Band members Related acts
line-up 1 (1967-70)
- Dan Cole (aka
Da Ank Khoi) -- vocals, guitar, trombone
cello, backing vocals
- Catharsis (Roger North)
- Jeffrey Frederick and Clamtones (Roger North)
- The Freak Mountain Ramblers (Roger North)
- Steve Weber and the Holy Modal Rounders (Roger North)
- The Knights (Dan Cole and Jon Cole)
- Morning Star Blues Band (Phil Thayer)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: The Quill
Catalog: SD 9017
Country/State: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Catalog ID: 124
Attending Massachusetts' Mount Herman Academy,
brothers Dan and Jon Cole started their musical careers as members of school
Knights. After graduating in 1966 the brothers
started playing Boston clubs. By 1967 they'd hooked up with
ex-Catharsis drummer Roger
North, guitarist Bill Rogers and former Morning Star Blues Band keyboard
player Phil Thayer and begun performing as Quill. The band made some headway
on the New England club circuit, graduating to opening act status for
touring national acts ranging from a young Steve Martin to The Jeff Beck
Group and even The Grateful Dead. A Spring 1969 appearance in New
York City at Steve Paul's The Scene nightclub provided their breakthrough
moment. Their appearance coincided with a showcase for blues man
Johnny Winters. The Winters showcase brought out a large crowd of
record industry VIPs. Attention from the performance saw Michael Lang
sign them to appear at the Woodstock Festival. Never heard of
them? Well after being flown by helicopter to the Bethel, Massachusetts
festival site they had the misfortune of opening day two of
the festival with a four song, 45 minute appearance between 12:15 and 12:50
in the afternoon. The resulting publicity and potential marketing
opportunities associated with the festival saw Ahmet ErtegŁn sign the band
to Atlantic's newly formed Cotillion subsidiary.
"Quill" track listing:
1.) Thumbnail Screwdriver (Dan Cole - Jon Cole) - 5:30 rating: **** stars
opening sounded like a discordant jam, but when the Coles started singing
and the melody finally fought its way through, 'Thumbnail Screwdriver'
turned into a driving guitar-powered rocker. The
whole band distinguished themselves; particularly Rogers who played a
catchy little riff throughout and his solos proved very melodic. Nice
way to start the album.
Jon Cole opened
'The Tube Exuding'
with some nice bass moves with the song going on to aptly display the band's
unique sense of melody and structure. The song simultaneously managed
to demonstrate a progressive structure and some first-rate pop and rock
features. Hard to adequately describe, but geez, it was all over the
'They Live the Life'
was the only composition the band played during their four song set before a
soaking wet, just-starting-to-wake-up Woodstock crowd. Given it
sported a sluggish melody and Broadway-show styled vocals, it shouldn't have
come as a surprise the Woodstock audience wasn't impressed. Complete
with an extended freak-out percussion jam segment, the song reflected kind
of a Peter Gabriel era Genesis flavor throughout. Admittedly the song
showed off the band's sweet, if a little ragged harmonies and it picked up a
little speed and energy as it rolled along to a conclusion. The
"diddley wah' refrain always makes me smile.
1.) BBY (Dan Cole - Jon Cole) - 4:40 rating: ** stars
out the horns, 'BBY' showcased the band's quirkier, BS&T-meets-Captain
Beefheart-ish vibes. The vocals actually had an English punk
feel. Harsh and not exactly music to shake your booty to.
anything else on the album the lysergic ballad 'Yellow Butterfly' had a very
Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd flavor. I'm a big Barrett fan so I liked this one a
Who let the drunken friars in the studio? The closer 'Shrieking Finally' struck me as encapsulating the band's worst characteristics - not much of a melody; unfocused, overblown vocals and way too long.
Hopes to capitalize on the band's Woodstock connection disappeared when the film footage proved flawed (the sound didn't sink with the images) and none of their performances were included on either volume of the various artists "Woodstock" soundtracks. With little support from Cotillion both Jon Cole and Rogers quit. Rogers eventually returned to the fold and the survivors recorded a follow-up album which Cotillion promptly shelved. The band then called it quits. It only took four decades for their performance to see daylight. Released as a six-CD set, "Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm" (Rhino catalog number R2 519761) included 'They Live the Life' and 'That's How I Eat', two of the four songs they performed at the concert.
Jon Coles remained active on the Boston music scene before turning to the auto repair business. He then focused on renewable energy products. including commercial applications of solar power.
Dan Coles focused on the production side of the music, running Boston's Intermedia Sound Studios; eventually going to work for Sony.
North remained active in music, playing with folk singer Odetta and then joining The Holy Modal Rounders. He also started North Drums.
Rogers stayed in New England, occasionally playing with local band, before passing on in 2011.
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