stevenhager420

counterculture history, conspiracy theory & reviews

Not Like Everybody Else

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Jim Cole stopped by Eric Swenson’s house and discovered this clean-cut kid (Mark Warwick) with a red guitar playing Beatles, Stones and Animals songs with Eric accompanying on drums. Since Cole already had experience singing along to some of these records in his bedroom, using a hairbrush for a mic, he convinced the two to start a band with him as the lead singer. Mark soon enlisted another guitar player (Steve Dyson) and a bass player (Tim Anderson) both of whom went to high school in Champaign.

According to legend as I know it, Tim was singing “Hey, Joe,” during a very early rehearsal when he started channeling some deep force inside. It’s a song about a murder, and Tim lost himself completely while rampaging through the house, standing on furniture and jumping around. It may have been the first inclination that these young kids actually had the power to become a real rock’n’roll force. Once Tim stepped up to the plate, others would quickly follow. Eric was at the end of a tortured love affair, having just been dumped, and he wrote a weepy ballad begging this girl to come back. Cole played drums on that one.

Right away, people who were dropping by began to take notice. Among the first were George Faber and Larry Tabling, who offered to build speakers for a PA system. They volunteered to be roadies on the spot. George had already tried to start a band with his friend Bob Carpenter, but Eric’s outfit was clearly on another level. Eventually, a student at the University named Bob Nutt came by to hear the band, and volunteered to be their manager after hearing one song. He booked their first gig in front of the Co-Ed movie theater on Green Street. I don’t know if they got paid, they were set-up on the sidewalk, and everyone was really nervous, but it was a huge success. Cole had tremendous sexual charisma, even at the age of 15 and clearly had the makings of a rock star. Eric, however, did not like the gig, and was not up for the rigors and realities of being in a band. He just didn’t have the personality, and his moods could be a big stumbling block, so Nutt quickly located the best high school drummer in town to replace him, Michael Powers. Unfortunately, Tim was the next to go. I guess his grades weren’t that good so his dad made him quit as soon as it became obvious the Finchley Boys were going to take off. I’m sure that must have crushed Tim. But that opened the door for Larry Tabling to step in on bass.

The name of the band was lifted off the back of a Kinks album. (The original Finchley Boys were a street-gang in England who got into fights with the early Kinks.) That’s Jim Cole (above) in 1967, at one of the early gigs. His version of the Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” became the signature song of the group, and Cole sang it with a lot of passion. The lyrics spoke directly to all of us on the front lines of a Generation War that was already in full effect.

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Written by Steven Hager

February 13, 2012 at 8:07 am

2 Responses

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  1. Well written history of that time … you are doing the people and the reality of that era proud!

    I still talk with Bob Nutt occasionally … he was driving a cab for a while but I think he lost his license in a DUI … the last time I talked to him was at the Esquire when I visited CU a year ago and he was still talking about how Irving owns him … he became good friends with my mom and dad before they passed away and he would come over with me to their house and sit and visit … my mom met him back in the day I was playing and always liked him … later in life she sort of felt sorry for him because he had become such a broken man … she told me just before she passed that she thought he was a lost soul that had some bad luck and just couldn’t find the strength to climb out of his rut.

    David

    February 13, 2012 at 8:46 am

    • thanks so much for the input Dave, I’m really hoping my blog becomes a gathering point for people to share stories like you just did. I’ll have lots more on Bob coming up shortly. As with Eric’s mom (and Eric) Bob was probably Bipolar. Bipolars are often brilliantly creative and have tremendous energy. However, every peak is followed by an even deeper crash.

      Steven Hager

      February 13, 2012 at 8:54 am


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