It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine

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We The People interview


Hailing from Central Florida, an amalgamation of members of the area’s finest bands, We The People were united by Manager Ron Dillman, and proceeded to release a string of seven incredible singles between 1966 and 1968 on three labels.  Unfortunately, none of the singles hit big and by Halloween, 1970 the band was no more.  Recently, two members of the band, lead guitarist/bassist/vocalist Wayne Proctor and bassist/rhythm guitarist/vocalist David Duff, were gracious enough to share the story of the band with Kevin Rathert and John Fell for It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine readers.

Where did you grow up?  

Wayne:  I was born and raised in Leesburg, Florida.  Fifth generation Floridian. 

David:  Cleveland, Ohio.

What type of music did you grow up listening to? 

Wayne:   I grew up listening to gospel, and 40’s and 50’s country music.

David:  I grew up listening to Top 40 stations, 50s music.

Did any members of your family play instruments? 

Wayne:   In my youth, my mom played piano for our church, and she also played a little guitar (at home).  My uncles and aunts on my mom’s side of the family played piano and guitar, as well.  My grandpa was said to have been one of the “finest fiddle players” in Alabama and Tennessee, and played for barn dances and square dances back in his day. 

David:  My mother played piano and my sister played clarinet, piano and banjo.

When did you begin playing music? 

Wayne:  I think I was around 9 or 10 years old, and began on my mom’s old upright piano. Never was much good at it, but I plinked enough to pick out some tunes, and create my own sometimes. 

David:  I began piano lessons at about age 8 and guitar lessons at about age 12.

What was your first instrument? 

Wayne:  Like so many others, my first instrument was a “box” Silvertone guitar my dad bought for me from Sears Roebuck & Company.  My best remembrance was that it cost around $12. 

Who were your influences? 

Wayne:  My Uncle Wilbert Harbison was a great guitarist, and played like Chet Atkins.  I was amazed at his coolness and style, and wanted to play like him.  He was my idol, but I don’t think her knew it at the time. Later, Duane Eddy, the Ventures, and Link Wray were some that I strived to be like. 

David:  Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers.

What bands, if any, were you in prior to We The People?

Wayne:  After I learned to play, I started playing folk music with three or four older guys in my high school.  We weren’t a band, but we rode around town in one the guy’s parent’s station wagon, playing folk music.  Not long after that, I hooked up Ron Skinner and Frank Golden, two older guys in my school, and we formed The Vibrations.  We practiced a lot, but only played one gig and that was it!  Then, I met three great guys in a neighboring town (Eustis, Florida) by the names of Fred Soop, Mike Newman, and Terry Abel, and we formed a band called the Coachmen.  Not long after that, I joined forces with members of The Nation Rocking Shadows, and we became The Trademarks.  Later, two of us Trademarks (Randy Boyte and myself) joined with David Duff, Tommy Talton, and Tom Wynn to form We the People.

David:  My first band was the The Nonchalants, who later changed our name to The Offbeets before forming We The People.

How did you become involved in the band(s) and what type of music did you play? 

Wayne:  The Vibrations played Ventures stuff, The Coachmen played most everything, including old soul music, folk songs, and even James Brown.  The Trademarks followed the British Invasion music of the Beatles, Dave Clark Five, and so on. 

David:  My association with Tom Wynn (first drummer for We The People) started The Nonchalants and The Offbeets. 

Did you play covers or original songs? 

Wayne:  The only bands that played originals were The Trademarks and We the People.  We all played covers, as well, because that’s what the kids wanted to hear.  They wanted to dance, and most all of our gigs were dances in the beginnings, and later smaller concerts with the exception of larger We the People shows.

David:  We played covers, first instrumentals, like The Ventures, the first vocals were Everly Brothers songs.

Do you remember the first song you played in practice? 

Wayne:  Yes!  It was Walk Don’t Run by the Ventures!

What was the first song you wrote? 

Wayne:  Wish I could remember that, but I can’t…  

David:  The first songs I wrote were “She Lied” and “Proceed With Caution.”

When did you begin playing concerts and what band were you in at the time?  What kind of music was it and what instrument did you play?  When and where was the first gig you played?  What was the first song you played live and how was it received by the audience?

