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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.

My Dad bought me a set of drums – Black Pearl Rogers

I was totally surprised and thrilled to get the drum set.  This was the beginning of total family support.

Formed “The”
Jerry Brown – Drums
John Wendling – Guitar
Tom Aikens – Guitar
Stuart Goldbalm – Didn’t play or sing

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”:
Jerry Brown – Drums
Doug Knight – Bass
Chuck Evens – Piano
Paul Kamp – Guitar
Ed Werny – Guitar

North Farmington High School Battle of the Bands
Farmington High School Dance (Hosted by WKNR DJ Dick Purton)

Auditioned for Motown and recorded a demo at Hitsville USA.

“The Livin End”
Jerry Brown – Drums and marimba
Doug Night – Bass
Chuck Evans – Piano
Jim Simpson – Guitar

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.

Studio name unknown
Recorded 2 of my original songs, “You Cease to Amaze Me”, “A Bit Too Far”

My Dad bought me my first guitar – Silvertone electric with cigar pick-up.

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.


“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”
Jerry Brown – Drums
Doug Knight – Bass
Jim Simpson – Guitar
Gary Bartlet – Guitar
Gary Zeld – Keybourds

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.

“Driveways from Mrs. Clique”
Jerry Brown – Drums
Tim Mattson – Bass
Gary Bartlet – Guitar
Doug Knight – Lead Vocals

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”.
Jerry Brown – Guitar, banjo, ukelin
Tim Shaw – 12 string guitar

Absolute Zero – Birmingham
Birmingham Teen Center Coffee House – Birmingham
The Black Spot – Kalamazoo College

DXM – Farmington – Demo tape

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.

“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

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.

This is the year I started playing in Kalamazoo on a pretty regular basis.

More of the same, increased solo performances significantly.

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.

Recorded 2nd acetate album called “Drifting” in my bedroom.
Engineer:  Roy Perlove
Cover Art:  Pat Boylan
Photography:  Dave McGrath

Went to New Orleans on vacation and landed a solo gig on Bourbon Street.

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).

Recorded a 3rd acetate one off called “Millions of Memories Day After Day”
Recorded in my bedroom
Engineer:  Roy Perlove

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.

Continued to play solo concerts in Kalamazoo then returned to New Orleans for another summer of craziness.
Andy’s – New Orleans, Louisiana

Now 21, I could play the bars and continued to play Coffee House concerts.
Gaspare’s – Kalamazoo
Coral Gables Rathskeller – Kalamazoo
Topper’s – Kalamazoo

Opening Act:
Pheobe Snow – WMU

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”.

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.

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

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

WMUK Studio – WMU for a special feature on WMUK FM radio
Engineer:  Tom French

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.

“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.

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

P.S. Studio – Chicago – Demo tape

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.

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”.

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

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)

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”

“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.

“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 stayed the same except for new soundman Steve “Benji” Schussman.

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

United Sound – Detroit – demo
Engineer unknown
Pampa Studio – Detroit – demo
Engineer unknown

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.

“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.

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

Roller Mill Studios – Traverse City
Producer – Fred Munch
Engineer – last name Ball (as in Ball Jars)

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.

“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.

Whistle Stop – Kalamazoo
Chaps on Main – Kalamazoo
Whaling Station – Kalamazoo
Mountain Jack’s – Grand Rapids
Tippecanoe Place – South Bend

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

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.

Jerry Brown – Guitars, piano, flute, vibes
Larry Cook – Guitars, violin
Mike Roush –  Drums, harmonica
Scott Butterfield – Bass
Doug Cassens – Sax, flute
Soundman – Benji Schussman

“Once Upon a Train”
Engineer – Branden Wade
Crosstown Recording – Kalamazoo

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.

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

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.

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

By 1983 the momentum began to slow down.

Formed a new band, “The Jerry Brown Band” for a one time television performance at the Community Access Center in Kalamazoo.

Jerry Brown – Piano, Guitar
Larry Cook – Guitar
Mike Roush – Drums, harmonica
Scott Barker – Bass
Audio Engineer – Brandon Wade
Director – Michael Betz

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.

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.

Andy Paul – Guitars, lead vocal
Tommy Dunn – Bass
Mike Roush – Drums (10 years)
Bill Furry – Drums (11 years)
Jerry Brown – Guitars, keyboards, flute, marimba

Formed “Jerry Brown and the What Four” for a single concert at the Discovery Theatre in Battle Creek.

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.

Jerry Brown – Keyboards, guitars, Flute Marimba
Steve Vandenberg – Guitar
Bob Reilly – Bass
Mike Roush – Drums, harmonica

Formed a new band “Jerry Brown and Friends” for a final concert at the Discovery Theatre in Battle Creek.

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

This was my last concert of original music.

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.

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