Mourning ‘Ours, Pekin, IL.

Mourning ‘Ours

Mourning ‘Ours was a Pekin, IL based group which released one 7” Mourning ‘Ours – Shake / Maria – Golden Voice   GV-45-513 via Golden Voice in 1968. The group played many of the hits of the day and made lots of appearances at high schools for proms and dances.

Mourning Ours Shake 45

Mourning ‘Ours Shake 45

Gary Quade starts off the story of the group: 

“It was the mid sixties in Pekin, Illinois.  Just got my first guitar as a Christmas present, a Hagstrom hollow body electric.  Learned some chords and figured out some songs  from the albums on the turntable.  James Brower, a friend from Jr. High and church, had also recently got his first guitar, a Harmony.  We got together and learned Little Bit of Soul and Gloria.  Doug Schlottman, another jr. high friend  joined us  singing  Im not Your Stepping Stone while I sang harmony.  Tim Naningay, a church buddy who was a year older,  joined us with his Fender bass and we were off and running.  Jeff Wald, who lived in South Pekin,  auditioned for us on drums and he could play Wipe Out so he was in.  Soon Gary Guenrich joined us on keyboards with his Farfisa organ.  Now we could play 96 tears, Kicks, Just Like Me and Midnight Hour.  Our equipment was shabby at best, but we faithfully practiced and learned more songs.  We liked Mitch Ryder and played Little Latin Lupe Lu and Sock It to Me Baby. We also added some Stones and Yardbirds songs.  Our first gig was in Dave Howard’s garage for $60.

We kept practicing and saved up and bought a Kustom PA system. That was a game changer and we got gigs.  We played for school dances, youth group events, dances in the neighboring towns of Manito, Tremont and Canton.  We had a following and were having a lot of fun. The local band scene in ’66 and ’67 was great and we were fortunate to get to see The Coachmen with Dan Fogelberg singing lead. We also got to watch Gary Richrath play lead guitar with Suburban 9 to 5. 

By then, we were freshman at Pekin Community High School and it was around this time Gary Guenrich quit and Rick Waldmeyer, the mayor’s son,  joined the group as our new keyboardist. That summer we won the Battle of the Bands in Lincoln, Illinois and also the Heart of Illinois Fair.  We were loving  the Cryan’ Shames from Chicago and were working on our own vocal harmonies.  We also played a lot of Doors songs too.  We also started to get gigs At Illinois State University playing for the college crowd!  

We were hanging out at Flores Music (local musician epicenter and legendary gear shop) in Pekin.  That’s where we met Harold Smith which was another big game changer.  Harold was giving drum lessons.  He was a of couple years older than us and drove a motorcycle. He was a skilled drummer and had a drum kit with double kick drums each with a union jack painted on the front! 

Soon  Flores Music (owned by Jesse Flores) sponsored us, lending us equipment and a van for transport to gigs.  Jesse as a sponsor meant we had access to a lot of neat equipment (like the recently debuted Ovation Guitar brand of amplifier).  Things changed and we went to a four piece band.  Harold was singing lead and playing drums.  Rick  was on keyboards and Tim was on bass.  I stayed on guitar and sang back up.  It was about this time we cut the 45 at Golden Voice.”

Mourning Ours

Mourning Ours

Jerry Milam was the engineer on the Mourning ‘Ours recording session.  According to Harold: “Jerry used a mixer that he had designed and fabricated himself and the band recorded to tape on a Scully 4 track.” 

During their session, Harold made lots of requests to Jerry for certain sounds and later when Harold would leave the room to do his vocal, Jerry would comment to Gary Quade “Harold wants that British sound and I just can’t give it to him”.  However, the band says they felt Jerry did a great job of bringing a clear and deep sound to their recordings in retrospect.  

They were all young and inexperienced at that point in time, it was the first time any of them had been in a recording studio.  According to Harold Jerry was a very patient man and easy to work with. Harold remembers singing his heart out when he first started his vocal on Maria and by the time they did an actual take, he had almost blown his voice out.  They used Ovation amps, Harold played Slingerland drums and Rick Waldmeir used a Hammond organ.  

Jerry and Harold decided to liven up the mix to their version of the song (They Call The Wind) Maria and add wind sounds from a tape. Jerry accidentally played back the sound effects tape at a higher speed, this combined with the echo from Golden Voice’s echo chamber to create spacey psychedelic echo sounds.  They decided to keep the unusual results after playing it back, thinking the echoes would add life to the song.  Harold only sings vocals on this song, there are no drums to be heard in this version.  Not to be outdone, the A side of the record Shake has killer fuzz guitar plus a great beat courtesy of Harold. The group wanted to cut two contrasting sides to show the versatility of the band. This would be the first and only time the Mourning ‘Ours was in the studio.    

The band would continue to evolve with Oscar Meyer replacing Rick on organ.  Oscar had a Hammond B3 and 2 Leslies. He was a skilled player and could play Whiter Shade of Pale and Gimme Some Lovin’.   They continued to play locally but by Gary’s senior year in high school Tim had  graduated and then was drafted.  James Brower joined the band on bass at this point. They were playing at a college club in Peoria on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and Gary Richrath would sit in for Gary Quade during the last two sets on their Wednesday nites shows so Gary could get home for high school the next day.  As a side note, Gary Quade ended up selling his  Gibson ES335 to Gary Richrath and he used it when REO Speedwagon played at the Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival in Heyworth, IL.

Mourning ‘Ours broke up around 1970.  Brower and Quade went to college at Illinois State University and Oscar Meyer got married. Harold kept playing and worked with Jerry Milam at Golden Voice for awhile afterwords. Harold would later recorded at Golden Voice with a band called “Remedy”. They would go on to release two songs on a single on the Tay-Tay label (produced via Golden Voice) in 1974 (more on Remedy soon). 

 

 

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