Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Gary Quackenbush - Guitarist For 60's Psychedelic Band SRC Out Of Detroit, Michigan

Gary Quackenbush came to rock fame as guitarist for the SRC, one of the biggest bands to come out of Detroit's rock scene in the '60s. He was born in New Jersey, the son of Mary and Eugene Quackenbush. The family moved around a lot because his father was in the military, but once they settled in Birmingham in 1956, the moving ended. 

Gary and older brother Glenn became known around Birmingham with first the Tremelos, playing instrumental Ventures-style music.

"I was kind of a nerdy kid," said Glenn, 17 months older than Gary. "I asked my parents for classical piano lessons when I was in the fourth grade. They wanted Gary to play an instrument, too, so he chose the guitar because he liked Elvis. Well, he corrupted me with rock and roll. I bought a Wurlitzer electric piano, and we used to play in our family room and out on the back porch."

The Tremelos morphed into the Fugitives, one of the north suburbs' more popular bands on the school and teen-club circuit. They often played the various Hideout clubs, co-founded by Edward "Punch" Andrews, better known today as Bob Seger's manager. Gary Quackenbush graduated from Birmingham Seaholm in 1966.

The Fugitives "became" the Scot Richard Case (SRC) by taking part of the Fugitives, incorporated Richardson, guitarist Steve Lyman and bassist Robin Dale, and named themselves the Scot Richard Case. Manager Jeep Holland had suggested that three-word group names were big with British groups.

And the band was heavily influenced by the British groups, with Gary Quackenbush enamored of guitarists Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. The Scot Richard Case, and later in their SRC days, had a progressive/psychedelic sound that was unique in the local scene. One of their best-known numbers was a sort of psychedelic mashup, "In the Hall of the Mountain King/Bolero."

By 1967-'68, the Detroit-Ann Arbor rock scene was exploding. Record companies had been signing San Francisco rock bands and were looking for the next big thing."We had a single that came out that was on WKNR, 'I'm So Glad,' in '67, right about the time of the riots," Glenn Quackenbush said. "Then we changed our name to SRC and signed to Capitol Records."

"They thought Detroit was it, so they really signed up everybody, The MC5, the Amboy Dukes," Glenn said. "It was an exiting time; there were lots of places to play, lots of teen clubs, so the bands could make some money. That all changed later on after the Grande closed."

The SRC recorded three albums for Capitol and played as an opening act on many national tours. They remained popular abroad, and reportedly, Peter Gabriel has cited their album, "SRC," as influential. 

Later the group splintered, and the 
s stayed in Michigan, while Richardson moved to California. After the Grande Ballroom closed, the scene shifted to bars. Over the years there were fewer places to play, and few national acts were booking local openers. 

In recent years, Gary supported himself working for an electronics distributor as a sales representative, working in a wedding band with brother Glenn and a female singer; and giving guitar lessons.

"It wasn't playing SRC music, which is really what he wanted to do," Glenn recalled, although Gary formed a band to play SRC music.

Members of the original SRC did regroup for reunion shows in Detroit in 2011 and 2012, which was a happy occasion for Quackenbush, fans and the band.

Younger sister Martha Leabu said it was fun growing up with "two rock and roll older brothers," although she worried about them during the '60s, when they were living in Ann Arbor. "I was 6 and 7 years younger, so I was not part of their scene. They were renegade rock and rollers. My dad didn't want to take them to the country club."

She did benefit from it: "(SRC) did play for my 16th birthday at the Birmingham Palladium, that was fun."

Gary Quackenbush is survived by brother, Glenn, of New Hudson; sister, Martha Leabu, of Brighton; and 10 nieces and nephews.

Gary Quackenbush died June 20, 2017, after a yearlong bout with pulmonary fibrosis. Quackenbush was 67 and lived in Tecumseh, Mich., where he was under hospice care.

Source: Susan Whitall, The Detroit News, Published 5:46 p.m. ET June 22, 2015 | Updated 6:37 a.m. ET June 23, 2015 

No comments:

Post a Comment