Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1: (1964-65) as The Unknown / The Unknowns

- Jim Fey -- vocals, guitar

- Rick Willard -- vocals, bass

- Larry Wilson -- drums, percussion 


  line up 2: (1965-67) 

NEW - Stanley "Stu" Bratzke -- vocals, guitar (replaced Jimmy Fey)

NEW - Edd Kalotek (RIP) -- lead guitar, keyboards

- Rick Willard -- vocals, bass

- Larry Wilson -- drums, percussion 


  line up 3: (1967) 

 Stanley "Stu" Bratzke -- vocals, guitar (replaced Jimmy Fey)

- Edd Kalotek (RIP) -- lead guitar, keyboards

NEW - Gary "Stix" Maxwell (RIP 2005) -- drums, percussion

  (replaced  Larry Wilson)

- Rick Willard -- vocals, bass


  line up 3: (1967-69) as Spur

- Stanley "Stu" Bratzke -- vocals, guitar

- Jim Fey -- vocals, guitar

- Edd Kalotek (RIP) -- lead guitar, keyboards

- Gary "Stix" Maxwell (RIP 2005) -- drums, percussion

- Rick Willard -- vocals, bass


  line up 4: (1972) 

- Stanley "Stu" Bratzke -- vocals, guitar

- Bill Eversole -- drums percussion (replaced Gary Maxwell)

- Jim Fey -- vocals, guitar

- Edd Kalotek (RIP) -- lead guitar, keyboards

- Rick Willard -- vocals, bass





- Arrow Memphis Gary Stix Maxwell)

- Derrel and the Unfillable Prescription 

- The Gary Hall Group (Gary Stix Maxwell)

- The Unknown?

- The Unknowns





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Spur of the Moment

Company: Cinema International 

Catalog: CSLP 1500

Country/State: Belleville, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: 1990s bootleg copy

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1151

Price: $90.00


Spur morphed out of the Illinois-based band The Unknown/The Unknowns. Formed in 1964, the original line-up featured  guitarist  Jim Fey, bassist Rick Willard, ad drummer Larry Wilson.


Playing dances and local clubs the trio found a mentor in the form of Ron Lipe who was better known as St. Louis disc jockey Prince KnightLipe signed the group to his St. Louis-based Marlo and Cinema labels, where they released a string of three singles while undergoing a series of personnel changes:

- 1966's 'You Want Me Too' b/w 'Baby's In Black' (Marlo catalog number 1537)

- 1966's 'The Modern Era' b/w 'Feel a Whole Lot Better' (Marlo catalog number 1550)

- 1968's 'All Over the World (la la la)' b/w 'You Could Help Me Ease the Pain' (Cinema catalog number 6903)  The third single was credited to 'The Unknown?'


The band gained a loyal local following and began opening for touring national bands like The Byrds, Cream, The Dead, Steve Miller, and Bob Seger.


promo photo:   Edd Kalotek - Jim Fey - Rick Willard - Stan Bratzke  -  Gary Stix Maxwell


By 1967 the line-up featured singer/guitarist Stanley "Stu" Bratzke, Jim Fey (back after he'd been drafted into the Army), lead guitarist  Edd Kalotek, drummer Gary "Stix" Maxwell, and singer/bassist Rick Willard.  They'd also opted for a name change, dropping The Unknowns in favor of Spur.


Self-produced, 1969's "Spur of the Moment" offered up a mixture of previous released Unknowns tunes ('The Modern Era' and 'You Could Help Me Ease the Pain') and new studio material. Musically these guys were all over the roadmap.  Exemplified by 'Modern Error' they clearly had a Byrds fixation.  Equally impressive were their occasional forays into psych. In fact, 'Mind Odyssey' and 'Shy Girl No. 2' were the album's two best performances.  Unfortunately those strengths were offset by numerous forays into country ('Don't Never Trust a Woman' and 'Turn To Jesus') and the band's goofy and unfocused sense of humor which included a totally wasted stab at classic rock 'Rock Phase Fifty', the lame 'Stanley's Song', and the old-timey 'Tell Me, Tell Me'.  Given this one sells for big dollars, I'd love to tell you it was a solid investment, but it was simply too erratic for my tastes.   That's sad since  some off the band's best performances weren't included on the album.  Sounding like a mash-up of Michael Nesmith led Monkees and Crosby, Stills and Nash, 'Time Is Now' was killer.  'Mr. Creep' was a first-rate rocker, while 'Tribal Gathering We Don't Want To Know' offered up an extended Dead-styled jam.   You can hear two of the three tunes on YouTube.  You had to wonder why these guys didn't include those tunes on the album.   Had they, then "Spur of the Moment" would have been a true classic.


"Spur of the Moment" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Don't Never Trust a Woman  (Edd Kalotek - Ron Lipe  - Rick Willard) - 2:10   rating: *** stars

Anyone who spent big bucks on this rarity was probably going to be surprised by the country-orientation of the opener 'Don't Never Trust a Woman''.  Yeah the dope lyrics were certainly counter-cultural, but if you replaced the druggy lyrics with a paean to beer, pickup trucks, or tractors this would easily have sounded okay on late-'60s country radio.  Here's what the liner notes had to say about the tune: "Possibly the best tune on the album, possibly the most immoral, , possibly the truest. Could this mean something? Hum.  Discuss this at the next happening."

2.) Prelude To Rock Phase Fifty   (Stu Bratzke  - Edd Kalotek - Jim Fey - Ron Lipe  - Rick Willard - Stix Maxwell) - 1:55   rating: * star

Basically two minutes of goofing off in the studio.  You only need to listen to it once.   "An exciting look into the thoughts of your basic, complex musician.  The technical terms (reverb, echo, guitar, beer) may go over your head.  You like this cut?  You have bizarre tastes."   

