Featured Album

FAT WATER 1969 (from Lance Massey, Bill Schneider, GE Stinson)

Lance Massey played (guitar & keyboards) and was from Florida. He was formerly with the band “Beau Gentry” that also included Rick Jaeger (drums), Doug “Chico” Killmer (bass) and Russ DaShiell (lead guitar), (Of note: these 3 got big with “Norman Greenbaum” later with the song “Spirit in the Sky”) Beau Gentry had a record and they were touring the Midwest with great success in Wisconsin and Illinois. The main venue they played at was “The Pop House” located in Beloit, Wisconsin. Their manager was Steve Sperry and they had a huge following in the mid-west area. The gigging went so well, that they played up there for about 2 years and finally relocated to Wisconsin and were booked through Ken Adamany (now famous as the manager of “Cheap Trick”). “Billy Zoom” (later of the band “X”) was a young kid and was enamored with “Beau Gentry”. He remembers helping to carry amps for the band at a show they played at the Masonic Ballroom in Freeport, Illinois. The band was very popular, but short of a few singles recorded, they were still a cover band and the guys were growing weary. Doug was the first to leave and connected with James (P Curley) Cook as part of a very early version of “The Steve Miller Band”. Beau Gentry found a replacement for “Chico” on (bass) (Pete) and had already begun writing their own songs. A few 45’s (single records) were recorded, but it just didn’t work out. Members fell away, but stayed in the area with pick up bands. Meanwhile, Doug had relocated to San Francisco on the heels of “Steve Miller” and asked his cohorts (Russ, Rick and Lance) to join him in California. Russ and Rick followed Doug and departed Wisconsin, but Lance at the time had unfortunately been in a motorcycle accident and was in a Hospital recovering from the injuries. After he was released he decided to stay behind and settled in southern Wisconsin, eventually playing with bands in the Chicago Heights area. He was still managed by Steve Sperry. Before he got real famous with “The Eagles”, Irving Azoff was also booking bands in the area. Both Steve and Irving worked with Ken Adamany. One evening Steve asked Lance if he would come out and take a listen to this band with a pretty girl singer who had a great voice named Vicki Hubly. She was with an all-girl group called “The Same”. Lance liked what he saw. Irving booked shows for this band along with another band (“The Regiment”) and had been booking “The One Eyed Jacks”. He decided to merge Vicky Hubly (vocals), Lance Massey (guitar), Bill (Boris) Schneider (who was formerly with “The One-Eyed Jacks” (bass) and former “Regiment” members Everett Amundson (keyboards, flute) and Peter Milio (drums). Bill Schneider said that Lance was the best guitarist he’d ever heard and the band clicked very well. They needed a name and Bill remembered a comic strip called “Hey BC” where a caveman saw a snowflake and called it “Fat Water”. They frequented and honed their songs at “The Illini Brown Jug” (still active now as “The Clybourne”) located on South 6th St in Champaign, Illimois. Steve Sperry also worked with Dick Marx (who was the father of “Richard Marx” a real popular 80’s and 90’s pop musician. Dick had built a sound company, wrote jingles and made commercials for “Old Gold” Cigarettes, “Kellogg’s” Cereal, “Chicken of the Sea” Tuna, “Colt 45” Beer, “Double Mint” Gum and just about every other product sold on TV and Radio at the time. He was hugely successful and had a state-of-the-art Studio called “8-Track Studios” located on North Michigan Ave in Chicago. The band recorded several songs in the wee hours of the mornings. A photo session occurred and an album was put together. Each band member got about $1000 “give or take” in advance for their effort. Musically the band falls in the category of "Yankee Dollar" and/or "Love Exchange". Vicky Hubley was heavily influenced by Janis Joplin and comes across like “Karen Lawrence” of the “LA Jets” and “1994”. The Fat Water album in general has a San Francisco sound with heavy guitar from Lance, special effects, backwards embellishments and female vocals emphasis. They went out on the road to promote the record playing several pop and rock festivals, most notably the first West Palm Beach Festival in Florida. The headliner was “The Rolling Stones” along with “Janis Joplin” and other up and coming bands like “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Rotary Connection”, “Iron Butterfly”and etc. It was the largest crowd Fat Water had ever played to in excess of 450,000 attendees. No sooner had they released the album, but then MGM made changes. The company was in trouble financially and sold off the record division. Mike Curb became president and brought his own acts in. They stopped supporting bands under contract and they were no longer being promoted. Mike Curb began a campaign of “cleaning house” and clearing out bands that had “questionable” song titles and lyrics. Songs on the Fat Water album like “Santa Anna Speed Queen” and “Waiting for Mary” had drug influenced titles (according to the label) and because of this “Fat Water” made the “goodbye” list. 18 bands under contract were dropped by MGM. Lance left the band because he knew they were going nowhere. But, the band carried on and replaced Lance with Greg (G.E.) Stinson. Lance had been the main songwriter along with “Boris” Schneider and G.E. also wrote music, so he was a good fit. But, the music direction changed as G.E. was more into ‘Heavy English Blues”. The songs were much more progressive rock oriented and Mr. Stinson felt Bill Schneider wasn’t a good fit. He was replaced by Don Cody on (bass). G.E. was really into the experimentation of “John MacLaughlin’s”–“Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Jeff Beck” and “Miles Davis”. The band continued playing venues and festivals locally and began getting more gigs at bigger venues for concerts backing nationally known bands. They were featured at the first “Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival” (1970) located in Heyworth, Illinois along with “Canned Heat”, Country Joe and the Fish”, “Paul Butterfield Blues Band”, “Fuse” (soon to become “Cheap Trick”), “REO Speedwagon” (before they were nationally known) and “The Amboy Dukes”. As good as they were and became, there was little interest from any other record labels during this time and the band eventually faded out completely. As for Fat Water members, Vicky Hubley, Don Cody, G.E. Stinson, and Peter Milio continued as session musicians backing Harvey Mandel on his version of a “Super Session” and the album “Get-Off in Chicago”. Don Cody then wound up as a well-known recording engineer in San Francisco. Vicki and Peter also were part of the “Bruised Orange” album put out by “John Prine” and were featured with “Steve Goodman” for several albums. Peter Milio moved to San Francisco and played with “Country Joe MacDonald” and “David LaFlamme” of “It’s A Beautiful Day” for a while. G.E. Stinson formed the highly influential and successful “Shadowfax”. Everett Amundson retired from music and lives in Varna, Illinois. Bill (Boris) Schneider was originally an art major in College before taking up the bass guitar. After Fat Water, he finished college, became a financial adviser and eventually retired to his first love of painting. He is a well-known and respected artist, teaches workshops, has attained several awards and has had exhibitions of his paintings featured at several galleries all over the country. After he left Fat Water, Lance Massey actually played with “Aorta” for a short period and made music with local bands “Horsefeathers” and “Duck Soup”. He retired from music as a living and became a professional Carpenter. He still plays on occasion near his home town.

       Song List
1. I Can Be Happy
2. Joshua
3. Amalynda Guinevere
4. Gimme Your Sweet
5. Guitar Store Song
6. Only For The Moment
7. It’s Not The Same
8. Wayback
9. Waiting For Mary
10.Mistress De Charmaign
11.Santa Anna Speed Queen
12.Gotta Get Together