Twin Cities Rock and Roll Legend
Born at the exact moment the age of Aquarius dawned, the enigma known as Curtiss A began his not-yet ended trip to nowhere. Named after a 20th century Minneapolis downtown landmark , the Curtis Hotel, Curt’s just glad his Dad wasn’t facing south or he’d be Lemington A. His Mama was a Lewis so he always felt an affinity to “Uncle” Jerry. Curt hints at the possible assignation with Carl Perkins when she waitressed at the Flame. He’s also fond of that old chestnut about Dave Dudley drying out in the basement in the Moorhead before he could tour behind “Six Days”. “I was fascinated by Little Richard and Bo Diddley and all the other giants of my wonder years.”
Curt’s first band was the FIENDISH THINGIES (after a George Harrison “Help” quote) in Oklahoma City 1966. “First Gig, first joint, first UFO all in one night”. The first band that meant anything to anyone was WIRE. Formed in 1969, they lasted through numerous personnel changes until 1973. The boys took a year off and reformed as THUMBS UP (Gary Rue’s idea) and once again lasted about three years, with numerous permutations, one of which was christened SPOOKS. The band collided with the new wave and became the springboard for the entertainment machine known as CURTISS A. Slim Dunlap and Frank Berry provided the sturdy skeletons. Slim became the replacement Replacement and Frank recorded “She Got Sex” with the PISTONS.
Mark Goldstein had been in SKOGIE and the FLAMING PACHUCOS with Rick Moore (the provider of Demi’s surname), but returned to the Midwest after a bad experience on the coast. He enlisted the SUICIDE COMMANDOES and Curt (As Buzz Barker) to record the “underground hit” “Land of the Free”.
“I Don’t Wanna Be President” continued in the political rant vein. Three LPs were recorded for Twin Tone during the 80s, the highlight of which was the last, A Scarlet Letter, produced by “Big” Al Anderson (while he was in NRBQ). The next LP was to have been produced by Peter Holsapple and the dBs, but life got in the way. “We did two small East coast jaunts together. Really a good memory”.
Peter became quite busy as R.E.M.’s utility player. Family tragedy caused Curt to retire for a year until Bongo coaxed him out of his self-imposed exile.Since then, he’s done the Lennon Tribute annually and several iconic Elvis shows represented by live CDs. Two hard to find, out-of-print CDs also exist, legendary “Over at Slims” and “Make it Big” (recorded at the late Gary Snow’s Cathouse Studio R.I.P.).