1964: The Amboy Dukes

 Jan, 24 - 2014   no comments   1960s Music


The Amboy Dukes was an American rock music band of the late 1960s and early 1970s from Detroit, Michigan, best remembered for their one hit single “Journey to the Center of the Mind.” The band’s name comes from the title of a novel by Irving Shulman about a Jewish street gang of the same name in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn during the 1940s. In the UK the group’s records were released under the name of The American Amboy Dukes owing to the existence of a homonymous British group. The band went through a number of personnel changes during its active years, the only constant being lead guitarist and composer Ted Nugent. The group contributed to the foundations of heavy metal and progressive rock.

The Amboy Dukes (album)

The Amboy Dukes (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ted Nugent, the nucleus of The Amboy Dukes, was born and raised in Detroit and started performing in 1958 at age 10. He played in a group called The Royal High Boys from 1960 to 1962 and later in group named The Lourds, where he first met future Amboy Dukes lead vocalist John Drake. Nugent played with The Lourds until his family moved to Illinois, where he founded The Amboy Dukes in the Chicago area in 1964,[3] playing at The Cellar, in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, among other venues. They later relocated to Nugent’s hometown of Detroit. The members included the following:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar)
  • Bob Lehnert (vocalist)
  • Gary Hicks (guitar, vocals)
  • Dick Treat (bass, vocals)
  • Gail Uptadale (drums)

The members above did not release any recordings. Nugent’s early guitar playing style with his signature Gibson Byrdland positioned high on his chest became an iconic playing style that visually differentiated him from other players. He combined this with his natural virtuosity and frenzied playing style on lead, adding a sonic differentiation to his unusual visual approach. This gave him an edge as a performance artist. Nugent’s appreciation for his guitar inspired his self composed song titled “Flight of the Byrd” which was released as a single and as part of their most popular album “Journey to the Center of the Mind”. Later happenings Nugent: The Pinball Game Nugent went on to have a successful solo career in the 1970s and joined the Damn Yankees supergroup in the late 1980s. Since the 2000s, Nugent (although continuing his rock career) has been a prominent activist, both for hunting and for conservative politics. Bassist Rob Grange gelled with Nugent on the last two Dukes albums and went forward with him to help create the first four platinum albums of Nugent’s solo career. Bassist Greg Arama died in 1979. Vocalist Rusty Day died in 1982. Steve Farmer currently teaches in Redford Township, Michigan. He also performs with backing bands at various venues in and around the Detroit area. Rick Lober is a classically trained composer best known in the greater Detroit metro area for his frenetic style of keyboard playing. Since the early 1990s, he has been in and out of the studio, appearing as performer/songwriter on the Steve Farmer CD Journey to the Darkside of the Mind (Saint Thomas Records, STP0069) completed in 2000. He is currently working in the studio and performing live with local Detroit rock legend Jeffrey Faust and his band “The Woodsman”, which performs throughout Michigan and Canada. 2009 Reunion The original Amboy Dukes (featuring Nugent, Drake, Farmer, Lober, Soloman and White) performed April 17, 2009 at the Detroit Music Awards at The Fillmore Detroit. Their performance began with the song “Baby Please Don’t Go”, from their 1967 debut single. Followed by “Journey to the Center of the Mind”, and ending with Mitch Ryder’s “Jenny Take A Ride” (featuring original Ryder drummer Johnny “Bee” Badanjek). In recognition of the band’s contribution to rock music history, they received a Distinguished Achievement award. As the band left the stage, Nugent thanked all his fellow band members and told the crowd “And everyone knows that The Amboy Dukes are the ultimate garage band on planet earth”.

  • Hard rock
  • acid rock
  • psychedelic rock
  • heavy metal
  • progressive rock
  • blues rock
  • garage rock
  • Pop/Rock
  • Arena Rock
  • Detroit Rock
  • Psychedelic/Garage
  • Album Rock
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • 1964–1975

The Amboy Dukes 1967 After a band shuffle for signing a deal with Mainstream Records of New York, the band members who released their debut album, The Amboy Dukes, were:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • John Drake (vocals) ex-The Lourds
  • Steve Farmer (guitar, vocals) ex-The Gang
  • Dave Palmer (drums) ex-The Galaxy Five, ex-The Citations
  • Rick Lober (keyboards)
  • Bill White (bass, vocals)

Journey to the Center of the Mind 1968  Journey to the Center of the Mind saw another member line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • John Drake (vocals)
  • Steve Farmer (guitar, vocals)
  • Dave Palmer (drums)
  • Andy Solomon (organ, piano, vocals) ex-The Apostles
  • Greg Arama (bass) ex-The Gang

1969 Migration saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Steve Farmer (guitar, vocals)
  • Dave Palmer (drums)
  • Andy Solomon (keyboards, sax, vocals)
  • Greg Arama (bass)
  • Rusty Day (Russell Edward Davidson) (vocals, harmonica) pre-Cactus

1970 Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Dave Palmer (drums)
  • Andy Soloman (keyboards, vocals)
  • Greg Arama (bass)

1971 Survival of the Fittest Live saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Andy Soloman (keyboards, vocals)
  • K.J. Knight (drums, vocals) ex-The Day & Night Dealers Blues Band
  • Rob Ruzga (bass) ex-The Day & Night Dealers Blues Band

Call of the Wild (Ted Nugent and the Amboy Duk... 1973 Call of the Wild saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, percussion, vocals)
  • Rob Grange (bass, vocals, arrangements, composer)
  • Vic Mastrianni (drums, vocals)
  • Andy Jezowski (vocals)
  • Gabriel Magno (flute, keyboards)

1974 Tooth Fang & Claw saw another line-up:

  • Ted Nugent (lead guitar, percussion, vocals)
  • Rob Grange (bass, vocals, arrangements, composer)
  • Vic Mastrianni (drums, percussion, vocals)
  • Andy Jezowski (vocals)
  • Rev. Atrocious Theodoeius (guitar, vocals)(AKA Ted Nugent)
  • 1967 The Amboy Dukes Mainstream
  • 1968 Journey to the Center of the Mind Mainstream
  • 1969 Migration Mainstream
  • 1970 Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom Polydor
  • 1971 Survival of the Fittest Live Polydor
  • 1974 Call of the Wild DiscReet DS
  • 1974 Tooth Fang & Claw DiscReet DS
  • 1967 Baby Please Don’t Go/Psalms Of Aftermath Mainstream
  • 1968 Journey to the Center of the Mind/Mississippi Murderer Mainstream
  • 1968 You Talk Sunshine, I Breathe Fire/Scottish Tea Mainstream
  • 1969 Prodigal Man/Good Natured Emma Mainstream
  • 1969 For His Namesake/Loaded For Bear Mainstream
  • 1969 Flight of the Byrd/Ivory Castles Mainstream
  • 1974 Sweet Revenge/Ain’t It the Truth DiscReet

Amboy Dukes – Journey To The Center Of The Mind Stranglehold-Ted Nugent live 1976 Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes – Sweet Revenge Ted Nugent’s Amboy Dukes – Hibernation Amboy Dukes – Migration (1969) Amboy Dukes – Marriage Pts 1-3 Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes great white buffalo

  • Mainstream
  • Rock Bottom
  • Polydor
  • DiscReet
  1. http://www.chromeoxide.com/amboy.htm
  2. http://www.discogs.com/artist/252486-Amboy-Dukes-The
  3. http://www.last.fm/music/The+Amboy+Dukes
  4. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-amboy-dukes-mn0000046120/biography

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