The Del-Vetts & the Pride and Joy

1960s garage bands were largely a white, male, middle and upper class phenomenon. And Chicago, its mushrooming rings of post-War suburbs home to, well, lots of white teenaged males, would distinguish itself in the ‘60s as a hotbed of band activity.

Their five year history netting them a grand sum of five 45s, the Del-Vetts’ was a typical ‘60s garage band trajectory of line-up changes, commercial aspirations and glimpses, ultimately transitory, of success. The Del-Vetts themselves, though – wild, competent and original – were anything but your typical three-chord garage band. They didn’t attain the same national visibility of mid-‘60s Windy City brethren like the Cryan’ Shames (“Sugar & Spice”) or the Shadows of the Knight (“Gloria”). The Del-Vetts, however, were one of Chicago’s top-tier bands in their day, especially locally, where, matching suits and all, they were briefly able to surround themselves with cars, girls and rock ‘n’ roll, the Holy Trinity of teenage fantasy.

Formed in Chicago in 1963, the quartet consisted early on of Jim Lauer (lead vocals and lead guitar), Bob Good (bass), Lester Goldboss (guitar) and Paul Wade (drums), an incarnation which lasted long enough to record one straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll 45 for the Seeburg label, “Little Latin Lupe Lu” and its instrumental flipside “Ram Charger.”

With a year or two of playing at popular local teen hangouts like the Rolling Stone and the Cellar, and just as many band member shuffles, the band’s line-up – Jim Lauer, Bob Good (now on rhythm guitar), Jack Burchall (bass) and Roger Deatherage (drums) – solidified. This would be the incarnation that issued three singles on producer Bill Traut’s Dunwich Records, where many other outstanding Chicago combos, including stars the Shadows of Knight (of “Gloria” fame), would find a hip industry ally.

1966’s “Last Time Around,” the Del-Vetts’ second 45 and the first of three releases for Dunwich, would be their biggest hit, charting in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest. The single that followed later that year, “I Call My Baby STP,” also on Dunwich, also excellent, underperformed. Rechristening themselves the Pride and Joy in 1967, the group soldiered on for two more 45s, the first, “Girl” (and its flipside “If You’re Ready”) was perhaps their finest moment. The second, “We Got a Long Way to Go” on Acta Records, reflected their end game pop proclivities.

By the 1968 the Del-Vetts were through, the victims of creative differences, a musical landscape leaning towards hippie aesthetics and the obligatory, disillusioning bout with the entertainment industry, Los Angeles-style. A well-worn theme to be explored again and again in Office Naps. This week, the Del-Vetts’ saga.

(Many thanks go to bassist Jack Burchall’s old website for much of this week’s information. Some great pictures there, too.)

1. The Del-Vetts, Last Time Around (Dunwich)
The Yardbirds were British heroes to stateside garage bands, their mid-period guitarist Jeff Beck’s swooping, proto-psychedelic lines in particular fascinating many American guitarists.

The Del-Vetts, intellectual property be damned, plunder Beck’s solo wholesale from the Yardbirds’ “You’re a Better Man Than I” (hear solo here), managing, like so many other American garage bands, to sculpt the English’s innovations into something crazier and more unstable. A bold new direction after their first 45 – a surf record – here the fuzztone ran amok and the lyrics didn’t so much have a message as set the mood, a bleak, chemically wracked mood.

Mid-‘60s garage band 45s all start sounding very much the same at some point, but never “Last Time Around.” Penned, as with all of this week’s selections, by the band’s friend Dennis Dahlquist, it was noncommercial, certainly, and antisocial, absolutely, but the Del-Vetts managed to land “Last Time Around” in the top request spot of Chicago’s AM giant WLS in the summer of 1966. They reportedly drove matching white Corvettes with their earnings. “Last Time Around,” in retrospect, would be their biggest success.

2. The Del-Vetts, I Call My Baby STP (Dunwich)
A somewhat odd throwback after the deadly “Last Time Around.” 1966’s “I Call My Baby STP,” was probably a year or two too late to be hip; it did not fare well on the music charts or among fans expecting the gripping drama of their previous hit. Still, this is really about as good as a hot-rod number gets. The Southern California-style harmonies are there, though there’s a certain surge in the guitars that belies the Del-Vetts’ garage band pedigree, too.

This single was apparently a promotional tie-in with STP, the fuel additive and hot rod culture icon, and included a decal useful for making a cool cultural statement or, alternatively, for holding those unwanted Jan & Dean records together.