Wayne:  My first live gig was my first band called The Vibrations – all instrumental stuff like the Ventures and Link Wray & his Raymen.  I think it was around 1963, but we only played to public gigs. The first gig was in the Leesburg Community Building for a dance after one of my high school homecomings.  Keep in mind that there were no rock and rock bands in our area at the time, and the crowd loved us!  

 
David:  Never played concerts!  Played parties until we got into youth centers and school dances.  All our music was Top 40.  I played rhythm guitar and sang (a lot).  I do not remember the first gig with The Nonchalants or We The People.

Did any of the bands you were each part of play gigs together?   How did manager Ron Dillman come into the picture and what part did he play in uniting The Trademarks and The Offbeats into We The People? 

Wayne:  Sorry, but I’m not sure what you meant by the first question here…. But, Ron Dillman managed the Offbeets, and had heard the Trademarks play at the Orlando Youth Center.  After that, he came to Randy Boyte and I, and asked us to join with David Duff, Tommy Talton, and Tom Wynn of the Offbeets.  We decided upon a name I suggested, and we became “We the People” right then and there.  After our first practice session together, I think it was about two weeks later we recorded “My Brother the Man.”

David:  I do remember The Offbeets and The Trademarks playing side by side at fraternities at Stetson.  We’d go see each other playing during breaks-all this before Tommy Talton was in The Offbeets.  Ron Dillman was in the picture early on.  He managed many bands in Central Florida, including The Offbeets and We The People.

Who were the original members of We The People?  How did you decide on the band’s name?  

Wayne:  The original members were David Duff (bass & guitar), Tommy Talton (Bass and guitar), Tom Wynn (drums), Randy Boyte (Hammond organ & electric piano), and myself (bass & guitar).  After a few gigs, Dillman decided we needed a more flamboyant drummer, and Lee Ferguson replaced Tom.  Lee was a good, crazy as hell rock and roll drummer, but he didn’t have the precision of Tom Wynn. As mentioned above at our first meeting and practice session, Dillman asked us to think of a good name for the band.  Everyone was throwing up their ideas, and I was just sitting there listening.  We all went into the office of Randy’s dad’s business called Jungle Auto & Truck Parts (which became our home base for practice sessions), and on the wall was a big American Flag.  If I remember correctly, there was also a large poster of the Declaration of Independence, as well.  As I stared at the wall for a few minutes, the words just came out of me – “We, the People,” and Dillman went nuts over it.  So, right then and there the name was harkened. 

David:  The original band members were Wayne Proctor from Leesburg, Randy Boyte from Leesburg, Tommy Talton from Winter Park, Tom Wynn from Maitland and David Duff from Maitland.  The name came about at our first rehearsal at Orlando Youth Center.  Wayne Proctor came up with “We The People.”

Did We The People play live before going into the studio?  If so, where did you play?  What was the first tune WTP played live?  How was it received? 

Wayne:  I honestly can’t remember if we played live or not, but I think we played at either the Orlando Youth Center or the Winter Park Youth Center.  Each was in the Orlando area.  I can’t remember our first song live, but it probably would have been a cover by the Young Rascals, or perhaps a Beatle tune.  We loved all of those guys, and really wanted to be like them.  I do remember the crowd cheering us on, however.  Remember, good bands at that time, were hard to come by, and the kids were starving for live music, and especially band members with long hair.

David:  We The People had one rehearsal and we were in the studio (Criteria in Miami) before we ever played anywhere.  I don’t remember our first gig at all. 

When and where was your first recording session?  Who played on this session?  What was the first song recorded?  Who wrote the songs that were recorded and why were they selected? 

Wayne:  My personal first recording session was at a very tiny studio in Jacksonville, Florida in 1965, called “Don’t Say You Love Me, too.”  It was selected because no once else in the band could write but me.

David:  The first We The People recording session was the original five man band with Tom Wynn drumming, Talton on bass, Wayne on lead guitar, and myself on rhythm guitar.  The first song we recorded was “My Brother The Man” written by Wayne, with my song “Proceed With Caution” on the B-side.

 
What was the band’s songwriting process?  Who were the most prolific writers and who were their influences?  Did the songwriter usually sing his own compositions?

