The Ginger Valley Story
(best as I can recall)
Once upon a time long - long ago in a land far to the south of the red river….
This is the story of the inception and short lived life of the band called Ginger Valley as told by one who’s memory lags at times and is clear at others.
After a period of no bands and basically hanging with old friends who played in several different bands in the area I was approached by Skippy Fritz and told of a group who was losing a member and needed a singer. The band was called Blue Bus, consisting of David Garing, Lewis Garing, Richard Mauch and Arnold Aldridge. Lewis was leaving and the band wanted a singer to replace him (a feat never accomplished I might add….Lewis is awesome) So I met with David, Rick, and Arnold and they were excited and I was as well. I was jazzed, finally in a band again!
Skippy also remarked that he knew of a bass player he thought would work out really well, his name was Edward Clifton….cool….so we all met (see it took two guys to replace Lewis). We played a few jobs mostly in Ingleside and Taft and other great metropolitan venues. High school dances and the like were our main source of work in those days.
Somewhere down the line Arnold left the band and once again Skippy said he knew a pretty good drummer named Bobby Donahoe who might be interested in joining. Long story short Skippy Fritz was actually responsible for the original line-up of Ginger Valley. We continued with this line-up for awhile playing here and there….local work mostly. I really do not remember why or exactly when the name change was brought up but obviously we collectively set about to change the name of the band. I do remember one person liked the name Ginger….found on an old tin I believe, while someone else liked the name Peace Valley or some such drivel……(again please note these are foggy memories sometimes). Eventually the two names worked their way to the top of the list and one day someone just said ‘how about Ginger Valley?’ Well that’s the long and short of the name anyway…hahahahahahahah
Down the line we started dreaming…….. nameless grumbling that went something like ‘we won’t ever get anywhere if we stay in Corpus’ and after all the ‘Bubble Puppy’ got signed and that was just up the road in Houston. THE RIB WAS BORN! We planned to move to Houston, get jobs and ‘woodshed’ for a year and present ourselves to International Artists Records. We had started writing our own stuff….We believed in ourselves...we really did!
Fast forward…got an audition of sorts in Houston at ‘Love Street’ in Houston….(Love Street was owned by International Artists) what did we do?….stayed up all night driving to Houston then hung at the Puppy's house playing Frisbee and just being silly….completely ignoring that we were to play that night and it was IMPORTANT. By the time we setup to play we were exhausted….’we sucked’ we were dejected……we knew, just knew we blew it….I cannot remember how….and to this day ‘why’ escapes me as well but IA (International Artists) offered us a contract. WHAT???????????????
That’s right a contract a real life 5 YEAR recording contract. We were astonished, but most of us had to go back home and have our parents co-sign…hahahahahahahaha
Fast forward again; started to get serious…we practiced a lot a lot a lot a lot…..really worked our butts off….writing, playing, trying to become this band that just gotten signed. Went into the studio…began to learn the recording process (Bobby was the only one with any experience at this). We were green very - very green, but determined and driven. We busted our humps to do our very best and we learned a lot really quickly. Richard had switched to a Rickenbacher 12 string (becoming our signature sound). David’s leads were amazing and we all had decent if not above average voices (again this too became a strength), lots of vocals. It was a really good little band with tons of potential. We recorded Ginger and Country Life for the first single. The green DJ copies came out….woooooooohooooooo we did it.
IA had in-house booking where we got us most of our gigs. We went to Louisiana and as far north as Iowa once…but most of the jobs were in Austin (frat parties)....played Love Street a lot and ‘starved’..hahahahahaha. We made most of our money in Corpus where we had a strong base of friends and family…played the Stardust many times. Probably the biggest job was opening for Quicksilver in Houston….the next big gig was opening for Spirit in C.C.
Meanwhile IA had become embroiled in money problems and at the same time decided to upgrade the studio….so sadly we never ever got to work on the rest of the tunes for the album that was promised us.
We never recorded again. So, no promo…no album…no real future and tensions were rising…..(particulars are not important here, who cares which arteries were involved….lets just say we were bleeding internally)
Edward and David decided to quit and go back to school …(understandable) and were replaced by John Mitchell - bass (Albatross) and Jeff Burke - lead guitar (for those interested, before David and Edward left Stanley Moore did play in the band for a couple of months…..we grew a lot during that time).
Well, we tried to keep it going…but finally IA and their financial woes caught up with us in the form of having our van repossessed (they were making the payments….frozen assets legal crap-olla blah blah blah).
I finally left and moved back to Corpus and the end was not long after that. T’was a sad sad ending but for a brief time the world was ours….it’s a great feeling, although fleeting and in the end a mirage….but hey…every kid deserves at least one or two mirages in their life right? I got mine and have no regrets!
John Kenney - 02 March 2005
THOSE WHO SERVED - in GINGER VALLEY
David Garing - Lead Guitar
Richard Mauch - Rhythm Guitar
Edward Clifton - Bass
Bobby Donahoe - Drums
John Kenney - Singer
John Mitchell - Bass GV2
Jeff Burke - Lead Guitar GV2
Stanley Moore - Drums GV1+
Again these are My fragmented memories from so - so long ago
Excuse any gaps …..no harm intended
Any of the above guys who want to add or correct anything here are the only ones with the right to do so!
Click here to see John perform "Money".
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