The almost elusive guitarist on numerous recordings in the late 1950s and early 60s, Jerry Pynckel recorded with JOHNNY and the HURRICANES on Big Top, London, United Artist labels etc., for Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik, up to and including ironically the last record "Farewell Farewell" released on Big Top, and the last to really chart. The public was quickly losing interest in instrumentals, especially remakes. He had replaced Dave Yorko, on lead guitar in the group, resulting in, Johnny Paris, on sax, Paul Tesluk, organ, Butch Mattice, bass, Bo Savich, drums and Jerry Pynckel guitar, as Johnny and the Hurricanes. (Don Staczek was the original drummer, he left. Then Tony Kaye joined. Then Don again for a short stint. He was replaced by Bo Savich and finally, Bo was replaced by Lynn Bruce).
Johnny and the Hurricanes toured and recorded, backing many groups, appeared on American bandstand, played the GAC Caravan in the US, plus shows throughout Canada and toured extensively world wide. During the winter, enduring the well known and literally freezing Winter Dance Tours through the Midwest, this was also the same itinerary Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper played. The group frequently backed Bobby Vee, Del Shannon, Freddie Cannon, Bobby Lewis, Paul Anka, The Dovells, Bobby Rydell, Gene Chandler, The Skyliners and many other top recording groups.
JUST A FEW OF THE ARTISTS JERRY BACKED ON GUITAR WHILE WITH
JOHNNY and the HURRICANES;
DEL SHANNON "RUNAWAY"
JAN AND DEAN "BARBARA ANN"
BOBBY VEE "DEVIL OR ANGEL"
FREDDIE CANNON "TALAHASSIE LASSIE"
BOBBY LEWIS "TOSSIN' AND TURNING"
ROSIE AND THE ORIGINALS "ANGEL BABY"
DIANE RENEE "BLUE NAVY BLUE"
ROD LAUREN "IF I HAD A GIRL"
I've just talked to Don Staczek and Paul Tesluk, both are doing great. I'll be adding more history, including recording info later next week.
Concerning the original group members and replacement members of Johnny and the Hurricanes, most of the information is common knowledge, a lot is not. I hope this will help to put some things in correct order, so here goes…….
In 1957, Johnny Pocisk on sax, along with Dave Yorko guitar, Paul Tesluk organ, Don Staczek on drums all from Rossford Ohio and all attended Rossford High and Butch Mattice bass, (from Toledo, he attended Woodword High School) formed the Orbits.
The following is an excerpt of an email from Don Staczek:
My name is Don Staczek, and it was during our junior year at Rossford High School that Johnny, Paul, Dave, Butch and I formed the band called the Orbits. Butch was from Woodword High in Toledo. We played teen dances and ballrooms all over Toledo during our senior year. After high school we got into Sylvia's nite club in Toledo. I left the band in the fall of '59 to go to college. That's when Tony Kay joined the group. The group moved to another club, Kathie's Colonial, in Toledo that winter. That's when they signed with a management agency out of Detroit and became Johnny & the Hurricanes.
Tony Kay left the group during the summer of '59 just as Red River Rock was climbing the charts. That's when I rejoined the group, cut the first album, and had the first appearance on the Dick Clark and Alan Freed shows.
The managers fired me just in time to go back to college, that's when Little Bo stepped in. The rest as they say is history.
Don has remained active, playing drums for 40 plus years and has recently been involved in recording on "CD Baby: WILSON LAKE & THE ROCK BASS: Wilson Lake & the Rock Bass". Be sure to visit the website http://cdbaby.com/cd/wilsonlake and see Dons latest project.
1. Don Staczek was the first member to leave the group. He was replaced by Tony Kaye. Don returned and recorded the first album and is pictured on that albums cover. His cuts were;
Happy Time Rock Cha
Bam Boo Thunderbolt
Joy Ride Lazy
2. Little Bo leaves and is replaced by Lynn Bruce
3. Dave Yorko was the original guitarist, toured and recorded on Twirl, Warwick, and Big Top labels. Guitarist Jerry Pynckel from Toledo, replaced Dave toured and recorded with Johnny and the Hurricanes on Warwick and Big Top.
4. Butch Mattice (bass) left the group and was replaced by Chuck Seiple from Toledo
5. Then Paul Tesluk (organ) left and was replaced by Eddie Wagenfeld from Toledo.
Paul Tesluk, Butch Mattice, Lynn Bruce, J.J. Rhinehart on guitar and Mike Murdza on sax, formed The Fascinators. They played at the West Fort Tavern in Detroit and in the Toledo area at the Carousel A Go Go, The Peppermint Club and The Bamboo Club.
When I was in the Hurricanes, it consisted of Johnny Paris, Butch Mattice, and Paul Tesluk. Lynn Bruce replaced Little Bo on drums. We were touring and recording on the Big Top label for Harry Balk and Irving Michanik. After I left the Hurricanes, I do remember John telling me they had Chuck Chittenden (guitar) from the Detroit area for a little while. I'm not sure about short fill-ins after the recordings stopped or much after 1962, just in reference to the early "permanent" original era recording and touring group members.
HAL HEDGES AND THE DREAMERS
After leaving Johnny and the Hurricanes, (which is said was something he did not want to do and would not have left if it weren't for extenuating circumstances that at the time involved personal family matters and ended up as one of the biggest regrets of his life). He rejoined Harold Hedges or Chops, as he was known locally. Chops was part of the group Freddie & The Parliaments. The new band played at the Carousel a Go-Go, in Toledo, Ohio. (It was run by Lou Abdo and Bobby Jacobs, Danny Thomas' brother). The Carousel Club was more upscale and they drew a packed house every night. At this time he and the group recorded "Pennies From Heaven" backed with "On My Knees". The record was released under the name Hal Hedges and the Dreamers, on the Showcase label.
The record was successful enough and was picked up by the ABC Paramount label and distributed. Even now their recording of "Pennies From Heaven" is currently available from an ABC Paramount Doo-Wop-Various Artist- Vol 3-Cd. He remembered they never really rehearsed "Pennies From Heaven", we just ran over it a couple of times. He said his lead was not very inventive however thats what they wanted and it worked. We did it in 2 or 3 takes. They toured and also did television appearances, all lip sync, just in and out after the performance. To them it was fun, performing always was.
DONNIE BRYAN AND THE RAGING STORMS
Jerry then played guitar at the Peppermint Club in Toledo, Ohio from 1963 through June 1966, continuously!! Yes, non stop, 7 nights a week. During this time he was the lead guitarist for the band, Donnie Bryan and the Raging Storms. In 1966 they recorded four songs at his favorite place to record, (outside of New York) United Sound Recording studios in Detroit, for the Keldon label resulting in offers from major labels.
SOME OF THE ARTISTS HE WAS EQUALLY FORTUNATE TO SHARE THE STAGE WITH BETWEEN 1963-1966 WHILE AT THE PEPPERMINT CLUB INCLUDED;
JERRY LEE LEWIS THE ROYAL JOKERS
THE PLATTERS THE FOUR SEASONS
THE FLAMINGOS RICK DERRINGER
DALE AND GRACE RONNIE DOVE
PRIOR TO THE PEPPERMINT CLUB, JERRY HAD PLAYED GUITAR BEHIND THE CONTOURS WITH THEIR HIT "DO YOU LOVE ME", IN THEIR PERFORMANCES IN THE TOLEDO AREA.
LATER, ON A PERSONAL APPEARANCE TOUR IN THE TOLEDO AREA, JERRY BACKED RAL DONNER "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'VE GOT" (Until you loose it). IN THE 70s DONNER DID THE VOICE FOR THE ELVIS DOCUMENTARIES. AFTER THE PEPPERMINT CLUB, HE PLAYED AT THE PICADILLY CLUB ALONG WITH THE DETROIT GROUP THE CAPRIS "ROSEANNA" (I'm Coming Home), PLUS A NUMBER OF OTHER HIT RECORDING ARTISTS.
In 1967, Jerry and the group he was with at the time, had taken an original demo to Marshall Chess at Chess Records in Chicago. They liked the songs he co-wrote and wanted to hear more however when it came down to figures, they were unable to resolve the song writing rights and the percentages Chess Records required, including no option assignment for A or B side. Some in the group thought it would be to difficult to resolve the matter. It's unfortunate because Chess Records was a fantastic company and it could have been worked out.
During the 1970s, Jerry recorded with the San Francisco bay area group Deep East, but still kept getting offers from companies for his audio circuit design work while he was in Northern California, (companies including, Seamoon Ltd. In Berkeley, 21st Century Products, etc.).
When he was offered the job at Seamoon, they were experiencing real financial difficulties because of the existing product problems, especially a small amp called the Peter Portable, it was being returned almost as fast as they were shipped out to the stores and the dealers were infuriated. John Lang the owner of the company, decided the damage was too great to overcome and discontinued the product. When Jerry first looked at their product inventory, testing was non existent, no burn in test on amplifiers and he couldn't believe the circuit boards were being hot glued into their enclosures. Apparently they didn't place much importance on how the boards were mounted in the cases. He doesn't think it ever was corrected and appears the practice continued.
John and his partner Michael Brinkerhoff wanted Jerry to concentrate on circuit designs and incorporate new products and a quality control system to assure that each and every unit would perform electronically as expected. Seamoon certainly didn't want a repeat of the past.
FUNK MACHINE V2
They ask Jerry to help by designing new products and in certain cases like the Funk Machine, designing circuitry to improve, stabilize and make the product more marketable. The Funk Machine effect was good he said however it was limited and we felt it would be great if it could be used for bass as well as guitar. So in October of 1975 Jerry designed a variable frequency control circuit and fortunately that opened up a whole new market with the new Funk MachineV2. It has, over the years, been used by quite a few bass players and on several recordings.