Wayne:  Good question!  Tommy and I were basically the writers, but our styles were very different. In all fairness, we tried to find our niche with our audiences, and recorded many different styles.  However, we didn’t always sing our own songs.  We let the band members decide who sounded best for each song.  Fortunately for me, Tommy sang my song, “St. John’s Shop,” and our keyboard man, Randy Boyte sang several of Tommy’s songs.  David sang some of mine, too.  I think we were an eclectic band for our times, because we even switched instruments in the studio and on stage.  Few bands went that far back in those days.  I remember folks telling us that when they were outside during one of our shows, the sounds from song to song changed so much it sounded like several different bands playing that night.  I feel proud to know we came across that way.  Never liked being “pigeon-holed.” 
 

David:  Wayne wrote his songs, Tommy wrote his songs and mostly sang their own stuff. Sometimes Randy or myself would sing certain songs.  I should have written more songs, but I didn’t (my mistake!).

”My Brother The Man” and “Proceed With Caution” was your first single.  When was it released? 

Wayne:  Our manager, Ron Dillman, created our own record label called Hotline Records.  Ron was responsible for the marketing of it, but we visited every radio station in every town we played in, and asked them to play our records.  Ron contacted all the local record stores in those areas, too, and told them the DJ’s were playing it on the radio, and it was going to be a hit!  Ron had a knack in salesmanship…  

David:  Our first record “My Brother The Man” c/w “Proceed With Caution” was on Hotline Records, our own label.  We got a box of records, 500, I think.  That’s all that were pressed.

How were these songs selected and what label was the single released on?    How were sales?  Did it receive any radio airplay? 

Wayne:  I’m not really sure about the amount of sales, because band members really didn’t care at the time.  We just wanted to play and be famous!    I do know we received a lot of airplay, especially on Florida radio stations.  We owe much to WLOF and “The Weird Beard” (Bill Vermillion) in Orlando.  He was the Wolfman Jack of Central Florida, and he pushed our recordings and told the world how much he liked us.  We were always high on his charts at WLOF, and another local station called WHOO. 

David:  There were some records for sale in the local area music shops.  I don’t remember exactly when “My Brother The Man” was released.

Your next three singles were released on the Challenge Records.  Why the change in  labels and what was your relationship with Challenge?  Who were some of your label mates?  What sort of support did the label offer you?  Did the lineup of the band change during this period? 

Wayne:  I’m not that checked out on this part of our career, because left most of it up to Dillman.  Long story short, however, when we went to Nashville, TN, to find a label, we met Tony Moon who worked for Barmour Music.  Tony was an well-known and awesome musician who came from California (He had a hit record called “Alley Oop” with his band called Dante & the Evergreens http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante_%26_the_Evergreens.  Tony became our producer, and found Challenge Records for us.  Challenge Records was founded in Los Angeles in 1957 by cowboy singer Gene Autry and former Columbia Records A&R representative Joe Johnson.  Check out this Wikipedia info:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challenge_Records_%281950s%29.  When we were with Challenge Records, the lineup of the band hadn’t changed.

David:  Challenge Records came along as a result of our hook up with Tony Moon in Nashville.  He became our producer.  I don’t believe Challenge did much for us as far as promotion.  We The People never did get much promotion.  Maybe things would have turned out a little better if we had!?!

The first single on the new label was “Mirror Of Your Mind” the title track of the 1998 We The People compilation released on Sundazed Records.  Who wrote the song and what inspired it?  Did the change to the Challenge label increase sales or airplay of the single? 

Wayne:  “Mirror of Your Mind” was a Tommy Talton song, and he sang it as well.  I played lead guitar on the record.  I don’t know Tommy’s inspiration, but it was wild and we loved to play it!  Sorry, but I don’t know anything about the increase in sales, but I do know Sundazed was instrumental in making us into a world-wide name.  For that I am eternally grateful. 

David:  Tommy Talton wrote “Mirror Of Your Mind.”  I think we recorded it in a little studio in Tampa.  I don’t remember Challenge doing any sales promotion at all.

The next single coupled two Tommy Talton compositions, “He Doesn’t Go About It Right” and “You Burn Me Up And Down.”  Who decided that the former would be the A-side?  How did the B-side come to be included on the 1998 “Nuggets” cd box set?  How did it feel to be included on such a prestigious collection? 

