The Amboy Dukes

Last updated

The Amboy Dukes
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres
Years active1964–1975
Labels
Past members Ted Nugent
Dave Palmer
Steve Farmer
John Drake
Rick Lober
Bill White
Greg Arama
Andy Solomon
Rusty Day
K.J. Knight
Rob Ruzga
Rob Grange
Andy Jezowski
Vic Mastrianni
Gabriel Magno
Butch Giese

The Amboy Dukes were an American rock band formed in 1964 in Chicago, Illinois, and later based in Detroit, Michigan. [1] They are known for their one hit single "Journey to the Center of the Mind". [2] The band's name comes from the title of a novel by Irving Shulman. In the UK, the group's records were released under the name of The American Amboy Dukes, because of the existence of a British group with the same name. [3]

Contents

The band went through a number of personnel changes during its active years, the only constant being lead guitarist and composer Ted Nugent. [2] The band transitioned to being Nugent's backing band before he discontinued the name in 1975.

Origins

Ted Nugent, the nucleus of The Amboy Dukes, was born and raised in Detroit and started performing in 1958 at age 10. He played in a group called The Royal High Boys from 1960 to 1962 and later in group named The Lourds, where he first met future Amboy Dukes lead vocalist John Drake. Nugent played with The Lourds until his family moved to Illinois, where he founded The Amboy Dukes [4] in the Chicago area in 1964, [5] playing at The Cellar, in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, among other venues. [6] They later relocated to Nugent's hometown of Detroit. The members included the following:

The above lineup did not release any recordings. Nugent's early guitar playing style with his signature Gibson Byrdland positioned high on his chest became an iconic playing style that visually differentiated him from other players. He combined this with his natural virtuosity and frenzied playing style on lead, adding a sonic differentiation to his unusual visual approach. This gave him an edge as a performance artist. Nugent's appreciation for his guitar inspired him to compose the song "Flight of the Byrd", which was released as a single and as part of their most popular album, Journey to the Center of the Mind . [2]

Band line-ups

The following are lists of band member line-ups that received credits on officially released studio albums. Members who may have played with the band at live dates between albums are not included, with the exception of the 1972 band members:

1967

After a band shuffle for signing a deal with Mainstream Records of New York City, the band members who released their debut album, The Amboy Dukes , were:

1968

Journey to the Center of the Mind saw another member line-up:

1969

Migration saw another line-up:

1970

Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom saw another line-up:

1971

Survival of the Fittest Live was recorded using the following lineup. With only original member Nugent remaining, the band name changed to Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes:

1972

In 1972, the band was in between record contracts and had two lineups that year:

Early summer lineup:

Late summer lineup:

This version of the band recorded some demos at Criteria studios in Florida, but they were never released.

1973

Call of the Wild saw another line-up:

1974

Tooth Fang & Claw saw the group's final lineup, carrying over most of the members from the previous album:

Liner notes also credit a “Rev. Atrocious Theodosius,” who was not a real person, on guitar and vocals.

Timeline

The Amboy Dukes

Later happenings

Nugent went on to have a successful solo career in the 1970s and joined the Damn Yankees supergroup in the late 1980s. Since the 2000s, Nugent (although continuing his rock career) has been a prominent activist, both for hunting and for conservative politics.

Vocalist Rusty Day joined The Detroit Wheels, replacing Mitch Ryder as lead vocalist. Under Day, that band was renamed "Detroit;" it disbanded in 1974. He then returned to his previous band, Cactus, in 1976, playing with them until 1979. After turning down offers to front AC/DC and Lynyrd Skynyrd after the deaths of those bands' respective lead singers, Day was shot dead in 1982.

Bassist Greg Arama died in 1979.[ citation needed ]

Steve Farmer later taught in Redford Township, Michigan. He also performed with backing bands at various venues in and around the Detroit area. Farmer died on April 7, 2020, aged 71. [7]

Rick Lober is a classically trained composer best known in the greater Detroit metro area for his frenetic style of keyboard playing. Since the early 1990s, he has been in and out of the studio, appearing as performer/songwriter on the Steve Farmer CD Journey to the Darkside of the Mind (Saint Thomas Records, STP0069) completed in 2000. He is currently working in the studio and performing live with local Detroit rock legend Jeffrey Faust and his band "The Woodsman", which performs throughout Michigan and Canada.

In 2008, the Amboy Dukes were inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame. [8]

2009 reunion

The original Amboy Dukes (featuring Nugent, Drake, Farmer, Lober, Solomon and White) performed on April 17, 2009, at the Detroit Music Awards at The Fillmore Detroit. Their performance began with the song "Baby Please Don't Go", from their 1967 debut single. This was followed by "Journey to the Center of the Mind", and ending with Mitch Ryder's "Jenny Take A Ride" (featuring original Ryder drummer Johnny "Bee" Badanjek). In recognition of the band's contribution to rock music history, they received a Distinguished Achievement award. As the band left the stage, Nugent thanked all his fellow band members and told the crowd "And everyone knows that The Amboy Dukes are the ultimate garage band on planet earth". [9]

