We are really pleased to have you here. You are very active lately. What
do you have in plan for the near future?
the 60s sometime in March or April. We
have a nice following in that area. We
are performing several times a month locally which is an area between
Sacramento and San Francisco. We are
working on new songs for a third CD.
is out, this has been our focus so far. We plan to do a third CD as a tribute
to Tony and are looking for venues to do live performances.
documentary is airing on PBS all over the U.S.
We have done a few occasional performances, but are trying to connect
with some larger concert opportunities.
the 60’s. After I left the band in the
early 70’s due to getting married, I realized that music was too much of a part
of my life to leave behind. I started a
duo act with my first wife and we were very popular in the Bay Area performing
in a restaurant lounge in Tiburon, CA. I
worked in Lake Tahoe, Maui, HI, Santa Rosa, Napa, Vallejo, Fairfield,
Vacaville, as a single, duo, trio, and four piece group throughout the years up
to the present.
still is a haunting desire to play and perform. Doing this with my life long
friends, no word can describe. The best I can say is “Fantastic”.
I value every opportunity we have to play together again. After getting back together, I realized that
the main reward for me was just the fun of playing music together again and our
details about the Documentary and also about the new album…
eight songs that I had written in years past.
It was an opportunity to once again perform them with my old band mates
and our keyboard player, Stefan Barboza who joined us in 2007 to play on our
second CD, Afterglow Unearthed. Stefan
worked with me in the 80’s at a club that I owned in Vacaville, CA. It was so great to once again work with
Stefan on keyboards, Ron on bass, Roger vocal harmony, and Larry on drums &
procession. We re-recorded two songs
from our first CD made in the 60’s which were “Mend This Heart of Mine” and “By
My Side”, and of course we had to make a new version of “Susie’s Gone” with
“Susie’s Back” which was our far out psychedelic song that probably no one will
ever hear something like that again. Working on the video production took us 3
years to complete but I think it turned out to be a great story, honest and
true to our feelings.
Medallions. Tell us the story of the pre Afterglow band.
wanted to play in a band due to the fact that I sang in church and the bass
player at that time was from the same little town called Dorris, CA. When I was asked to sing I had only just
started picking up a guitar and learning to play chords. Tony, who was a great guitar player was my
mentor and I learned so much from him playing rhythm and Tony playing
lead. We played locally for dances and
some high school and college dances and also renting out a hall and holding our
own dances. It was in the mid 60’s that
we had the opportunity to open for the Turtles in Yreka, CA which made us feel
like we really could go somewhere. It
was right after that we started the process of putting together our original music
that ended up on our first album…yes I said album, not CD. I still have 8 track tapes!
of Mt. Shasta, California when we were in high school. During our freshman year
at College of the Siskiyou we met the “Medallions” who were looking for a bass
and keyboard player. Roger switched from drums to keyboards and I switched from
rhythm guitar to bass. We played in northern California, and southern Oregon at
school proms, local hangouts, Armory dances and a slew of “Battle of the Bands.
Finishing Junior College we all relocated to Chico State University and added
the many college dances to our list including Fraternity and Sorority dances.
We did this until the summer we spent in Fort Jones rehearsing our original
songs for the upcoming Golden State Recording dates. During one recording
session we went in the studio as the “Medallions” and came out as “Afterglow”.
with Tony Tecumseh, Gene Resler and myself.
Soon we met Ron George and Roger Swanson and decided to form the band
together. We went to College of the
Siskiyous together, and played gigs all over northern California and southern
Oregon. After two years at College of
Siskiyous we moved to the Chico area where we attended Chico State University
and Yuba College. The name was changed
to “Afterglow” by the studio and producers as we were recording our original
album in 1967.
once a week in my basement at my home in Rio Vista, CA where we are continually
working on fine tuning our original music and cover tunes. When we recorded our first album we rehearsed
for 3 months at Larry’s parent’s home.