Wayne:  As I said earlier, we tried about every angle in music to find something that would give us airplay, including the wacky “He Doesn’t Go About it Right.” From what I remember, it was Tony Moon who made the decision to make it the A-side.  Tony, having had a hit with “Alley Oop,” thought it was a good idea.  Regarding the 1998 Nuggets CD box set, I don’t know how it got there, but needless to say I was ecstatic to learn the news!

David:  Tommy’s songs were recorded in Nashville @R.C.R.Studios, our first session there.

 
The follow up single was composed of two Wayne Proctor originals, “In The Past” and “St. John’s Shop.”  Do you have any idea why radio stations decided to flip the record over and play “St. John’s Shop?”  Do you think this affected record sales and radio airplay?

Wayne:  Unfortunately, I don’t know why they decided “St. John’s Shop” was the better choice, but I think it may have been due to the British invasion in America.  “St. John’s Shop” had a distinctly English sound, so I think they thought it would catch on first.  “In the Past” was a little weird for the DJ’s and promoters to understand at the time, because the Indian Sitar movement was just beginning, thanks to the Beatles.  Not sure the American radio stations had quite grasped the importance of how such instruments would affect the psychedelic era which was coming on strong about then…

David:  I believe Wayne’s songs were recorded at a studio called “The Barn” just outside Nashville.  At the time it was owned by Burl Ives!  Back in those days we band members didn’t have much say in which songs were put on records, or not.

 
What was the inspiration for the Eastern-sounding “In The Past?”  Listeners have assumed that a sitar was used in this recording.  Can you tell our readers what instrument was actually used, how the instrument was acquired and who constructed it?  Would you describe the instrument and the sound that it generated?  Who played the instrument and how difficult was it to play?

Wayne:  Wow…. This is a complicated question, and a long story.  But, in short, here goes…  I had a high school friend in Leesburg, Florida in the mid-60’s, and another friend and I were visiting him one summer afternoon.  I was 18 years old, and my friend who sold me the instrument was probably around 15 or so.  He took us into his attic where I saw an eight-stringed instrument in the attic corner, I offered to buy it from him.  Fortunately, he sold it to me for a small amount.  The instrument was similar to a mandolin, but larger, and apparently had been built by my friend’s grandfather.  I was told only 50 had been made.  At the time I knew nothing about it, but later heard it was called a “Regal Octofone.”  Check out this website I found about another one just like mine:  http://www.mandolincafe.com
I couldn’t find mandolin strings to fit it, however, so I had to buy two sets of four-string banjo strings to make it work.  It was an acoustic instrument, and someone had cut a large hole between the neck fingerboard/fret area and the bridge.  Later, I found an acoustic guitar pickup to fit the hole, and it was a Kent WC-18, with a volume and a tone control.  I found a cord that converted the small-hole on the  pickup into a regular guitar jack, and plugged it into a Fender Bandmaster amp head, and ran it through a Fender Reverb unit and a large homemade speaker cabinet with two 15” Jensen speakers.  After I tuned it like a guitar (first four strings of a guitar) and cranked it up through the Jensen speakers, it was no less than bewildering and amazing – and, awesome in my opinion.  Not long after that, I wrote two songs especially for the “Octachord” as I called it, one being “In the Past,” and the other, “Half of Wednesday.”  When I took the instrument to practice with the band one night, and plugged it in for the other guys and for our manager, I remember them staring at it with jaws dropped.  The decision was made then and there that we would record “In the Past.”  “Half of Wednesday” was recorded but never released until Sundazed somehow got the master demos and released it on the 2 CD set, “Mirror of Our Minds.”  (I think that was the way it happened!).  That’s the short story…. 
 
David:  Wayne played an “octachord” that he found in an attic somewhere.  It was similar to a mandolin.  Check with Wayne on the details of the “octachord.”

 
”In The Past” is closely associated with The Chocolate Watchband, and wrongly assumed that members of that band composed it.  When did you become aware of them covering the song?  Has the track generated royalties of any substantial amount?  What were some of the venues that We The People played?  Did the size of the venues increase as a result of songs such as “You Burn Me Up And Down” and “In The Past?”  What were the largest audiences you played in front of?

