Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-73)

- Dan Eliassen -- vocals, bass 

- Bruce Knox (RIP) -- vocals, lead guitar 

- Mike Mycz -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- Jim O'Brock -- vocals, drums, percussion




- The Split Ends





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Boot

Company: Agape

Catalog: 2601

Country/State: New Port Richey, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5815

Price: $85.00



Now here are four guys who had a true passion for rock - sticking together through for twelve years which included several band name changes, hundreds of concert dates, and precious little commercial success.


Hailing from Port Richey, Florida, bassist Dan Eliassen and drummer Jim O'Brock put their first band together in 1972.  Originally known as The Kingsmen, they opted for a name change when the Washington-based Kingsmen scored a hit with 'Louie Louie'.  Morphing into The Allusions, Eliassen, O'Brock and a changing cast of players continued to perform at local school dances and teen centers.


By 1966 the lineup featured Eliassen, O'Borck, and lead guitarist Bruce Knox and rhythm guitarist Mike Mycz.  They'd also opted for another name change (The Split Ends') as well as moving away from performing largely cover material to penning their own stuff.  Signed by the local CPF Records, they also made their recording debut with a 1966 single:




'Rich with Nothin' b/w 'Endless Sun' (CPF catalog CPF 4)


The 45 proved a regional hit, opening the door to wider exposure including an opening slot on Dick Clark's Happening '67 tour.  That in turn saw them offered an opportunity to compete on Clark's 'Happening '68 television band contest.  





YouTube has a couple of interesting Split Ends clips:


In 1969 the quartet decided on another image and name change - this time adopting the moniker Blues of Our Time - quickly abbreviated to Boot.  With a repertoire of largely original material, the band hit the road playing clubs and concerts nearly non-stop for the next four years.


Released by the Texas-based Agape label, the band debuted with 1972's cleverly-titled "Boot".  Co-produced by Mike Stone and Peter Thomason, the album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at James Brown's Starday/King Studio.  With all four members contributing material the album offered up a mixture of blues-rock and blues-rock, with an occasional stab at a more commercial tune.  The band was blessed with three decent singers.  Nothing more than a guess on my part, but judging by the songwriting credits (assuming whoever wrote the track probably handled lead vocals), Mycz seemed to have the tougher-rock voice in the group while Eliassen was gifted with more commercial chops.  Knox fell somewhere in the middle with a modest country-rock feel to his voice.  Knox also showed himself to be n immensely talented lead guitarist - check out his lead work on 'Hey Little Girl'.


back cover of album

left to right: Mike Mycz - Jim O'Brock - Bruce Knox - Dan Eliassen



"Turn the Other Cheek" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hey Little Girl   (Mike Mycz) - 4:05    rating: **** stars

'Hey Little Girl' was probably the standout performance.  It wasn't the most original performance you've ever heard, but served to showcase the band's energetic boogie-rock base and Knox's impressive lead guitar.  Not sure who handled the lead vocals on this one, but he had a nice rugged tone that was well suited to the genre.  Easy to see why this one was tapped as a single.  






- 1972's 'Hey Little Girl' b/w 'Liza Brown' (Agape catalog number 45-9008) 





2.) Danny's Tune   (Dan Eliassen) - 5:25   rating: *** stars

'Danny's Tune' was a nice Allman Brothers-styled rocker.  Highlights included O'Brock's dynamite drumming, Knox's fuzz leads, and the ending segment that showcased some excellent Allmans-styled guitar work.  Unfortunately the song had an amazingly bad scat segment stuffed in the middle.

3.) Liza Brown   (Bruce Knox) - 2:47    rating: *** stars

'Liza Brown' was a more conventional electric blues numbers with some of the year's least subtle lyrics (... back door woman, back door man, etc.').  Once again the song highlights came in the form of the Knox's screeching lead guitar.  

4.) Andromeda   (Dan Eliassen) - 5:15    rating: **** stars

Opening with chiming acoustic guitars and a mildly sci-fi theme,  'Andromeda' was a somewhat unexpected change in direction.  Yeah the lyrics haven't aged all that well, but this had side one's prettiest melody and showcased some previously unheard group harmonies.   Excellent guitar solo here as well.  Imagine Styx if they'd been able to really rock.  


(side 2)
1.) Destruction Road   (Jim O'Brock - Mike Mycz - Bruce Knox - Dan Eliassen) - 5:06    rating: *** stars

A pounding blues-rocker with an anti-bigotry lyric, 'Destruction Road' opened up with a tasteful guitar from Knox and some great slide work (overdubbed by Knox?).    

2.) Reach Out   (Mike Mycz) - 3:14    rating: **** stars  

Mycz's 'Reach Out' was probably the song that had the most commercial potential.  A tight and commercial rocker, it benefited from a strong melody, nice Mycz vocal, and some great fuzz and wah-wah work from Knox.  Would have been a killer track to hear live.  

3.) What Are They Doing To Me   (Jim O'Brock - Mike Mycz - Bruce Knox - Dan Eliassen) - 3:34      rating: **** stars  

The group-penned 'What Are They Doing To Me' was actually a surprisingly effect anti-draft/anti-war statement.  The song also served to highlight the group's nice harmony vocals with a great 'I don't wanna go' a capella segment.

