Brownsville Station (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Brownsville Station
Brownsville Station, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1972
Brownsville Station, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1972
Background information
OriginAnn Arbor, Michigan, United States
GenresRock, hard rock, glam rock[1]
Years active1969–1979, 2012–present
LabelsWarner Bros. Records, Palladium Records, Big Tree, Wounded Bird, Private Stock, Epic, Rhino, Atlantic
MembersMike Lutz
Henry "H-Bomb" Weck
Billy Craig
Arlen Viecelli
Brad Johnson
Past membersCub Koda
T.J. Cronley
Tony Driggins
Bruce Nazarian
Andy Patalan

Brownsville Station is an American rock band from Michigan popular in the 1970s. Original members included Cub Koda (guitarist/vocalist), Mike Lutz (guitarist/vocalist), T.J. Cronley (drummer), and Tony Driggins (bassist/vocals). Later members included Henry "H-Bomb" Weck (drummer) and Bruce Nazarian (guitarist/vocalist).

They are primarily remembered for the top-10 hit single "Smokin' in the Boys Room" (1973).


Early history[edit]

Brownsville Station was formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1969. Their early albums included song covers from bands which had inspired them.[2] In 1970, they released their debut studio album, No BS, on a Warners Bros. label. Their biggest hit, "Smokin' in the Boys Room", written by Michael Lutz & Cub Koda, from their 1973 album Yeah!, reached No. 3 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 27 in the UK Singles Chart. The track sold over two million copies and was awarded a gold disc status by the RIAA on 15 January 1974.[3]

Later history[edit]

In 1977, Brownsville Station recorded "Martian Boogie", one of their seven singles to chart on the Hot 100.[4] The song was also a feature on Dr. Demento's radio show. "(Lady) Put The Light On", their penultimate single, also charted in the Hot 100, at 46.

After drummer Cronley left the band, Van Wert, Ohio, native Henry "H-Bomb" Weck was called on to fill the position left by Cronley.

The band's second-highest Billboard charting single was "Kings of the Party" which topped out at No. 31 in 1974.

Original members of Brownsville Station disbanded in 1979 and their final studio album together, Air Special, was released by Epic in 1978.

Cub Koda was the most visible Brownsville Station member after their break up. He recorded a number of solo albums and toured with his own group The Points as well as blues man Hound Dog Taylor's backing band The Houserockers. His solo repertoire included the albums Cub Koda and the Points, It's the Blues, Box Lunch and the career spanning compilation Welcome to My Job. In addition, Koda, a rabid collector of rockabilly, doo wop and blues, wrote liner notes for numerous retro releases (including Jimmy Reed, Freddy Cannon and The Kingsmen) and countless music reviews for the All Music Guide series of books and website. He also wrote a popular column ("The Vinyl Junkie") for Goldmine magazine and co-authored the book Blues For Dummies. In addition, he hosted The Cub Koda Crazy Show for Massachusetts radio station WCGY during a period in the early 80s. Koda died of kidney disease in July 2000 at the age of 51.

Mike Lutz went on to produce many bands, including Ted Nugent's Spirit of the Wild album, and toured in the 1990s with Nugent. Lutz still resides in Ann Arbor, teaches guitar and bass at a local music store called Oz's Music, writes and produces many acts.

While still in Brownsville Station, Henry Weck engineered and co-produced the Strikes album for Blackfoot, which produced two hit singles, "Highway Song" and "Train Train" (on which Koda played harmonica). Weck continues to record and produce in Memphis, in Ann Arbor at Lutz's Tazmania Studios and is the co-driving force of the re-united Brownsville Station.[5]

After T. J. Cronley left Brownsville Station, he spent a career in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Marine aviator, and retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1992. He is currently a pilot for FedEx and resides in Yuma, Arizona. He is also an artist.[6]

Bruce Nazarian went on to produce, engineer and perform with his band "The Automatix", who released their debut LP on MCA in 1983. He was the CEO of Digital Media Consulting Group and ran a popular digital media website "". Nazarian also produced and hosted The Digital Guy radio show in addition to being a music producer, concert impresario and artist manager. His last band, "The Brotherhood" is slated to release their debut CD "(It's) All About The Groove" in early 2016. Nazarian died in October 2015.

In 2008, Brownsville Station was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.[7]

Through the band's early days, Weck captured over 500 hours of Brownsville demos, rehearsals, live shows and even some special events. In 2012, Lutz and Weck began sorting through the recordings in Lutz's Tazmania Studio. The result is Still Smokin', featuring new songs and updated versions of the band's "My Friend Jack" and “Smokin’ In The Boys Room”.

Augmented by new players Billy Craig, Arlen Viecelli and Brad Johnson, Brownsville Station returned to the road in 2013.

In popular culture[edit]

In the television series King of the Hill, Brownsville Station is part of the subplot of "Hank Fixes Everything" (Season 10, Episode 10), reuniting for the "Still Smokin' in the Boys Room" tour[8] (incidentally, when the band reunited for real in 2012, their subsequent album would be titled Still Smokin'). The band is a favorite of the character Lucky (voiced by Tom Petty), who camps outside the ticket booth to purchase seats for prime viewing of Mike Lutz playing guitar.


Brownsville Station's early influences included Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and other 1950s rock and roll musicians. Koda's onstage antics influenced many rockers including Peter Wolf and Alice Cooper.[2]

Band members[edit]

  • Mike Lutz (1969–1979, 2012–present) - guitar, lead vocals, bass, keyboards
  • Henry "H Bomb" Weck (1972–1979, 2012–present) - drums, vocals
  • Billy Craig (2012–present) - guitar, vocals
  • Arlen Viecelli (2013–present) - guitar, vocals
  • Brad Johnson (2013–present) - bass, vocals

Former members[edit]

  • Cub Koda (1969–1979; died 2000) - guitar, lead vocals, harmonica
  • T.J. Cronley (1969–1971) - drums
  • Tony Driggins (1969–1972) - bass, vocals
  • Bruce Nazarian (1975–1979; died 2015) - guitar, lead vocals, keyboards, bass
  • Andy Patalan (2012–2013) - guitar, vocals




Year Album US[9]
1970 No BS
1972 A Night on the Town 191
1973 Yeah! 98
1974 School Punks 170
1975 Motor City Connection 204
1977 Brownsville Station
1978 Air Special
1995 Seeds
2012 Still Smokin'


  • 1993: Smokin' In the Boys Room: The Best of Brownsville Station
  • 2003: Smokin' In the Boys Room and Other Hits
  • 2005: Smokin' In the Boys Room
  • 2006: Rhino Hi-Five: Brownsville Station


Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
US Cashbox[10] US Hot 100[11] Canada[12] UK Singles[13] Album
1969 "Rock & Roll Holiday"
b/w "Jailhouse Rock"
Non-album tracks
1970 "Be-Bop Confidential"
b/w "City Life"
1971 "Roadrunner"
b/w "Do The Bosco"
"That's Fine"
b/w "Tell Me All About It"
Non-album tracks
1972 "Rock With The Music"
b/w "Country Flavor"
A Night On The Town
"The Red Back Spider"
b/w "Rock With The Music" (from A Night On The Town)
85 96 Non-album track
1973 "Let Your Yeah Be Yeah"
b/w "Mister Robert" (from A Night On The Town)
60 57 54[A] Yeah!
"Smokin' In The Boys Room"
b/w "Barefootin'"
2 3 3 27
1974 "I'm The Leader Of The Gang"
Original B-side: "Fast Phyllis"
Later B-side: "Meet Me On The Fourth Floor"
26 48 38 School Punks
"Kings Of The Party"
b/w "Ostrich"
31 31 39
"Mama Don't Allow No Parkin'"
b/w "I Got It Bad For You"
74 77
1977 "Lady (Put The Light On Me)"
b/w "Rockers N' Rollers"
44 46 50 Brownsville Station
"The Martian Boogie"
b/w "Mr. Johnson Sez"
45 59 52
1979 "Love Stealer"
b/w "Fever"
Air Special


  1. ^ Chart position is from the official UK "Breakers List".
  1. ^ Beverly Paterson (July 12, 2013). "Forgotten series: Brownsville Station – Yeah! (1973)". Something Else. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen. "Brownsville Station", Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 325. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ "Brownsville Station Songs: Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  5. ^ Yvon Serre. "Official site". Henry Weck. Retrieved 2015-08-26.
  6. ^ "Artist/pilot soars with aviation themes | soars, aviation, themes". YumaSun. Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  7. ^ "Michigan Rock and Roll Legends - BROWNSVILLE STATION". Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  8. ^ Polcino, Dominic; Archer, Wesley (2006-04-02), Hank Fixes Everything, Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Adlon, retrieved 2017-12-11
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2018). Top Pop Albums 1955-2016. Prometheus Global Media. ISBN 978-0-89820-226-7.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-01-18. Retrieved 2015-08-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archive". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-08-26.
  12. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles search results".
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 83. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]