"Factual Ramblings of a Man Driven by The Love Of Music"
The closure of this re-issue project comes nearly two years after its
inception. Murphy's Law ran rampart at every turn. I won't bore
you with details but after all is said and done this has
been a great learning experience and has produced a
product that is very dear to my heart and that I am proud
to put my name on. (Speaking, of course, only on the
terms of re-issusing a work that obviously stands on its
It's not that I feel I must justify why I was chosen to
handle this project, after several other efforts were
made in the last few years to do so, but I will anyway.
It was fate that led me to a Ramada Inn lounge on my 21st
birthday, on that cold November night in 1975. That
night I was entertained by a band known as Jubal. Jubal
was indeed Zerfas, who had just returned to their
original band name for commercial reasons. (Note: Dave
and Herman Zerfas were the nucleus of Jubal (late '69 -
early '70 through early '73, which was then renamed the
band Zerfas (early '73 - mid-late '75) and back to Jubal,
A.K.A. The Jubal Band late '75 - early '83) Through a
quick and interesting chain of events, I joined the band
only one week later as percussionist (congas, bongos,
timbales, etc.) and additional vocals. I remained in
that position until late April of 1981.
I immediately realized these guys were serious about what
they were doing and this was a lifestyle, not a sideline.
The band was blessed with access to a 40-acre farm with a
wonderful two story house and a two story barn,
headquarters for many years, thanks to the ever
supportive Mom and Pop Zerfas. At most any given time,
many or all band members and road crew lived under the
same roof that included no less than seven bedrooms (a
couple were makeshift from the library and the workshop)
and a wonderful family room that became our rehearsal
hall when we were there.
When we were there indeed! The band maintanined a
schedule that put us on the road no less than 40 weeks a
year, sometimes for a 13 week stretch at a time, covering
no less than an 18 state area throughout the duration.
The touring Jubal/Zerfas entourage of late '75 - early
'83,including Dave Zerfas at the helm, along with younger
brother Brian (Herman being a long-time nickname) and
Steve Newbold (who shared a bond as strong as brothers to
both) on bass, along with me and a parade of guitar
players, a couple of female members and even a short
stint with a fellow named Pat Smith, on second keyboards,
who was previously with a group called The Elders, who
put out an obscure LP on The Audio-Fidelity label called
"Looking For The Answer". Billy Rice, from the
Zerfas LP days, also traveled for a good while with the
band, in a different capacity howevere, as Road Manager,
Sound Engineer and all around jack-of-all-trades, as well
as close friend to us all. Mark Tribby would drop by to
visit from time to time, but never took an active part in
the band after the Zerfas LP days of '73.
While we were scheduling time at 700 West for a club demo
to be done in January of '76, was the first time I was
introduced to the Zerfas Lp.
I saw a copy at the farm and inquired, "Hey, what's this
into?" Very low key, Dave proceeded to tell me that was
a little something they had thrown together a couple of
years ago and asked would I like to hear it. Well, the
grooves were full of magic and I was totally in awe. I
listened to the LP several times in the next couple of
days and really got hooked on the material immediately.
I became a Zerfas prophet, turning my circle of friends
onto this newly discovered gem and was proud to be a part
of the band that included the nucleus of this album. I
later found out that they had not "thrown this together"
at all, but instead saved every dime from side jobs and
every spare moment in the studio to make this dream of
theirs a reality. The sincerity shines through on their
production, coming from the corn fields of rural Indiana
which had a relaxed, almost "3 or 4 years behind the
times" feel, if you will. Not saying that was a bad
thing, it's just that these guys weren't driven by New
York or LA standards at the time.
When the time came to re-work some of the Zerfas LP tunes
to fit in with our nightclub song list, I was excited
about the possibilities. Through the duration of the
band, we worked out and sometimes re-arranged several
times, such cuts a, "The Sweetest Part", "Stoney
Wellitz", and "The Piper", which were also updated and
documented in studio-demo sessions, along with several
more original tunes, as the band had three strong
songwriters in Dave, Herman and Steve. I believe once we
even tackled the song "Hope" for s hort period (performed
But I'm sort of getting ahead of myself. Shortly after
my introduction to the Zerfas LP, I was also soon to
learn that there was a ton-o'-stuff "in the can" if you
will. For instance, a 14 song, all original demo,
recorded in 1970, with the original band including Dave,
Herman, as well as friend Paul McBee and Karl Hinkle,
later of Wright Brothers Overland Stage Company, (later
known as The Wright Brothers, with a short stint on
Warner Brothers). It includes the original recording of
"I Need It Higher" and 13 others that I hope to make
available in the future. I also discovered several
home-made projects that I would discribe as
"mini-psychedelic rock operas", including musical as well
as spoken-word passages. A couple that really struck me
were called "Rat Poop" and "My Friend John". All of this
reconfirmed the fact that these guys were a bit left of
center, which made me feel right at home. It was great
to be surrounded by their energy and creativity. Also,
included in their back catalog was a piece that was the
first portion, Chapter Three, if you will, of the Zerfas
Saga. Its name: "Winds Of Change", a long musical/vocal
piece that is a wonderful compliment to the Zerfas LP
itself. It goes through several moods and changes and
climaxes with a piece now known as "Mr. Greenthumbs",
which we used as a staple of our live stage show. A
killer combination of interweaving melodies and many
changes too hard to really put into words. Hopefully,
you'll be hearing this and other never before released
works in the near future.