3.) Rock Phase Fifty   (Peniman - Crudup - Axton - Vincent - Perkins - Bryant - Hardin - Petty - McDaniels - Berry - Williams - David - Charles - Stu Bratzke  - Edd Kalotek - Jim Fey - Ron Lipe - Rick Willard - Stix Maxwell) - 6:40  rating: ** stars

"A classy name for a dozen or so oldies.   Here we have brought back some legendary sounds of yesteryear, probably when we were at our height spiritually.  (Maybe musically.) This is your favorite cut?  Put your collar up."   And that was about as honest a description as you could come up with.    Even with the freak-out ending (which I'm guessing explains their songwriting credit), was it something you'd want to hear more than once?  Doubtful.     

4.) You Could Help Me Ease the Pain   (Edd Kalotek)- 2:10   rating: *** stars

Originally released as a single by The Unknowns, 'You Could Help Me Ease the Pain' was a nice slice of mid-'60s styled jangle rock.  While it was a pretty enough ballad, it must have sounded horribly dated by the time it came out on this album.   Rick Willard  on lead vocals.  "Written at a time we wished we were The Byrds. (Now The Byrds wish they were The Byrds.)  Still, though this title lends itself to sexual overtones, it's a simple love song to our financial community." 

5.) Stanley's Song  (Stu Bratzke  - Edd Kalotek) - 2:05  rating: ** stars

Hideous attempt at humor.   All I can guess is they were simply so stoned they didn't know what they were actually doing.   "A song, which Stanley explained to be the story of a lonely man.  Personally, we think, it's about an old pervert who misses molesting the school kids.  But since Stan is a serious musician (he said so) we'll accept his explanation.  You don't have to.

6.) Turn To Jesus   (Jackson) - 2:35  rating: * star

Straight forward country Gospel tune.  Another tune that left you wondering whether they were simply too stoned to know what they were doing.    "Straight.  Righteously straight.  Or maybe we want you to think so.  This could hurt our sales at the Christian book store.  We don't care!  They need the business more than we do."     


(side 2)
1.) Be Tender, My Love   (
Edd Kalotek) - 2:35   rating: *** stars

To my ears 'Be Tender, My Love ' has always sounded like another Unknowns tunes - kind of raw, garage sound that was way more 1965 than 1968.   "A juicy title if there ever was one.  Edd know what this song is about.  The rest of us have never been able to hear the vocal.  We don't have the time to worry about it.  We take our music seriously."   

2.) Tell Me, Tell Me   (Edd Kalotek) - 2:10  rating: ** stars

Throw away old-timey tune that even Spanky and Our Gang would have shied away from.  Worthless.   "A pleasing love song set a background of whorehouse piano.  (That's where we wrote it while standing in line.)  It's easy to listen to.  No hidden meanings.  We mean it.  What could it mean?  Duh!"

3.) Why Girl No. 2  (Edd Kalotek - Rick Willard)   - 2:50   rating: **** stars

Powered by a nice Rick Willard bass pattern, 'Why Girl No. 2' was one of the album's few stabs at psych and as such one of the album highlights.    "An attempt at being heavy. Brought about by drinking heavy.  It was hoi.  We usually don't drink unless it's Hot.  Stanley kept turning the heat up."

4.) Mind Odyssey   (Edd Kalotek) - 2:35   rating: **** stars

Easily the album's stand out performance, 'Mind Odyssey' had everything going for it ...  A  simply glorious oscillating country-rock melody, coupled with tasty group vocals, and just the right amount of lysergic magic.   Should have been a major hit for the band, but almost makes the entire album worth hearing.  "This was going to be thrown out as a mistake."  

5.) Modern Error  (Stu Bratzke  - Edd Kalotek - Jim Fey - Ron Lipe - Rick Willard - Stix Maxwell) - 2:20    rating: *** stars

Another Unknowns 45, kicked along by Ed Kalotek's jangle rock 12 string guitar you were left to wonder whether these guys ever listened to The Byrds ...   The sound was a bit on the muddy side, but 'Modern Error' was a dandy folk-rocker.  Just to point out the single was released with the title 'Modern Era' rather than 'Modern Error'.  "The title seems to apply more to the song above.  Actually it was originally originated by a man on Death Row.  You think it's a waste of time?  Consider the source.  Better yet, consider this source. Wow!!!

6.) River Deep   (Jeff Berry - Ellie Greenwich - Phil Spector - 3:40   rating: **** stars

Their cover of 'River Deep' was a surprisingly accomplished slice of commercial pop.  Quite unlike anything else of the album.  "Recorded live (no tracking) with everybody in he studio at the same time.  Everybody in the studio at the same time was an auspicious occasion.  We got stoned and cut this in one take."



Apparently roughly 500 copies were printed, making originals pricey collectables, though for some reason the album was booted in the 1990s.  You can tell the difference by looking at the inner label.  Originals have a green label while the bootleg is white.



The band's next move was to provide musical backing for a 1969 album by the late Father Patrick Berkery ("Prayers for a Noonday Church" - Glasgow Records catalog number 1500).  Head of the St. Louis  Catholic mission, the album featured Berkery reciting a collection of original, relgious-oriented  poetry - some of it highly critical of the Catholic Church.  Think along the lines of that horrible album of  Jim Morrison reading his poetry and you'll be in the right aural neighborhood.   Spur provided the  musical settings and occasional backing vocals ('Priesthood') for the album.





They also recorded some demos for the Chicago G.W.P. label, but those tapes were left incomplete and shelved with the band calling it quits in 1970.   


There have been a couple of reunions over the years, though both Kalotek and Maxwell have passed on.