ed like rock songs.
Jerry Cox - guitar, Bob Schultz - drums, Chazz Avery - guitar
Some of the first songs I really learned were ZZ Top's "La Grange", Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water",
Chicago's "25 Or 6 To 4", "House Of The Rising Sun" ala Frigid Pink, The Rolling Stones' "Gimmie Shelter"
"The Star Spangled Banner" ala Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold", 12-bar blues and a three chord
rock jam of our own design. Forty-five minutes of recordings still survive.
The 1970s was a somewhat difficult period for me musically. I wasn't particularly interested in what was "popular".
I went for the stuff that was a little left field. The solo Beatles didn't hold my interest for long and it wouldn't be until well
into the 1980s before I began to appreciate the solo stuff. Actually, I believe it was John Lennon's death that jump-started
my interest in what I was missing. I gravitated toward heavier guitar-oriented rock but the general music I listened to was
rooted in blues and the avant-garde.
One of my favorites at the time was The Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent. I thought his guitar playing and his gonzoman antics were out of this world. His early 70s albums, Survival Of The Fittest and Call Of the Wild,
had great influence on me and firmly entrenched me in heavy guitar rock.
The Toledo Sports Arena would be the venue for
nearly all of the earliest concerts that I attended.
Still, Iggy and The Stooges were the leaders in my book.
They had not released an album since 1970's Funhouse but 1973 saw the release of their classic Raw Power album.
This album eternally solidified them as one of my premier favorites.
Iggy And The Stooges
A vintage 1973 self-portrait.
The caption reads, "Hey, Tony. Did ya get the new Stooges album?!"
I was also quite fond of other "glam" rock artists that became popular in the 70s. Some favorites were Alice Cooper, David Bowie and The New York Dolls. Many of my friends thought this was weird. But I liked it! I didn't really know what it was about them but they didn't sound like the rest of the pack. While I didn't realize it at the time, these were a precurser to the music that would change my life in the next decade.
I was still very fond of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who and listened to them regularly but other artists who received heavy rotation on my turntable during the 1970s were (all essentially rock oriented but in no particular order)...
Although I didn't know it at the time, I would see one of The Stooges last concerts (my fourth Stooges concert)
on January 19, 1974 at The Toledo Sports Arena. This left my musical life with a considerable void.
Although I've followed Iggy throughout his career, without The Stooges, the rest of the 1970s just wasn't the same.
For those who've heard it, I'm the source of the circulating recording of "Search And Destroy" from this show.
They would give their last concert on February 9, 1974 in Detroit
In April 1974, Bob (my drummer) and I met an older guitarist who was very willing to take us under his wing and teach us how to really make music. But with one criteria... I was relegated to bass player. I wanted to be a guitar player but, since I wasn't terribly proficient at guitar chords, bass was fine with me. Especially, if I could be part of a real working band.
The basis for all my musical knowledge today can be traced back to this time with Fred. Within the first month together, he had taught me more about music than the previous years of guitar lessons. Bob learned how to actually play drums (i.e. how the bass, snare and cymbals fit within a particular beat). Finally, we were REALLY rockin'!
Mid 1974 in our second rehearsal space.
Possible the last photo of my Silvertone guitar in its original condition.
Initially, I used a borrowed bass played through Fred's Traynor amp and an unknown cabinet (seen below in the photo of me at the drums). I have no photos of the bass and cannot remember what kind it was. Within a short time, I bought a Fender Bandmaster 50 watt guitar amp and played it through a Kustom cabinet of Fred's (seen in the photos above). Also at that time, I modified my Silvertone guitar with a bass neck and hardware and painted it white (seen below)
Mid 1974 - The first photo of the full band, Rush
Fred Zimmerman - guitar, Bob Schultz - drums, Chazz Avery - bass
NOTE: That is my electric Silvertone guitar painted white and modified with a bass neck and bridge.
