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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 13, 1975)
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Local rock group Straight.
Photo by Ted Kirk
Local rock group Straight
shoots for national success
By Deb Gray
I. Oh, Lady Music
Singing all day long,
Long as we're together
We can't ever do no wrong. . .
Making it in the rock music business takes
more than Fender amps, more than a desire to
make music, more than talent. It takes a marriage
of managers, promotion agencies, engineers,
radio stations, determination and luck.
Straight, a Nebraska rock band, should know.
The band recorded a tape this summer in
Devonshire Studios in North Hollywood, Calif.
This fall, they've waited. Waited while a
business manager and producer 2,000 miles away
finds a record contract to seal their future. That
long wait and their lack of recognition in
Nebraska is about over.
That's what Gary Osheroff, calling from Los
Angeles, told drummer Lynn Elgert one
Thursday evening in December. Osheroff said he
and Sy Mitchell, Straight's producer, had formed
their own record company, Encore Records, to
market Straight's single Save Your Breath.
The group has had recording contract offers,
but Osheroff said, "the situation is so hot we
can't wait for the most lucrative offer."
Osheroff said he hopes he can make a record
deal with a major label as Save Your Breath
moves up the charts.
Earlier that December evening, the band sat in
the living room of the house where they had
practiced for more than a year, listening to radio
station KOIL in Omaha, waiting for the disc
jockey to play their single.
The first week in December was an important
one in Straight's climb toward success: that week
KOIL had agreed to air Save Your Breath and
test listener reaction.
Response to the tune had been good, Elgert
said. After two days, 70 listeners told KOIL they
liked the song, two didn't like it, and two people
said Straight sounded like Chicago.
Since KOIL first played the record, between
20 and 30 stations across the country have added
C.ts f ' i T)rrtll tUair r-A -t 11 r rr lief ivft A i n ry
to Elgert. The tunc is now number 28 on KLMS'
Straight now has a new promotion manager,
Tom Ray of Los Angeles.
"He thinks he can get the song into the Top
Five," said Dave Buchholz, composer of Save
Your Breath. "Out of the last 18 singles he's
promoted, 16 have been gold."
So after two-and-one-half years, Straight
believes it is nearing the mythical land of
"making it"a paradise where bucks drop in like
manna and where musicians reign as demigods.
The odds for success in the music business are
heavily stacked with ifs and buts. The successful
reach dizzying peaks of wealth and adulation.
And nine musicians-Lynn Elgert, Dave
Buchholz, Tom Ensley, Dennis "Putz" Stearns,
Scott Best, Tim Quance, Randy Nygaard, Arthur
"Bucky" McCann and Ric Teller-believe in
II. Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies we blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true. . .
from Tfie Wizard of Oz
thursday, february 13, 1975
Some people might accuse Lynn Elgert of
riding rainbows, forgetting that they fade with
But without Elgert, the band might not be
where it is today, for as guitarist Putz Stearns
once put it, "He had the nerve to tell the major
record companies, 'Hey, listen to us!'"
Elgert said Straight has changed since it was a
rock band in Hastings five years ago. There are
no original Straight members left, he said. Elgert
joined the band three years ago.
Other members .of the band gigged in
Nebraska bands before joining Straight. The band
has alumni from Duck, Wind Song, the Elastic
Band and Patchwork.
At first, Straight's repertoire relied on Top-40
hits, Elgert said. But that changed about a year
ago, he said.
"We decided that we were going to starve and
play original material. We didn't want to be
another Top-40 band. It's been hard for some of
us to get along financially for a while."
Things began clicking for the band last March,
"We started having neat musical ideas
together," he said. "We started thinking together
as a group."
A year ago, two record producers contacted
Straight. London Records liked the tape which
the band had sent them and offered them studio
time in either Denver or New York, Elgert said.
But then Sy Mitchell called from Los Angeles.
Mitchell was probably told about Straight by
Robert Lamm, Chicago's keyboard player, Elgert
said. , , .,.
He said Lamm first injected rockstar adrenihn
into the group.
"Bob heard an early tape that we'd made and
said that we had a lot of potential. He told us to
get into a house and practice our heads off. And
that's what we did."
When thev had to Dick between two
producers, neither of whom they had seen, the
t was hotter Known,
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Elgert said, and he had more than 35 gold
records to his credit. Mitchell has engineered
records for Chicago, Janis Joplin, Barbra
Streisand, and produces Red Bone.
For the last two-and-one-half years, Elgert
said he has treaded a barbed wire fantasy
between frustration and success. What will he do
if the band fails?
"Well, during the last four months I've had
offers to play with Woody Herman and Jimmy
Dorsey, among others, where I could be earning
at least $300 a week," he said. "I also have a
friend with a lot of ins in Washington, D.C., who
said he could line mc up with a lot of jobs. And
I've been to Canada and think the market there is
But, Elgert said, he will never leave this band
until every last hope and alternative is squeezed
out. Membership in a rock band is an oath of
loyalty, he said.
"When you join some band, you dedicate
yourself to that band no matter what happens.
You put everything you have into it. That way if
things don't work out, it's not your fault.
1 that you
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Continued on p. 6
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