They were the greatest people you could have ever met, allowing us to
stay there free for 3 months, feeding us and allowing us time to get our songs
together. We will always have fond
memories of that summer together.
during Junior College. My parents were very supportive of my desire to be in a
band. Roger and I actually did rehearsed in my parent’s garage. When we hooked
up with Larry, Gene and Tony my parents place was still the choice since Larry
and Gene lived at the college and Tony living in Klamath Falls Oregon and Tony
would drive down. Our rehearsals were not loud music; we toned down so we could
work on the harmonies and the varied musical parts you hear on the album. So my
parents moved the furniture around and we sat up in the living room.
roommate, Jan DeWitt, rented a house that had a big backyard with a workshop
building in the back. We used this workshop for rehearsals. In fact some of our
old photo’s where taken in that backyard, one with Gene leaning on that old
California, until I graduated from High School in 1964 and went to College of
the Siskiyous. I really remember how
much my parents and Ron George’s parents supported the band. They completely opened their homes up to us
anytime for rehearsals, made space by moving furniture, etc., whatever it
seemed to take. At the time I don’t
think I totally appreciated what they provided for us. Looking back and after many life’s
experiences, I now am able to fully appreciate what they did for us and their
remember or shared bill with?
a great party school so there was always work.
It was that time when Tony decided to stay in Klamath Falls, OR which
was his home and where his family lived.
Roger decided he was ready to finish up his education and studies were
more important than playing gigs. As for
Ron, Larry and myself we went on to add new band members and started working in
a local club called the Sundown Club in Chico.
A booking agent saw us and offered to book us on the road, and that’s
how I became a “Road Scholor”.
“Grateful Dead performing in Chico. No shared bills.
and the bigger college scene and the music of the times. We played many occasions all around the Chico
area and created quite a following.
Prior to Chico we had played opening bills with the Turtles and Beau
Brummels when they had their appearances in Siskiyou County. In Chico we were able to see in concert some
of the name bands of the time. The most
striking one for me was Janis Joplin, wow, blew me away!
great melodies and I had the feeling for writing also. I wrote more songs back in the 60’s and 70’s
that we are just now recording today.
Tony’s style of writing was not a copy of anyone at the time, just
completely original. If you listen today
you will her songs that may remind you of a certain 60’s band, however the
songs themselves are still completely unique and original. The song on our first album that I wrote was
“Mend This Heart of Mine” which is about love.
Our first and second CD is all about love. Someone once said that you should write songs
about what you know and experienced in your lifetime. I guess I have always been in love.
bring a song down and have a basic idea on how he thought it should sound. He
wanted it to be commercial and creative. He worked the song for a long time
before he presented them to us. We would all listen and comment. We would play
it and the song would develop as we put our own into it. It works the same
today. Gene has 40 years worth of songs he has written and the arrangement and
music evolves as each of us adds out parts and thoughts. I will add this; there are no egos in
Afterglow. Hard to believe, but there has never been a disagreement or harsh
words in the creative process, we truly work with one purpose.
mentor. He wrote nine of the original
songs on the first album. He created the
music and the lyrics and as a group we arranged each song.
producer of our first album. We found
out later he did that with all the bands he recorded and promised to find a
record label to put our music out to the world.
Well some of that was true, but the part we found out years later that
the songs we were told were just studio tapes that would be re-recorded later
never happened and they went directly to vinyl without any re-mixing or touch
up. We were told by radio stations
around the country that our songs were very good, however the quality of the
production was not very good. We felt
very taken at that time because it was too late to do anything about it.
told us they would shop our “demo” and get us a contract and then we would have
recording sessions to redo the songs and perfect them. This never happened. We
got word that MTA records took our “demo” songs and produced the Afterglow
Album. When Larry got a call from Leo, Larry drove down to San Francisco and
picked up a box of albums. We were excited that the album was in our hands, but
a little disappointed that the songs were never re-recorded. It was not what we
expected. But we went with what we had and hoped for some promotion from MTA.
Unfortunately this never took place either. So we went on our own promotion
trips around northern California and Oregon. We got some play on the stations.
We held the #1 spot in Redding CA for several weeks, but when listeners tried
to order it from the local record stores, only a few orders were filled. We
heard back that it just wan not available! (?). So in short, there was no deal.
person who worked with Leo at Golden Gate Recording, and he had a falling out
with Leo. He told us Leo had told MTA that we had broken up and apparently MTA
just stopped any promotion or production. We also heard that some money was
exchanged after MTA pressed the album, but we could never verify this, so
basically it is rumor and conjecture. Looking back there were obviously albums
distributed as they have surfaced all over the world. This is the mystery, what
really happened, it will probably remain a mystery and the answer is lost.
