East Coast, sharing a stage with
some of the biggest names in
the music business.
of York, Pennsylvania, a band
with a reputation built on a solid
foundation of musical proficiency.
They honed their chops.
Now they're gettin' their props!
In the mid to late 60s there wasn't a kid in Central PA who didn't know The Magnificent Men, and there were very few who hadn't heard of The Soul Clinic, the York based R&B band that rose to popularity, toured and recorded during
the same time frame as the Mag Men.
I am very proud to present my exclusive nine part interview with The Soul Clinic. It's their first Q&A in 43 years and the first and only comprehensive,
in-depth conversation providing a detailed account of the band's history from start to finish. Over the next three weeks Soul Clinic members will share with you in their own words the fascinating and at times outrageous stories of the band's genesis, triumphs, travails and ultimate demise. You will hear the recordings made by The Soul Clinic. To put their work into context I will include a few selections by other artists that influenced them or performed with them.
My opportunity to interview The Soul Clinic grew out of a reunion that took place at the Roosevelt Tavern in York in April of 2011 when five members of the band got together
for the first time in 40 plus years.
The Soul Clinic was a racially integrated octet that included, in the reunion picture above, clockwise from lower left, bass guitarist Ted Saxon, trumpet player Rick Dillman, organist Rick Terlazzo and drummer and band leader Larry Smith.
The picture below includes Bruce Delauder, The Soul Clinic's sax player (center rear) and the one and only Adrian "Buddy" King (lower left), a lead vocalist of the Magnificent Men who dropped by to reminisce. Dave Bupp, the other lead singer of the Mag Men was unable to attend due to illness.
In the midst of the reunion, Soul Clinic guitarist Mike Eads joined the party via speaker phone from his home in Seattle. For all intents and purposes that left only two band members absent. Tony Scott, the lead singer of The Soul Clinic, had passed away years earlier, and it had also been many years since the other members of the Clinic had been in touch with trombone player/vocalist Clark Miller who resides in California. In recent months Clark and his band mates reconnected and he hopes to make the trip back home to York for the Clinic's next reunion which might take place as early as this summer.
Clark, seen above on the right with his younger brother Mike, is currently recuperating from an illness. I join the members of The Soul Clinic and my readers in wishing Clark a speedy recovery. I am also announcing right at the outset that this blog series is dedicated to Mr. Clark Miller. Although Clark is not feeling his best lately it didn't stop him from participating in our interview and sharing memories. We'll be hearing from Clark in an upcoming segment but in the meantime I invite him to sit back and enjoy the ride as we tell the story of the band that he helped make great, The Soul Clinic. Here goes!
S.D. KNIGHT: Good morning, gentlemen, and welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories! Thank you very much for being here as we begin this exciting journey, The Epic Odyssey of a Band Called The Soul Clinic. Larry, I'd like to start with you. What is the meaning behind the name Soul Clinic?
There is no specific meaning.
For me it reminded me of an
old style "Revival Meeting".
It also implied that...you come
to our shows and get down,
and when you leave later, it's
like you've been to the "Clinic"
and your soul's been healed!!
S.D. KNIGHT: Rick Dillman, let's hark back to a time before The Soul Clinic formed. Please introduce the two popular
York area bands that were progenitors of The Soul Clinic.
Rick Terlazzo and Larry Smith
were the ones that conceived
of The Soul Clinic from
The Concords and The Epics.
Rick T and I first played
together in The Concords.
My brother Tom Dillman
was the drummer which got
me into the band at age 13.
RICK DILLMAN: The above picture of the Concords shows
Clark Miller on vocals (front left), Rick T on organ (back
row left), Mike Eads on guitar (back row third from left),
my brother on drums and me on trumpet. My parents felt
I was safe with my brother in the band but within the year
he left for college and they couldn't get me out after that..
lol.. On a serious and sad note, Donnie Hoke, the guitar
player in the back row, second from left, lost his life at
the age of 18 when a fork lift fell on him at the AMF
(American Machine & Foundry) bomb plant in York.
LARRY SMITH: We all knew and loved Donnie. He was
a really funny and sweet guy. It was a HUGE shock.
RICK DILLMAN: There's a better shot of Donnie Hoke
in the picture below which shows an earlier Concords
lineup. Donnie is in the back row closest to the camera.
His tragic death came just after he got his 4F deferment
from the military. Donnie had everything going for him.
He had found a beautiful girl, deferred military and a
good job. Donnie had just told me that he was happier
than ever in his life. As Larry mentioned, Donnie was
also the funniest dude I've ever met.
