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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Basic Biittner : E-mailing Bud(dy)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Like many of the advancements in technology and communication, e-mail has its ups and downs. Just ask anyone who receives hundreds of "spam" e-mails every day, no matter how many spam blockers they may employ. That is the primary "down" of the e-mail world for me. I have not experienced any problems placing orders over the internet or anything like that, so the "ups" of being able to quickly communicate with family and friends and receiving up-to-date photos of a far away grandchild have been wonderful. I have also had occasional e-mail correspondence with high school classmates and others whom I rarely see.

It's also possible to make new acquaintances and even make new friends through e-mail, and I would like to share with the readers one such person I have established a relationship with over the past year.

This person is someone I first saw over forty years ago, and I've known his name for almost that long, but we've never met (and still haven't, actually).

When I went to high school back in the 1960s, my friends and I, along with hundreds of other area teenagers, made frequent trips to the old Cobblestone Ballroom in Storm Lake for weekend dances. We especially liked to go every fourth Sunday, when the Rumbles, from Council Bluffs-Omaha, would play. Besides enjoying their music, we were in a rock-and-roll group ourselves, and we took note of the latest songs they were playing, and often tried to figure out the guitar chords of the song in question- sometimes successfully, sometimes not. If successful, these tunes often made it into our repertoire as well.

The Rumbles not only kept up with the "Top 40," frequently they would play something we'd never heard. The Box Tops' "The Letter" was one tune I heard for the first time at a performance by the Rumbles, as were "I Can't Let Go" and "I'm Alive" by the Hollies, to name just a few. Good times.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, the Rumbles are still an active group and, of course, played in Cherokee within the last year. Only one member of the original group, drummer Steve Hough, is still playing with the group , and he has also served as the group's manager for several years now.

The Original lineup of the Rumbles, circa 1965 (left to right) - Joe Brunnworth, Rich Clayton, drummer Steve Hough, and Bud Phillips. Photo from Rumbles.com
I was looking at their web page one night last year, and they had a place where you could ask questions. Most people's questions, I'm sure, concern the current incarnation of the group - when and where they're playing, how can I book the band, etc. However, being a person who admittedly lives in the past a lot, I posed the question "What ever happened to Bud Phillips, Joe Brunnworth, and Rich Clayton?" (the original guitar section of the band.) I did not get an answer from the web site, but , better than that - I received an e-mail from Brunnworth, who has lived in California for many years, and hasn't played his guitar for about that length of time. In his e-mail, Brunnworth said it wouldn't surprise him if Phillips, the bass player, would send me an e-mail also. Next thing I knew, Phillips, who still lives in Council Bluffs and is employed as an electrician, did indeed e-mail me.

Bud and I have subsequently exchanged numerous e-mail correspondence over the past few months, and he has shared some of his stories about playing with the Rumbles. He also, for the record, thought "The Rudabaga Bunch," the name of the group in which I played, was a "neat" name. Go figure. I sent him a bunch of Rumbles CDs, and he thanked me with the comment, "I didn't realize we actually made some decent records." Bud is still playing some bass occasionally and currently is in a duo with a female singer. They recently added a drummer, which has necessitated more rehearsals, something Phillips, in his mid-60s, is not crazy about. He notes in his most recent e-mail that he intended to "semi-retire" from his job last year, but didn't get that accomplished, and now finds himself busier than ever with work, music, and moving into the new home he and his wife Marj recently purchased. He notes that they are currently finishing the previously-unfinished basement.

Bottom line - sometimes, if you ask "whatever happened to ...," you might just find out - AND it might not necessarily be a bad thing. Of course, my new "Bud" might not agree...

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner