The Amboy Dukes

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The Amboy Dukes
Origin Detroit, Michigan
Genres Hard rock, acid rock, psychedelic rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, blues rock, garage rock
Years active 1964–1975
Labels Mainstream
Polydor
DiscReet
Past members

Ted Nugent
Bob Lehnert
Gary Hicks
Dick Treat
Gail Uptadale
John Drake
Steve Farmer
Dave Palmer
Rick Lober
Bill White
Andy Solomon
Greg Arama
Rusty Day
K.J. Knight
Rob Ruzga
Rob Grange
Gabriel Magno
Vic Mastrianni
Andy Jezowski
Rev. Atrocious Theodoeius, and

Joe Vitale

The Amboy Dukes was an American rock music band of the late 1960s and early 1970s from Detroit, Michigan, best known for their one hit single "Journey to the Center of the Mind." The band's name comes from the title of a novel by Irving Shulman. In the UK the group's records were released under the name of The American Amboy Dukes because of the existence of a British group.

The band went through a number of personnel changes during its active years, the only constant being lead guitarist and composer Ted Nugent. The group contributed to the foundations of heavy metal and progressive rock.

Origins[edit]

Ted Nugent, the nucleus of The Amboy Dukes, was born and raised in Detroit and started performing in 1958 at age 10. He played in a group called The Royal High Boys from 1960 to 1962 and later in group named The Lourds, where he first met future Amboy Dukes lead vocalist John Drake. Nugent played with The Lourds until his family moved to Illinois, where he founded The Amboy Dukes[1] in the Chicago area in 1964,[2] playing at The Cellar, in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, among other venues.[3] They later relocated to Nugent's hometown of Detroit. The members included the following:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar)
  • Bob Lehnert (vocalist)
  • Gary Hicks (guitar, vocals)
  • Dick Treat (bass, vocals)
  • Gail Uptadale (drums)

The above lineup did not release any recordings. Nugent's early guitar playing style with his signature Gibson Byrdland positioned high on his chest became an iconic playing style that visually differentiated him from other players. He combined this with his natural virtuosity and frenzied playing style on lead, adding a sonic differentiation to his unusual visual approach. This gave him an edge as a performance artist. Nugent's appreciation for his guitar inspired him to compose the song "Flight of the Byrd," which was released as a single and as part of their most popular album "Journey to the Center of the Mind".

Band line-ups[edit]

The following are lists of band member line-ups that received credits on officially released studio albums. Members who may have played with the band at live dates between albums are not included:

1967[edit]

After a band shuffle for signing a deal with Mainstream Records of New York, the band members who released their debut album, The Amboy Dukes, were:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • John Drake (vocals) ex-The Lourds
  • Steve Farmer (guitar, vocals) ex-The Gang
  • Dave Palmer (drums) ex-The Galaxy Five, ex-The Citations
  • Rick Lober (keyboards)
  • Bill White (bass, vocals)

1968[edit]

Journey to the Center of the Mind saw another member line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • John Drake (vocals)
  • Steve Farmer (guitar, vocals)
  • Dave Palmer (drums)
  • Andy Solomon (organ, piano, vocals) ex-The Apostles
  • Greg Arama (bass) ex-The Gang

1969[edit]

Migration saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Steve Farmer (guitar, vocals)
  • Dave Palmer (drums)
  • Andy Solomon (keyboards, sax, vocals)
  • Greg Arama (bass)
  • Rusty Day (Russell Edward Davidson) (vocals, harmonica) pre-Cactus

1970[edit]

Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Dave Palmer (drums)
  • Andy Soloman (keyboards, vocals)
  • Greg Arama (bass)

1971[edit]

Survival of the Fittest Live saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Andy Soloman (keyboards, vocals)
  • K.J. Knight (drums, vocals) ex-The Day & Night Dealers Blues Band
  • Rob Ruzga (bass) ex-The Day & Night Dealers Blues Band

1973[edit]

Call of the Wild saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, percussion, vocals)
  • Rob Grange (bass, vocals, arrangements, composer)
  • Vic Mastrianni (drums, vocals)
  • Andy Jezowski (vocals)
  • Gabriel Magno (flute, keyboards)

1974[edit]

Tooth Fang & Claw saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, percussion, vocals)
  • Rob Grange (bass, vocals, arrangements, composer)
  • Vic Mastrianni (drums, percussion, vocals)
  • Andy Jezowski (vocals)
  • Rev. Atrocious Theodoeius (guitar, vocals)(AKA Ted Nugent)

Timeline[edit]

Later happenings[edit]

Nugent went on to have a successful solo career in the 1970s and joined the Damn Yankees supergroup in the late 1980s. Since the 2000s, Nugent (although continuing his rock career) has been a prominent activist, both for hunting and for conservative politics.

