Jerry Brown – Mr. Music Man
Jer and Dave, “The”, The Illusions, The Living End, The Moques, Driveways from Mrs. Clique, Brown & Shaw, Jerry Brown, Home, Jerry Brown and Beyond, Brown & Cook, The Jerry Brown Band, Andy Paul Band, Jerry Brown and the What Four, Jerry Brown and Friends JERRY BROWN MUSIC CAREER CHRONOLOGY Written by Jerry Brown from memory (God help us). For those folks from West Michigan, you might want to skip down to 1970 when I moved from the Detroit area to Kalamazoo. 1964 – Farmington Hills, Michigan Saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan – totally inspired. Formed first musical group – “Jer and Dave”. Jerry Brown – Snare Drum and homemade cymbal Dave McGrath – Stella Guitar Never performed anywhere. Christmas My Dad bought me a set of drums – Black Pearl Rogers Comments: I was totally surprised and thrilled to get the drum set. This was the beginning of total family support. 1965 Formed “The” Members: Jerry Brown – Drums John Wendling – Guitar Tom Aikens – Guitar Stuart Goldbalm – Didn’t play or sing Venues: Played 1st two gigs: Knights of Columbus Hall Church Basement My brother (4 years older) set up an audition with a band of guys his age and they hired me. “The Illusions”: Members: Jerry Brown – Drums Doug Knight – Bass Chuck Evens – Piano Paul Kamp – Guitar Ed Werny – Guitar Venues: North Farmington High School Battle of the Bands Farmington High School Dance (Hosted by WKNR DJ Dick Purton) Recordings: Auditioned for Motown and recorded a demo at Hitsville USA.
“The Livin End” Members: Jerry Brown – Drums and marimba Doug Night – Bass Chuck Evans – Piano Jim Simpson – Guitar Venues: FATAC Dance Downtown Farmington Michigan State Fair Battle of the Bands – The Wooly’s from Lansing won the contest. Johnny Rivers and Lovin Spoonful closed the show. Recordings: Studio name unknown Recorded 2 of my original songs, “You Cease to Amaze Me”, “A Bit Too Far” Christmas My Dad bought me my first guitar – Silvertone electric with cigar pick-up. Comments: 1965 was really when it all got real. I was only 13 but because I was playing with older guys who could drive, there were many gig opportunities. This is the year I also started writing music on the piano and guitar. 1966 “The Livin End” continued through the summer. May – met Leslye Bobenage, who became the love of my life. June – My brother helped me buy my first real acoustic guitar. It was a custom Gibson, Hummingbird body with a Dove neck and bridge. August – Saw the Beatles at Olympia Arena “The Moques” Members: Jerry Brown – Drums Doug Knight – Bass Jim Simpson – Guitar Gary Bartlet – Guitar Gary Zeld – Keybourds Venues: The Cavern – Northville Crowsnest – Detroit Hullabalu – Clarkston Mount Holly – Not sure what city that was. Played on the second stage outdoors. The Main stage had Bob Segar System and the Yardbirds. Northland Mump – Played in a Battle of the Bands, the Amboy Dukes won the contest. Recordings – none Comments – 1966 was a momentous year because I met Leslye, bought my Gibson (still play it every day) and saw the Beatles. The Moques wore long wigs and actually fooled most people. It was also great because there were many teen clubs where local bands could play. 1967 “Driveways from Mrs. Clique” Members: Jerry Brown – Drums Tim Mattson – Bass Gary Bartlet – Guitar Doug Knight – Lead Vocals Venues: Many of the same teen clubs as 1966. 5th Dimension – Ann Arbor Birmingham Teen Center – Birmingham. Opened for “Teagarden and Van Winkle” and “Sly and the Family Stone” “Brown and Shaw”. Members: Jerry Brown – Guitar, banjo, ukelin Tim Shaw – 12 string guitar Venues: Absolute Zero – Birmingham Birmingham Teen Center Coffee House – Birmingham The Black Spot – Kalamazoo College Recordings: DXM – Farmington – Demo tape Comments: 1967 was a great year for many reasons. The Folk scene in Detroit had exploded and so there were many Coffee Houses to perform in. It was also significant because I left the drums behind and concentrated on writing music on the guitar and piano. “Brown and Shaw” played mostly original music. Later in the mid 70s Tim Shaw started his own guitar company with Pat Murphy. They produced Murphy/Shaw electric guitars that were very well respected. As far as I know, Tim is now an executive with Gibson in Nashville.
