Articles by Kenny Vaughn

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Kenny placed third at the Brea store competition and wants to thank those who came out to watch the drummers compete. It was alot of fun and reminded Kenny of the good old days! Not bad considering Kenny stopped playing for more years than the age of the guys who came in first and second.

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Question Asked:

What was the the most difficult location the band ever played at in terms of setting up the equipment?

Answer:

Back in the early 1970’s we played for a party on a river boat at Lake of the Ozarks. We were using the original band name Sound Company back then. Well, we had to “hand carry” all of our equipment down and up about three flights of wooden stairs to get to the dock and load the gear on the back of the boat. If you’ve ever seen how steep wooden stairs on a hill side going down to a lake can be, you will understand how difficult this was. The the power on the boat was provided by a generator so we had problems with that as well. It was fun though cruising around on the lake that night as I’m sure the fish and several lake residents knew we were there!! Believe it or not, it was easier taking the equipment back up those stairs than taking it down to the boat!!

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We understand that we were just another highly motivated rock band that like so many others, wanted to make the big time fame and money. That was the common thread that every group of musicians had regardless of the outcome of their efforts. However we believe we fell into a more refined category in that food chain because not only did we land the record deal with MVP/Polydor Records but our fans had read the articles about our soon to be released album in Billboard, Record World and Cashbox so everything was in place to take the next step by touring to promote the new album. And then at the worst possible moment Polygram took over Polydor and everyone in the company who was going to support our music was let go! Reaching that point after twelve years of working your way towards that common goal and having the rug pulled out from under you is like having the wind knocked out of you “multiplied by a thousand”. Financial considerations and core changes to where the band was at that time weighed heavily on where to go from there. It was very difficult to imagine going back to playing clubs and venues where we had to play copy tunes again so we could earn the money required just to make ends meet!

The business is not fair all the time and certainly there are thousands of great musicians and bands out there. The beauty of it is this….. That was over 26 years ago and groups relied completely on the record label and A&R people to get careers off the ground. Today, we have the internet. Today, we can reach out to all of the people who might have enjoyed our music back then. Since no one really heard most of what we are offering here, this music is still new and fresh to everyone who hears it. For those fans who bought the Trapped Live album and remember our live performances, this will simply offer them a new trip down memory lane. For everyone else, this is a total exposure to what our lives and music were like between 1969 – 1982 plus an opportunity to listen to the solid rock music we had to offer even though some people at a large corporation could care less!! Some people have committed suicide after facing that level of disappointment.

Others figure out ways to keep on going!

If you arrive at this web site and you give our music a fair listen to. Do us a favor. Tell everyone you know to at least check out what we have to offer here and see if some song, photograph or personal experience strikes a note in their heart. For anyone out there who knows what it feels like to have all the momentum in the world going your way and then to have some executive who could care less about your life’s ambition and work destroy it in the blink of an eye ….. this web site is for you. This is not going to be a band reunion effort, but merely a shot to bring Mizzouri Foxx music and history back to the people. If you understand what we are saying then you will help us use the internet to tell the world about our music and awesome life experience in the world of rock and roll.

Rock On!

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Gary Lohmann now lives in Neosho, Missouri

After the band decided to go their separate ways, Gary was committed to putting together a new band with other Missouri musicians including his writing partner Chuck Neal. However, when the good news came that a second child was on the way, he decided it was time to get a day job. With Disco replacing Rock n Roll and DJ’s replacing live musicians, the only way to make a decent living playing Rock n Roll was to go back out on the road, which would mean being away for long stretches of time. In 1983, Gary took a job at Memory Lanes Antique Mall, working his way up to manager. During this time he continued to play in popular bar bands in the L.A. area, including The Lohmann Neal Band. In 1996, Gary started his own Antique Mall called “Pieces of the Past” in Torrance, CA. In 1999 Gary successfully settled out of court with his previous boss at Memory Lanes due to his dismissal on constitutional grounds. The settlement gave Gary the finacial freedom to move back East. Instead of going back to Missouri, he went to Nashville to continue his songwriting. After 1 year Gary felt he needed to move back to Missouri after being away for 26 years to help his father and grandmother.

Back in Neosho, Missouri Gary once again started performing, doing solo performances with sequencers, keyboards and of course guitar and vocals. Around this time he also joined the popular local band “Old, Fat and Ugly”. In 2002, Gary decided to go back to school and in December of 2005 he graduated from Crowder College (Kenny and Randy’s alma mater) as a Graduate Nurse. Gary moved to Branson, Mo in 2006 and took his nursing boards in April of that year. Gary is now working as a RN in the Emergency Room at Skaggs Hospital in Branson.

