NEWS "Blackfoot" is coming to the SPIRIT of the SUWANNEE MUSIC PARK & CAMPGROUND in Live Oak, Fl. April 3-5, 2008 for the 6th Annual Rock-N-Wheels Biker Rally. Visit http://www.hoganentertainment.net for more info!
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I was playing around Jacksonville,Florida when my cousin Butch,Leon Wilkeson and I were playing churches and teen clubs. I was there when Donnie Vanzant and I played Sock Hops at the junior high. I was there when Donnie,Don Barnes and I hired Larry Johnstrom from "Skynyrd". Heck, I was there when Dickie Betts played week ends at the Forrest Inn with "The Second Coming" and "Lynyrd Skynyrd" was still "The One Percent". I've traded guitars with Drew Lumbar,drank beer with Sid Yocum, jammed at the "Savoy" with Duane Allman and sat in with "Dickey Betts and Great Southern". I was always with the right people, just never at the right time. There is no time like the present.This site is dedicated to the memory of: Duane Allman,Barry Oakley,Toy and Tommie Caldwell,Joe Dan Petty,Ronnie Vanzant,Steve and Cassie Gaines,Dean Kilpatrick,Allen Woody,Lamar Williams,Lowell George,and Stevie Ray Vaughn.If you would like to keep up with the old and new in Southern, visit my good friend, Skydog at email@example.com.If you want,in my opinion,to hear one of the best Southern Rock bands on the planet,please visit www.mp3.com/regulators.
Why this name?
In 1968 I moved to Palmetto Fl. to live with my aunt and uncle. In 1969 I met a blues harp player named Dave York, AKA, Rockbottom. He introduced me to some musicians and we started learning some tunes. We ran an add in the news paper for a drummer as we didn't know any. One guy resonded to the add. His name was Larry Klophenstein and was a mortician by trade. He pulls up in this 1955 hearse he bought from the funeral home and starts unloading drums. That was the original "Graveyard Boogie Band".
Do you play live?
Yes we do. Right now, just in Fl. But we're wide open for possibilities.
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
It gives an opportunity to musicians and bands who, otherwise, would have no other way to be exposed to the world. The "People" decide whether you're made or broken...not Madison Ave.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
My father was in the U.S. Coast Guard and was a Chief Petty Officer so he usually managed the NCO clubs as well as the commissary(he was a cook). He was a back-woods Georgia "Redneck" but, what a guitar player.(He could play anything from Chet Atkins to Merle Travis and then hit you with some Andre Segovia and Carlos Montoya). Well, anyway he always took care of the music at the clubs so he would gather whatever he could find on the bass and form the band to back him up. When I was 10 he came home one evening from work with an instructional record album called "Learn to play the Brushes". It had a round piece of cardboard glued to the back(it simulated the head of a snare drum) and had two brushes. One played the record and followed the direction given. He calls me into the living room and gives me this and tells me to learn it.(to this point, the only world I knew was baseball, although, for some reason unknown to me at the time, Maureen O'Sullivan was starting to look different to me). So, I did as ordered and found myself at the club, with my mother by my side and I was scraping these brushes across a piece of cardboard in time to the music. It was actually fun. It wasn't until 1964 that my whole world changed. The night The Beatles debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show. My dad hated them so I had to pretend to like his music in order to get him to show me some things. I have never learned anything so fast in my life. In 6 months I was playing, somewhat, Beatle sons with other kids who were trying to learn and play. It wasn't until a year later when I made my first $10 playing a Coast Guard pic-nic that I knew this is what I wanted to do. Then, we moved to Jacksonville Fl. My uncle Ray lived in J'ville so I got to be with my cousi Butch Lanham. He played guitar as well. He had an old Silvertone guitar from Sears and the amp was actually in the case. You simply opened it up, stood it up,plugged in and turned it on and you were ready to Rock and Roll. It was just the two of us playing at Thomas Jefferson Elm. Teen Club off Bulls Bay Hwy. Every Friday night. One day Butch came to the house and said he met a guy who played bass. His name was "Thumper" Wilkeson. As