1968 “Brown and Shaw” continued playing many Coffee Houses in the Detroit Area. We also performed on Television for the 1st time on the Channel 2 Morning Show in Detroit. In the fall Tim Shaw went to Kalamazoo College and although we continued to play together for a year, I also began performing solo in all the same clubs. Wrote the music and performed it in the High School play “Dark of the Moon”. Wrote “Autumn as a Child” for the High School Talent Show Recordings: General Motors Recording Studio – Detroit, Soundtrack for a Pontiac Wide track film. Ford Motor Company Studio – Dearborn, Soundtrack for Ford Corporate film. Recorded 1st album, a one off acetate called “Sweet, Sweet Harry Jones and His Shining People From Love Comes First”. Engineer: Rob Clark – recorded at his house. Comments: This is the year I started playing in Kalamazoo on a pretty regular basis. 1969 More of the same, increased solo performances significantly. 1970 Moved to Kalamazoo to attend Western Michigan University. Still too young to play the bars, but did numerous concerts at WMU including a Peace Rally with 5,000 in attendance.
Recordings: Recorded 2nd acetate album called “Drifting” in my bedroom. Engineer: Roy Perlove Cover Art: Pat Boylan Photography: Dave McGrath 1971 Went to New Orleans on vacation and landed a solo gig on Bourbon Street. Venues: Andy’s – New Orleans, Louisiana Josephs – Morgan City Louisiana (I got fired for my own safety because rednecks were going to kill me. My hair was quite long on they would whistle at me and call me a girl while I was playing). Recordings: Recorded a 3rd acetate one off called “Millions of Memories Day After Day” Recorded in my bedroom Engineer: Roy Perlove Comments: 1971 was the first year I totally supported myself playing music. Playing in New Orleans was a remarkable experience. The drinking age was 18 and I was 19. The Bar I played at was a folk club on Bourbon Street called Andy’s. It happened to be the place many musicians would gather after their gigs to jam. Suddenly I was playing with banjo players, clarinets, trombone players, you name it. My skills as a player improved dramatically, especially the piano. Living alone, away from home in a city of strangers was also quite the education. 1972 Continued to play solo concerts in Kalamazoo then returned to New Orleans for another summer of craziness. Venues: Andy’s – New Orleans, Louisiana 1973 Now 21, I could play the bars and continued to play Coffee House concerts. Venues: Gaspare’s – Kalamazoo Coral Gables Rathskeller – Kalamazoo Topper’s – Kalamazoo Opening Act: Pheobe Snow – WMU Comments: In the summer of 1973 I skipped New Orleans and traveled extensively around Europe. Although I didn’t have any gigs there, I found it to be very inspirational. While there I wrote “Switzerland”, “Seagulls in the Wind” and “This Moment is Everywhere”. Later on, that trip would inspire the title song for my album, “Once Upon a Train”.
