Approximate dates: 1979-1980?
Base of Operations: Delray Beach, Florida
Reuben David Ferguson - Organ, Synthesizers, Vocals, Percussion
Harry James Hafferkamp - Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
William Rabon - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Lawrence Friedrich Paris - Drums, Vocals
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This was a "soft-rock" band. Our material included songs by Billy Joel, The Commodores, Jimmy Buffet, Stevie Wonder, etc. We played mostly at Toucan's in Lantana, Florida, (it used to be called A Bit of Nostalgia), and a place in West Palm Beach called The Watershed (see Arkrat CD Catalog); . We weren't a bad band, but not very exciting. Then again, I guess we weren't supposed to be. One of the neatest things we did was to back up Bill on his Senior Recital at Florida Atlantic University. We played Teen Town by Weather Report, and did OK, I guess. Dr. Bill Prince (a very talented musician and teacher) came up and asked me: "And where did you come from?". I was so nervous from receiving his attentions that I blurted out "From my Mother, I guess". Brilliant. We also played the Battle of the Bands at Palm Beach Junior College, and amazingly enough, we won! First prize was three hours of recording time at Triad Studio in Ft. Lauderdale. We didn't use the time for about a year; by that time we were pretty much a different band, material-wise. But it did lead to meeting Vince Oliveri (see Mt. Everest) and Michael Lascow who is now in New York City with a company called Taxi, a song referral service. When Bill left, we got Raymond Charles Murtha to play bass, jazzed up the song list a bit, and became Mt. Everest.
Right around this time, Bill Mitchell came
to Florida for a visit. It was great having him around. I'm
looking forward to the time after Bill retires when he, Allison and Kaitlin,
along with the entire population of the whole North American continent,
will move to Delray or Boca. We'll be able to creak around, driving
at 15 mph in a 60 mph zone, hitting the Early Bird Specials, and generally
making life miserable for anyone less fossilized than we. Or, maybe
we'll take a trip to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt instead. One
can only hope ... This photo shows not only Bill, but my beloved
1971 Ford Econoline 250 van as well. (I think we were in Daytona
when I took this). What a machine! It hauled stupendous loads
for many years. I bought it brand-new in 1971; this photo shows the
large dent in the rear bumper and doors that was done only a few months
after I bought it, and was never repaired. I had gone to Sanibel
Island at the invitation of Paul Glenn, a drummer from Delray
I had known for some time. (He would later work with Scott Henderson
in Paradise; see Brutus)
Paul swore that he had met one of the members of Pink Floyd who
was living at Sanibel, and that I had to come over and meet him.
I though Paul had probably simply gone insane, and that there was nothing
to his story, but I went anyway, on the off chance that Paul was neither
hallucinating nor lying. I did meet someone; whether or not he was
actually a member of Pink Floyd, I don't know. (I doubt it).
Anyway, I had pulled into a motel to ask directions. The front of
the complex was typical, with a circular drive at the very front, with
a parking lot attached to one side. I stopped under the building
overhang, got out and got directions, and got back into my van. I
knew there was a completely deserted parking lot directly behind me, but
I still looked into both mirrors and turned around in my seat to look out
the rear windows. As I had already known, there was absolutely nothing
behind my van. I put the van in reverse, and started backing up at
a brisk pace. (I didn't floor it or anything). The next thing
I knew, I had slammed into something, almost giving myself whiplash.
Dazed, I looked once again into both mirrors and through the rear windows
to see what on Earth I had rammed. Nothing. I jumped out of
the van and ran around to the rear. There, fitting nicely into the
huge new crease in the Ford's rear, was the stump of a palm tree.
In the middle of the parking lot. It was painted with red and white
stripes, and had a cheesy little pot of plastic flowers on the top.
Unfortunately, it was cut to a height that was about six inches below the
bottom of the rear windows, and was dead center. There was no way
I could have seen it without getting out of the van and looking (which
would have been difficult to accomplish while driving at the same time).
I lost it. I threw my keys down to the pavement with such force it
broke my key ring, and my keys flew all over the lot. Of course,
I found that very soothing. I was so angry it's a wonder that
I didn't have an apoplectic seizure. I never had the money to get
The van (Tim called it "The Bush") had a wonderful little device that would extend a step from beneath the vehicle every time the side door was opened. I thought it was pretty cool, but everyone else hated it. Everyone would forget about the step, and would yank open the door vigorously, whereupon the step would leap out and crack the opener in the shins. That sure put a lot of people in a good mood! Another feature which I loved and everyone else hated was the fold-up front passenger seat. It could be collapsed against the dashboard to accommodate long or large loads, which were a very common event. Unfortunately, it was not only very useful, it was torturously uncomfortable. While the driver's seat was over-stuffed and very comfy, the fold-up had only minimal padding. After a very short time, it became a nightmarish experience. Once, on the way to a job in Ohio, Eddie Bonham (see Foundation II) was the passenger. We had been driving continuously for at least two or three hours, and Eddie was trying every possible position to ease his discomfort, to no avail. Finally, reaching the end of his endurance, he bellowed out: "Who the hell designed this thing, Preparation H?" Just part of the glamorous life of a rock musician.
The Ford van died in the line of duty, on the way to a job with a full load. After 220,000 miles, (almost the distance from the Earth to the Moon), the 302 V8 threw a rod, and The Bush reached the end of its road.
There's another picture of Bill on the Bittersweetpage.
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