Wayne:  I think it was around 1968, and after I had quit We the People, when our producer, Tony Moon, mailed a copy of the Watchband’s LP called the “Inner Mystic Chocolate Watchband.”  I thought it was really cool that someone else had recorded my song, and naturally I was extremely happy, although their version was somewhat calmer than ours.  But, I understand it was their attempt to be a psychedelic band, which was really beginning to take hold about that time.  Regarding royalties, I can only say it’s been a joke.  Very, very little royalties have been received from my songs or the band’s recordings.  I was a teenager at the time, and I have no idea what I may have signed over to those record companies and publishers.  As usual, bands like us got the raw deal.  But, I’m told that’s just the way it was.  Even today, with as many recordings and airplay we get all over the world, we are left out.  Regarding the largest crowd I remember, it seems like around 2,000-3,000, but I have been told it may have been much larger. 

David:  I never knew anyone covered any “We The People” songs until the mid-2000s.  I was completely out of music for over thirty years.  We played mostly Central and Mid-Florida venues.  Our largest crowds were at The Orlando Youth Center, about 2000 people.  I think our largest crowd was a “Toys For Tots” concert in Louisville, Ky., 40,000, give or take, in attendance, so we heard.

Who were some of the bands We The People shared the stage with?  Did you tour outside of Florida?  How far did the band’s following extend beyond the Orlando area?

Wayne:  When I was with the band, I can only recall a few folks we played with, such as Tommy Roe (earlier with The Roemans), the Dovell’s (“You Can’t Sit Down & The Bristol Stomp), and Ray Stevens in Nashville.  I think we played with other big artists, too, but my memory fails me.  After I left the band, however, the guys went on to play some pretty large gigs with even more famous people.  We the People traveled all over the southeastern U.S. 

”In The Past” was We The People’s last 45 on the Challenge label and also the last to feature Wayne Proctor as a member of the band.  Why did Wayne leave the band?

Wayne:  By that time, I had become 1-A on the army’s list, and was sure to be drafted.  I knew I had to do something if I didn’t want to go to Vietnam, so I quit the band and enrolled in college.  College students were exempt from the draft then, and staying alive meant a lot to me than the band.  But, at the same time, I was beginning to get tired of trying to “make it” in the biz, and was getting burned-out from being on the road so much.  Another issue I had was my relationship with our manager.  We didn’t get along well at all. After I went to college for a while, my grades weren’t exactly up to par, so I decided to enlist in the Navy.  In the induction process, they found I had an issue with my back and decided they didn’t want me in the service – NONE of them wanted me, because they were afraid if I got hurt they would have to pay my medical bills for the rest of my life, so they rejected me and I became 4-F.  The band had moved on by that time, but I just feel fortunate to have been a part of them when I was.  They recorded a few songs I remember practicing with them, but they had new members by then. 

We The People signed with RCA Records and released a single composed of Tommy’s “Fluorescent Hearts” paired with “Follow Me Back To Louisville” written by someone named W. Davidson. Who was W. Davidson and why was his song released as the A-side of WTP’s RCA debut?  How did the band feel about recording “Follow Me?”

Wayne:  This is a question you’ll have to ask David about, because I was no longer with the band at that time.
 
David:  We were a four piece group when we got with RCA.  Bill Davidson was a “fill in” drummer on this session.  He had written “Follow Me Back” and we learned it in the studio and recorded it all within about an hour.

 
Around this time long time drummer Lee Ferguson departed the band, replaced by Terry Cox.  Why the change of drummers?  What was the band’s lineup at this time?

Wayne:  More questions for David.

David:  Lee Ferguson was in a bad auto accident, spent weeks in a hospital (nearly died).  We had to find a drummer quick!  Terry Cox was available and filled in for Lee very well.

The biggest crowd We The People ever played for was at a Marine’s Toys For Tots Christmas show in Louisville, KY.  Would you tell our readers the circumstances surrounding the gig?  Who were some of the other bands involved with the event?  Was it pure coincidence that this concert coincided with the release of “Follow Me Back To Louisville?”  Did this help sales of the singe? 

Wayne:  I remember playing a HUGE concert in Kentucky, but unfortunately I don’t remember which one it was.  Maybe David can answer this….

David:  The Toys For Tots concert was in December.  We just happened to be in Nashville at the time.  Our record was on the charts in Louisville at the time.  The concert included The Buckinghams, The Royal Guardsmen, The Lemon Pipers and numerous local groups from the area.

