Sunday, May 19, 2013

Lineup History: Grass Roots

The Grass Roots (originally known as the Grassroots) began in 1965 as the name of a project by the songwriting and producer duo of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri.  The duo had written several folk rock songs, and recorded "Where Were You When I Needed You", with Sloan as the lead singer and guitarist and a group of session musicians.  The song was released as a demo to radio stations in the Bay area of San Francisco.  

When there was interest, Sloan and Barri searched for a group that could incorporate the Grass Roots name.  They found the Bedouins, who recorded a new version of the song as well as others.  They began receiving airplay with their remake of the Bob Dylan song "Mr. Jones (Ballad of a Thin Man)".  The group broke up, however, when they demanded more time to record blues rock.  

The second version of "Where Were You When I Needed You" peaked in the Top 40 in 1966, while Dunhill Records searched for another group they would groom as the Grass Roots.

In 1966, Creed Bratton (vocals, guitar), Rick Coonce on drums and percussion, Warren Entner (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Kenny Fukomoto (bass) formed the first relatively stable incarnation of the group.  When Fukomoto was drafted into the United States military, singer/bassist Rob Grill came aboard, and the lineup was complete.
They did go numerous lineup changes in the years to come, as they were essentially a rotating lineup of musicians with frontman Rob Grill, who had ownership and rights to the songs.  The group continued to perform around the world until Grill's death in 2011.

Guitar:  Creed Bratton (1966-1968)
              Terry Furlong (1969-1971), 1974
              Reed Kailing (1972-1974)
              Gene Barkin (1974)
              Reggie Knighton (1974-1976)
              Alan Deane (1976)
              Glenn Shulfer (1977, 1981-1982)
              Mark Miller (took over on lead vocals also from 1977-1978, 1981)
              Scott Hoyt (also lead vocals, from 1978-1980)
              Terry Oubre (1982-1983)
              George Spellman (1983-1984)
              Dusty Hanvey (1984-1986, 1987-2011)
              Mark Tamorsky (1987)

Drums:  Rick Coonce (1966-1972, returned briefly later that year, 1981-1982)
              Joe Pollard (1972-1979)
              Reagan McKinley (1979-1980)
              Luke Meurett (1980-1981)
              Ralph Gilmore (1982-1983)
              Coy Fuller (1983-1984)
              David Page (1984-1990)
              Joe Dougherty (1990-2011)

Lead Vocals:  Rob Grill (1967-1977, 1980-2011)

Bass:    Rob Grill  (1967-1977, 1982-1986, 1994-2008)
              Brian Carlyss (1977-1978, 1979-1980)
              David Nagy (also lead vocals from 1978-1979)
              Steve Berendt (1980-1981)
              Terry Danauer (1987-1991)
              Mike Steck 1992-1993)
              Mark Dawson (2008-2011)

Keyboards:  Dennis Provisor (1968-1972, 1974-1977, 1980-1982)
                      Virgil Weber (1972-1974)
                      Lonnie Price (lead vocals also from 1977-1978)
                      Gene Wall (1978-1980)
                      Charles Judge (1982-1983)
                      Dave Rodgers (1983-1984)
                      Larry Nelson (1984-1986, 1987-2011)
                      Michael Lewis (1987)
                      Robbie Barker (1987)

Organ:    Randy Ruff (1977-1978)

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