Caribou opening 17

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 Part 1

John and Bill began playing music "seriously" when they entered junior high school at DuPont Manual in 1968. They were 7th graders then. Bill decided on the trumpet and John picked up the tuba, also known as the Sousaphone. Bill's first trumpet was an Olds Ambassador from a pawn shop that had been dropped during transport and had a damaged bell. John's first horn was provided by the school and was made of brass and fiberglass and wrapped around him several times. The biggest problem John had with his new found joy was how to get it home via bus so he could practice outside the bandroom. John would eventually put down the instrument temporarily in 1972 and lead the Manual Marching 100 by becoming the Drum Major, swinging the big brass baton and high-stepping it down the football field at halftime shows.

Both brothers kept their "playing chops" in shape during those years and in 1974 when they were seniors, put a band together and began the journey to rock stardom, sort of. John initiated the project by buying some gear and recruiting a drummer friend who also was an alumnus of Manual's marching band named Ralph Foster who graduated from Manual in 1972. Numerous guitar players were brought in and numerous guitar players were sent out. One in particular fit the groove so to speak and was also a Manual grad (Class of '72). Bobby Wheatley who runs a recording studio out of his home now was the first "real" guitar player in the band. Bobby had a jazz background through private lessons and would help take the band to the next level and prepare it for what was to come. Now we're up to about 1975.

Rehearsal being an important part of any band's career and the fact that it was getting cold outside, the newly formed group needed to find shelter that had electricity and heat so they could practice and start working up some songs for the show! They found it in the basement of their grandmother's house. (more to come).


Caribou at Gardencourt in the Late 70’s
Ralph Foster, John, Bobby Wheatley, Bill, Tom Gillespie, Roger Redmon


Click here for Part 2

See a video from 1984 - Runaway


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