3. The Pride and Joy, If You’re Ready (Dunwich)
The Pride and Joy are the Del-Vetts operating under a new name, apparently at the behest of their fan club. Which says something about the group’s commercial aspirations, and something about the wisdom of listening to one’s fan club.

“If You’re Ready,” though not their last record, would be the group’s crowning moment. A return to chart-tested territory, “If You
’re Ready” seems like an attempt to revive the earlier success of “Last Time Around.” It has the same bite, the same Yardbirds-inspired soaring guitar solos. It’s just denser and heavier, doing everything but invent what thunderstruck Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath fans would several years later know as riffage.

Though not as successful as “Last Time Around,” this selection (or rather its A-side, “Girl,” a polished pop number reminiscent of the Hollies) did perform well on the regional charts. Its 1967 release also coincided with the group’s extended visit to Los Angeles, where they’d record their final 45, the Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann composition “We Got a Long Way to Go.” There they’d film for the movie Somebody Help Me as well, a low-budget Dick Clark Production that featured them playing live.

It would mostly be for naught. “We Got a Long Way to Go” was released on the Los Angeles-based Acta label, sounding fairly unremarkable and doing the same on the pop charts. The movie itself was never released. This would be the end of the Del-Vetts/Pride and Joy story.

As far as I can tell, only the group’s bassist Jack Burchall would continue in the music business, enjoying some later, albeit dubious, success with his Jump N’ the Saddle Band’s 1983 novelty hit “The Curley Shuffle.” Sadly, Burchall recently passed on in 1999. Drummer Roger Deatherage currently designs furniture in Houston, Texas.

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20 Responses to The Del-Vetts & the Pride and Joy

  1. todd says:

    Got the first two on vinyl long ago but had not heard the third till now. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m not a massive fan of the garageistes but this is just fine. And I would like to say this is, without doubt, one of the finest sites on the whole darn internet. Fantastic.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is really good. I had Last Time Around, (from Nuggets, perhaps,) but hadn’t really listened to it more than once. Hearing all of these was great, and got to go back and reevaluate the track I alredy had.

    Great blog. Thanks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Fairly close on most of your facts… great blog.
    I have found a few bands re- recording Vette hits Like Son Volt etc. Cool.
    Keep up the great blog.
    Ernie Burchall

  5. Anonymous says:

    The band changed it’s name at the behest of a new manager, Morrie Parker; brought in to repalce Bob Medl who had managed the group and owned Holiday Concert Shop where Jimmy Lauer taught guitar. It was Parker, with connections to Dick Clark, that sought to make them more “bubble gum” and commercially successful. Ultimately, the wrong move, the band broke up – disillusioned with the music business. They were great guys and great musicians. Only Jack Burchall continued and had any further success.

  6. I think Jim Lauer lived on Trillium Lane off Duffy Lane in Riverwoods–closer to Lincolnshire than Deerfield. I heard he had personal problems–pretty severe. And had to leave the music business. I know he played a cherry colored Gibson SG. I also think he knew The Shires and Tom Beaudry and The Spyders and Crusader Rabbit.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Love there music. They were so fantastic. A bunch of us would drive for hours to go see them.ANYWHERE

    Never disapointed any of us.Just great music!
    Nices guys who loved what they were doing. All they wanted to do was play, write and sing. May great times .Thanks!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I could not believe I found some of there music on line….LOVE THESE GUYS

    Just great music. Heard Jim is doing great. Love to hear more of that great music we loved as kids and now as Baby Boomers. Many great memories.Thanks Guys!!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it was an STP promo thing, that’s certain; I had a copy, at least of the dust jacket (still have it somewhere). At that time, STP decals were mysteriously popular, and I had one or two stuck somewhere in my room or on my bicycle. Perhaps including one that came with the single?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget how great the flip of “I Call My Baby STP” is, the excellent ballad “That’s the Way It Is”

    -JP O’Bryan

  11. Anonymous says:

    I knew Jim from the 7th grade & was close friends throughout it all. We became the Biggest Ventures fans (& then the Beatles of course) together. Next (of course) came drugs. They messed me up, but sadly I watched them destroy a truly gifted natural talent in Jim. Last time I saw Jim he appeared to have lost his mind. In the mid-70's my mother sent me the newspaper article on his arrest for murder. Someone here says he's doing well? Someone please enlighten me-I do hope this is true! -Bud Cornell.

