The LeSabres - Photo Courtesy of Brian Enfield
Le Sabres
Portland, Oregon
1964 - 1969


Khryse Clarke ~ Drums
Brian Enfield ~ Saxophone
Duane Gusse ~ Keyboards, Vocals
David Grunt ~ Bass, Vocals
Jon Handa ~ Guitar, Vocals
Bill Howland ~ Trumpet & Vocals
Ernie Howland ~ Guitar, Vocals
Gene Perkins ~ Saxophone, Vocals
Burton M. Richardson, Jr. ~ Drums, Vocals

In Memory of

Gene Perkins
Duane Gusse

Walla Walla, Wash., Union-Bulletin

 Duane Robert Gusse
1944 - 2013

Duane Robert Gusse, age 69, passed away peacefully in his home in Olympia, on Feb. 1, 2013. He was born to Byron and Florence Gusse on Jan. 1, 1944, in Tacoma. He attended school in Waitsburg, where he discovered his talent and love for music and sports. While still in high school, he began his musical career playing keyboards and singing in popular local bands. He attended various colleges over the years including Central Washington University and Portland State University.

While in Portland, he met and married Delores Paulsen. Together they had three children, Yvonne Gusse Walker, Jeffrey Gusse and Steven Gusse. They also adopted Kimberly Gusse. Duane’s day job was for Dun and Bradstreet, but he lived for the music — playing with The Gems, Le Sabres and countless piano bars in the Portland Metro area. The family moved to Dayton in 1975 and he worked quality control for Green Giant.

He continued playing music — both with local groups and in piano bars. When he left Green Giant, he began a long career as an appraiser. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s he worked for Columbia County — first as a field appraiser, then as the county assessor. During this time, he and Delores divorced; and he met and married Margaret MacKinnon, who was his soul mate and best friend for the next 31 years. They moved to Western Washington, eventually settling in Olympia. He continued his appraisal career culminating in opening up Gusse-Wilson Appraisal Services, Inc. with partners Scott and Jean-Marie Wilson.

In 2003 he began reconnecting with the members of several bands from the ‘60s and this led to a resurgence of his musical career. He played with the Dukes of Juke for several years before reuniting with The Gems. He retired in 2010 and was able to devote more time to music and entertaining the crowds. Some of his other joys included watching his son’s wrestling events, perfecting his backyard grilling skills, playing with his basset hounds and exploring grocery stores.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret; his children; 10 grandchildren; and his dogs, Ranger and Maddie.

A celebration of his life is being planned for June in the Walla Walla area

LeSabres - Photo courtesy of Chris Boeh

The LeSabres - Photo Courtesy of Brian Enfield
The LeSabres was one of the best bands in the Northwest.  Too bad we never got the breaks.

Ernie Howland, November 2004

The LeSabres - Photo Courtesy of Brian Enfield

The Le Sabres in 1968 - Photo Courtesy of Duane Gusse
Gene, Duane, Dave Grunt, Burton
Ernie and Bill

The Le Sabres in 1968
Dave Grunt lives in Santa Barbara CA, and didn't make the 2006 reunion.

I was their drummer in 1965 until the band apparently "broke up" and shortly thereafter, (in June of that year), I went into the Army.  I have since changed my name from Khryse Clarke to Chris Boeh.

Of the band members listed on our page, I remember only Ernie Howland and David Grunt.  Dave and I graduated from Grant High in June of 1965. We practiced after school almost every night and were very dedicated to our music.  On Friday and Saturday's, if we weren't playing a gig, we'd invite our dates over to practice.  Practice was mostly at the Grunts' house.  On many occasions the basement was packed with people from the neighborhood.  We played at a Portland State Street dance on the same night of my senior prom.

Chris "Khryse Clarke" Boeh, February 2004

I played with the LeSabres as one of the original members until 1971 or 72.  Our drummer moved to LA where he was a disc jockey. Later on he worked in for Arsinio Hall and as a game show announcer.

In 1973 my wife and I moved to Santa Barbara, CA where I continue to play bass with a contemporary Christian music worship team at Living Faith Center. I also play the same acoustic guitar that I traded a bass for. My Fender bass was originally played by Mark of the band "Kingsmen"

I have my own business in designing and creating fine jewelry called The Gem Shop. I'm still happily married to the same child bride I loved from the first time I saw her.

We had a great time together as a group.