The second RCA single paired a cover of The Rascals’ “Love Is A Beautiful Thing” with Tommy Talton’s “The Day She Dies,” a gentle country influenced ballad.  Why was The Rascals’ tune picked as an A-side release?  The B-side was quite a departure from the Proctor era recordings.  Was this intended as a change in musical direction for We The People? 

Wayne:  When I was with the band, we LOVED any Young Rascal stuff, and we played many of their songs, including “Love Is A Beautiful Thing.”  In my opinion, in our minds, we WERE the Young Rascals, and we played their songs as well or better than the Rascals themselves!  Later, after I left the band, they recorded it.  David or would be best to answer these questions…

David:  We The People tried many various styles of music on our various recordings, searching for a sound that would maybe get us a “hit” record.  We never did find that magic combo of sound and lyrics to make it happen.  We never knew why one song was chosen over another.

The third and final RCA single combined a horn-driven, soulful David Duff original “Ain’t Gonna Find Nobody (Better Than You) with “When I Arrive” a punk flavored Talton tune.  Wayne Proctor has said that the Duff penned A-side is his all time favorite WTP tune.  What was the inspiration for the song?  How were sales and radio airplay of the single?  Was the stark difference between the A- and B-sides a sign of the band searching for direction, or more a reflection of the band’s versatility?

Wayne:  I DEFINITELY love that song more than any other WTP song!  It has soul, and that’s what we played best – soul music.  David Duff was a great songwriter, but never got the credit he deserved….

David:  I waited way too long to start writing songs for the band.  I didn’t feel we needed any more material with Talton and Proctor writing so many songs.  I should have thrown in my songs much earlier in the progression of the band (my mistake).

There were to be no further releases by We The People.  To what do you attribute the band’s lack of support from RCA?  Did the band receive offers from any other labels? 

Wayne:  Another Duff question….

David:  We never thought any of the labels that did our records pushed the group hard enough.  Guess there was not enough interest in the group.  Too bad!

With Wayne leaving in 1967, followed by Talton in 1968, the band lost its two primary songwriters.  David Duff had penned “Ain’t Gonna Find Nobody” and “Proceed With Caution,” two fine tunes.  Did you attempt to fill the void with other compositions, David? 

Wayne:  Actually, “Proceed With Caution” was the flip side of “My Brother, the Man.”  I played bass on that recording (“Proceed With Caution”)….

David:  After Wayne and Tommy were gone, Randy and I knew the band’s best days were over.  We tried three other guitar players after Tommy left.  First was Mike Carns from the Cocoa Beach area, 1968-69, then came Carl Chambers, 1969-70.  Carl later worked with The Bellamy Brothers and wrote a No. 1 song for Alabama.  Last was a guy named Skip Skinner who played here locally in Orlando.  Skip played with us until the band broke up in 1970.

During the lifespan of We The People, did any of you write songs that were recorded or performed by other artists? 

Wayne:  I’m not sure about the other guys, but a few of my songs have been recorded by other artists including the Chocolate Watch Band (In the Past), Patty Drew (Baby I Just Don't Feel It ){R&B singer} , the Lemonade Charade (The Yellow Brick Road), Delphine (In the Past), and Tom et Jerry (Pleure).  There are others, but just can’t think of them at the moment.  Many bands have videos/recordings on Youtube, as well.

Were any recordings done after his (Tommy’s) departure?  Are there any unreleased We The People songs remaining in the vaults? 

Wayne:  I don’t know of any WTP songs unreleased.

David:  After our last session at RCA with Talton there were no more recordings for We The People.

Would each of you share your most memorable moment as a member of We The People?  What is your favorite We The People song?

Wayne:  My favorite WTP song when I was with the band would probably be “Love Wears Black.”  That song was originally called “None,” but the record company thought the title too risqué.  It was about a guy who fell in love with a nun.  After I left the band, my favorite is definitely “Ain’t Gonna Find Nobody.”  Regarding my most memorable moment was definitely when we recorded in the famous, old Bradley’s Barn recording studio outside of Nashville, TN.  Can’t remember all the songs we recorded there other than “Love Wears Black,” because that night was such an emotional experience.  The original caught fire and burned down a number of years ago, but that studio was awesome….