State Recorder’s in San Francisco where we auditioned and did a demo. At the time this studio was the conduit for
most of the San Francisco area groups to the major labels. Leo requested that we go back and prepare 20
original songs to be presented at a later date for a possible album. We signed, what then was the basic recording
deal, the studio would front the costs and we would receive, I believe it was
3% of 90% of net sales. Leo then shopped
us to all the labels and we ended up with MTA Records in New York who released
our original album. We were young, from
the country and very naïve, and didn’t have a clue about the business side of
While arriving to San Francisco in the summer of 1967 was it really so “magical”? If
we look back all that summer of love thing, plenty of interesting people
living together, amazing groups playing everyday… How did you see it through
your own eyes?
world to us because we were small town guys.
We were amazed at the whole scene, but felt excited to be living in the
era that this was all happening. We did
not do drugs and so the whole scene was fascinating to watch, and be in such a
beautiful city like San Francisco with so many talented bands. It was an era of music that everyone had
their own distinct sound and that is what gave it the variety of the 60’s music
that still lives on today.
time. The other times we came across the Bay Bridge, drove a few blocks to
Harrison Street, unloaded our equipment, rushed through the recording, loaded
up and drove back across the Bay Bridge for home. We spent the one night when
we had the two-day photo shoot. We cruised SF, Broadway was in top form then,
and for small town boys it was exciting. We were given the impression that when
the album was out we would be back and spend some quality time there performing
and taking in the scene. However, that never happened.
San Francisco was one of our first big city experiences. We were in awe! The fast pace, the traffic and the fact that
we had to pay 50 cents for parking? Was
just amazing to us. It was a great
experience and a very exciting time for us.
Francisco at the Golden State Recording studio that my sister, who lived in SF,
stopped in to watch us record. She was
so proud of me and the band that she started crying. I felt that I had made it to big time when I
realized how proud she was of me. We
were all proud to be a part of the business and being able to record our own
was our first recording experience; we were strangers to the workings of a
recording studio. We were told where to set up; they placed the microphones
around and then told to start. The sound was completely different to what we
were used to hearing and I never reached a comfort level in that studio. The
playback sounded good, but it was hard to play with heart when the atmosphere
is so mechanical. And what sticks with me the most is we heard errors and weak
spots in the recording, and were told not to worry about them. They would be
rectified when we did the final recording at some future date. As you know,
that never happened. Guess what I notice when I hear it today?
before. On the positive side, I was
really moved by how our songs sounded played back on the big studio speakers
and the fact that we had come this far, was quite a rewarding time. On the negative side, were where
surprised how fast they wanted to move
the sessions along and very frustrated by them not wanting to take many
additional takes so we could correct mistakes we had made. Our vision and doing it right was very
important to us.
gear did you guys use?
played his beautiful Epiphone guitar, and I believe at the time I also had a
solid body Epiphone, and Ron had a Vox bass guitar. The sound was basically built around the
keyboard which gave us the Afterglow sound along with our harmonies. Larry still has his original drums that he
played in our first session. Some things
keep getting better with age, and I would like to believe that about ourselves.
guitar. A Sunn bass amp with 15” speakers.
it today and use it in our performances.
Most of our amps were Fender and a Farfisa organ. Most of the guitars and bass were Fender and
Tony finally bought an Epiphone guitar.
Gene: We thought we should have had a
real photo of the band since we took so many to do a cover shot. As it turned out, little did we know, that it
had a lot to do with the success of the album.
60’s album art is a very big thing today and ours happens to fit right
me start with my final thought. The cover artwork is a piece of art, it is
bright, catches your eye, and no doubt contributed to the albums popularity, as
it has become a collectors’ item. It also gave us a branding logo, which we are
using today. I would love to talk to the artist who created it.