Dave Grunt, July 2005

I was a member of the Le Sabres from early 1965 until August of 1966. I was the group's first Sax player. The group consisted of Ernie Howland, Dave Grunt, Khryse Clarke, Larry (rhythm guitar) and Bill Howland, manager/vocalist.  Most of the practices at that time were held at Bill Howland's home. All others were held at Dave Grunt's house.

It was a great time in my life!!  Yes, and Khryse's memory is short. I remember riding around in that late 40's, competition orange Chrysler product of his more than once.

Le Sabres played the majority of Portland State College's Dances. They played the last "Winter Carnival" Portland State put on. Twenty-one colleges invited and held in Bend, Oregon, winter 1965/1966. The 40 year old photos are from that event.

Brian Enfield, August 2005

I joined the LeSabres Band after Brian Enfield left the group.  Burton M. Richardson had replaced Khryse Clarke on drums and vocals.  I left the band to attend Portland State College and went into the Air National Guard (for 6 years).  I got my private pilot's license after my time in the Guard.  Then, got my real estate license in 1973 and I am still working in real estate today, 2006, in Oregon and Washington States.  I miss the good times I had with the group!

Gene Perkins , June 2006

Thanks to PNWBands, I've located and been in contact with several musicians from yesteryear.  The most notable band was the LeSabres, which was a large sounding 60s R&B band ala Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, Sam and Dave, James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, etc etc.  After I submitted this band to you, gradually other members surfaced and we were able to communicate with each other.  This was a fairly long-standing band. I was in it from 1967 through 1968.  There were members from the early days that I didn't know until last year.

I was playing for a private party in Silverton, Oregon last year with the "Dukes of Juke", and struck up a conversation with one of the guests.  He said he'd played in a Portland band in the 1960s, like I had.  I asked, which band, and he said, "The LeSabres".  Well, geez, so did I.  That was Brian Enfield who was the original saxophone player.  I found out about Chris Boeh, the original drummer through this website.  I had communicated with Bill and Ernie Howland, but not Dave Grunt, and Gene Perkins.  I wasn't even sure where Gene was.  But, eventually, he found his way to, so he was the last link.

So, anyway, Bill Howland and I started talking about a reunion, and Bill put it together.  As it turned out, we had two reunions, the scheduled one, and another a week before.  Burton Richardson was going to be in Portland the week before the scheduled reunion, so we all got together with him a week before the scheduled reunion.    Both weekends were total blasts, and so therefore, I am deeply indebted to the PNWBands website for making it happen.

Duane Gusse, November 2006

Gene Perkins, saxophonist, died on Thanksgiving night after having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with his family at his mother's home in Battle Ground, Washington.  Esther said that Gene would bring coffee to her early in the morning and when he did not do this, she went to his room and found that he had died peacefully in his sleep.

Gene was a realtor with Georgetown Realty in Portland, Oregon.

Last year, he was able to locate some of the former band members and they met for dinner.

Gene was a liver transplant recipient and the transplant gave him nine years, enough time to see his daughter marry and to take his mother on vacations.  His daughter will soon graduate from college, a dream come true for Gene.  His friends and family will surely miss him!  He was a very giving and caring person and believed in God and heaven where he is now playing his saxophone to perfection.

Joyce Johnston, November 2007

I am in some of the above pictures (the guy with the red hollowbody guild guitar) and played rythmn guitar with the band from 1964 - 1966.

Jon Handa, November 2008

We, the LeSabres, had another reunion at Ernie Howland's house, Oct. 10, 2010

Dave Grunt, our Bass Guitar player, was here from Santa Barbara, CA.  This is the first reunion he's been able to attend, and the first time I'd seen him since late 1968.

Burton, Chris and Brian couldn't be there, and Gene passed away shortly after our reunion in 2007.   We had a good time, and made tentative plans to meet up with instruments at Ernie's sometime next summer.  Great guys and still all friends after all these years.

Duane Gusse, October 2010

Le Sabres Reunion - Photo Courtesy of Duane Gusse
Duane, Ernie, Gene, Burton and Bill reunited.

Duane, Gene, Ernie, Brian, Burton, Bill, Chris
Yet Another Reunion in 2007

Images courtesy of Brian Enfield

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Last Update:  1 March 2013
Credits:  Duane Gusse, Chris Boeh, Ernie Howland, Dave Grunt, Bill Howland, Brian Enfield, Gene Perkins, Joyce Johnston, Jon Handa, Bill Conley, Tim J. Marsh

Band # 718