Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Unexpected Party

I recently came across an obscure late 60's rock single by a group from Kerrville, TX. I don't often seen records from that area, so I HAD to know more. To boot, the record was pretty good... I located original organist John Thomason, and here is what he and David Crosswell had to say about the group:

"The band was short-lived, only about one school year 1968-69. John Thomason was a math teacher at Schreiner Institute (now Schreiner University) in Kerrville. There were some students there who wanted to play some rock and roll, but it was too loud for the dorm and the music department didn't have space for or interest in accommodating them. However, there was a vacant building on campus, the old infirmary, and the students asked the administration about using it as a rehearsal hall. The administration said okay, on one condition. They had to have a faculty sponsor who would unlock and lock the building and be present while the students used it. That's how Thomason got involved. He occasionally played piano or directed musical events around campus, so the students knew he might be interested. And, conveniently, he actually lived on campus, pretty much across the street from the vacant building. Besides, he always wanted to be in band and so … a band was formed.

The name of the band came from "An Unexpected Party," the title of the first chapter of "The Hobbit," a popular book among students at the time. Of course, the band intended a clever play on the words thinking they would be the impetus for some spontaneous parties. The personnel in the band were David Crosswell, guitar and lead vocals; Tom Daniels, bass and background vocals; Jack Horner, lead vocals and harmonica; Tom Ostendorf, drums; and John Thomason, organ and background vocals. They played mainly for dances on campus, at the local high school, and at a local "teen canteen." They also managed to play a couple of times in San Antonio--once at a club called the Pink Pussycat and once for a Trinity University frat party. They were strictly a cover band and the songs they played tended to be favorites of the band members, probably songs they already knew. They did songs by Iron Butterfly, The Beatles, The Grass Roots, The Band, and Steppenwolf, to name a few.

They decided to try their hand at producing a 45 and booked an hour at Texas Sound Studios in San Antonio. The songs they recorded were covers of Steve Miller Band's "Living in the USA" with Jack Horner singing lead and John Mayall's "Broken Wings" with David Crosswell singing lead. They had 200 copies pressed and sold them around campus and at dances where they played. Bill "Wink" Stacy was then a DJ at the local radio station KERV reported that their recording of "Broken Wings" was more requested than even songs by the Beatles were.

The school year ended and the band members went their separate ways. Tom Daniels has since passed away. Crosswell and Thomason are still in touch, but the fates of Horner and Ostendorf are unknown. Like most unexpected parties, this one was fun, but short-lived."

"Living In The USA"
 "Broken Wings"

Many thanks to John Thomason and David Crosswell...