They’ve been bandmates and brothers for more than 50 years, but they’ve never recorded or toured together.
The Dodge City band Birth — Bill Warshaw, Jon Jambor, Christopher Cave and Lewis Mock — formed in the 1960s after the Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan Show. Birth played teen dances around Dodge City and other small gigs until the four graduated high school and went on with their lives.
However, Birth continues to gather and play. The last couple of years playing at Central Station during Dodge City Days. The band is well-known and recently received word it has been nominated for induction into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.
"We were all best friends," said Mock, who was known as Lee in Dodge City because his father was named Lewis. "All four of us lived within blocks of each other and were very seldom not hanging together."
"We all went to the same elementary school and were friends long before we started the band," he said. "We never toured or recorded, but I feel what makes us unique is that we are still able to perform live, which we have done for the last 5 years in a row, and sound better than ever.
"Lewis and Chris still play professionally, so that is a great help."
As for the nomination, Mock sees it for what he believe it is.
"It tells me that our music affected a lot of people and created a lot of memories for people, even though we never toured or recorded," he said. "A Birth dance was an event and the kids all came and had a great time.
"It’s amazing the nostalgia and what it means to our old fans and us. Let’s face it, every time I pick up a guitar, I’m 12 years old again."
Mock and Jambor both live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while Warshaw resides in Dodge City and Cave lives in Dallas, Texas.
"Everyone has pretty much been all in on playing reunion shows," Warshaw said. "The come to Dodge City a day before the show, we go over the song list, setup, sound check, play and then they have to go back."
Mock said the band didn’t have a leader, but did have some who stood out.
"I know we all looked up to Jon Jambor because he was fearless," Mock said. "Besides playing great bass, he wasn't afraid to do most of the lead singing, and was very charismatic on stage.
"We all had our strengths that we brought to the band and kind-of shared the decisions. We all loved the same music and bands and so we never really disagreed on what songs to play or how we were going to do them.
"Since the old days in Dodge, Bill Warshaw has pretty much been the leader in the fact that he finds gigs for us to play and gets everything organized for us to do it.
"One thing that amazes me to this day, is what great musicians these guys are and were when they were just kids. Bill was a "powerhouse" on the drums at 13 years of age. Chris Cave was a monster on keyboards and wailed on the Hammond organ, Jon Jambor was an amazing bass player, who totally got what a bass player is supposed to do all at very young ages.
"I have worked with many professionals over the years who still don't get it. These guys were "naturals" and I look forward to playing with them every time."
Warshaw agreed, but joked he was the leader.
"I can’t really say that we had a leader," he said. "I was one year older than the other three. so that make me the ‘leader’ doesn't it?"
For now, the group carries on with their lives, reuniting for gigs whenever possible.
"I wish we could have somehow managed to play together a few years longer," Warshaw said. "As far as touring and recording not so much. Playing with these guys once a year makes it all the more special."
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