Fred had been playing for years, had built enough credibility in the local area and within a few months we were playing our first live gig at a local bar. We also had several original songs (all essentially written by Fred) which was very cool to me. Doing covers was fun but having our own songs made me feel like we were a real band. One of the songs, titled "Life's Time", was based around a riff created by me and was even resurrected for one of my Worm projects in 1995.
Other primary songs in our repertoire were, two originals, "Feel It Everyday" and "Bad Time Blues" among a few others along with "Money (That's What I Want)", "Ready For Love", "House Of The Rising Sun", "Wishing Well" (by Free), "Gimme Shelter", "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone", "Sunshine Of Your Love" and "Day Tripper" to name a few.
We called our band "Rush", a name determined by Fred. However, that would soon become problematic. One day, I walked into the Disc Records store at the Woodville Mall in Toledo, Ohio and sitting right there on the new releases record rack was an album sporting large pink letters spelling RUSH (seen below). Yep, that was the name of the band not just the title of the record. And they were even a three-piece band like us. Yikes, guess we have to change our name.
Homemade business card
Early 1974 in our first rehearsal space
Now that Fred had taught us how drums work in music, I began to take my first real steps at playing them.
For my bass, I used the Traynor YBA-1 amp to the right. A great amp I wish I still had.
Fender Bassman 100
I used the Bandmaster head/Kustom cabinet combo for a few months until sometime in early 1975, when I bought a Fender Bassman 100 amp with two double 15" cabinets (seen completely set up in a photo below) and sold the Bandmaster amp. Also, at that time, I bought my first (and only bass), a Fender Mustang (also seen in a photo below). I used the Bassman amp into the early 1990s when I would inadvertently send a strong feedback loop right back into the amp. I had headphones on at that moment and I heard my amp let out an absolutely horrific cry and die. Within a second or two, I smelled the familiar smell of electronic death. I had blown the monstrous primary transformer. I still have the amp today but it has never been repaired (maybe someday). I do still use the cabinets in the studio. The Mustang bass has been my regular workhorse to this day and is heard on ALL of my recordings (with the exception of a couple of tracks on Frank's Closet in 1997).
Strangely, it was quite similar to the Rush album which it predated.
In a search for a new name, it was decided to call ourselves Clog McFeet. It was Fred's idea and, today,
I have no memory of how he came up with that odd name. I think we only played one gig under that name.
By November 27, 1974, we were Clog McFeet.
This was the only show with that name.
Fred was a Christian minded person and soon decided to name the band Zion (which is God's mountain). We all thought it was a cool sounding name but there was a problem with it. We didn't think they would notice but folks realized the religious reference and apparently assumed we were a Christian band (which couldn't be farther from the truth). Our first gig using that name was in Defiance, Ohio on April 12, 1975. This was somewhat out of our typical geographical area and people weren't familiar with us as a band. About only twenty-five people showed up. The folks who did show up told us people thought we would play religious music. It was quite a disaster. To make matters worse, this show was recorded and would become the only "live" recording ever made of this band and it's obvious on the recording that the audience is very sparse.
April 12, 1975
The disastrous first Zion gig.
Regardless of the initial problem with the Zion name, we continued to use it and I don't think it was ever changed.
When we played in our usual local area, folks knew us and the name wasn't as much of a problem.
Chazz Avery - bass, Bob Schultz - drums, Fred Zimmerman - guitar
I'm not certain what name we were using by this time. I suspect it was still Zion. I finally got a new Fender "Mustang" bass which
I still use regularly today. In fact, it's the bass heard on all the Worm recordings as well as most of the recordings with Kira.
Sometime within late 1975 to early 1976, for reasons I don't remember, Bob and I split from Fred. I think it was simply that Bob and I were still young and wild while Fred, being in his thirties, was more mature and calmed down. While we got along great, there was a bit too much of a generation gap and our interests drifted apart. And on a more selfish note, Bob and I knew we could now make it without him. We could now play with most anyone we wanted. Aside from jamming with a variety of local musicians, several attempts were made to get new bands started. Some were successful and some weren't. Throughout the entire time, Bob and I continued to jam and rehearse together to maintain and hone our rhythm section skills.