1974 Bob Callner and his brother Scott were a talented folk duo in the Kalamazoo area, but Bob really wanted to form a band. He approached me and although I was very pleased with the progression of my solo career, I decided to give it a try. We recruited Bill McKinney and Rick Ducharme and “Home” was born. “Home” Members: Jerry Brown – Piano, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, flute, marimbas, harmonica, vocals Bob Callner – Acoustic and Electric guitar, piano, vocals Bill McKinney – Bass guitar, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, synthesizer, vocals Rick Ducharme – Drums, bass guitar, back-up vocals Soundman: Bill Buell Manager: Keith Heavenridge Venues: Coral Gables Rathskeller – Kalamazoo (Home’s 1st gig August 4th 1974) The Old Place – Grand Rapids The Intersection – Grand Rapids Russo’s – Grand Rapids The Huron Hotel – Yipsilanti Lizards – Lansing Recordings: WMUK Studio – WMU for a special feature on WMUK FM radio Engineer: Tom French Comments: In Kalamazoo I had built quite a large following as a solo act so when “Home” debuted we had an instant audience. There was no following in Grand Rapids but we thought it would be great to play there. What helped launch the band there was great support from the DJs at WLAV. I think our 1st gig there was at the Old Place, which was very close to their studios. Some of the DJs at WLAV then were Bill Evens, Patty Haze, Ed Buchannon, Arris Hampers and others. They interviewed us on the air, played tapes from “live” shows and were just terrific. Although “Home” was primary an original music band, Bob Callner was also a terrific arranger and so even the cover tunes took on the “Home” sound. Our arrangement of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was without question our biggest crowd pleaser, and it helped us gain significant prominence in the Grand Rapids area. Covers of “Moondance” and “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” were also favorites. 1975 “Home” continued with the same line-up through 1975. Our manager Keith Heavenridge was working very hard to get the band in front of larger crowds and was able to catch the ear of Brass Ring Productions. With their support we were able to open for several national acts all over Michigan. Venues: We continued to play all the same bars as are listed from 1974. Opening Act: Dave Mason – Wings Stadium Kalamazoo Sha Na Na – Saginaw – Detroit – Toledo The Rockets – WLAV Raft Race music festival Recordings: P.S. Studio – Chicago – Demo tape Comments: 1975 was a great year. Leslye and I were married in January and “Home” continued to build momentum. The main goal at this point was a major record deal. 1976 Bob Callner was eager to open his own recording studio and in 1976 he found a partner and built a studio on the peak of a mountain in Colorado. At the same time, the Common People had just called it quits and so we auditioned Larry Cook to replace Bob. We thought Larry was great and asked him to join. He joined but asked Bill and I to consider Common People drummer Mike Roush to join as well. Mike was very proficient at many musical styles and so we invited him to join the band and replace Rick Ducharme. The original “Home” final concert was in Kalamazoo in the street at the corner of Oak and Vine. I still feel bad to this day about letting Rick go. He was a great drummer and an even better friend. Suddenly there was a new “Home”. Members: Jerry Brown – Keyboards, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, marimba, harmonica, flute, vocals. Bill McKinney – Bass, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitar, vocals. Larry Cook – Acoustic and electric guitar, bass, keyboards, violin, sax, pedal steel, vocals. Mike Roush – Drums, harmonica, vocals Soundman – Tom Barton Manager – Keith Heavenridge Venues: Danny J’s – Grand Rapids (1st gig with the new line-up) Whistle Stop – Kalamazoo Lizards – Lansing Peaunut Barrel – Lansing Intersection – Grand Rapids Eastown Saloon – Grand Rapids Inn Between – Pontiac Wagon Wheel Saloon – Rochester MI Headline Concerts: Miller Auditorium – Kalamazoo Chenery Auditorium – Kalamazoo WLAV Raft Race – Grand Rapids Opening Act: Marshall Tucker – Munn Ice Arena – Lansing (I got knocked out from electrocution when my lips touched the mic) Recordings: Uncle Dirty’s Studio – Sound Machine – Kalamazoo Engineer – Brice Robertson (Brice had little patience with us and backed out halfway through the project). Second Engineer – Verne Wandell Recorded and released our 1st single “Time Traveler”. The flip side was “What’s the Use”. The single was released on our own label “Home Records” Comments: “Time Traveler” got extensive airplay and sold quite well, propelling the band to greater recognition on a state wide level. It was not enough to attract a major label contract. 