David:  I have no particular “favorite” moment.  I totally enjoy the whole deal.  What a great run we had!!

With two very talented lead guitarists, Wayne and Tommy, how was it determined who would play lead on any particular track?  Further, with three excellent vocalists, Wayne, Tommy and David, how was it decided who sang each song?

Wayne:  Regarding our vocalists, you have to add Randy Boyte who was one of the strongest, along with Tommy and David.  My voice wasn’t as strong during live performances, so I didn’t sing that much other than harmonies.  --- We were a very patient, easy-going, and understanding bunch of guys, and we usually just let the one who wrote the song tell us who they wanted to play lead, bass, or rhythm guitars.  Sometimes, and when we did cover songs, it was usually understood among all of us who best fit the mold for lead guitar work.  I don’t recall any competition between Tommy and I regarding our lead work. We both had totally different styles, and we understand that.  We never competed against each other.

David:  At the start of the band, Wayne was the designated lead player and Tommy played bass.  We played most songs with that arrangement.  Every once in a while Tommy and Wayne would switch and we would play a few songs with Wayne on bass.  Made things more interesting.  Singing was decided by who sounded the most like the cover song we were doing.  I’d like to throw in a word for Randy Boyte.  He was an excellent lead singer and one of the best keyboard players I ever heard.  I think Randy was the foundation of We The People.

With seven singles released between 1966 and 1968, many other fine performances such as “Declaration of Independence” and “Alfred What Kind Of Man Are You” remained in the vaults.  Was any attempt made to release these tracks during the band’s original tenure? 

Wayne:  To my knowledge, no one attempted to release either of the two songs.   We were recorded “rapid-fire” during that time, and the record company would only release one 45 at a time, so the songs not felt to be as “commercial” were left behind until Sundazed showed them to the world.  I am indeed thankful for that….  

David:  In a word-No!

In 1983 the French bootleg label, Eva, released the 14 track LP “Declaration of Independence,” yet it was another ten years before a legitimate reissue appeared in the form of an album of the same name on the Collectibles label.  Why the long time gap?  Did any other labels attempt to release We The People compilations?

Wayne:  I wish I knew the answers to these questions, but unfortunately I don’t know why it took so long, or if any other labels tried to release WTP songs.  I didn’t even know about the Eva LP until I received a copy in the mail back in ’83, and I have no idea who sent it to me! 

David:  I don’t know about other releases.  In 1966 or 1967 we had an EP (4 songs) out in Europe.  We got air play in France and Britain (so I heard).

When contacted regarding this interview, both of you were on board within 24 hours.  Being more than 40 years after the dissolution of the band, to what do you attribute the ongoing friendship? 

Wayne:  Respect.  We respect each other as people, and for our individual talents.  As any teenage band, we had a few differences of opinions by in the 60’s, but we always looked out for the best interests of the band.  We never had any serious ‘fights” that most bands had among themselves, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have remained friends with David Duff, and Tommy Talton.  I KNOW these guys, and I know what great musicians and people they are.  I am totally honored to call them my friends….

David:  There were never any hard feelings with the break up of the band.  Everyone in the band got along and were friends (for years).

I know our readers would appreciate knowing what kind of equipment each of you used while in We The People.  Wayne, what kind of guitars, basses, effects and amplifiers did you use?  David, the same question if you would please? 

Wayne:  My guitar of choice was an original late 50’s/early 60’s Gretsch Country Gentleman, which I originally played through a Fender Tremolux 210 amplifier, a Fender Reverb unit, and a “Fuzztone” foot pedal.  However, not long after my Tremolux, to which I blew the speakers, Randy Boyte’s dad build a large, tall homemade speaker cabinet with two 15” Jensen Speakers.  I added a Fender Bandmaster head to that, and my amplifier of choice started producing an explosive sound that was easily heard in the adjoining neighborhood and police department!  The only other instrument I played was the eight-string “Octachord” for “In the Past” and “Half of Wednesday.”

David:  I started with a Gibson ES350 guitar.  Played rhythm through a Fender Bandmaster amp.  After Wayne left the band I switched to bass.  I played a Hofner single cut-away bass through a Standell bass amp (both owned by Tommy Talton).