This finally brings us to the present.
Only after being approached by no less than three or four
gentlemen, who all has similar stories about hearing an
album over at a friend's house, late one evening while
sitting by the fireplace, did the resurgence begin.
They then told me they had heard from a friend of a
friend that I may have c copy of the album to sell them
and "oh, by the way, my brother was also there and he'd
like one too!"
That's when I would go into my 5 minute spiel about how
rare and valuable the record was, being a 500 copy press
from them 16 years ago and I would have to have what was
basically the price of a steak dinner for two for a copy.
I should have gotten a hint from the sparks that flew
from their wallets as they were pulling them from their
back pockets. In all, seven original copies were sold
this way and all the gentlemen turned out to be record
dealers and I'm sure they are still eating steak dinners
here five years later after re-selling those copies. You
live, you learn!
My curiosity had definitely been aroused, but only until
I met my now good friend and mentor, Stan Denski, did I
realize the new found popularity (not to mention the true
value) of the Zerfas album. He planted the seed about
the possible re-issue of the album, which is finally a
reality. He also jokingly nick-named me "Howard of the
The initial phone call to Dave Zerfas found him both
pleased and confused. What? Interest in the Zerfas LP
20 years later??? To be quite frank, we hadn't spoken to
each other in 10 years, as we parted ways when I left the
band in '81. But it was as if we had never been apart.
Our mutual respect and trust for one another led to this
official 2nd press, if you will, of the Zerfas LP.
Dave indeed had possession of the original master tapes,
that is the source from which this re-issue was made.
Special thanks for making them available to me.
Moe Whittemore was kind enough to let us resurrect the 700
West label and also provide valuable studio information
from his personal archives for which we are ever so
Brian (Herman) Zerfas provided song by song musician line
up and comments about each song with an occasional
interjection by Dave Zerfas.
Special thanks to Stan Denski for his overall view of the
genre and also for designing the poster to fit the feel
and mode of the album, as well as his help in many
aspects of this project.
The album was recorded using the anlog process every step
of the way and pressed on 180 gram dye-colored virgin
vinyl and packaged in high quality record jackets from
Villa Platte (one of the last batches of covers to leave
the factory before the fire).
The cover slicks were reproduced with strict attention to
detail. Cover and back album art, as well as inner
record label, are exact in color and info as the orginal.
The only addition is the 1994 copyright, as well as a
slight reduction of front and back cover size.
Note: In the trail-off groove in both sides of the LP is
inscribed, "DELICATED TO THE MEMORY OF DENNY AND WALTER".
Personally, I would have chosen a high school graduate to
make these inscriptions, as they are supposed to read as
follows: "DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF DANNY AND WALTER".
Delicated is not a word and DANNY is spelled
D-A-N-N-Y, just like on the FAX I sent to the New York
pressing plant. BUH!!
This mistake is corrected on the poster included in this
package. Danny traveled with the band and was a true
brother to us all, especially to me. Walter was a close
friend to us all and his impact and friendship will never
Along with all the info and poster, included is the
official 8 X 10 promo photo of the band, sent out only
with a few promo copies of the original LP.
The album re-issue has been limited to a 500 copy
pressing to match the original release of 21 years ago.
Each is hand numbered and will not be re-pressed. When
these are gone, they're gone, as they say.
In closing, once again special thanks to Dave and Brian
Zerfas and Steve Newbold, Moe Whittemore, producer,
engineer and owner of 700 West Studios, Stan Denski of
Impossible Records/OR Records and Rick Kingsley,
President of Sun Press.
Please forward any comments, inquiries, questions, etc,
c/o Howard's Hard To Find Records
5436 N. Keystone Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46220
Mon. - Fri. 13:20 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.
Sat. 12:30 P.M./ - 6:00 P.M.