4.) What You're Missing  (Mike Mycz) - 4:03     rating: *** stars

'What You're Missing' closed the album with another tasty rocker.  Again, there wasn't anything particularly original here, but these guys delivered the formula with enthusiasm and pizzazz (always wanted to use that word in a write-up).    



Not the most original blues-rock/boogie album you've heard, but these guys played with considerable energy (on-line fan testimonials universally praise their live performances), and Knox was one talented lead guitarist.  Worth looking for though copies have become increasingly expensive as folks had discovered the band.


While the album did nothing commercially, the band continued on for roughly a year before calling it quits.  




Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Turn the Other Cheek

Company: Guinness

Catalog: GNS 36002

Country/State: New Port Richey, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut top right corner

Available: 3

Catalog ID: 5816

Price: $80.00


1977's "Turn the Other Cheek" was apparently released posthumously by the notorious tax scam Guinness label.  Produced by Mike Stone and Peter Thomason (though the liner notes misspelled the latter's name as Thomasson)., the nine tracks were seemingly recorded in 1972 during the same sessions that saw the release of their debut album "Boot".  As on the debut all four members contributed material, though lead guitarist Bruce Knox was responsible for the bulk of the collection.   Musically the first side of the album wasn't all that different from the debut.   Not the case with side two.  Surprisingly enjoyable collection given it was probably pieced together out of studio odds and ends.  It's also one the best tax scam releases I've heard.


"Turn the Other Cheek" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) It's All Comin' Down   (Mike Mycz) -    rating: **** stars  

Starting out with some sparkling acoustic guitar and then showcasing some of Knox's ever tasteful lead guitar, 'It's All Comin' Down' had everything needed to be a hit - great melody, fantastic vocals from Mycz and band harmonies (which would have made CSN&Y turn green with envy), great lead guitar ...   One of the best things they ever recorded, shame it wasn't released as a single.   

2.) I've Been Thinkin'   (Dan Eliassen)    rating: **** stars  

Kicked along by a great Eliassen bass line and some excellent twin lead guitar (don't know if it was Knox overdubbing himself), 'I've Been Thinkin'' was the funkiest thing they ever recorded - imagine a really good Redbone song and you'd get a feel for this one.    

3.) I'll Be Fine Someday   (Bruce Knox) -   rating: *** stars

The first Bruce Knox composition, 'I'll Be Fine Someday' had a nice country-rock feel to it - more Buffalo Springfield than Poco.  

4.) Sick and Tired   (Dan Eliassen)    rating: ** stars

A routine slice of boogie-rock, 'Sick and Tired' was the first disappointment.  Professional, but completely forgettable it wasn't really helped by the fact it included a lengthy and needless Jim O'Brock's drum solo.  Mind you, O'Brock was one helluva a drummer - I'd tell you he was Boot's secret weapon, but among his strengths was the fact he wasn't showy, instead focusing on keeping the rest of the band focused ...  well, except for here.   By the way, Knox's screeching solo wasn't much better.  Yeah, it showed he could play fast and had a thing for Hendrix, but it seemed pasted on at the end of the song just to lengthen it.


(side 2)

'Even though the track listing showed five songs, side two was actually divided into two long suites and was quite different from the rest of their catalog in that it found the band exploring what sounded like a progressive sound, complete with some synthesizers and fairly complex song structures.

1.) The Outside World    (Bruce Knox - Jim O'Brock) -     rating: **** stars  

'The Outside World' incorporated all of those characteristics along with O'Brock's martial drums and Knox's always tasteful leads - this time lots of wah-wah pedal.  It made for one of my favorite performances.   

2.) Meaningless Madness of Man   (Bruce Knox) -     rating: ** stars  

'Meaningless Madness of Man' was easily one of their strangest offerings - imagine a Florida rock band that had been listening to lots of British progressive stuff.  The lyrics were actually quite funny.

3.) A Plea for the Masses   (Bruce Knox) -    rating: ** stars  

Starting out with some thunderstorm sound effects 'A Plea for the Masses' continued the band's rant against middle class, 9-to-5 lifestyles.     

4.) For Diana    (Bruce Knox) -   rating: *** stars

Opening up with some nice Knox lead guitar, 'For Diana' was one of their  prettiest ballads .  The song also showcased some unexpected synthesizer.  

5.) Everyone Come   (Bruce Knox - Dan Eliassen)     rating: **** stars  

Even better was the majestic 'Everyone Come'.  Co-written by Knox and Eliassen, this one was their prettiest melody with a performance to match.  Edited down this one could have easily scored them a hit.  Only complaint was that it was too short.  


So how'd it compare to the debut?  Even though this one's largely unknown to folks (not like Guinness tried to market the album), song for song I'd give the nod to this one.  These may have been castoffs from the debut, but perhaps because they were recorded with less pressure on the band and they were willing to experiment with unusual approaches, it was more entertaining.  That was enough to make it one of the better Guinness label releases.



At some point O'Brock was kind enough to post a band synopsis on the web which included updates on the former members.


- Eliassen retired from music and was living in St. Amant, Louisiana

- Sadly Knox had died of pancreatic cancer.

- Mycz had disappeared

- O'Brock opened up a handyman business in Shreveport, Louisiana where he plays drums for his local church.