Music

The Amboy Dukes' primary genres were psychedelic rock, [10] [11] acid rock [12] [13] and hard rock. [14] [15] The band is also considered to be proto-punk. [16]

Discography

Albums

Date of official release
Title
Label
US Chart
1967 The Amboy Dukes Mainstream S/6104183
1968 Journey to the Center of the Mind Mainstream S/611274
1969 Migration Mainstream S/6118no chart
1970 Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom Polydor 24-4012191
1971 Survival of the Fittest Live Polydor 24-4035129
1973 Call of the Wild DiscReet DS 2181no chart
1974 Tooth Fang & Claw DiscReet DS 2203no chart

Singles

Date of official release
Title
Label
US Chart
Can Chart
1967Baby Please Don't Go/Psalms of AftermathMainstream 676106no chart
1968 Journey to the Center of the Mind/Mississippi MurdererMainstream 6841619
1968You Talk Sunshine, I Breathe Fire/Scottish TeaMainstream 693114no chart
1969Prodigal Man/Good Natured EmmaMainstream 700no chartno chart
1969For His Namesake/Loaded For BearMainstream 704no chartno chart
1969Flight of the Byrd/Ivory CastlesMainstream 711no chartno chart
1974Sweet Revenge/Ain't It the TruthDiscReet 1199no chartno chart

Other releases

Related Research Articles

<i>Ted Nugent</i> (album) 1975 studio album by Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent is the debut studio album by American hard rock musician Ted Nugent. The album was released in September 1975, by Epic Records. It was released after the disbanding of his former group The Amboy Dukes.

Damn Yankees (band)

Damn Yankees was an American rock supergroup formed in 1989 consisting of Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, Ted Nugent of The Amboy Dukes, and Michael Cartellone.

707 was an American rock band of the early 1980s, best known for the rock radio hits "I Could Be Good For You" and "Mega Force".

Derek St. Holmes is an American musician, best known as the vocalist and rhythm guitar player for Ted Nugent's early solo career. After splitting from Nugent in 1978, St. Holmes worked with various artists, most notably the Whitford/St. Holmes project with Brad Whitford, who had recently parted ways with Aerosmith.

<i>Tooth, Fang & Claw</i> 1974 studio album by Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes

Tooth, Fang & Claw is the seventh album by The Amboy Dukes, credited as "Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes". The band's second release on DiscReet Records, it was the final album released under the Amboy Dukes name before Ted Nugent launched his solo career the following year.

<i>The Amboy Dukes</i> (album) 1967 studio album by The Amboy Dukes

The Amboy Dukes is the first studio album released by The Amboy Dukes. It was released in November 1967 on Mainstream Records. The Amboy Dukes interested a record label that primarily produced jazz albums. Ted Nugent assembled a new band of local Detroit players to secure a recording contract with them. He immediately brought in the soulful baritone voice of John (J.B.) Drake as lead vocalist. He had a long history with Drake in a local band called The Lourds. Nugent and Drake then recruited the remaining players. Steve Farmer was known as a rhythm guitarist, lyricist, composer and vocalist and was a natural fit with Nugent. He came from a local group called The Gang. Dave Palmer was a drummer and percussionist with experience in two local bands, The Galaxy Five and The Citations. Bill White played bass guitar and Rick Lober was an eclectic keyboardist rounding out the new group.

Cactus (American band)

Cactus is an American hard rock band formed in 1969 and currently comprising Jimmy Kunes as lead singer, guitarist Paul Warren, drummer Carmine Appice, bassist Jimmy Caputo and Randy Pratt on harmonica.

<i>Call of the Wild</i> (Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes album) 1973 studio album by Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes

Call of the Wild is the sixth and penultimate album by The Amboy Dukes, credited as "Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes". Recorded in the summer of 1973, it is the first of two albums released on Frank Zappa's DiscReet Records, followed by Tooth Fang & Claw, the band's final album, in 1974. In 1977, both albums were reissued by Warner Bros as the compilation Two Originals of... Ted Nugent.

<i>Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom</i> 1970 studio album by The Amboy Dukes

Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom is the fourth album by The Amboy Dukes, released in 1970. It is the first of two albums released on the Polydor label. It peaked at #191. There were no accompanying singles released by the record company. There was no "designated" lead vocalist for this album as with all the previous Dukes albums. Keyboardist Solomon contributed most of the vocals. The original album contained a lyric sheet. The re-release on Polydor PD-1-6073 did not.

Ted Nugent American rock musician

Theodore Anthony Nugent is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pro-gun political activist. He initially gained fame as the lead guitarist of The Amboy Dukes, a band formed in 1963 that played psychedelic rock and hard rock. After dissolving the band, he embarked on a solo career. Nugent is known for his Gibson Byrdland, his bluesy and frenzied guitar playing and his energetic live shows. Despite possessing a distinctive, wide-ranging singing voice, Nugent recorded and toured with other singers during much of his early solo career, including Derek St. Holmes, Brian Howe, and Meat Loaf, only taking on full lead vocal duties later on. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was part of the supergroup Damn Yankees.