Gary and his wife Bonnie got married in 2004 and now live in Reeds Spring, Mo, on Table Rock Lake, just outside of Branson. Gary and Bonnie have a recording studio in their new home and are currently working on material for other artists as well as planning a CD of their own in the forseeable future.

Kenny Vaughn lives in Buena Park, Ca.

Kenny’s love of drums began at the age of eleven when visiting his cousin Stan Garver one summer in Boardman, Ohio. Stan was already an advanced level drummer and he had a snare drum in his bedroom that Kenny first tapped out on for the first time. It was like a huge light came on inside as he instantly fell in love with the sound and feel of the snare drum. His parents, Hank and Martha supported his excitement and interest and bought him a snare drum immediately. The following Christmas they bought him a red sparkle Apollo drum kit which consisted of a bass drum, 12″ x 13″ rack tom tom, 15″ floor tom, snare drum, hi hat and two cymbals. Kenny spent many hours in his bedroom pounding away on this kit. His early favorite drummers were Sandy Nelson, Earl Palmer, Ed Shaughnessy ( from the Tonight Show ), Louie Belson and Buddy Rich ( he met Ed, Louie and Buddy several years later at the Starwood Club in L.A.! His parents also paid for private lessons by a teacher from Kansas City but Kenny didn’t like the man and soon stopped taking lessons. This was probably one of the biggest mistakes Kenny ever made because that teacher was trying to teach him all of the rudiments and technique that would have improved his ability tremendously. Kenny moved from Neosho, Mo. to McAlister, Okla. and then to Tulsa, Okla. during his senior year. These moves were obviously very difficult on him and one of the few high points was again his parents purchased the blue sparkle Rogers drum kit with two rack toms. It took several weeks to arrive but when it did, everything seemed perfect in his life as he said he would never want anything else in the world if he could only get that set of drums! Kenny added the second bass drum and rack tom soon after joining Sound Company the summer after he graduated from Memorial High School in Tulsa. Other key drummers that were very influential in his style were Ginger Baker, Don Brewer, Leonard Haze, Carmine Appice, Floyd Sneed and Tommy Aldridge. There was another not so famous drummer who played with a band called Lightning and opened for Three Dog Night at Keil Auditorium named Bernie Pershey who also had a major impact on Kenny. In fact, Kenny says it was Don Brewer and Bernie who convinced him he had to quit smoking if he was ever going to play with the power and endurance of those guys! Kenny never considered himself a technically skilled player but always focused on the live performance, his ability to play the double bass kit and overall endurance he developed after he quit smoking. Remember folks, after Iron Butterfly’s Inagadadavida and Cream’s Toad, the long drum solo was in! So naturally Kenny was into the long drum solo. ( plus it gave the rest of the band time to go have a smoke break)

In 1975 Kenny’s favorite car that he had since he was sixteen, a 1967 light blue Mustang was rear ended and totaled at the end of the 91 Freeway in Los Angeles. Jerry McConnell was with Kenny that night and they were very fortunate no one was hurt. There was a small financial settlement with the insurance company and he bought his last kit which was the silver Tama drums. That was the kit he had when the Trapped Live album was recorded at the El Toro Marine Base. In the early 1970’s he felt most comfortable using the old but reliable Ludwig Speed King pedals on the bass drums. He also developed a micro switch set up with lights mounted inside each kick drum and the lights would come on every time he used his pedals. Additionally, a Navy Seal buddy of his helped develop light stick holders on his drum sticks that in those days became a cool special effect as Kenny would hit the sticks on the rim of the drums and BINGO! he had green lights on his sticks that became a cool effect during the drum solo. He likes to think this was the early cave man version of what the Blue Man Group uses today in their shows!

Kenny has been working at Northrop Grumman for the past 25 years and is happily married to his wife Virginia. It was Virginia’s G.E.T.U.P. youth group at the First Congregational Church of Buena Park that inspired Kenny to create the Biograpy Project which then led to the development of this web site.

Randy Butler lives in Southwest Missouri

Randy is a natural talent. Period! He can play bass guitar, keyboard instruments and he will claim to some he knows how to play drums. His voice is easy to distinguish, he loves to use harmony parts wherever it makes sense and he has always had excellent song writing skills. Some of his earliest influences in music came from local groups who played at the CRC in Neosho like St. John and The Apostles, Lavendar Hill Mob and The Bluethings. He remembers going to the Ranch in Galena to watch a band called Kansas play before they made it big. Other key influences on his musical tastes were Jethro Tull and Three Dog Night. Randy also is naturally talented in golf and pick up basketball which he still enjoys playing both sports even today. Throughout the career of Sound Company/ Mizzouri Foxx it was Randy’s drive for perfection that kept the groups tight sound on the leading edge. Randy loved to work closely with Kenny as they always believed the bass and drums to be the backbone of the group so they constantly drove to be “TIGHT” at every live performance!

