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J Teal Band interview with Billy Hardy

J Teal Band are one of those bands you never heard of and you found a record just by pure coincidence (but you really have to be super lucky) and you put it on and you will be blown away by the guitar work. Its hard to describe, its blasting “southern” rock with lots of funk and other influences. Truly an amazing LP worth checking out. For sure the best obscure LP in the genre. Special thanks for providing contact goes to Patrick Lundborg at Lysergia.


The J. Teal Band was formed in 1974, originally called the Jonathan Teal Band, named after a legendary gold prospector from the hills of North Carolina. Were you guys in any other bands before getting together? 

Joey Cash and me played in a band called "Magic Weed". Before Joey had played with Stanley and the Stardusters and the Ronnie Ford Band.

So one of the bands was 'Magic Weed'. Was this only on a local level? Did you record something?

This was local. Actually we were a house band on weekends for a club that is no longer there. This must have been around 1970 and I know of no recordings made.

How did you met? 

Joey and I finished college in 74' and came back to Spartanburg. I knew Doug’s older brother and he told me that Doug and Randy were looking for guitarists. We jammed one night and then went from there.

You were from Spartanburg, South Carolina.  Same town the Marshall Tucker Band came from and I did an interview with them not so long ago and they were talking about some local bands, that they were part of like 'The New Generation' and later much bigger band called 'The Toy Factory'. What was the local scene there? Did any of the local bands had any impact on you or your influences came mostly from more major acts? 

Spartanburg, SC is situated at the intersection of I-85 and I-26 and has been called the crossroads of the south. It is not as rural as some might think due to all the industry, especially textiles, that came here 40 to 50 years  ago. Most of the industries were European based. In the 70's there were a lot of clubs and music. The Marshall Tucker Band was discovered in a club called "The Ruins". There were a lot of big acts that played there: Uriah Heep, Allman Bros., Rory Gallagher, Wet Willie and many more. There was another place called the "Whipping Post" where Ted Nugent played frequently. Another club was a smaller room called "Hooleys" which was underneath an old hotel. During the 70's there was so much talent here: Marshall Chapman, Marshall Tucker, David Ball, Champ Hood, Walter Hyatt, Pink Anderson, The Sparkleltones, Garfeel Ruff, Artimus Pyle, Hank Garland and I'm sure more that were on major record labels and had national fame. The music was all great—the clubs were fun—we were young and it was a good place to be.

Your LP came out in late 70's. How did chronologically looking the band developed? In the meantime some of you went to college out of Spartanburg and then came back

Joey and myself met Randy and Doug after we came back from college in 74. As mentioned before, we jammed one night and rented an old house in the country where we set up a rehearsal studio in 75. We played locally for several years and then made the record. After the record, we went on the road and broke up in 1979.

Hayne Davis was the recording engineer and also the producer who owned the small record company, Mother Cleo Productions. Tell me how did you got in contact with the label? 

It's been a long time ago but Joey showed us his promo brochure and we called and made arrangements

What are the strongest memories from producing and recording your LP?

It was done live in several hours!

So, this was not a private pressing, right? How many copies were made and how were they distributed? 

I would say it was a private pressing since we paid for 8 hrs of studio time. I don't remember how the LP was paid for but I do know Hayne Davis worked hard on it for weeks to months and only 500 were made. April of 2012, Rockadrome Records officially re-released it and it is available all over the internet on CD.

When the LP was out you went on tour? Was this more locally? Where and with who did you tour and if you have any stories you would like to share, please be our guest. 

We booked through an agency called Eastern Atlantic Sounds out of Raleigh,NC. We played along the east coast where ever they sent us. Sometimes concerts. Sometimes hole in the walls, sometimes nice rooms. We played for a long time in Florida. We got to meet interesting people like Alabama and some of the Black Sabbath members. But in all reality, it wasn't all fun. It was sometimes dangerous and we had little money and little food.

"The Gin Mill" Abbeville,SC, 1978 L to R-Joey cash, Joe Zalack, Randy Johnson, Billy Hardy Joe Zalack replaced Doug Cecil in 1

I hope you can comment each song from the LP?

Randy Johnson. Joey Cash used played a univox phase shifter and ½ speed through a Pignose practice amp and Fender Twin Reverb. I played straight into a Marshall 50 and the opening riff was borrowed from Steppenwolf's "The Pusher".

Country Girl
Randy Johnson. I played lead on this through an old Marshall 50 Tube amp with no effects. Just straight in to channel 1.

Going to Mississippi
Billy Hardy. I played lead but not much to say about it.

Lost Love
Billy Hardy / Todd Buchannon. Joey is doing the phase shifter now at full speed.

The Cure
Randy Johnson. This is my favorite. It appears to go from Jazz to rock. Even though I played lead, Joey’s guitar work is amazing. Also, Randy and Doug are playing extremely tight.

Born in Chicago
Don't know why this was put on there but there must have been a reason.

Ain't Gonna Cry No more
Billy Hardy Some southern influence here. Joey plays lead.

Randy Johnson. I liked this one. It reminds me of Marshall Tucker jamming with James Brown.

Has anything remained unreleased?

I don't know but I have a plastic bag full of cassettes that I need to go through.

I find fascinating how well you did a crossover of genres and still making all the right steps to make a killer record. How did you manage that? 

Gee thanks!! 

I don't think we ever considered ourselves a southern rock band. Randy was influenced by James Brown and Wet Willie. Joey started out learning from the Byrds/Ventures and Quicksilver. I liked Blues and Blues Rock. Doug was influenced by Paul Riddle. When we wrote a song, everyone was able to play what they liked and felt. That made it more fun and jamming it made it more interesting. We wanted to have fun—not drudgery.

  Randy Johnson, 1978
Joey Cash

May I ask if there was any "psychedelic" substances involved in the band, that perhaps had any impact on the sound? 

Believe it or not—I don't remember any "psychedelic substances" except a whole lot of cheap beer LOL!

What happened after the band broke up. I know you had some reunions. 

Promo 2000
Rusty Mosley, Billy Hardy, Kenny Wofford, David Sill
In 1996 to 2000, the band got back together without Randy and Zak.

We didn't do anything for 10 years and Randy, Joey and me got back together for awhile around 1990.

Joey, Darren, Billy, and David
1997 in "the barn"
 "The Barn"
J Teal's rehearsal studio-1998

What currently occupies your life?

My family. Also, I have been a Real Estate broker and certified real estate appraiser for a long time.

Is there anything new in the plan?

We are back together with a new drummer and just trying to get our stuff right and tight. Never know what might happen!

Thanks for taking your time. Would you like to send a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers?

Well we look like to thank all those that have recently given us support over music we did 35 years ago. If you want to hear some of it go to J Teal Band/ Utube. Also we want to thank Rockadrome Records for re releasing it. And we especially appreciate the opportunity for this interview.

I want to thank Patrick and Aaron of the Acid Archives for their great review on us.

We will be available for bookings first of year. All interested agents, promoters etc contact Gitwrite @ aol. com

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2012
© Copyright


Rich AfterSabbath said...

I only just discovered this great album, and was very happy to find an interview here, Thanks!

Paweł Knap said...

Lost Love is great. How is it possible that you recorded only one album?