<i>Love Grenade</i> 2007 studio album by Ted Nugent

Love Grenade is the 13th solo studio album by American rock and roll musician Ted Nugent. It was released on September 4, 2007. It was recorded at DRS Studios in Waco, Texas. Sales figures, however, have been low, with the album only selling 360,000 copies in its first week, landing it at No. 186 on the Billboard 200.

Detroit was a spinoff of rock group The Detroit Wheels. This revised version of that band was formed by Mitch Ryder as a successor to The Wheels in 1970. The only original Wheel in the group was the drummer Johnny "Bee" Badanjek; other members were guitarists Steve Hunter and Brett Tuggle, organist Harry Phillips and bassists W.R. Cooke and John Sauter. A single album was released by this grouping, a 1971 self-titled LP issued on Paramount Records. They had a hit with their version of the Lou Reed - penned song "Rock & Roll", which Reed liked enough to ask Steve Hunter to join his backing band. Ryder quit the group because of voice problems in 1972, and Detroit vocalist Rusty Day took over his spot; without Ryder, the group floundered, and eventually broke up in 1974.

Hybrid Ice is a rock band from Danville, Pennsylvania, most notable for its song "Magdelene" released on the album Hybrid Ice in 1982, which became a regional radio hit at the time. "Magdelene" was later covered by Boston on their 1994 album Walk On. In 1984, with two sold out shows, Hybrid Ice was the first rock band ever to play at the Bloomsburg Fair.

Steven O. Farmer was an American guitarist, composer and lyricist, best known for his composition with Ted Nugent in 1968, "Journey to the Center of the Mind", performed by their group The Amboy Dukes. Farmer wrote the lyrics to the hit song, which peaked at #16 in the charts. He also co-wrote with Nugent, or self composed, 22 compositions on the first three albums by The Amboy Dukes.

<i>Survival of the Fittest Live</i> 1971 live album by Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes

Survival of the Fittest Live is the fifth album by The Amboy Dukes. Released in 1971, it was the band's second album on Polydor Records, and the first where the band was credited as "Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes". It was the second Polydor album to chart, and it peaked at #129. There were no accompanying singles released by the record company. The performance was recorded live at the Eastown Theater in Detroit, Michigan, on July 31 and August 1, 1970. Keyboardist Andy Solomon, again, contributed most of the vocals.

<i>Journey to the Center of the Mind</i> 1968 studio album by The Amboy Dukes

Journey to the Center of the Mind is the second studio album released by The Amboy Dukes. It was released in April 1968 on Mainstream Records.

<i>Migration</i> (The Amboy Dukes album) 1969 studio album by The Amboy Dukes

Migration is the third studio album by The Amboy Dukes. It was released in 1969 on Mainstream Records . On this album, Rusty Day replaced John Drake on vocals and guitarist Ted Nugent, for the first time, took lead vocals on select tracks. The song "I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent" is a cover of the 1956 song by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers.

Rick Lober

Rick Lober is the original keyboardist of the 1960s Detroit rock band The Amboy Dukes. His bandmates were Ted Nugent, Steve Farmer, John Drake, Dave Palmer and Bill White.

Rob Grange, is an American rock bass guitarist, best known for his work with Ted Nugent and his unique phase bass lines in the song "Stranglehold".

Bohemian Vendetta

Bohemian Vendetta was an American garage rock and psychedelic band from Long Island, New York, who were active from 1966-1968. In addition to recording two officially released singles and several previously unissued demos, they cut a self-titled album, Bohemian Vendetta, released by Mainstream Records in 1968.

References

  1. "Ted Nugent Reuniting Amboy Dukes For Detroit Music Awards". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 36/7. ISBN   1-85227-745-9.
  3. "The Amboy Dukes". Discogs.com. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  4. Bruno Ceriotti (August 26, 2010). "Rock Prosopography 102: The Amboy Dukes Family Tree – Shows List". Rockprosopography102.blogspot.com. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  5. "Ted Nugent Discusses Amboy Dukes Reunion On WBSX-97.9X". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
  6. [ dead link ]
  7. Obituary, Steven O. Farmer, Townsend Funeral Home. Retrieved April 10, 2020
  8. "Michigan Rock and Roll Legends - AMBOY DUKES". Michiganrockandrolllegends.com. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  9. "Nugent's Amboy Dukes Reunite After 30 Years". Spin.com. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  10. Phillips, William (2008). Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal Music. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 23. ISBN   978-0313348006.
  11. Chapman, Roger (2009). Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints and Voices. M. E. Sharpe. p. 482. ISBN   978-0765617613.
  12. Nagelberg, Kenneth M. (2001). "Acid Rock". In Browne, Ray Broadus; Browne, Pat (eds.). The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Popular Press. p. 8.
  13. Hoffmann, Frank, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound. Routledge. pp. 1497, 1725. ISBN   0-415-93835-X.
  14. Talevski, Nick (2006). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 124. ISBN   978-1846090912.
  15. Greene, Doyle (March 10, 2014). The Rock Cover Song: Culture, History, Politics. McFarland & Company. p. 62. ISBN   978-0786478095.
  16. Folgar, Abel (August 7, 2013). "Top Twenty Proto-Punk Bands: An Incomplete List". New Times Broward-Palm Beach . Retrieved November 11, 2019.