Ken Storie, Paul Solon, Mike Kotyk, Leigh Moore - From a Brandon Sun article, early 1971.
Blind Justice formed in the summer of 1970. The original lineup was: Leigh Moore (Keyboards), Paul Solon (Bass), Mike Kotyk (Drums), and Del Krauchi (Guitar) .
Del quit in Jan of 1971 and I had to audition to get the gig.
That was followed by a busy winter of high school dances throughout Westman.
In those days a live rock show, in a small town, was still a relatively new thing, and deeply appreciated.
We might not have been able to sound just like Led Zeppelin or the Allman Brothers, but we were pretty sure that being loud was the first step. Our crowds had never heard those bands. They were happy with what we were doing and cut us a lot of slack. We didn’t play a string of hit pop songs, we played what we liked. As long as it was loud, in tune, and you could dance to it, the audience was content. Extended solos and jams happened without plan. We often opened with an entire side of the first Santana album featuring long instrumental and rhythm passages.
Two shots from a performance on Canada Day at Curran Park, 1971
By the spring of 71 we had settled into a routine, which included consistent weekly practice at the North End Community Centre, where we had the use of the hall in return for playing an annual dance. We took what we were doing seriously, and worked hard on arrangements.
Mike Kotyk left the band and was replaced briefly with John Morgan, then Jamie Durward.
I have to say again that the spirit of the times encouraged us to expand out horizon. We didn’t have to learn the latest pop song to get work, we were busy as it was. What was cool was to be seen as progressive or original.
In 1971 bands like Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago were taking heavy rock basics and adding horns. Santana, one of our favourites, also recorded with horns, so adding a second drummer and horns seemed like a cool thing to do.
Drummer Mike Burtch had jammed with us a few times, and I believe that was the start of the idea of expanding the band.
We met a high school student, Dave Hasselfield from Deloraine, who could really play rock and roll, we added him to the band.
By fall we had added a trumpet player, Mike Pettit, and started working on songs by groups like Chicago while we added horn parts to much of our older repertoire.
We also found a teenager from Virden, Gaye Harry who could sing like Janice Joplin. We added her to join the band and expand our options even further!
By that fall our set list was miles away from where we had started. I loved the latest stones album, and Brown Sugar had a sax solo! Leigh liked horn sections and painstakingly charted trumpet and sax parts for Dave and Mike. Gaye added harmonies and sang solo on some of the newer female rock. Horns added punch to songs like Joe Cocker’s Delta Lady.
Rehearsal in the North End Community Centre
Ken Storie, Paul Solon, Dave Hasselfield, Mike Pettit, Mike Burtch, Gaye Harry, Jamie Durwood, Leigh Moore
We did gain some distinction and people took note that we were not just your run of the mill rock band. One highlight was playing the Vibrations Club in Winnipeg.
Another highlight was being the “House” band at Danceland at Clear Lake for a summer.
More lineup changes,
The eight-piece band, while interesting and challenging, was hard to manage. In hindsight, or even at the time, one could see that there were too many conflicting ideas. By the spring of 1971 Mike Burtch, Gaye, and Mike Pettit had left the group and were replaced by Barb Good a high school student from Souris on sax, and a young trumpet player from Brandon, Garth Scott. That lineup lasted through the summer, but I think the experiment was over.
When Dave and Jamie left the band, we went back to basics, bringing in local drummer Marty Old. That winter Leigh left for Ontario to pursue opportunities there, and we brought in Garth Dandy.
At the end of the winter of 1973, I was ready to begin a teaching career and had to move away to do that. Paul and Marty carried on for a while before turning to other projects.
Ken, Paul, Leigh, Garth, Barb, Jamie, Dave & Leigh
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