1977 “Home” continued to play clubs and concerts throughout Michigan. We landed a gig in Denver that was fantastic and began to focus on recording new demos in our pursuit of a record deal. Members: Members stayed the same except for new soundman Steve “Benji” Schussman. Venues: All the same clubs as listed for 1976. Denim Broker – Denver Colorado Cannonsburg Ski Lodge – Grand Rapids Pine Knob – Won the Pontiac Press Battle of the bands Opening act: Atlanta Rhythm Section – Ferris College – Big Rapids Recordings: United Sound – Detroit – demo Engineer unknown Pampa Studio – Detroit – demo Engineer unknown Comments: Disco was beginning to kill us. Several clubs we played switched over to discos and Disco was all record companies wanted to hear. The frustrations were beginning to take a toll on the band. 1978 “Home” forged on and continued to do well. We worked on more studio demos. Tensions began to build between some band members and management. By midyear it became too much and “Home” broke up. Venues: Whatever we could find that wasn’t a disco. Opening Act: Stanley Clarke – Royal Oak Theatre – Royal Oak Burton Cummings – Royal Oak Theatre – Royal Oak – “Home’s” last concert Recording: Roller Mill Studios – Traverse City Producer – Fred Munch Engineer – last name Ball (as in Ball Jars) Comments: Each incarnation of “Home” only lasted 2 years. We were all proud of what we had accomplished but it was time to move on. Suddenly I was a solo performer again. 1979 “Home” got back together in the summer for a reunion at the Whistle Stop in Kalamazoo. We played 4 nights and it was a lot of fun. “Home” never performed again after that reunion. In the meantime I kept plugging on with my solo career playing clubs, concerts, TV appearances and recording demos. Record companies were telling me they might consider a contract if I could prove I could sell records. That’s when I decided to take a shot at recording an album. Venues: Whistle Stop – Kalamazoo Chaps on Main – Kalamazoo Whaling Station – Kalamazoo Mountain Jack’s – Grand Rapids Tippecanoe Place – South Bend Recordings: Progressive Sound – Kalamazoo Engineer – Benji Schussman Crosstown Recording – Kalamazoo Engineer – Brandon Wade Opening Act: (solo) Charlie Daniels Band – Center Stage – Canton, MI Dave Mason (his duo) – Center Stage – Canton, MI Don Maclain – Center Stage – Canton – Canton, MI Television Appearances: Channel 41 “On Location Show” Battle Creek Channel 10 “Spotlight” – Grand Rapids Channel 3 “Afternoon Weekday” – Kalamazoo Channel 8 “Buck Mathews Show” – Grand Rapids Comments: The solo thing seemed quite limiting. I needed a new band. I had formed my own record label (Criminal Records) and began recording my first album for public release. I utilized musicians who had agreed to perform “live” as a band, and Jerry Brown and Beyond was formed. Members: Jerry Brown – Guitars, piano, flute, vibes Larry Cook – Guitars, violin Mike Roush – Drums, harmonica Scott Butterfield – Bass Doug Cassens – Sax, flute Soundman – Benji Schussman
Recordings: “Once Upon a Train” Engineer – Branden Wade Crosstown Recording – Kalamazoo 1980 We finished recording “Once Upon a Train” and it was released early in the year. Jerry Brown and Beyond began performing in concerts to support the album. Thanks to Val Elliot, who helped fund the album and worked for Vinyl Vendors in Kalamazoo, the album was place in 30 record stores throughout Michigan. WLAV named it the ‘Album of the week” and it received good reviews. Sales were brisk at first and then slowed down. Headline Concerts: Calvin College – Grand Rapids Kalamazoo College – Dalton Theatre Kalamazoo Opening Act: Dixie Dreggs – WIDR Kite Flight – Kalamazoo Ambrosia – Civic Auditorium – Grand Rapids Hall and Oates – Great Lakes Theatre – Grand Rapids Also in 1980 Larry Cook and I formed a duo called “Brown and Cook” to keep Larry and I alive. Venues: Mountain Jack’s – Grand Rapids Whaling Station – Portage Whaling Station – Lansing Tippicanoe Place – South Bend, Indiana Mountain Jacks – Lafayette Indiana Quimby’s – St. Louis, Missouri Z’s – Grand Rapids Comments: The release of the album did not catch the attention of any major record labels, some more demos were necessary. 