Steve Owczarzak (guitar, lead vocals) Greg Poltrock (Keyboards) Jeff Poltrock (drums, harmonica, vocals) Mitch Rapp (Bass guitar, vocals)
1980-1984 First incarnation listed above
1981 Drums were rotated to Brian Christman
1983 Keyboards rotated to Dave Weaver
1984 Bass guitar rotated to Carl Schoneweiss
Soundmen and crew for most of the trip was Grand Rapids’ Richie Dekker and Brian Rapp, lighting by Dave Doxey, and Scott Hoek.
Yuwanna was formed from the ashes of another local rock band, Osprey, by Greg Poltrock and Mitch Rapp. Brother Jeff, came on board with Steve Owczarzak. Steve had been in the bands Orange and the Fried Fish, Masai, and Sapphire Blue.
The band didn’t have a name, and the call came for their first gig within 10 days of forming. They were to open for Savage Grace at the 44th street Armory. WLAV-FM (before rock was classic) had just completed a contest to “rename Grand Rapids” and the winning name was Yuwanna. That’s what was adopted.
The headliner at the Armory never showed up. With only a one hour set under their belts, they plowed on with songs including Stairway to Heaven, Genesis’ Squonk, Bad Company, and Seger. The crowd seemed happy. The band was then booked solid, 2-4 nights a week for the next 52 weeks, much of thanks to agent, Leroy Purcey, from his office on Plainfield, north of Leonard.
Yuwanna was a cover band with a few originals, and they played a lot of art rock, from Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Alan Parsons, Gentle Giant, and more obscure Zeppelin. Mixed with the Cars, Seger, Toto, REO, and standard bar fare, they worked steadily.
Popular clubs that Yuwanna worked were the Bavarian, Rusty Nail, Paolo’s Living Room, the Northside in Greenville, and lakeshore clubs. Leroy Purcey also sent them as far as Flint, Owosso, Ohio and Iowa.
Yuwanna 1980 farmer Johns the cars and Allen parsons
Posted by Steve Owczarzak on Tuesday, December 19, 2017