Rick Hair lives in Utah

Rick felt that after an incredible time living “The Life” of a Rock’n’Roller, it was time to experience the complete opposite. The quiet suburban life – 2 kids, 9 to 5 job, little league baseball, girl scouts, boy scouts, PTA etc. Still not quiet enough! Trying to raise a family in Southern California, with all of it’s craziness, he decided to re-locate to a small resort town in Utah, and start his own business. With it’s success, and his son being groomed to take it over, Rick and Traci (married in 2006) are looking forward to lots of leisure and travel. Jamaica in 2008 and Australia/New Zealand in 2009.

Rick’s earliest exposure to music was his mother’s record collection. A treasure of Elvis, The Four Seasons, etc. Then came the Beatles and the British Invasion and he knew immediately what he wanted to do. A shopping trip to Joplin Piano to buy a Farfisa portable organ and sign up for lessons. In a short time, the lessons got in the way of a 14 year olds summer fun, and were discontinued. Jon Lord, of Deep Purple and Jimmy Greenspoon, of Three Dog Night were definite influences due to their hard driving keyboard sounds.

“The Life” — We will always remember the highs, performing with “superstar” groups, such as Fleetwood Mac, Styx, Van Halen, just to name a few, or sold out shows at El Toro, Gator Gardens, or numerous High Schools and Colleges. But just as memorable were the other times in “The Life”. Driving to Dallas in an ice storm on New Years Day, Chuck Stillman was on that trip with us. Our first Hollywood party with Glen Buxton, of Alice Cooper, and Iggy Pop, the original punk rocker ( remember the two weird chicks, wow!). Drinking with David Lee Roth, of Van Halen, at the Handlebar Saloon in Pasadena. Flying helium trash bags over Ventura Boulevard with Richie Podlor and Bill Cooper, on a break from our recording session, Richie was the producer for all of the Three Dog Night albums. The Fourth of July barbecue with Peaches and Herb. Christmas caroling with a host of talented musicians and record company execs at the record companies Christmas party. Bowling at 2am with Winchells donuts. The weekly card games. Late night Burritos at El Tarrasco after many hours of rehearsal. All of the 3:00 stage calls, there is nothing more exciting than set-up time in an empty hall just hours before a show. There were so many great and exciting times. Doing what you love to do, and doing it with your four best friends for so many years is the greatest experience a person can have. They say you can never go back, but we had that opportunity on June 30th, 2001. Six years later I still get “goose bumps” remembering that night.

It is truly regretful that there are not more pictures and/or videos, especially of the live performances. Where were the cameras for the Bulldog concert, our first big show. It was at the Shrine Auditorium, a 10,000 seat hall in Springfield, MO. (we opened with a song called Blueberry Trail).

Hopefully, through this web site, Mizzouri Foxx can share some of these memories with the young and not so young fans of 70’s rock music and an incredible time in the music world and in all of our lives. It is hoped, that through this site old friendships can be renewed and new ones can begin.

Thanks to all who were a part of this incredible ride! Especially Randy, Kenny, Gary, Jerry, and Chuck. God bless you all!

Jerry McConnell lives in Las Vegas, NV

Jerry McConnell was the key reason the band enjoyed a thirteen year career in music. As those who have travelled down the rock band pathway know, you NEED a guy to keep things together not only from a business perspective but from the “Big Brother” perspective as well. To say Jerry was the road manager for Mizzouri Foxx is an understatement. He basically did everything except play and write the music. He did all of the band business transactions, he was the primary interface with the people who hired the band, he did everything the roadies did, he ran the lights and sound as needed but most importantly he was the fifth and deciding vote on all band decisions. Ask anyone in a band how well things are going when you only have four votes and time after time you get two votes going one way and two votes going the other. The guys in this band will tell you that it is impossible to measure the value Jerry brought to the group and their success. He loved the life, the music and the people in the world of rock and roll so this web site and everything it represents is virtually a tribute to Jerry’s dedication and hard work!

For those who know and remember him from the good old days, you know exactly what we mean when we say this about him!! He has found a great new world of happiness in Las Vegas as it offers him so much of the excitement he enjoyed and worked so hard for during the Mizzouri Foxx years!

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