Dorward ~ Drums
Keith Etherton ~ Bass, Vocals
Jay Maudslien ~ Drums, Vocals
Bob Merrihew ~ Drums, Vocals
Gary L. Rollins ~ Lead Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Dave Taylor ~ Bass
Greg Zimmerman ~ Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
In Memory of
d: 15 Feb 2013
Original band members
The band, Amethyst, was formed by myself, Gary L. Rollins (lead guitar, bass guitar, vocal), and drummer extraordinaire and vocalist Jay Maudslien in north Seattle (now Shoreline), Washington in the spring of 1973. Greg Zimmerman, a talented guitarist and vocalist, whom I had worked with before, joined from the band's inception. Initially, we formulated the style of the group with a repertoire of tunes by the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Doobie Brothers and Wishbone Ash. Right away, our focus was on playing music that we liked- and was challenging, Conforming to the constraints of dance music was not our main objective. We found a bass player (Dave Taylor) within a couple of months to complete the four- piece band.For the next year, we played a variety of gigs including high- school and junior high school dances. We became known as a band to “listen to” more than to dance to – which suited us just fine. We featured quite a bit of our own compositions, which ran the gamut from progressive rock to jazz to country, along with our penchant for odd- metered time signatures.
By August 1974, personnel changes began to occur for various and sundry reasons. After several months of gigging with a somewhat fluctuating lineup and a more mainstream set list, Greg and I, along with our new bassist/ vocalist, Keith Etherton, chose Bob Merrihew as our latest drummer. Most of our gigs the past few months had come from our association with Craig Cook of the agency, UNICAM. With the new personnel, we continued our relationship with the agency and worked consistently.
Bob brought a “soulful” element to the group and we added material by the likes of Donny Hathaway, Ramsey Lewis and The Isley Brothers; and Greg began to double on piano and Fender Rhodes electric piano, which added a whole new dimension to our sound, as well. Although the group had evolved into more of a dance band, we always maintained an eclectic array of styles from acoustic, pop and country to soul, jazz and rock. Greg and I continued to compose and the band still performed original material. And, for as long as Greg and I played together, we always included some British progressive rock in the sets e.g. Yes. Also, we always paid tribute to one of our idols, Wishbone Ash. I don't believe we ever played a gig without doing at least a couple of their songs!We had grown up a lot, but still, we were teenagers (I had just started college in the fall), and we had different ideas about the direction we wanted to go, musically. So, being young and foolish, we split up in November, 1975. Bob Merrihew and I formed a “new” Amethyst with our college friends and started moving toward a much more jazz oriented scene, but that's another story!
I had been performing for quite a few years already, but Amethyst was the first band that was my own. And, for that reason, will always remain special. But, not only that- when I hear the tapes- we were damn good!
Gary L. Rollins, June 2009
Gary Rollins Today