After spending 2 days in a photo shoot, posing this way, and that way, and
seeing the type of covers that were on the shelves, we were expecting something
else. We were disappointed. But it was ground breaking and before it’s time.
photos shoots, we had this vision of the standard album cover with our photos
and some bio information on the back, so when we picked up our initial copies
of the album with this caricature of us on the front and little or no
information about us on the back, we were totally shocked and
disappointed. I guess, from an artistic
view, what did we know, since this album cover have come to be one of the best
recognized for the time.
album. We were given NO numbers as to
the number of copies released or where they were distributed. We know that whenever we would play somewhere,
they could never get the album in the record store. That proved to work against us from the very
start. To this day we have never seen
one statement with any numbers to find out how well our album sold.
40 years ago, and we are asking that question today of Sundazed regarding the
CD and the Vinyl. We were never told this information. We received one box of
albums through Golden State Recording. When the northern California radio
stations were playing the album, the local record stores tried to fill the
orders. A few albums would be sent, but many orders were left unfilled. So it
was “spotty” at best. We soon learned that “Riding Home Again” could not hold
the #1 spot long without the distribution support and getting the album into
the hands of the people who listen to the radio.
details. We knew it was a national
release, didn’t know numbers. Over time
it appeared that is was the standard distribution of the time and the album was
available in the stores. However, it
didn’t seem there was much effort put toward promotion, it like they just
released it without much push behind it.
We are now finding out that it appears the album received a wide
acceptance and even had a presence in Europe and Asia.
polish it if it would sell better?
can’t go back in time to change what has happened when they released the studio
tapes. We can only move forward and
re-record the songs as we put a few on the CD’s that we produce in the future.
Recording and Leo Kulka. We paid for the first four songs to be recorded and
put on a demo disk. Leo would then shop it around, get a major record label
interested, and get some upfront money to re-record those 4 songs and the
remaining album. What happened here is still a mystery to us. We were invited
back to record the remaining songs at Golden State Recording, but we were on
their dime and to our knowledge they were still demos. We were rushed in and
out, so there were mistakes and things we wanted to do over, but got the
promise that the songs will be done over.
surprised at how fast they wanted to move the recording sessions along with
very few re-takes, that is why, in our mind is was more of demo than a fine
polished end product.
each song from the LP.
Riding Home Again
see all of us riding through the beautiful countryside and forests in the
mountain territory that we lived in. We
were so lucky to have the opportunity to live in such a beautiful part of
and practice. I imagine he wrote this on one of his many trips back home to
Klamath Falls OR. We thought this would be the song that defined the album.
based on some of his personal experiences.
the uncertainty of the future of our world with wars like Viet Nam threatening
all of us.
up with an appropriate drum/percussion sound for.
intro. I love the harmonies that we put
in all of the songs.
it repeats to provide a break through out the song. I still sweat bullets each
time I play it.
tunes, it just seems to touch me.
attention of all the songs on the
by a California Highway Patrolman based in Chico, CA. Byron Boots was also a
Jazz Musician and wrote several songs for us to record. He said this was the
next direction for rock music. Our friends didn’t like it but the world did. We
tried to find him when we heard about the 1995 release but could not get
personal info from CA State, and were generally told he probably passed away
years ago. Would love to talk to him or his family so his ultimate success
could be celebrated. As a tribute to him, Larry and Stefan worked on “Susie’s
Back” and is recorded on our second CD.
Susie may make it on the 3rd CD also.
highway patrolman and jazz musician. He
had become a great fan of ours in Chico and when he found out we were going to
record an album he wanted us to present one of his tunes. Out of friendship we thought we would include
it, although it definitely wasn’t our style.
When we played in the studio the one producer went crazy over it and in
retrospect it is one of the tunes that has created a lot of the interest over
the past years. On our new CD we have
the sequel song, “Suzies Back”, that we wrote. We have not been able to find Byron or much
It’s a Wonder
of like the Buckingham’s song “Kind of a Drag”.
I enjoy listening to all of these songs today.
chord that Tony plays on the guitar that makes it sound like a grandfather
clock and it is a very moody type of song.
Another great original by Tony.
the sound of Big Ben denoting the tower bells ringing in this afternoon.
strong. We overdubbed the vocal tract
and even one of the producers of the album sand a part in the song.
Plus we got an extra voice on the recording when one of the producers jumped up
and put in his la la la’s. For me this was probably the most enjoyable song to
record in the studio.
tunes on the album with commercial value.
