Euclid (Cleveland), 1964-6
Ken Stauffer - guitar, Mike Chandler - bass and vocals, Bob Hamilton - rhythm guitar, Al Horvath - drums. This band was started by 4 guys from Forest Park Junior High school soon after we saw the Beatles on TV. I was already fooling around with guitar and knew a few Chuck Berry songs. Mike and I were best friends and our lives revolved around being in a band. Mike was definitely the group leader, and he got most of our gigs as well. We did not have good equipment or know that many songs, but we always seemed to have gigs and were very well received, but were all very good friends and had a great time.
I was always an electronics experimenter and during that time modified my amps, and even built a fuzz tone before you could buy them locally.
Bob Hamilton moved out of town in 1966, and we tried different people, eventually ending up with Stuart Leyda - drums, Vic Abertanski (sp?) - bass, Mike Chandler - guitar, and Ken Stauffer - guitar.
A very short time later, Glenn Schwartz recommended me to members of Muthers Oats, and I left and this band was changed to “Separate Way”. After I left they got a guy named Dale Nemeth, who was a really good guitar player, but so shy that he spent all of the gigs faced backwards.
Early on I started playing guitar because my older brother was going to a bar (not old enough) at Culps Bend in Eastlake, and hearing a black guy named Chuck Berry junior. My brother was so impressed with this guy that he bought a guitar and asked him for lessons. He learned a few things, and bought 45’s “Hideaway” by Freddie King, and “Memphis” by Lonnie Mack, also the Bill Doggett tune “Honkey Tonk”.
I already had a Chuck Berry album, and between things I learned from my brother and things I picked up myself and surmised watching people play on tv, I became a little proficient in playing a few songs. I had also previously had 7 years or so of piano lessons and a number of years clarinet lessons. When the Beatles came out, Mike and I decided to have a band, and I already had some small amount of musical background, began taking lessons from Jim Landseder (sp?) at Sodja's music (which he had just taken over from Gauss Conservatory of Music). Jim played with Glenn at one time in the Pilgrims. I also took some lessons from Mike Cinalli of the Mystics, who showed me some Rock Guitar Method that you didn’t learn in lessons at that time, like using your thumb on the bass string.
When Glenn got out of the service, our family knew his wife's family, and I met Glenn at Sodja's, where he was talking to Jim. Glenn had just returned from military service in Germany and knew about the British Blues people like Eric Clapton. He also had an incredible knowledge of pickups, wiring, and ways to get better tone. After a time, I asked Glenn do give me some lessons, but he said he didn’t really give lessons, but If I wanted I could come over and we would jam sometimes. I went over as often as I could without being too much of a pest, and spent a lot of time with Glenn in his parent's basement, He showed me a lot on guitar, and also how to pack wheel bearings, set up guitars, or whatever else he was doing that day. There would often be other people over there, and I remember being introduced to Joe Walsh in Glenn’s basement. Glenn would be delighted if he showed me something and I learned to play it. He would make me show whoever else was around Most people get a little jealous if somebody “steals their licks”, but Glenn seemed to be thrilled that he taught me something. At this time I don’t think Gene, Glenn's younger brother, played anything, but he and Glenn worked on their race car, which they still have to this day. This car, I think was their dads first car. I was at the Mentor Hullabaloo in fall 1967 standing next to Glenn and Jim Fox while in their break Joe Walsh’s band the Measles played (Joes audition for James Gang).
The line up that night:
Yardbirds (this was one of their last gigs as well with the original band/Jimmy Page).
Editor's notes: Mike Chandler and Stu Ledya later played in POE with x-Choir/Cyrus Erie and pre-Raspberries Wally Bryson. Stu Ledya is currently the drummer in the Secret.
Story by Ken Stauffer