During the summer of 1976, I did a VERY brief stint with a local band (without Bob) that consisted of Kenny Jesse - guitar, Denny Jesse - drums and Ralph Boyer - guitar. This stint amounted to nothing more than a few rehearsal sessions. No photos or recordings were ever made (as far as I remember). However, later in the 1980s, I would hook up with these guys again.
More on that later.
Later in 1976, Bob and I got back together with old friend Jerry Cox and an old classmate, John Cipiti. Both on guitar.
The camaraderie within the band was rough and after several rehearsal sessions, the band dissolved. We only worked out relatively few songs, "Wishing Well", "Black Book Woman", "Beautiful Youth", "On The Hunt" and "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo" as well as an unique jam in A major.
The next new band was named Garden Sky and featured Bob and myself with the addition of an excellent guitarist named Joe Weaver and a novice guitarist named Kelly Keck. This band had serious potential but was probably doomed from the start. The first problem was that Kelly was too much of a novice and would have held the rest of us back. He was quickly excised from the band and, sadly, died a year later. Another problem was that Joe was a Jimi Hendrix nut (not a bad thing) and could play Hendrix lick for lick. However, everything we did sounded like Hendrix. In retrospect, that might have been a good thing but at the time, this didn't sit well with Bob and me. We felt it was a hindrance. But the real wedge between us was a fellow named Kyle Keck (Kelly's brother) who we hired as a "manager". Kyle was a go-getter and was willing to work hard for the band but he began to input too much direction in the music itself which was not his intended position. So, Bob and I parted ways with Joe as a band. Recordings still exist but there are no photos that I know of. However, Joe and I remained close friends and in 2000 we would hook up again and do some recording under my Worm name. More on that later.
Joe was also the origin of me calling myself "Worm". In the early 1980s, Joe was pissed off at me for reasons I don't remember. When he was speaking to Mike Baker (seen in part one) about me, he called me "...the little worm..." Mike told me the story but instead of being angry about it, I decided to bite back a bit. I made a stencil of what is now the Worm logo and had it printed on a T-shirt. When Joe saw the shirt, he knew exactly what it meant. When other folks asked what the hell it meant, I told them it was Joe's name for me. It all became a big laugh and there were no hard feelings. Then, in 1992, when I needed a name for my music, I wanted something that was self-degratory. I dusted off my memory files and realized that "Worm" was perfect. I still have the stencil and the T-shirt, by the way.
Sadly, Joe also passed away in 2004.
Finally in late 1977, Bob and I got hooked up with a working band. This band included Bob and myself along with Doug Van Fleet and my old trumpet player Joe Rollo (seen in part one). Both on guitar. Along with Kim Klinow on vocals. Lost for a name, and against his wishes, the rest of us decided to use our guitarist's last name as the band name. Thus the band, "Van Fleet" was born. But, as with the name Rush, there would soon be a problem with the name.
A short time later, Van Halen hit the music scene. Although we had our name before Van Halen released their first record, they were popular and we were essentially just a little bar band and we were seriously concerned that folks would think we had copied Van Halen's name. Regardless, this time we chose to keep the name and there were no problems with it.
Anyway, this band was a powerhouse combo (being a five-piece really created a full sound). We stayed together for about two years and played a lot of gigs. However, for reasons not remembered, the singer and the namesake, Van Fleet, decided they had had enough and quit. Once again, Bob and I were bandless.
Cassette recordings were made by our guitarist, Doug Van Fleet but, I lost contact with him shortly after the band split and I have no clue if they still exist.
Also during this period, Bob and I reunited with Fred who brought along his girlfriend Mick (sorry, I don't remember her last name) on vocals. We were quite the rag-tag bunch (note Bob's drums) but we sounded pretty good. Fred was an excellent guitarist/singer and Mick's female vocal touch added a nice dynamic to the sound and considerably expanded our repertoire. Below is the only photo I know to exist. Also, unless Fred has some, no recordings exist. I suspect it's possible that Fred or Mick might have some additional photos. I lost all contact with Mick after the band split and I only see Fred about once
every ten years.
