Hard to believe isn’t it. 30 years. The concept of four people playing in a band together for 30 years without a serious dispute suggests a lack of spirit that should really only be admired in sheep. But there you have it. Jeff, Brad and Gord along with then members Kevin Beasley and Tom Howarth (Tommy Ramone) had their first gig together at a house party on Fallingbrook Rd in the summer of 1986. You remember 1986? Right? That summer the charts were full of many middle-aged white guys (Steve Winwood, Peter Cetera, Billy Joel) all vying to take the number one spot from Billy Ocean. Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee were the blockbusters in the theatres “Two beers, Ida. One for me, and one for me mate Maverick.” With all that going on calling ourselves the Lonestars didn’t seem that outlandish. Anyway it was better (barely) than “Flock of Pigeons” or “Flock of Feckin eejits”. At the time I don’t think we thought the whole enterprise would last more than 5 minutes so it didn’t really matter to the rest of us (“The Lonestars” was Jeff’s contribution) what we called ourselves. Our idea of a good time, and still is for that matter, was drinking lots of beer and playing old rock and roll augmented by covers of the Shakin’ Pyramids and the Stray Cats. The gigs would start at 9:00. We would play till 1:00 then we would pass the guitar and sing till 4:00. We spent the first few years playing great venues like Billy Bops at the Drake, the Alpine Hotel in the beaches, The Acres out on Taunton Rd. and (most importantly) The King Street Bar and Grill (Gumby’s) in Bowmanville and Sneaky Dee’s on Bloor at Bathurst in Toronto. Al joined us for a gig at the SAC Hanger (U of T) on Nov 13 of 1987 and has been hanging around (on and off) ever since. Kevin Beasley moved off to B.C. at the same time. Tommy Ramone stuck it out for almost 10 years until he devoted himself to goat farming in a small fishing village on the north shore of lake Ontario, just East of Toronto. (I believe he holds the patent for the Agrigoat). (to be continued)
(continued from Part I)
The band has afforded us some great experiences and adventures over the years. The music you can hear on our internet links was recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, a big thrill for a bunch of guys who idolized Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Elvis. While we were there we had a great night with the then owner “I Know Everything” Jerry who treated us to drinks, souvenirs and a listen to the outtakes from some of the great recordings made there. We have played at Tootsies Orchard Lounge in Nashville and signed the wall, The Ontario Rodeo Championships, where we hit golf balls over the 115 hwy and ached from riding the mechanical bull. We’ve played in/on boats, floats, decks, docks, stages, streets, parades, tents, beaches, picnic tables, pick-up trucks, corners, lawns, garages, parks (trailer and otherwise), basements, resorts, concert halls, schools, churches, clubs (curling, golf, snow mobile, Austrian), 49-storey office towers, town halls, living rooms and kitchens. We have played venues deep in the heart of nowhere that had us sleeping in cars, tents, single rooms (yep there were 5 of us at the time), motor homes, brothels and out under the stars. If you are reading this just North of Eganville, just left of Pontypool, East of Pembroke (the outlaw part of Quebec), Outside of Huntsville, West of Nashville, South of Parry Sound or in the Kitchener/Guelph area we are talking about you.
The Lonestars have also had a cast of characters come and go over the years that have participated in our quest to pump out good old rock and roll. Great players like Dave Tufford, Teddy Leonard, Mitch Lewis, Matt Allen, Skeets Mesquita, Chris Perkins, Rob Perkin, Wally Reid and Ken Hockin have all played under the big black and yellow bedsheet (queen size). Where would we have been without them. Or the likes of Go Freddy Go, the Fabulous Diefenbaker’s, The Texstyles, Melody Ranch or Tommy and the Homewreckers getting up to play at our gigs or having us play at theirs.
Thanks to all of you who have supported us over the years (read indulge). It has meant the world to us. The many wonderful friends (some made through the music) and family members who have come out to have a few beers, hear a little music and have a laugh have our eternal gratitude. Love ya!!
We have had a great friendship, us boys, over the last 30 years. We have seen lots of trysts, several romances, a few weddings and some great progeny appear in that time. The tie that binds for us though has always been the music and laughter. Looking forward to another 30 years of riotous action and song hopefully to be experienced at absolutely no financial cost to you or your loved ones. (no cover J).
Hope you can join us sometime this year.
Dear Lonestars, I just wanted to take the time to write and say how much my husband and I have loved going to your Eton House Tavern gigs. Why we get all gussied up for around 5, and we're danced out, tanked and asleep by 9! No parking, no lineups, front row seats and plenty of paper in the ladies room. You guys have just a terrific little idea going on there. Make sure you come back next year. Cuz we'll be there! Knock on wood we've got our health and all that... Okay then! Bye!
The LoneStars have taken up a monthly residence at The Olde Eton House. These Saturday afternoon shows have been a blast. If you haven't been there the Eton House is a great venue for seeing live bands. Check our schedule for the next show.