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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • "Birth" takes the stage to bring back the 60s

  • High school reunions can be a little boring. But not if your favorite band is getting back together to play.
    Members of the DCHS class of 1972 got a ride back in time Saturday night when members of "Birth," a local rock band, took the stage for two 50-minute sets of classic rock.
    For many in the crowd, it was an instant ticket back to the late 1960s.
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  • High school reunions can be a little boring. But not if your favorite band is getting back together to play.
    Members of the DCHS class of 1972 got a ride back in time Saturday night when members of "Birth," a local rock band, took the stage for two 50-minute sets of classic rock.
    For many in the crowd, it was an instant ticket back to the late 1960s.
    Friends playing music
    "Birth" formed in much the same way many basement bands did in those days: kids who had been best friends since grade school developed an interest in music and got together to  play some tunes.
    Jon Jambor, Chris Cave and L.E. Mock were all in the same grade. Jambor played bass, Cave played keyboard and Mock played guitar. All three pitched in on vocals.
    "When we got together in 1967, we had another guy named Robin Spencer, whose father was the pastor at Fort Dodge. His mom helped us get jobs playing around town," Mock said in an interview Saturday morning before the big reunion concert.
    Before long, Bill Warshaw, who was a class ahead of the others, joined the group on drums.
    "I think we got Bill in the group because he joined the Columbia Record Club and had a great collection of music, plus he had a Ringo drum set," Mock said.
    The group started on a shoestring. Their first guitar amp was built from a Heathkit. Their first PA system was made with 8" car stereo speakers. Their first strobe light was a spot light with a spinning cardboard wheel with slots cut in it.
    The boys played music by Jimi Hendrix, Buffalo Springfield and Creedence Clearwater Revival, among others. They worked on the hottest hits like "Ina Gadda Da Vida."
    "We always played whatever music we liked," Jambor said.
    "In fact, we liked to play stuff the kids had never heard," Mock said.
    Soon they were playing all over town: the VFW, the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, Kitty's Kitchen.
    "We accidentally broke the steam bubble there and the guy who ran the place was really mad, so Lew's mom, Rosie, passed the hat to pay for it," Jambor said.
    Before long, the boys started throwing their own dances at the 4-H building. They charged a dollar a head at the door.
    "We ran the concessions ourselves — that's where we made the most money," Jambor said.
    They were too young to drive, so they'd rent a trailer for their equipment and the supplies for the concession stand and talk a parent or teacher into driving for them.
    "We also relied heavily on parents and teachers to be the chaperones at the dances. In fact, I think the reason we stopped playing dances was because we'd used up all the chaperones," Jambor said.
    Page 2 of 3 - They also played proms and the occasional student assembly.
    "They'd ask us to play when they couldn't book the Duncan Yo-Yo team," Jambor said.
    Eventually the boys were old enough to play the clubs around town: The Warehouse, Demon's Den and the old Opera House.
    The band's last concert was in 1972. They played at the bandshell in Wright Park in front of a crowd of around 2,000.
    "We couldn't find a roof to play on," Jambor said.
    After the concert in the park, the band packed up and headed to play at The Warehouse, a club on Wyatt Earp Blvd.
    "It turns out that the band Kansas was playing there the next night and they had come down to the park to hear our concert," Warshaw said.
    One more time
    Warshaw was on the planning committee for the reunion. When someone suggested it would be fun if the band could get back together and play, Warshaw called the guys and they agreed.
    Jambor had an electronics manufacturing firm and is now retired and living in Lawrence.
    Mock is band leader at the Broadmoor Tavern and a member of the Broadmoor Pops Orchestra in Colorado Springs.
    Warshaw lives in Dodge City and works for Standard Beverage, a liquor distributor.
    Chris Cave, who is unable to make it to the reunion, now lives in Dallas and works as a freelance video tech director.
    Saturday night marked only the second time the band has played together since 1972. They reunited for an earlier class reunion in 1994.
    "We have better groupies now," Jambor said. "They all have their grandchildren’s names tattooed somewhere."
    As they recalled their early experiences, they kept coming back to the support they had from their parents, the schools and the community.
    Not that everything they tried won approval.
    "Jon got expelled once for wearing a head band, a vest and no shirt and bell bottom pants to school," Mock said.
    "Yes, but mom bought me all those clothes. She went to New York to see 'Hair' and came back a changed woman," Jambor said.
    Still, thanks to the members of "Birth," at least one class reunion has had a memorable trip down Memory Lane.
    Postscript
    The Class of 1972 reunion was a success.
    "No one threw beer bottles on the stage," Warshaw said Monday.
    The crowd was larger than expected, thanks in part to fans of "Birth" who crashed the party to see their favorites back in action and everyone had a good time, especially the boys in the band.
    "I think they're already planning on us playing again next summer," Warshaw said.
    Page 3 of 3 - Cave, Mock and Jambor were all members of the Class of '73.

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