Chazz Avery - bass, Bob Schultz - drums, Mick ? - vocals, Fred Zimmerman - guitar
As mentioned earlier, I was really lost on the "popular" music that was presented throughout the 1970s. All the prog-rock, arena-rock and mega bands left me empty. Bands like Foreigner, Journey, Kansas, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Asia... yuk and barf!!! Was this really what rock and roll had become? If so, I wanted NO part of it. I tended to stick with the old reliables noted above and really had to dig into the cracks in order to find something new that really moved me.
In the late 1970s, the seeds of change were planted...
Our guitarist, Van Fleet, introduced me to the Ramones and another friend introduced me to The Sex Pistols. Oh, Yeah!!! This is what rock was all about! Simple songs, snot and attitude. Around the same time, I began to hear two other new bands, Blondie and The Talking Heads. While not necessarily pure rock, these two other bands sounded like nothing I had ever heard. In 1980, I saw The Clash when they opened for The Who in Detroit.
While I did make a tape copy of The Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks (I didn't buy or copy the others), I still didn't get an immediate grasp on these new sounds. That would be a couple more years but the seed was firmly planted.
More on that later.
A few new bands that did hit home with me were The Pretenders, The Cars and The Runaways. Cool bands that were unlike anything I had been listening to for the past decade. My next band would even include The Car's "Just What I Needed" in our set list. I continued my interest in The Pretenders and The Cars but I lost interest in The Runaways after the first album. However, I always enjoyed listening to Joan Jett's music.
April 20, 1979
In my "music room".
You can see The Beatles were clearly still a prominent force in my life.
Note that I finally got a haircut!
The next band began in late 1978 and continued into 1980. This band featured Bob and myself along with Joe Rollo (the trumpet player) on guitar along with new recruit, Rene Guerra on guitar. Three of us began to think that Joe wasn't up to par. Whether he was or not, he was soon out of the band and I was working with a three-piece again. We called ourselves Pyramid. We had the best gear that I had ever had in a band. There were a lot of recordings made of this band and we played many gigs throughout 1979. We even had sound and lighting guys who also doubled as roadies.
April 20, 1979 - Pyramid
Chazz Avery - bass, Bob Schultz - drums, Rene Guerra - guitar
Our primary repertoire consisted of "Wishing Well" (Free), "Big Fat Mama" (Status Quo), "Jailbreak", "Bitch", "Come To Papa", "Stormtroopin'", "When The Whip Comes Down", "Cat Scratch Fever", "The Jean Genie", "Boney Maronie", "Strutter", "Black Diamond", "Snakeskin Cowboys", "You Really Got Me", "Just What I Needed", "Bad Boy" (Beatles), "Dirty White Boy", "Double Vision" and "Back In The U.S.S.R." We had worked out a couple of originals but they were never performed live and, since they were never recorded, I've completely forgotten them.
Late in 1979, things began to sour among us and on February 12, 1980, Pyramid played its last gig. Actually, I believe I was the cause of the break-up this time. I tended to be a perfectionist and I think I pushed issues too hard. For those of you who have seen The Beatles' movie Let It Be, it was similar to Paul McCartney's attitude with the rest of the band. Also, Bob and Rene had met another local musician who offered more to the unit than I could and apparently they had chosen to join forces with him. They were moderately successful and even managed to release a single on Ohio-based Moseka Records.
February 12, 1980
The last photo of Bob and I playing together.
Following the February 12, 1980 gig, even Bob and I, after seven solid years of playing music together, completely severed our ties. With the exception of happening to be at a party several years later, which was featuring a jam session, where we sat-in together on a couple jams of some old rock standards, Bob and I would never play together again.