The Concords seen performing in the picture above are
(front row) Bob Pavencello, Skip Nevin and Rick Paven-
cello and (back row) "E String" Mick Campanalla, Rick
Terlazzo, Don Hoke and Larry Smith who was filling in
for my brother Tom Dillman on drums. The photo was
taken at a show at York Catholic High early in 1965.
RICK DILLMAN: The picture above shows a later lineup
of Conchords that included, from bottom right, Donny
Sponseler, Rich McGriff, Donnie Banks, Tom Dillman
(my brother), me - Rick Dillman aka Little D, Jack Truett,
unknown, Mike Bose and Steve Spangler. Notice that
the band's name was spelled "Conchords." After Rick T,
Clark Miller and Mike Eads all left and joined Larry Smith
to form The Soul Clinic the "H" was added to differentiate
between the old version of the band and the new.
The pictures above and below again show the Conchords
membership that existed after Rick T, Clark and Mike left
and just before I departed and became the last to join
Larry's band, The Soul Clinic.
The only member of the Conchords whose name I can't
recall is our sax player. He joined about a month before
we broke up. Jack Truett, the organ player (front center)
left shortly after to join Jay and the Techniques.
S.D. KNIGHT: Are you saying that the Conchords broke up when you left for The Clinic?
RICK DILLMAN: Yes. I think I have the distinction of ending
both bands by leaving. Weird but true. I don't think either
band continued after I left. Not that I was the glue, I guess
I was just the first to figure out when it was over.
S.D. KNIGHT: As a member of The Conchords did you ever have the chance to play a show with the Magnificent Men?
RICK DILLMAN: Yes, I played with the Mag Men in one of
the last iterations of the Conchords. The show took place
in the auditorium of one of the local high schools, not sure,
possibly York Suburban. My brother Tom was drumming
and Jack Truett was on keyboards. It was memorable for
me because we opened with the number, "Take Five" by
Dave Brubeck Quartet, a very unusual choice of tunes for
a "soul band". Jack played the grand piano and my brother
played an awesome drum solo. Very difficult because the
tune is in 5/4 time which means 5 beats to a measure in-
stead of the standard 3/4 or 4/4 time signature. Tom killed
his solo and Mike Bose played a lovely sax part. Steve
Spangler was on bass and I was off stage loving it.
"Take Five" - Dave Brubeck Quartet (October 1961,
highest chart position #25)
RICK DILLMAN: The Mag Men also played a wonderful
version of the Temptations' "Since I Lost My Baby", one
of my all time favorite "Temps" tunes.
"Since I Lost My Baby" - Temptations (September 1965,
highest chart position #17)
S.D. KNIGHT: Rick Terlazzo, welcome, my friend! I've been told that you can trace the origin of The Soul Clinic all the way back to your boyhood friendship with Larry Smith.
It really started when Larry
and I met in the 5th grade
at St. Joe's grade school in
York. We became friends
and remain best friends to
this day. By the time we
got to York Catholic High
we were in different bands.
Larry was in The Epics
and I was the leader of
The Concords. We talked
about playing in the same
band all the time. We did
start a rhythm section at school to play for student assem-
blies in the auditorium/church. The church had a band pit
with a big Conn church organ, so as students were walking
in and taking their seats we would entertain them with
instrumentals by Booker T & the M.G.'s -- tunes like
"Green Onions," "Tic-Tac-Toe" and "Soul Dressing."
"Tic-Tac-Toe" - Booker T. & the M.G.'s (March 1964,
highest chart position #109)
"Soul Dressing" - Booker T. & the M.G.'s (August 1964,
highest chart position #95 R&B)
RICK TERLAZZO: Another instrumental that we performed
was "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" by Jimmy Smith.
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Part 1 & 2" - Jimmy Smith
(May 1964, highest chart position #72)
RICK TERLAZZO: This only convinced us all the more to
play together. Larry came to school one day in the fall of
1966 and told me The Epics needed an organ player, so
I resigned from The Concords and joined The Epics which
soon became The Epics Soul Clinic and The Soul Clinic.
S.D. KNIGHT: Rick Terlazzo, this is your life! One of your old friends and band mates joins us now to share a funny story about you. Let's welcome Barry Shultz, the original guitar player for The Epics! Barry, tell your Terlazzo tale.
It was the fall of 1966. Rick
Terlazzo had just joined the
Epics and the band changed
its name to Epics Soul Clinic.