1981, 1982, 1983 “Jerry Brown and Beyond” and “Brown and Cook” continued to perform and record demos. Recordings; Several Demos at Crosstown Recording in Kalamazoo. Along with the Regular band line up, we also utilized Brian Ison – Guitar Bob Reilly – Bass Opening Act: (Solo) Leo Kotke – State Theatre – Kalamazoo Little Feat – State Theatre – Kalamazoo Comments: By 1983 the momentum began to slow down. 1984 Formed a new band, “The Jerry Brown Band” for a one time television performance at the Community Access Center in Kalamazoo. Members: Jerry Brown – Piano, Guitar Larry Cook – Guitar Mike Roush – Drums, harmonica Scott Barker – Bass Audio Engineer – Brandon Wade Director – Michael Betz Comments: In June I took my first day job at the Community Access Center in Kalamazoo. Scott Butterfield moved to New York to pursue a Jazz career. Larry Cook moved to Los Angeles to open a recording studio and audio engineering school with Fred Munch. This was the year I quit playing music for a living. 1989 Joined the “Andy Paul Band” as a side man for a summer gig at Coral Gables in Saugatuck. We became a regular act at the Bayview Gardens on Gull Lake and played there for twenty years. We still do gigs occasionally to this day. Members: Andy Paul – Guitars, lead vocal Tommy Dunn – Bass Mike Roush – Drums (10 years) Bill Furry – Drums (11 years) Jerry Brown – Guitars, keyboards, flute, marimba 1991 Formed “Jerry Brown and the What Four” for a single concert at the Discovery Theatre in Battle Creek. Members: Jerry Brown – Piano, guitar Andy Paul – Lead guitar Tom Dunn – Bass Willie Brown – Sax Mike Roush – Drums 1994, 1995 Formed a new version of “Jerry Brown and Beyond” for two more concerts at the Discovery Theatre in Battle Creek. Members: Jerry Brown – Keyboards, guitars, Flute Marimba Steve Vandenberg – Guitar Bob Reilly – Bass Mike Roush – Drums, harmonica 1997 Formed a new band “Jerry Brown and Friends” for a final concert at the Discovery Theatre in Battle Creek. Members: Jerry Brown – Grand piano Steve Vandenberg – Lead Guitar Andy Paul – Acoustic guitar Tom Dunn – Upright bass Virgil Corby – Violin Mike Roush – Drums, harmonica Cheryl Jewel – Back-up vocals Jamie Laferrier – Back-up vocals Comments: This was my last concert of original music. 2012 Today my wife Leslye and I own a video, audio, media production company, Lawrence Productions. Our studios are located in downtown Grand Rapids next to Van Andel Arena. Fred Munch is also on staff as a new media producer. Please check out our work at lpi.com. As for music, I still play the piano and guitar at home every night. I haven’t written a song in 15 years, but enjoy improvising new music and playing the old songs. (Although I’m beginning to forget many of them). It was a great ride and I feel very lucky and grateful to have had so many wonderful experiences and played with some truly great musicians. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is the 1st incarnation of HOME featuring Jerry Brown (On a bunch of stuff) Bob Callner (Guitar) Bill McKinney (Bass) Rick Ducharme (Drums) Jerry Brown and Home – Somewhere Over the Rainbow mp3 (12:53)
“The End of the Road” is Jerry Brown solo on a 4 track. Jerry Brown – The End of the Road mp3 (4:03)
Jerry Brown and Friends below:
The concert was at the Discovery Theatre in Battle Creek in 1997. This tune shows the bluesy, jazzy side of things. This was recorded during the same concert as “Chain of Life”
Jerry Brown (Piano, vocals) Steve Vandenburg (Electric guitar) Andy Paul (Acoustic guitar) Virgil Corby (Violin) Tom Dunn (Upright bass) Mike Roush (Drums, harmonica both at the same time, also back-up vocals) Cheryl Jewel (Back-up vocals) Jamie Laferier (Back-up vocals)
Jerry Brown and Friends – Time Traveler mp3 (3:37)
“Chain of Life” and “Nothin too Good for You” Jerry Brown – Chain of Life mp3 (5:56)
Jerry Brown – Nothin to Good for You mp3 (4:31)
Jerry Brown and Friends – The Moon is Full Tonight mp3 (5:05)
UPDATE – 40 YEARS LATER 2016
Today, more than 40 years after HOME was formed, founding members Jerry Brown and Bill McKinney are making music together again. Although we will be playing as a duo, we have decided to call ourselves HOME again. At this point we are busy in the recording studio and hope to create some music videos of these songs in the near future. We hope this will lead to some “live” performances before the end of 2016. It feels great to be playing original music together again.
We have also created a HOME Fan Page on Facebook. We will be posting new and old music, photos, videos and performance dates on HOME Fan Page. Here is a link:
Please visit our Facebook page and let us know what you think. Please “Like” it if you like it. Then you will be notified when we post new things.
The You Tube channel has over 30 videos from concerts that Jerry Brown did in the 1980’s and 1990s. All the songs are originals except the 2 versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Bob Reilly is playing on many of them.
Home – Time Traveler – Audio (3:37)
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Jerry Brown Photo Album #1 (1964-1970)
FS ~ 11/25/2012 – 12/9/2012 ~ 6/19/2014 – 7/20/2014 ~ 3/24/2016