It had all the elements to be a top 40 hit if there was just some
promotion behind it.
would be the second song that defined us.
which was really creative.
Mend This Heart of Mine
relationship that went bad…it seems I had many of those through college and on
the road with music.
second CD also, with a organ intro that changed it up a bit.
By My Side
to do and the melody is really nice.
This is one of my favorite songs on the CD.
always think of Tony when we perform it. The last time was last Friday.
out? Did any of you stay on the music path?
performing and writing through the years.
I recorded a single when I was playing music in Santa Rosa, CA in the
70’s. It was getting local air play and
I thought things might be going my way.
I had a setback in 1980 when I went to sleep driving and hit a Redwood
tree with my pickup truck that almost ended my life. It set me back a few months but I was able to
recover and continue to play. That single
will appear on another CD in the future.
waiting for something to happen with the album, we got a long standing gig at a
local restaurant, bar in Chico. We played a few nights a week and then the
crowd started coming every night. This was the start of our lounge days.
Business was good and the bar owner was happy. Roger opted to finish his last
semester without the distraction of playing every night, and the routine did
not appeal to Tony, so they left us and Larry, Gene, and I added a B3 Hammond
organ player, and a male, and female lead singers to take the front. Gene
covered the lead guitar and we played the popular cover tunes of the day. We
did this for 4 continuous years and made a good living at it. The Original
Afterglow songs were put on the shelf, and we hoped one day we could dust them
off. However the economy tanked in 73 (oil embargo), and Disco with DJ”s were
taking the work, so we figured this was our final curtain call. It hurt to give
it up but we buried our desire and hopes, and went on to live “normal” lives.
Never got closure, that is why none of us ever talked about it to the new
friends we made and family that came after. All the new friends and family had
a hard time understanding that we had this previous life when the album
resurfaced and our story came out. I had one close friend say to me after
watching our movie, that now she understands who I am, obviously though I never
talked about it, I still carried it with me, it was a piece of me that was
missing all those 40 years.
much and after we graduated from college, Tony and Roger decided to leave the
band. Gene, Ron and myself added a
keyboard and lady front singer and transformed the band into a club group and
played clubs all over California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. After several year of this we finally called
it quits. Ron and I didn’t play again
until the group got back together a few years ago. Gene continued to play and sing throughout.
wish to share your memories of him?
Gene: As I
said, Tony was my mentor in music. He
never said much but when he did, it was always something worth listening to. I used to ride with him to some of our gigs
and we had some great times together. If
you listen to him on the video, you will see that he was a very deep in
thought, extremely talented as a writer and guitarist, and very kind in
spirit. I will always miss Tony and my
only regrets is that we lived too far away to see each other during the past 30
creative, and at times whimsical. We were fortunate to have heard him really
play the guitar. The Afterglow recording barley touches his talent, he could
stand on the stage with the best that we have today. Tony was a light that was
beginning to get brighter and was willing to share this light. But the
recording industry that we were touched by obviously had other motives that
drove them and they totally missed it. Instead the door was closed and eventually
the light faded and then it went out. I
feel cheated because of the music that could have been, the music we could have
in our collections today, songs that may be our favorites today. If you had met
Tony, you would know what I mean.
older than we were, He fondly called us
the “kids” and was always playing jokes on us.
I think he would sometimes try to drive us crazy by showing up at the
gigs at the very last moment, but he always delivered. He could come across as a pretty hard
customer, but, bottomline, was a softy inside.
He was definitely our spiritual leader and mentor and was definitely
ahead of his time in his song creations.
I feel very fortunate that I was able to more deeply connect with him in
the last couple of years before his
passing and I was at least gratified that he did see that his works were well
accepted world wide now.
Thank you very much for taking your
time. Would you like to send a message to It’s Psychedelic Baby readers?
keep the things you love in front of you at all times and never leave them
behind. Be sure to be thankful for the
things you have and not begrudge what you don’t have. Life is very short with one day being 21 and
recording your first music and then turn around and you’re 66. Life is all what you make of it, so keep
smiling and working for your dreams.
that we keep coming across and very appreciative for all the followers of our
story and music. Hope we get to meet
many of you in future concerts! Thank
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2013