Bassist Rob Grange gelled with Nugent on the last two Dukes albums and went forward with him to help create the first four platinum albums of Nugent's solo career.

Bassist Greg Arama died in 1979. Vocalist Rusty Day died in 1982.

Steve Farmer currently teaches in Redford Township, Michigan. He also performs with backing bands at various venues in and around the Detroit area.

Rick Lober is a classically trained composer best known in the greater Detroit metro area for his frenetic style of keyboard playing. Since the early 1990s, he has been in and out of the studio, appearing as performer/songwriter on the Steve Farmer CD Journey to the Darkside of the Mind (Saint Thomas Records, STP0069) completed in 2000. He is currently working in the studio and performing live with local Detroit rock legend Jeffrey Faust and his band "The Woodsman", which performs throughout Michigan and Canada.

2009 Reunion[edit]

The original Amboy Dukes (featuring Nugent, Drake, Farmer, Lober, Soloman and White) performed April 17, 2009 at the Detroit Music Awards at The Fillmore Detroit. Their performance began with the song "Baby Please Don't Go", from their 1967 debut single. Followed by "Journey to the Center of the Mind", and ending with Mitch Ryder's "Jenny Take A Ride" (featuring original Ryder drummer Johnny "Bee" Badanjek). In recognition of the band's contribution to rock music history, they received a Distinguished Achievement award. As the band left the stage, Nugent thanked all his fellow band members and told the crowd "And everyone knows that The Amboy Dukes are the ultimate garage band on planet earth".[4]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Date of Official Release
Title
Label
US Chart
1967 The Amboy Dukes Mainstream S/6104 183
1968 Journey to the Center of the Mind Mainstream S/6112 74
1969 Migration Mainstream S/6118 no chart
1970 Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom Polydor 24-4012 191
1971 Survival of the Fittest Live Polydor 24-4035 129
1974 Call of the Wild DiscReet DS 2181 no chart
1974 Tooth Fang & Claw DiscReet DS 2203 no chart

Singles[edit]

Date of Official Release
Title
Label
US Chart
1967 Baby Please Don't Go/Psalms Of Aftermath Mainstream 676 106
1968 Journey to the Center of the Mind/Mississippi Murderer Mainstream 684 16
1968 You Talk Sunshine, I Breathe Fire/Scottish Tea Mainstream 693 114
1969 Prodigal Man/Good Natured Emma Mainstream 700 no chart
1969 For His Namesake/Loaded For Bear Mainstream 704 no chart
1969 Flight of the Byrd/Ivory Castles Mainstream 711 no chart
1974 Sweet Revenge/Ain't It the Truth DiscReet 1199 no chart

Other releases[edit]

  • The Best of the Original Amboy Dukes - released after The Amboy Dukes left Mainstream Records (Mainstream S/6125) in 1969,[5] failed to chart.
  • Journeys and Migrations - Mainstream compilation double lp with songs of first 3 Amboy Dukes albums on Mainstream Records (Mainstream 801 - 2 Record Set) in 1973. (no doubles with the Dr. Slingshot compilation)
  • Dr. Slingshot - Mainstream compilation with songs of the 1st and 3rd Amboy Dukes albums on Mainstream Records (Mainstream 414) in 1974. (no doubles with the Journeys and Migration compilation)
  • Journey To The Darkside of The Mind, released in 2000, saw a rebirth of The Amboy Dukes by Steve Farmer and original keyboardist Rick Lober, sans Ted Nugent (Saint Thomas Records STP 0069) - didn't chart.
  • Two early songs featuring Drake on lead vocals and composition by Farmer/Nugent have been released as bonus tracks on various compact disc releases. They are titled J.B. Special and Sobbin' In My Mug of Beer and show the high energy of the first group that recorded as The Amboy Dukes. There are two different versions of J.B. Special, a shorter version clocking around 2:21 is quicker tempo with additional lyrics and is titled "alternate version". A more polished and slower tempo version clocks in around 2:33. It was recorded as a follow up single to their first album but not released at the time. Sobbin' In My Mug of Beer is a record label audition predating the first album sessions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bruno Ceriotti (2010-08-26). "Rock Prosopography 102: THE AMBOY DUKES FAMILY TREE - SHOWS LIST". Rockprosopography102.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  2. ^ "TED NUGENT Discusses AMBOY DUKES Reunion On WBSX-97.9X". Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Nugent's Amboy Dukes Reunite After 30 Years". Retrieved 18 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "Original Amboy Dukes, The* - The Best Of The Original Amboy Dukes at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 

External links[edit]