Biography by Joey Stec

Autumn 1969: I found myself in music heaven as I woke up one morning in Topanga Canyon just west of Hollywood in the west hills area of Los Angeles. Lovely Linda Laurence (now wife of Donovan Leach) had just introduced me to one of the most incredible men I have ever known: Brandon DeWilde. Movie star, singer, writer and friend, this guy was surrounded by everyone in the world who was anyone. He took Gram Parsons out of Harvard and into the music business, put together the International Submarine Band, introduced me to the Blues Magoos, to Bobby Keys, to Leon Russell… wow!

I had only been in L.A. about a years an a half when meeting Brandon, just leaving The Millennium after the recording of Begin (Columbia). I found myself jamming every day at Brandon Wilde’s house with John Nuise, Mickey Gauvin, Gram Parsons, Bobby Keys, Michael Clarke, Taj Mahal, you name it, it was like a dream. We played every music in the world from country to bluegrass, from 50’s rock & roll to real R&B; from Stax to Motown to The Beatles… we played on and on. I had been there about two weeks when in came a bunch of Brandon’s friends from NYC, The Blues Magoos.

They were on tour in the west and were contemplating breaking up the group and doing something new and different. Brandon introduced me to Ralph Scala and Walla we became instant partners. I joined the Blues Magoos and then we started writing and going to Leon Russell’s house and jamming, it was the greatest experience of my life. Between Ron Gilbert’s record collection and Brandon’s record collection of R&B and country music I dreamed I was there in hillbilly heaven. They had every song ever worth playing. And playing we did, 24 hours a day; sometimes 24 days in a row we jammed, wrote, learned and performed.

So many people use terms like post psychedelic and cosmic American music. It’s just rock and roll and rhythm and blues. Chuck Berry said it best: “It’s got a backbeat you can’t loose it”… yeah baby! Ralph and I we wanted to play like the big guys and we gave it a shot – every one in L.A. was playing California rock, southern rock and some soul bands. One of the best was Mr. Delaney Bramlett’s Bonnie and Delaney all in the family of the wizard Mr. Leon Russell who was the MD and playing with Mad Dogs, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, in other words every one. Anyway, Ralph and I wanted to do it a little differently; dropping the commercial approach, we went deep into the obscure vaults of R&B Stax, Motown, Tamla, Clarence Carter, Ike Turner, Sam & Dave and found the groove as Kay Poorboy says at the end of The Dependables record. We learned to underplay and work the groove.

After The Millennium I learned through the acknowledgments of Ralph that there was another form of music and lyrics I could write quite naturally. We wrote it as it had been written, and as close to the way the big guys wrote it, it had heart, it had soul, and most of all it had honesty with total absence of pretentiousness. We learned to find the groove 101 style. It’s so seldom ever mentioned that players like Michael Clarke of The Byrds, Ron Gilbert, Gram Parsons had record collections that were so obscure and so R&B that they couldn’t be found in a white neighborhood store in those days. Who would think that Mike Clark of The Byrds would have one of the best rhythm and blues record collection anywhere?

The Dependables wound up with a cast of Ralph Scala, Joey Stec, Carl Radle, Ron Gilbert, Chuck Blackwell, Randy Naylor on keyboards and most of all the incredible beautiful and talented miss brown sugar herself, Claudia Leaneer.

With all the thanks to all those great people and musicians that I have met along the way, and my thanks to the universe that gave me the opportunity to play with such great people and to have recorded some of the greatest music of my life that thirty years later we are able to listen to and memorialize. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Everyone “Keep on Dancing” are the words written on the gates to rock and roll heaven so I am told. And remember there are those who have, “Never Been Out of the Groove Honey”.

Joey Stec
L.A. 2003