill Randolph / Bass & Vocals, with this configuration we started out playing a club in Colbert, Okla., called Pappy’s. They made us the house band there for 2 years, then we decided to start playing clubs in Dallas again. This time we were playing places like Mother Blues, Gerties, Adobe Flats, Binary Star, Gemini’s Eye (Grand Prairie), IGotcha (Ft. Worth) and many more.
I think it was January 1974 we started working as the house band at a club called the Fog which was located on Oak Lawn and Lemon Ave. Bugs Henderson and Johnny Nitzinger’s band had just quit there, and we (Nevada Bros.) took their place along with the band that played after hours called Southpaw, who had Rusty Burns / Guitar, Big John O’Daniel / Vocals, Phil Petty on bass, and I think Buzzy Gruen was playing drums (who later on with Bill Randolph started a band called Point Blank). While we were working at the Fog, our manager Paul Middleton (now the FOH sound engineer for Bonnie Raitt, and part owner of Palmyra Studio in Palmer, TX) got us a gig opening a show for Freddie King and Lynyrd Skynrd at Tarrant County Convention Center March 12, 1974. We got a write up in Performance magazine as one of the bands to watch, as a soon to be headliner. Kathy Roach had worked with us off and on as a front singer with Ronnie until we started playing the Fog. Marshall Sartin had also played bass for the band for a short time. It wasn’t long after we played the show at Tarrant County Convention Center that the band broke up. This band has to be one of the best bands I’ve ever worked with in my entire life.
Then Ronnie and I started working with Richard Cash / Drums, Skip Tumbleson / Bass & Vocals, Charles Fricke / Keyboards & Vocals and called the band “Nevada”. We didn’t last very long, but we had a great time working together.
Jan. 1975, I started going to school at North Texas State University as an applied music major. In my electric guitar jazz ensemble class I was approached by a producer named Jody Lyons who asked if I wanted to work in some recording studios. So, I started working at a studio close to Industrial and Stemmons called Sound Techniques. In the middle of an album project, head engineer Skip Frazee got me interested in taking his recording class that was sponsored by the Recording Institute of America where I received a certificate in Multitrack Recording Techniques. Skip was a great instructor and I learned a lot from him.
1976, I started working on an album project with long time friend (who I’ve known since I was 12 yrs. Old) Gordon Eatherly at Pollaro’s Recording Studio in Denison, TX. Gordon and I wrote a lot of songs together and with Joe Pollaro’s permission started laying tracks down at his studio using Sid Whatley / Drums, me on Guitar, Jimmy Lowrance / Guitar, Jim Choate / Bass, Danny Melton and Ray McCarthy / Keyboards & Vocals and Gordon Eatherly / Vocals & Acoustic Guitar. Sid and I both engineered the project. When we finished it we started playing gigs around Sherman, Denison, Dallas and Oklahoma as the Rusty Gordon Band which consisted of everyone who played on the album except Sid and Ray. We enlisted long time session drummer Mike Webster to start playing gigs with us.
Later on the album was mailed to WBAP Radio in Dallas where they were holding a contest called the Best Bands in Texas. We won a place on that album with a song we wrote called “Going Back to Texas”. Later on we submitted the tape to Q102 Radio in Dallas and won a place on the More Texas Crude album with a song we wrote called, “Can’t See the Ends”. Even though we had some radio station recognition, we weren’t making any money. So, I started working for Pollaro Multi Advertising Productions as an engineer and a guitarist for a short time.
1979, I started working with The Larry Franklin Band, which was a high energy country rock band. We started off at a club in Denison, TX called Lucille’s, and after a few months of rehearsal we went on the road playing coast to coast.
The members of that band were: Larry Franklin / Fiddle/Guitar/Vocals, Ray McCarthy / Keyboards/Vocals, Jeff Williams / Drums, Steve Dupuis / Lead, Rhythm & Slide Guitar, Stacy Starnes / Bass, Gary Jackson / Lead & Rhythm Guitar/Vocals and Wayne Perrin / FOH Sound Engineer. Eventually Stacy quit and was replaced by Eddie Marshall.
