Basically, TOOBA BLOOZE was an R&B band with a guy puffing into a tuba where the bass player would be. Until they broke up in 1990, they were the easily the biggest thing in town. It's proof positive of the stupidity of the recording industry that no A&R rep ever scooped these guys up. With the whole "roots" thing being so popular today, I've no doubt they'd still be going strong if they were together.
I first saw them at the Yellow Springs street festival in October, 1987. I was drunk and eating spaghetti on the sidewalk. Everyone else was drunk too. The band came out and played what amounted to one drinking song after another. It was great.
When Viper's Drag was released, they had a different drummer than the one they started with, but I believe the rest of the lineup never changed:
Denny Wilson (top left) - electric & acoustic guitar, vocals
Hal Taylor (top right) - electric & acoustic guitar, vocals, tubas
"Captain" Karl Streuber (bottom left) - harp, zippers, vocals
"Rotten Rod Bradley (bottom right) - drums
When the band broke up in late 1990, Denny, Rod, and Karl went on to form the short-lived WIZBANGS, a '70s-style groove-rock combo featuring Tim Taylor on guitar and Juan (last name?) on bass. They were fairly good, but with Denny, Tim, and Juan lined up in front of the drum kit, they were nauseatingly pretty. Of course, the band didn't last long, and by the summer of 1991, they'd gone their separate ways (though not without recording some demos that will be shared on this blog some time in the future). Tim and Juan went on to form BRAINIAC. I don't know what became of Karl and Rod.
Of Denny, I have only rumors. I'll report them here and maybe someone can tell me how close to the truth they may or may not be:
- Rumor #1: Denny moved to NYC, where he played solo for a while and was offered the chance by some A&R dude to be molded into "the next Michael Bolton." Some versions of this rumor have Denny refusing the offer, others have him accepting it.
- Rumor #2: Also after moving to NYC, he married the actress who was the speaking voice of Pocahontas in the Disney movie of that name.
True, or not? You tell me...
Toobas had one other release besides The Viper's Drag: a self-title vinyl EP, which featured their most popular song "Greedy Mr. Creed." I don't have that record, so I doubt I'll be sharing it here. But I can clear up one myth that used to linger around town about that tune. Although Denny (who wrote it) worked at Canal Street Tavern for years and the song is about a shitty bar owner who waters the drinks, it was most assuredly NOT about Canal Street Tavern owner Mick Montgomery. It was actually inspired by the owner of a pizza joint Denny worked at before he worked at Canal Street -- or so Denny always claimed. Anyway, although the drinks at Canal Street seemed to cost a little more than average, I don't remember thinking they were weak. They still got me pretty fucked up.
1. 7 Million Miles
2. Rainbow Song*
3. Stumble of the Fumble Bee
4. The Viper's Drag**
5. Crazy Al
6. Buffalo Jill (Queen of the Scene)
7. Bowl Full of Cherries
8. Life Is A Pickle***
9. Steamy Theme
All songs by Wilson & Taylor, except: * Wilson, Taylor, Streuber; ** Fats Waller, arranged by Wilson & Taylor; *** Streuber;
My personal favorite has always been "Crazy Al." "Buffalo Jill" is supposedly about a girl in Dayton whose name I can't remember (and probably wouldn't tell you if I could). "Rainbow Song" turned up on some radio playlists just last year.
Download It! (32 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
See TOOBA BLOOZE practice photos from 1988.