Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Patriots - As Fall The Leaves / Unkind Love

Patriots - As Fall The Leaves / Unkind Love (1776 101. 1966)

The Patriots were a bunch of friends out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The band consisted of Doug Erbeck (Lead Vocals & Bass), Russ Clark (Lead Guitar), Steve Gross (Guitar), Warren Marrow (Keyboards) and a number of drummers, including Mike Curly of Iowa garage legends Al's Untouchables. Art Abodeely was drumming with the group during the time frame of the record release and promotion tour, and Steve's younger brother Dennis took over the seat during the latter part of the bands career.

They were together between 1963-68 and were extremely popular around the Cedar Rapids area, scoring a local hit with their sole 45 on the 1776 label “As Fall The Leaves/Unkind Love”.

When Russ and Warren lost the bass player of their band, The Intruders, they asked Doug to join replacing Tom Otto who had Army Reserve commitments. At the time Doug was a guitar player so quickly had to rush out and buy a bass (a Gibson EBO), and so The Patriots were born.
The band was successful from the outset playing school proms, private occasions and the local bar scene. Their set consisted mainly of popular cover versions. To capitalise on their ever growing success, Russ suggested the band record a couple of original tunes, 'for the fun of it'. Two songs were quickly written, the cool primitive folk-rocker "As Fall The Leaves" and the upbeat "Unkind Love".

Recording took place at Hitran Recording Studios in Hiawatha, Iowa. The same studio also played host to The Slough Boys, who's demented "Surfin' on Cedar Lake" has recently been waxed by Norton and The Temtations who's "I Wish I Could Say Yes" came out on the small Eric label.

The band had made a recording prior to this 45, recording a demo LP in 1965, again at Hitran. Made up solely of covers a very small quantity of blank sleeved LP's were pressed up. These were mainly for personal use, but some did make their way to local radio stations, however the band don't recall receiving any airplay from the record.

A true garage recording, the band recalls the studio having somewhat primitive equipment, with Doug having to sing and play bass on the same track and no way to patch over any errors, it was case of start the tape over and run again from the top. The band recorded their two tracks in 1966 and this turned out to be their only 45 release.

The Hitran Recording Co. only offered recording facilities so the band self pressed their 45 on the 1776 Record Label which fit in with the Patriot theme. 2000 records were pressed up and sold around the Cedar Rapids area. The 45 took off and scored the band a #7 hit on the local charts. Despite only promoting the 45 around the local area Doug recalls joining a band in Chicago and the drummer had "As Fall the Leaves" in his record collection!

This gave the band the opportunity to support some of the big names that rolled into town. They opened for the Dave Clark 5, Gary Lewis and The Playboys, The New Colony Six and many others lost in time. One of their more memorable gigs took place at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa (the last stage Buddy Holly set foot on in ‘59). The band felt a particular eeriness as they played some of Buddy's songs on that same stage.

Doug and Russ recall another memorable gig at a packed club called Little Caesars. During a break the band was approached by the Yardbirds (in town for their gig at Cedar Rapids' Danceland Ballroom in December '65). The 'birds' had a quick chat with the shocked band, although none of the band members could remember their individual names at the time! Not to be deterred by the presence of such legends and ever the professionals, the band kicked things up a notch and put on an amazing show for both the packed audience and The Yardbirds.

After 3 successful years with the Patriots, in 1968 Doug quit to attend commercial art school in Chicago and the band went their separate ways. Russ and Doug later both moved to Colorado in 1971, with Russ giving up music and trading his passion for the antique automobile business. Doug continued to play music and in 2006 convinced Russ to pick up his guitar again. The 'New' Patriots, featuring Russ, Doug and Russ' son, Mike Clark and drummer, Jeff Wasinger from one of Mike's Colorado bands re-recorded the two old hits and two new original tunes 'Hang Up Our Guns' and 'The Ways Of Love Are Such', and continue to keep the spirit of the Patriots alive.

**UPDATE On a sad note, Doug Erbeck lost his long battle with cancer on 25 June 2009.

The New Patriots "Driftwood", full of self penned material, is available through CDbaby. For sound clips check out the band page on CDBaby


Anonymous said...

Great record and still cooking!!

Doug Erbeck (Patriots)

art said...

I can't believe I found something about this fantastic record at long last I found a copy of this 45 back in the middle or late 80's in West Sacramento California, of all places. Since then I haven't been able to get any info on the record or the band, until seeing this blog. Even other garage band enthusiasts I talked to weren't aware of it...but I just love "As Fall the Leaves" and have always considered it one of my favorite "mystery records".

RP said...

Glad you dig the Patriots post. Likewise, it was one of my favbourite 'mystery' records. It's still one of my favourites and I'm glad i now know more about it! RP

art said...

Yes, the Patriots article was very informative. In fact, I found the peachfuzzforest blog yesterday for the first time by doing a google search for the Patriots...I've never seen anything about them on the Web before. This site is a real
treasure for us garage band enthusiasts!

Anonymous said...

Good article and photos I've never seen before.
Ron vd Schaft (Holland)

Susan said...

The Patriots were my favorite local band in the late 60s, and I constantly requested "As Fall the Leaves" be played by local radio DJ Mike Welch of Cedar Rapids. I have a copy of an LP they recorded and apparently submitted to the local radio station for air play. It has 10 of their songs on it, including "And I Love Her" and "Little Latin Loupe Lou." Always intended trying to track band members down to ask them about it. It has to date from the late 60s, recorded at Hitran in Hiawatha. I think I played their single, "As Fall the Leaves," to death. Glad someone put this info out for us!

Steven said...

I'm looking for larger photos of Doug Erbeck and the Patriots. Please send to my gmail.

RP said...


I can't find your email address. can you email me direct?


Nick said...

WOW! I remember The Patriots very well, especially since I have a connection with the band. I am Art Abodeely's cousin. I'm sure you are aware that Art passed away many years ago...we were very close and I loved him very much. He was an exciting and talented drummer. He went on to live in California and played with some top performers including Little Richard and Lou Rawls...

The Patriots were, indeed, one of the top groups playing locally in the sixties. As I recall, one of my favorite covers that they played was Summer in the City, played at the time when the song was popular. A great group! And that high praise comes from one who was a local, contemporary musician.

I am a drummer and played (still playing) all the CR venues including the packed houses at Little Caesar's. What a great night spot that was for music and dancing! Always a line outside the building waiting anxiously to get in this small nightclub. The band I was playing in at the time was called The Tradewinds. CR was blessed with a lot of musical talent and still is.

Anyway, it was a joy to hear The Patriots again and I wish your newly formed version the best of success. Have fun!

Nick George (The George Jazz Group)

Sleestak said...

Just discovered As Fall The Leaves...great tune!

kotts said...

Kotts Said I also drummed with the Patriots for a short time in 1966 just prior to being drafted into the Army. The band was a gas and it was a great time to be involved with a "successful" local band doing gigs in and around Cedar Rapids. Thanks Guys.
Jim Kottmeier

Anonymous said...

Wasn't one of their drummers Jim Kottmeier?

Susan said...

I've somehow lost my email to one of the Patriots members who so very kindly sent me a copy of their CD -- I think it's been a few years ago now. The CD is great and brings back soooo many memories as soon as "As Fall the Leaves" started playing! Thank you so very much. I'm glad you've made your music available again! And thank you for the CD!