In late 1979, I finally got to see my favorite band, The Who, but two things made this particular concert different. First, their original drummer and resident madman, Keith Moon had died a couple years earlier. Second was the December 3, 1979 disaster at their Cincinnati, Ohio concert where eleven of the concert goers were crushed to death in a stampede. The show I saw was the band's second since Cincinnati and their first in Ohio. This was the most orderly show I've ever seen. The audience seemed both saddened and scared.
December 6, 1979
Once again, it was just me.
In the summer of 1980 a friend gave me a vintage (1966?) Harmony "Rocket" guitar. I really liked this guitar and from this point on guitar became my primary instrument and the bass stepped back to second place. I still have this guitar and it was used for virtually all my Worm projects as well as my 1997 album with Kira, Frank's Closet. The guitar is currently being reconditioned.
I wasn't sure where I would go musically from here. It was fairly certain that Bob and I wouldn't play again. Shortly before the demise of Pyramid, I made the acquaintance of a young lady named Lisa Marquez. Lisa was an aspiring singer/songwriter and was very anxious to learn what she could about music and guitar.
Within a short time we were doing a little jamming together. Some recordings were made that still exist today. This continued off and on for a year or so. We considered starting a band and brainstormed to determine which friends we could recruit. After working with Mick a few years earlier, I always felt a female voice in the band would add to the virsatility. Lisa had a great voice and I hoped this would work out but it was a futile effort and before too long the idea was dropped. Eventually, our lives went different directions and the jamming stopped. By the end of the decade, Lisa permanently moved to Alaska.
However, in the summer of 1995, Lisa recorded a moderately nationally successful country-flavored album titled
Rhapsody Child. Shortly after its release, she returned to do a couple of hometown shows. One of the shows was a solo acoustic appearance at a local coffee shop. During this show, I joined her on stage for a set to do a few of the oldies we used to jam. Songs such as "Angel Of The Morning", "House Of The Rising Sun", "Queen Of Hearts", "All I Have To Do Is Dream" and I know we did a Beatles song or two but I'll be darned if I can remember what they might have been. I seem to remember that this was recorded but I don't know if I ever heard it.
That same year, I would record her song, "Darkside Of My Heart" for my Worm album After Z... I don't know if she's ever heard my version (which as my friends describe it, has been "Wormed"). I've only seen her briefly since 1995. In addition, working with Lisa in the early 80s caused me to began to open my eyes to female musicians and the interesting music they were making. Prior to this, most of my listening preferences had been primarily male artists.
After Lisa, for me, playing music all but stopped through the remainder on the 1980s. Occasionally, when my old friend Jerry Cox would stop by, we would pick up the guitars and jam a bit. A few of these jams were actually recorded and still exist. Using my old Sears and Roebuck reel-to-reel, I also made a few experimental recordings. These recordings (which also still exist) were my first real attempts at multi-tracking and overdubbing. But by the end of the decade, my instruments were little more than decorative wall ornaments collecting dust. Even my nice Harmony guitar wasn't enough to hold my interest. The real problem was that I simply didn't have any efficient and dedicated musicians with whom I really clicked.
But during this time...
This was completely unreal. Why the hell would this happen? I cannot begin to express the impact this had on my life.
I often wonder if this might have had some effect on my lack of interest in playing music throughout the 1980s. It surely recharged my interest in The Beatles which, as I have mentioned, had been waning throughout the 1970s.
My local newspaper headlines. The ones I saw on December 9, 1980.
(Linked to enlargements)
My hometown paper
The Port Clinton New Herald
With the exception of The Beatles' Hollywood Bowl and early Star Club recordings, there had been no new Beatles material released since 1970. I had bought several bootleg records which kept the spirit alive but now my interest was renewed. I even began to catch up on their solo releases.
The 1980s saw the release of many new Beatles "bootleg" recordings and with the advent of the home video recorder, my collection grew by leaps and bounds. While I had been doing it for about ten years, it was during this time that my Beatles research began in earnest and hasn't slowed down since. For the remainder of the decade, researching Beatles recordings
(and music in general) would be my primary musical focus.
But lurking on the horizon was something I had sampled before but had almost forgotten about... "alternative" rock.
On to Part Three