We were playing for a fashion
show at the Charles E. Williams
American Legion Post in down-
town York. One of our favorite
instrumentals was the tune
that Rick mentioned, "Who's
Afraid of Virginia Wolff?" by
renowned jazz organist Jimmy
Smith. During the performance,
Rick was SMOKIN' on his B3 Organ. Unfortunately, he lost
his balance and "fell off his seat but never lost a beat!" You
could see a hand come up from behind the organ, as he
"fell right in" where he left off! You know what they say:
The show must go on!!
S.D. KNIGHT: A disembodied hand playing the organ?
You guys should have introduced him as "Thing" from
The Addams Family!
Barry, how did you get started playing in bands?
BARRY SHULTZ: I got started at 16 or 17, then answered
an ad for a guitarist. This was the beginning of the early
Epics in late '61 or early '62. It was great learning together.
It wasn't always real good in the beginning but we stuck
with it and it got better over time! We all wanted it to
sound just right. If we had to, we'd rehearse parts over
and over until we got it. When we made any mistakes
"on-stage", we made SURE to fix them right away.
S.D. KNIGHT: What did you enjoy most about playing with the bands that evolved into The Soul Clinic?
BARRY SHULTZ: There was always a strong friendship and
"team spirit" within the bands. We always loved what we
were doing and shared the same goals. Most importantly,
we ALWAYS had fun.
S.D. KNIGHT: Thank you very much, guitarist Barry Shultz! Larry, you have some rare pictures of the band playing with Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles at a club in Lancaster called The Panther. We'll check them out in a moment but first let me introduce another special guest. Here to give us some info about The Panther is my good friend, Thom "Daddy C" Colson, a veteran singer, songwriter, musician and producer and the keyboard player and background vocalist for the fine Lancaster group Custer's Last Band. Daddy C, as a long time resident of Lancaster County, what can you tell us about The Panther?
THOM "DADDY C" COLSON:
The Panther Club was located in
the ballroom of the now defunct
Rocky Springs Amusement Park
in southeast Lancaster, a mecca
for family summer fun dating all
the way back to the late 1800s.
The Panther Club only lasted
about a year or so, but in that
time, was host not only to Patti
LaBelle and The Blue Belles, but
also The Jive Five as well as other top acts of the day and
often featured Jerry Blavat as MC and DJ. Unfortunately,
fights and racial unrest brought The Panther to its untimely
S.D. KNIGHT: Thank you very much for that history lesson, Daddy C! Okay, Larry, the stage is set. Tell us about that play date at The Panther with Patti LaBelle & the Blue Belles.
LARRY SMITH: The pics below were snapped during an
Epics show at The Panther in the summer of 1966 just
before Rick Terlazzo joined the band. Steve "Crusty"
Holder," who joined The Soul Clinic two years later,
filled in for our organ player Dave Martin as The Epics
backed up Patti and the Blue Belles.
RICK TERLAZZO: When we talk about "backing up" name
vocal acts like Patti LaBelle it means that our singer, Tony
Scott, would walk off after our set and the singers from the
headline act would come out and we became their band for
the night. Sometimes the name act would bring a guitarist
to help lead our band during the name act's songs.
RICK DILLMAN: Name acts would often bring sheet music
charts for us to use to back them up. Sometimes they were
LARRY SMITH: The next pic shows one of the Blue Belles
filling me in on the tempo or groove after a false start!
Incidentally, at the time of this show, the Blue Belles lineup
included Cindy Birdsong who went on to become one of the
Supremes the following summer.
"All or Nothing" - Patti LaBelle & the Blue Belles
(December 1965, highest chart position #68)
LARRY SMITH: The picture below shows our lead singer
Tony Scott with a trumpet..... but don't be fooled.
Tony did not play the trumpet. He picked it up to look cool
and be on stage with Patti! As you will learn Tony Scott
was quite a character!
LARRY SMITH: What can best be described as a DIVA
incident occurred at rehearsal, when Patti (above left
in front of the Panther sign) threw down the charts and,
without any discussion, expected us to SIGHT-READ the
music! Look, some of us were like 14 & 15; it was a bit
intimidating. She counted it off and I started to play
the rhythm LITERALLY, everyone else just stood there.
Now I could read drum rhythms, but had no exposure
to drum CHARTS. Which are two different animals. While
the guys looked over the music, I said, "Patti, WE CAN
PLAY, we just can't read very well." "Tell me the tempo and
THE GROOVE and we'll get it going!" She cussed me out,
then stormed to her "dressing room". She came back in
a few minutes and we worked it out. When the show
started, we pretty much kicked ass.
"You Forgot How to Love" - Patti LaBelle & the Blue Belles
(December 1965, uncharted)
Who stayed? Who went?
Where else did they play?