Berger ~ Bass
Leonard Berman ~ Guitar, Vocals
Dennis Ducheminski ~Guitar, Vocals
Steve English (Pokey) ~ Bass
Steve Gilbert ~ Guitar, Vocals
Wayne Howard ~ Organ
Dean Qualsund ~ Drums
Jeff Weiler ~ Guitar, Harp, Vocals
Eddy Young (Gumby) ~ Drums
Jeff ? ~ Organ
In Memory of
Steve Gilbert (d: 24 January 2011)
Eddy "Gumby" Young
The Yrge was started sometime around late 1965. I believe the first members were Jeff Weiler, Dean, Dennis, Jim and an organ player named Jeff. I recall watching them play an early gig at a hall in Columbia City. I was quite impressed. The band name received some grief. Pronounced ‘urge’, it was as often mispronounced something like ‘ur-ge’. But the name stuck and the Yrge continued.
Sometime around 1966 the band lost Dennis and Dean and changed organ players, picking up Wayne Howard. The addition of Leonard Berman, Steve Gilbert and Eddy Young changed the band considerably. A very young Leonard was already a great guitarist. Steve Gilbert, formerly of Little Oly and the Fifths, was an outstanding vocalist and guitarist, and a very wonderful performer. Ed is simply the best drummer I’ve ever heard. Jim Berger soon left for the Army and I eventually took his place in early 1968 at the urging of my friend Jeff Weiler. At this time the play list changed with the emergence of bands like Hendrix and Cream. Leonard’s ability to effortlessly cover the era’s great guitarists, as well as Eddy’s impeccable percussion, allowed the band to move in these new directions. Still, there were conflicts in the direction the band was taking, as well as with personalities, which I believe led to the eventual breakup of the band late in 1968.One great memory is of Steve Gilbert bringing in a new song to practice that he had recently learned. Maybe it was nothing we’d use, but still, Steve and that 12-string of his! That incredible finger-picking! He would come in and pull off an uncanny cover of “Wichita Lineman” or Jose Feliciano’s “Light my Fire”, and it was like a performance done just for us bandmates. Another great memory is of the last time Jeff, Ed and I played together. It was just the three of us and Jeff simply ripped it with his blues harmonica and vocals. Ed and I were dropping our jaws. We even had the tape recorder going. Playing it back, we were like, “WOW!” It was Jeff finally being Jeff, showing us the truly great and original musical artist we all knew him to be. Alas, today it’s just another lost tape.
Eddy YoungI want to thank Jeff Weiler for his friendship and wanting me to be in his band. It was really a life-changer for me. And Jeff was a great friend in more ways than just that. I wouldn't know where to begin. I don’t know how to possibly thank Leonard and his father, Manny. I simply wouldn’t have been able to participate in the band if not for them. Their kindness impacts me still, all these years later, as the world of music made possible by them all those years ago is with me still. Of course, I also thank Eddy for all the good times then and for being my lifelong friend all these years.
Eddy Young and Dan Phillips
Steve English, Bassist, The Yrge
Classical Gas by Mason Williams was playing on the car radio yesterday and, as always when I hear that song, I thought of my old friend Steve Gilbert. Classical Gas was one of those songs Steve learned and brought to an Yrge practice to perform for us bandmates. Since that day I've always associated that song with Steve. Sadly, Steve passed away on January 24, 2011, finally losing a long battle with cancer. I couldn't put into words what a wonderful musician and performer he was, and how he was such a good friend to me back in the day. My thoughts go out to the family and friends who miss him dearly.
Steve English, Bass Player, The Yrge