I understand it, he was called Thumper because he lived in a housing development where all the streets were named for Disney characters and he lived off Bambi Lane and he patted his foot when he played. We went to his house that evening where he had an organ player and a drummer. Man, we had a blast. Never did know what happened to those fellows. The next day Butch brought a drummer named Jerry Shelton from Marrietta where we lived. We had a band for a while playing the teen club and churches. Then Butch graduated to High School (he was six months older than me) and I was stuck at Stilwell Jr. High. There I met Donnie Vanzant. He was a pretty good singer. He asked me to play in his band so I did and we had a pretty good time playing the sock-hops and teen clubs. Butch came to the house one day and asked me if I would be interested in forming a band with he and Leon and they were gonna call it The King James Version and they were going to travel and make some money. I said heck yes. Then, something happened that changed my life forever. If my dad caught a long-hair record album in the house he would smash it. (Butch and I were always suspended for refusing to get haircuts). Butch bought the new "Tiny Tim" album and brought it to the "Biff Burger" on Lane Ave. where we worked and sat it up on the ice machine. He left before I did and I noticed he left it there. I thought...I'll just take it home and listen to it and bring it back tomorrow since Butch was off that day...he'll never know. I was listening to it in my bedroom when I could hear my younger sister yelling down the hall "Johnny's playing hippy music!" Bang! The door opened and it was my father. He grabbed the record off the turntable and broke it over his knee. Well, Butch came in to work and asked where his album was. I told him I didn't know. He figured the day guy took it. That night Butch called the house for but, I wasn't there and my mom told him what happened to the album. The next morning Butch got on, walked right up to me and punched me right in the eye and kicked me out of the band. I was devastated and in 1968 I moved to Palmetto Fl. to live with my aunt and uncle. In 1969 I met a blues harp player named Dave York, AKA, Rockbottom. He introduced me to some musicians and we started learning some tunes. We ran an add in the news paper for a drummer as we didn't know any. One guy resonded to the add. His name was Larry Klophenstein and was a mortician by trade. He pulls up in this 1955 hearse he bought from the funeral home and starts unloading drums. That was the original "Graveyard Boogie Band". In 1970 I left ther and went back to J'ville and met back up with Donny Vanzant. We decided to form a band and he took me over and introduced me to Don Barnes and a drummer named Bill Pelky. I was a guitar player who could play bass and since there wasn't any around I was it. So, I got a bass and amp from my dad and began playing bass and I sure didn't like it. One day Donnie came to rehearsal and said the bass player in his brother's band "Lynyrd Skynyrd" was looking to make a change. Donnie and I loaded up in Don Barnes "Hav-A-Tampa Cigar" van and drove to Gainesville Fl. where they were the opening act for "The Blues Image". When they left the stage Donnie went over and talked to Larry Junstrom and he decided to come and play with us. We were playing at "Art Heisan's Comic Book Club" downtown which was a bottle club that didn't close to like six in the morning. One night while we were on our last break I went into the bathroom to roll myself a joint. I stuck it in the back of my ear and forgot about it. When we finished I walked out on the street to go back to the hotel and a beat cop stopped me and asked me what was behind my ear. Thirty days later I got out of jail with time served. I had one phone call and one friend with a phone so I called him to let the guys know where I was and to pick up my equipment and take it to his room. When I got out, the band was gone and so was my friend. I just traveled around from that day on and never had those opportunities again.
Albert Collins, B.B.King, Jerry Garcia, Otis Rush, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts and Billy Gibbons.
The Graveyard endorses Marshall and Fender amps, Gibson and Fender guitars, Pearl drums and Dean Markley and Elixer strings.
Check out Hogan Entertainment at http://www.hoganentertainment.com and The Spirit of the Swaunnee Music Park and Campground at http://www.musicliveshere.com