1983, Went into partnership with Jimmy Lowrance in a studio Jimmy had bought from long time studio owner and all around great guy Gene Huddleston. We put ourselves in hock for some recording equipment and called the studio Reelworks Recording Studio.
While still working at the studio I played gigs around town with different bands:
1984, Started playing guitar for song writer, keyboardist, guitarist, vocalist, Bobby Whitlock who worked with Eric Clapton on the Derek & the Dominos album, Bonnie and Delaney Bramlett, Eric Clapton & Friends album, Joe Cocker, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison and others…the band was based out of Ft. Worth, TX and the members were: Steve Dupuis / Lead, Rhythm and Slide Guitar, Bill Randolph / Bass & Vocals (formerly of Nevada Bros. Band and Point Blank), later on Eddie Marshall (formerly with The Larry Franklin Band played Bass, Jonny (Rosebud) Doughty / Drums, David Milsap / Lead & Rhythm Guitar/Vocals. Bobby kept telling me I was going to have my chance to meet Eric Clapton, but unfortunately it never happened. It was a pleasure and an honor to be able to work with Bobby and the rest of the guys in this band.
Info, was a rock band that played more hotel gigs than anything else…I had a lot of fun working with them. The band consisted of: Patty Sterling / Vocals, Billy King / Bass & Vocals who was later replaced by Ronnie Jordan / Bass & Vocals, Mike Lang / Drums, Richard Theisen / Keyboards & Vocals, and Steve Dupuis / Guitar.
Charles Stewart & True Colors, another blues/rock band that I had a lot of fun working with consisted of: Charles Stewart / Vocals & Guitar, Chip Abernathy / Drums, Tolbert Pitman / Bass & Vocals, after Tolbert quit, we got Freddie Pol / Bass & Vocals, Darby Orr / Keyboards & Vocals, and Steve Dupuis / Lead & Rhythm Guitar.
Alibi, with Mike Hamilton / Keyboards & Vocals (formerly with Point Blank), Katrina Hamilton / Vocals, Wayne Six / Bass & Vocals, and Steve Dupuis / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, the drummer position was a revolving door at times, so we had guys like: Ken Murray alias Nardo / Drums, Nick Oshoa / Drums, Rockin’ Ron Thompson / Drums, Gene Glover / Drums. This band with Gene Glover playing drums played a show in Deep Ellum as Bo Diddley’s rhythm section.
Karen Bella Band, high energy rock and roll/blues band with Karen Bella / Vocals, Mark Austin / Bass & Vocals, Martin McCall / Drums, Paul Harrington / Harmonica, Keith Stone / Sax and Steve Dupuis / Lead & Rhythm Guitar.
John Keaton Band, Chip Abernathy / Drums, John Smith / Sax (used to work with Edgar Winter’s White Trash, Toto, The Boogie Kings and who knows who else) Ken Stock / Keyboards, John Keaton / Vocals & Bass, and Steve Dupuis / Lead & Rhythm Guitar. John has to be one of the best vocalists I’ve ever worked with and it was always a good time working with this band.
1987, played guitar for songwriter, sax player, vocalist, Jerry LaCroix, formerly of Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Edgar Winter’s White Trash, Rare Earth, and the Boogie Kings out of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The members of that band were: Steve Dupuis / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Martin McCall / Drums, Mark Austin / Bass & Vocals, Rex Mauney / Keyboards & Vocals, Ken Stock / Keyboards. I had a blast working with these guys.
Rosemary Sharp, very good country rock songwriter/vocalist with a couple of singles on the charts. We were hired to work as her backup band. The members were: Danny Melton / Keyboards & Vocals, Richard Bannister / Bass & Vocals, Mike Lang / Drums and Steve Dupuis / Guitar & Vocals.