  12. Bud says:

    Romberg:Jim lived at the end of Ierman (sp?) Lane (with a way in off of Duffy) through the woods (almost) behind my house (Lincolnshire). The cherry SG (with a Bigsby) was originally his father's. Jim & I had standing orders (with Lenny at the Deerfield Record Shop) for every new Ventures album. We would rush home (to his house) & figure out (mostly Jim) all the parts. It was 1962. Lenny (God bless him) gave us his NAMM pass so we could meet the Ventures in Chicago (2 yrs. in a row) at the NAMM convention. THANK YOU LENNY!

  13. James says:

    Bud–are you the same Bud Cornell who used to hang around with Tom and Lou Beaudry and Pete Mueller and those guys?

  14. Bud says:

    James–Yes I am the same Bud Cornell.

  15. Bud Cornell says:

    James–Yes I am the same Bud Cornell.

  16. Rich says:

    I can’t believe I’ve found this information on The Del-Vetts. I played with a group called The Chozen Few from the Lake Geneva, WI area. We played with the Del-Vetts quite often at Majestic Hills Bandstand on the southshore of Lake Geneva as well as many of the other Chicago groups throughout Northern Illinois and Southern Wiscsonsin. Remember the New Place in Algonquin? We worked with Bill Medl as well. We bought Vox Equipment (Beatles stuff) from Bill Medl. Bill brought in the first load of Vox in the area and we had our share.

    I just had a class reunion and met up with my drummer. As we talked about the great old times in the band our discussion quickly went to Jimmy Lauer and the Del-Vetts wondering what ever happened to them. We used to drive to Jimmy’s house for guitar lessons. There wasn’t a more talented quitar player anywhere in the Midwest than Jimmy. Jim was by far the best! Yes, they had Covettes they used to drive to the gigs! We had the 1936 shiny black Packard Hearse, maybe some of you remember seeing it.

    I’m really saddened to read about Jim’s problems. Does anyone know or has anyone seen or talked with Jim recently? I certainly wish him the best and hope his life has been good.

    Yes, the 60’s were really great times, and really great times for bands like the Del-Vetts, The Chozen Few, and the many other bands of those times. I’m so glad I found this site! Would love to hear from anyone.

    Rich Watson
    The Chozen Few
    Lake Geneva, WI

    • Danny Goers says:

      I remember going to Majestic Hills Bandstand at both of it’s sites, the old ski chalet and the warehouse like place it moved to. I remember seeing the ‘Delvettes’, the ‘Cryin’ Sahmes’, the ‘New Colony Six’ and the ‘Buckinghams’ all on the same show and all for about $2.50…what a deal. I think I remember you guys…I was playing in a band called the’Ambassadors’…we were out of Delavan, WI.

  17. I am Randy De Troit and met up with Jack Burchall by transferring to Highland Park High in 1966. I transferred from Bowen High and had been active in music for many years since the age of 12. But I went to Columbia College graduated in 1976, met up with Jack and his drummer friend Ritchie Riback and the three of us formed a jamming gigging trio that Stu Heiss eventually joined and we were WHAM for a few years until Ritchie’s rich parents thought it was time that he ran the family business and that we in essence get out of dodge. Well that didn’t dissuade me as I moved to Chicago to go to Columbia and joined Bran Spankin which was the peak of my career so far. http://www.myspace/randydetroit
    http://www.cameramanforhire.net

    The greatest gig of all times were when we joined with another group who had a connec in Martha’s Vineyard and we went two summers in a row to gig there at a place called ‘Preston’s Airport Lounge’ and that was a gas. Loved it. We played locally but never recorded but wrote original music as well as copy.

  18. Jim Hofman says:

    Hi guys, I’m doing some historical research on the old Majestic Ski Area in Lake Geneva, specifically about the concerts held there and the venue itself. I know the ski chalet burned down many years ago but I’m trying to find out if the warehouse / boat storage facility where the concerts were held is still there … and where it was located. The Who, Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull, and Buffalo Sprinfield all played there. Lots of musical history. Feel free to contact me at my Gmail address: jlhcorpinc (at) gmail.com .

  19. Bob Good says:

    I am Bob Good from the DelVetts. I just found this website. I have been posting some pictures & other stuff on my Del-Vetts facebook page (there are 2 facebook pages). Although I am fairly computer literate I still have trouble understanding facebook or even wanting to understand Facebook.

    I don’t know the status of Jimmie. I just visited Roger (Drummer) 18 months ago when I was on a car trip from Sarasota, FL to California.

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