TONE CONTROLLED PREAMP
The next product Jerry designed, also in the same month 1975, for the Seamoon line was the TCP or tone controlled preamp, a sustaining distortion device that incorporated a variable bandpass circuit for wave shaping. This acted similar to a wah effect except it could be set by adjusting a knob to obtain the desired filter sound. The same as slowly depressing a cry baby pedal until you get just the right sound and leaving it in that position. This allowed a wide variety of choices. The TCP also worked equally well with bass or guitar. They said the sound of the first TCP prototype production units were almost identical to the Marshall sound. This was because of the higher small signal gain of the NPN transistors. Companies will always want you, as the designer, to use what they have in stock at the time. In this case there were a number of high gain devices available and they were incorporated in the circuitry.
When small signal transistors were purchased in large quantities from their suppliers, some were surplus, they usually are stamped with run numbers and were very inexpensive, thats why the numbers arent usually found in substitution books. They are standard transistors just not all of the runs and over runs have the 2N or MPSA, etc. stampings. Some companies will request a house number of their own requiring customers to purchase replacement parts from them and others use the standard industry numbers. If the company orders standard numbers they run somewhat higher in price.
Jerry remembered some of the stock transistors he used in the TCP had some obscure numbers and he did the specs and designed the unit around the available components until they were depleted. To replicate the original parameters he was sure a MPSA18 device would work and it did. Unfortunately a lesser transistor was used instead. The original transistors in the gain configuration used fed into an adjustable bandpass filter, had a phenomenal sound especially for the time.
Then in December 1975, Jerry designed a phase shifter for the Seamoon line from a previous circut he had been working on in 1974, called the studio phase which was one of the most versatile units on the market at the time. In the original prototype he incorporated the following features; The Studio Phase used a three position selector switch to activate added stages of increasing delay, resulting in some very unique spatial effects. The first stage created a normal phase shifting, while increasing the depth, it even became more ethereal. The second stage produced a chorus effect and also a simulated a Leslie effect on the guitar. The third stage was for flanging and generated a full up and over sweep and had the ability to be stopped at any point. The unit could also delay enough to produce a short guitar doubling effect when mixed with the original. The second prototype was more of a subdued, watered down version. Jerry still has the orginal studio phase prototype he designed. Variations of the designs are still in use today in different markets and in different packaging.
At the NAMM trade show in Jan 1976, John Lang decided to take a break and check out the competitions phase shifters, about 10 minutes later he came running back to the Seamoon booth, grabbed all of the catalogues and immediately began to raise his prices. Especially the Studio Phase, increasing it significantly.
21st CENTURY PRODUCTS
After leaving Seamoon, Jerry collaborated with 21st Century Products located in Marin county California north of San Francisco, designing one of the first small self contained professional bass amps principally for recording. It was previewed in Jan 1977 at the Anaheim trade show by Paul Rothchild. Paul wanted to distribute the units that consisted of a 15 inch JB Lansing bass speaker in a closely tuned sealed ash cabinet, with a 70 watt RMS amplifier. The reviews were exceptionally positive. In Anaheim Jerry Garcia and the bass player from Jefferson Airplane hot tuna and others were greatly impressed. This was because the amplifier produced a full spectrum of sound, plenty of volume, reactive controls and virtually impossible to distort. All in a compact yet very well built cabinet. Everyone agreed they would no longer have to lug their regular heavy equipment into the recording studio.
RANDALL INSTRUMENTS G&L GUITARS
In the last part of 1977 he moved to the Los Angeles area in Southern California working in the electronic industry, designing audio devices and amplification circuitry, for the musical instrument sector. Jerry joined Randall Instruments, in Irvine and while working in the engineering department he became friends with Dale Hyatt. Dale had previously worked in Fender Sales when Don Randall and Leo Fender were founders and owners of Fender Musical Instruments. After Fender, he worked for Don at Randall Instruments in sales. It was in 1980 and G&L Guitars began forming with Leo Fender, George Fullerton and Dale Hyatt. It was at this time Jerry became involved in product input with Dale on the G&L guitar prototypes.
Jerry Pynckel is still actively involved in writing, producing, recording and continues to design audio systems. He has written books on Circuit Designing, Audio Signal Processing and Techincal and Systems manuals.
Johnny Paris Jerry Pynckel Paul Tesluk
Sax Guitar Organ
Backstage before performance Jan 1961
Freddie Cannon & Jerry Pynckel
After Performance in Detriot
Jerry Live Performance 1966 Favorite Stratocaster
Canadian Tour, Niagra Falls Jerry 1968
Returning to Toldeo from Chess Records in Chicago 1968
John Lang at NAMM Show Jan 1976
John Lang & Jerry Pynckel 1976 Products Demo
Wally Heider mobile recording studio 1976.
(A) The Cosmos Factory (B) Seamoon Company
Postcard from Johnny Paris while in England.
"I've made it over here like you suggested"
Click to Enlarge
Jerry while working for Don Randall 80s
"I've Told Every Little Star" 1961