1988, The Ducks, a fun high energy blues/rock band…started out with Rex Mauney / Keyboards & Vocals (presently working for Toby Keith), Danny Melton / Keyboards & Vocals, Mike Lang Drums, Frank Fredrick / Bass & Vocals, and Steve Dupuis / Lead, Rhythm & Slide Guitar. The next group of Ducks included: Mike Lang / Drums, Jimmy Lowrance / Lead, Rhythm, Slide Guitar, Harmonica & Vocals, Steve Dupuis / Lead, Rhythm & Slide Guitar / Vocals, John Cable / Vocals & Rhythm Guitar, and Wayne Six / Bass & Vocals, later on we got Mike Wagliardo / Bass & Vocals. We recorded a CD of some of our original material which we have for sale.
1996, Rodney Johnson Band, I always had a great time working with this band… Rodney always had great players on his gig. The bass player and drummer position was always a revolving door, some of the guys I remember working with are: Cody Carlson / Drums, Jessie Andrade / Drums, Randy Panda / Drums, Rockin’ Ron Thompson / Drums, Tyrone Starks / Drums & Vocals, Ronnie Ellis / Bass, Wayne Six / Bass, Chuck Rainey / Bass (who played with everybody in the world, but is probably best known for recording on most of the Steely Dan records), Michael Lee / Lead, Rhythm Guitar/Vocals, Steve Dupuis / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Paul Harrington / Harmonica, and Rodney Johnson / Vocals.
Currently I’m working at Richland College, working on different projects in my studio and gigging with The Tyrone Starks Band. This band is another high energy blues/rock band that’s just a lot of fun to work with. Besides playing private parties, we’ve also been playing gigs in Dallas at The Hole in the Wall, Deep Ellum Blues, and soon to be at Sneaky Pete’s at Lake Lewisville, and in Wichita Falls at The Iron Horse. The band consists of: Tyrone Starks / Drums & Vocals, Paul Harrington / Harmonica, Michael Lee / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Steve Dupuis / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Mike Wagliardo / Bass.
Please check out our CD … it was recorded in my garage, so of course it’s not going to sound like it was done at Warner Bros. Studios, but it doesn’t sound bad either, and there’s a lot of good playing on it.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank my beautiful wife Jeana, my Dad & Mom, all of my family, all the people who’ve supported me through the years, Shannan Hauser who developed my website, long time friend and fellow musician Jim Smith for designing the logo for my website, and the Duck’s logo, Diane Guy who took all the pictures of the Tyrone Starks Band, and the great musicians who I’ve worked with that I haven’t mentioned yet ….it’s hard to remember everyone I’ve worked with through the years…so to those of you who I skipped, it wasn’t intentional, please accept my apologies, and if you write me, I’ll be happy to include you….the people I do remember are:
Lu Williams / Vocals, the late Mark Williams / Drums,
Rick Hood / Lead, Rhythm, Pedal Steel Guitars & Vocals, Craig Dobson / Lead & Rhythm
Guitar, “Little Bill” Roberts / Guitars, James Buck / Vocals, Ricky Roach / Lead,
Rhythm, Slide Guitar & Vocals, Mike Fiala / Drums, Pat Jones / Lead & Rhythm
Guitar, Rob Hunt / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Mike Gage / Drums, Kim Davis / Lead & Rhythm
Guitar, Buddy Whittington / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Rusty Burns / Lead & Rhythm
Guitar, Big John O’Daniel / Vocals, Mike Kennedy / Drums and Shelly McBride
- Vocals & Guitars.
I’d like to thank Larry Morgan of Larry Morgan Music Co., (Larry I want you to know I still have an amp I bought from you in ’66, it still sounds great, and you’ve always done me right) and James Tran of Brook Mays Music Co., for all their help and support through all the years of me trying to make a living playing a guitar. I’d also like to thank Jimmy Wallace for all his help and for helping me get such a great deal on my two Paul Reed Smith guitars.
I also want to acknowledge the great musicians I’ve worked with that have since passed away:
- Skip Tumbleson – Bass
- Bill Randolph – Bass
- Mark Williams – Drums
- Gordon (Punky) Eatherly – Vocals/Guitar (2007)
- Larry Morgan (Larry Morgan Music Co.) (2009)
- Wayne Perrin – Vocals/Guitar (August 2009)