Monday, February 3, 2014

Thee

Band members from left to right:

Ruben Resendez - Bass
Bruno Lozano - Rhythm Guitar
Reginaldo Gonzalez - Lead Guitar
Juan Jimenez - Singer
Juan Raul Rodriguez - Organ
Eddie Garza - Drums



Sporting one of the most unorthodox 60's rock band names, Thee originated from the mid sized border town of Del Rio.
Despite the local population being largely hispanic, segregation was common during those days. The town had at one time been racially separated as one side being San Felipe and the other being Del Rio. Three members of Thee were from either side. Despite this separation, the group were able to bring both sides of the town together at their dances.
Last year while visiting with a friend, I was able to sit down with original bass player Ruben Resendez.
Ruben had moved from California to Del Rio, TX in 1961. A few years after moving to town, Ruben began learning to play guitar from his next door neighbor's brother, an older kid named Raul who played in several bands. His lessons came to the test when his first band- The Extremes, got asked to play a youth center dance in 1965. Ruben was 12 years old at the time. This project only lasted about a year, and in 1966 Juan Jimenez and Juan Raul Rodriguez left their band to join Ruben's group. They decided to change their name at this point and wanting something British sounding, so they choose the stark and unusual name: Thee.
Soon the band was playing local sock hops and church functions, and began to tour regionally in places like Uvalde, Brackettville, San Angelo, Eagle Pass, San Antonio, San Marcos, and as far as Sul Ross University in Alpine. The group even played across the border in Mexico at the infamous Boys Town a few times.
One of the other popular teen bands in Del Rio was a band called The Chocolate Grapevine, which featured Ferdy Calderon, local celebrity Blondie Calderon's younger brother. Blondie went on to be Ray Price's vibraphone (and later on piano) player from 1967 on.
Thee's drummer at the time, Lupe Lomas eventually left the group and joined Chocolate Grapevine, and their drummer Eddie Garza joined Thee.
One night in early 1969 while opening for one hit wonders Crazy Elephant at the Del Rio civic center, the band caught the attention of local KLDK DJ and concert promoter Lamar McDaris aka James D.
Lamar began managing the group and brought them into the radio station one day to make a quick demo of an original song they had written. "Time With Her" began being played on the air and started receiving a good amount of attention, so McDaris sent the boys out to Texas Sound Studio up a ways north in San Antonio to record their hot new original song plus a cover version of the Bee Gee's "To Love Somebody". The band chose the controversial label name of Pot Records for the 45 label, a name which Lamar would continue to use for several other records he released down the line.




"Time With Her"

"To Love Somebody"


The single was a local hit and according to Ruben, sold about 4 or 500 copies.
The band was only briefly able to enjoy the momentum from their first record however, as the members began to graduate from high school and either move away or take serious jobs. Thee was no longer by the summer of 1970.

Ruben continued playing in bands from that point on, playing in a long running group called Crossroads, who played mostly tejano and country music. He focuses predominantly on christian music these days.

Many thanks to Ruben Resendez, Ray Gutierrez, and Billy & Bob McDaris for their time. It truly is much appreciated!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry we didn't get to hear the Bee Gees cover last night. Really enjoyed listening to the tunes you brought. You really need to check opportunities at KOOP. Would love to hear you do a show. Station meeting is always 1st Monday of month at Vortex Theater (2307 Manor Rd). More about volunteering on the web site.

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