Allen Gill, Glenn and Louise (our biggest fans) Ed Elam, Tom Lively, Larry Fritts
Cowboys and Indians
Tualatin, Oregon
1972 - 1973

Members
 

Ed Elam ~ Drums
Allen Gill ~ Guitar, Vocals
Larry Fritts ~ Guitar
Tom Lively ~ Vocals
Gene Swift ~ Bass, Vocals
 

In Memory of

Allen Gill
Tom Lively

We could always count on Glenn and Louise, here cutting loose in front of the stage, to get things moving.  Allen Gill on guitar was also an engineer who built the amps for both Saturday Miles and Cowboys and Indians.  He was killed in a car accident after a gig at Mark's Tavern, in West Linn Oregon, where this picture was taken.  We played a mixture of Grateful Dead music and mid-60s Buffalo Springfield and Byrds.  Also a few country tunes (Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Dave Dudley, and Earnest Tubbs) to keep the money coming in.  Sometimes we made as little as 50 cents a night, each.  The Grateful Dead road crew (primarily Fat Vern and his friends) would show up and cause all kinds of trouble, which made thing very interesting.  A few years later, Tom was shot and killed in a domestic dispute.

Larry Fritts, April 2003

It was a bit rough at times but we learned a lot and became better players. Tom had an amazing voice. He could do Elvis exactly one minute and Merle Haggard the next yet he retained his own sound too. Allen Gill could sing with the range, power and clarity of Paul McCartney and he was a great songwriter. I still do one of his songs to this day, “Give Me Some Wings”. I do not do it justice but I play it for people when I can and I am including it on my upcoming CD “Backseat Guru”. Allen and Larry were tremendous guitar players and Ed Elam was/is one of the best drummers on wheels. Our dubious association with the road crew from the Dead and Fat Vern did make it interesting but it had great side benefits also. Every time the Grateful Dead came to town we would get to go backstage and hear the band close up and meet everyone and talk to the band members. Seeing Garcia live, close-up on stage taught us what a real band and a real sound system was like. Of course, those were the days before real tight security, before the big stadium shows when the Dead were still playing great, 3000 to 5000 seat venues like the Paramount in Portland. Later at Marks Tavern we did a bit better financially as the crowds grew to the point where they torn down the back wall and made the place a bit bigger. Once in a while other friends of ours would play there like “The Sunnyland Band”. Once on the way to a gig in Pendleton Oregon we stopped at Blue Mountain Community College and set up our amps in the middle of the campus on the grass without getting permission. We played for about 10 to 20 minutes before the authorities shut us down but we gained some more fans for the shows that weekend.

Gene Swift, April 2005


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Last Update:  4 April 2011
Credits:  Larry Fritts, Gene Swift
Band # 1185