1998 saw the incredible 2 cd, 40 track compilation “Mirror Of Our Minds” which includes the complete recordings of We The People, as well as songs by bands you guys were in prior to the formation of WTP.  How did this project come to life?  How involved was the band in this reissue? 

Wayne:  I received a call from Tim Livingston, a very polite gentleman who worked with Bob Irwin for Sundazed Records in New York, and he told me of their plans to release 20 songs we did back in the 60’s, and wanted our permission to do it.  At that time, I had lost track of David Duff, Randy Boyte, Tommy Talton, and Lee Ferguson, and didn’t know how to reach them.  I knew it was a once in lifetime chance, so I stood up and agreed for all of them!

David:  I never knew anything about the CD.  Came as a complete surprise.  I wish someone had done an LP album while the band was still together. 

Is there anything we have failed to address in this interview that any of you would like to mention? 

Wayne:  I have attached a few web sites from a couple interesting sites at the end of this paper that you may find interesting, as well.

 
Thanks for sharing those links Wayne.  John and I both want to thank you both so very much for sharing your first hand recollections and experiences as members of one of our favorite bands, We The People!  It is for good reason your recordings are held in such high esteem!  It is still baffling how you could release seven such memorable singles and never once strike paydirt?

We The People music currently in print:  where to check it out and purchase it.  All come highly recommended!  First, many thanks to Bob Irwin and Sundazed Records for their incredible, exhaustive, 40 track, 2 cd set “Mirror Of Your Mind” which compiles We The People and precursor band (The Offbeets, The Nonchalants, The Trademarks) recordings.  The package is further enhanced by a hefty, informative booklet, filled with track annotations, an informative essay and incredible sound.  It is truly the final word when it comes to We The People’s recorded legacy.  Sundazed has also a 14 track album, “Too Much Noise” (available on LP or CD) compiled to represent the We The People album that should have been released in the 1960s!  Three cheers for Sundazed!!!  Check these releases out here:

 
Also available is an interesting 1993 14 track compilation CD “Declaration of Independence” on the Collectable label.  While not as exhaustive as “Mirror Of Your Mind” this is a fine representation of the band as well.  Follow this link to purchase the CD from Amazon.com:

We The People were:
•             Randy Boyte – Hammond B3 Organ/Electric Piano (1966–1970)
•             David Duff – Bass/Rhythm  (1966–1970)
•             Tommy Talton – Guitar/Bass/Rhythm  (1966–1968)
•             Wayne Proctor - Lead Guitar/Rhythm/Bass  (1966–1967)
•             Tom Wynn - Drums (1966)
•             Lee Ferguson - Drums (1966–1967)
•             Terry Cox - Drums (1967–1970)
•             Carl Chambers - Guitar (1968–1969)
•             Skip Skinner - Guitar (1969–1970)

 
We The People Discography:
Singles
•             "My Brother, the Man"/"Proceed with Caution" (Hotline 3680) 1966
•             "Mirror of Your Mind"/"The Color of Love" (Challenge 59333) 1966
•             "He Doesn't Go About It Right"/"You Burn Me Up and Down" (Challenge 59340) 1966
•             "In The Past"/"St. John's Shop" (Challenge 59351) 1966
•             "Follow Me Back to Louisville"/"Fluorescent Hearts" (RCA Victor 47-9292) 1967
•             "Love Is a Beautiful Thing"/"The Day She Dies" (RCA Victor 47-9393) 1967
•             "Ain't Gonna Find Nobody (Better Than You)"/"When I Arrive" (RCA Victor 47-9498) 1968
Check out the reviews on this Amazon.com page.  WOW!  This stuff never ceases to amaze me….  http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Our-Minds-We-People/dp/B000007ON3


 
Thank you, Kevin!  I hope this helps!!!  Thank you, Wayne!  Cheers!!!
 
Interview made by Kevin Rathert & John Fell/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I grew up listening to We the People on WLOF. My Brother The Man and St. John's Shop got a lot of airplay in Orlando. I was a few years younger than the band's members, and didn't see them live until after Wayne and Tommy had left. I saw them after Carl took over lead guitar position and the band changed it's name to One Is. This late in the game, the band still won the local battle of the bands over runner-up The Outlaws from Tampa.

Morgan Young said...

Great job, Thanks!

Morgan
http://ontheflip-side.blogspot.com/