Wed Jun 11, 2003 3:36 pm
Here are the last two newsletters from EPE about the TCB Band. Many of us will already know a lot of the information below. But it never hurts to shine a little spotlight on one of the greatest bands ever put together.
Elvis and The TCB Band, Part 1 of 2:
After the success of his 1968 TV special, Elvis decided to stop
making movies and to go back to live entertaining as soon as his
movie contracts were up. He hadn't toured in years. By that
time, his bassist from the 50's, Bill Black, had passed away. His
lead guitar player, Scotty Moore, and his drummer, D.J. Fontana,
were busy with session work. Before he could begin to tour
again he needed to recruit, along with back-up singers and other
show members, a new core rhythm group. The new players would
eventually become known at The TCB Band, a nod to the "Takin' Care
of Business" slogan and logo Elvis would adopt for his personal
and professional life.
Elvis' first live concert engagement was to be a four-week run
at the new International Hotel in Las Vegas beginning on July 31,
1969. By mid-July he and his new band began rehearsals for the
show. The group consisted of: James Burton (lead guitar), Larry
Muhoberac (piano), Jerry Scheff (bass), Ronnie Tutt (drums) and
John Wilkinson (rhythm guitar). Various gentleman players came
and went from the band over the years. Following is the first
of two installments of brief bios on these artists:
James Burton played lead guitar. James was born in 1939 in
Louisiana and as a teen appeared on "The Louisiana Hayride". He
eventually worked for Ricky Nelson, including appearing with him on
the Nelson family's "Ozzie & Harriet" TV series. He also became
well known for his session work with such greats as The Everly
Brothers, The Beach Boys, and Sonny and Cher. Elvis had gotten
in touch with him about being part of the 1968 TV special, but he
was unavailable. Elvis recruited him as lead guitarist for his
new band in 1969, a position he would keep until Elvis' death in
1977. After that, James continued with session work and toured
with other stars such as Gram Parsons, Buffalo Springfield,
Emmylou Harris and John Denver. James Burton is a well respected
guitarist in the rock and country music industries and was
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 19, 2001.
John Wilkinson played rhythm guitar in the band from 1969 until
Elvis' last show in 1977. Born in Washington, DC in 1945, John
moved with his family to Springfield, Missouri. His father, a
professor of psychology, was very talented musically and was a big
influence. John began playing guitar at age five and banjo at
age six. He also played trumpet. He first met Elvis in 1956 when
he was able to see him backstage at an Elvis concert in
Springfield. His early musical influences were folk singers like Peter,
Paul and Mary, Gordon Lightfoot and The Kingston Trio. He was
able to join The Kingston Trio at one point, a dream come true.
After Elvis' death, John worked for an aircraft company. While
working there he suffered a severe stroke in 1989. No longer able
to continue working in that field or to play the guitar he
returned to performing as a vocalist.
Jerry Scheff played bass guitar. Jerry grew up in San Francisco
and moved to Sacramento at age 14. He played the tuba in grammar
school took up the bass in seventh grade. He played classical
and jazz music on the string bass. He served in the Navy, ending
up in San Diego when he was discharged in 1961. He moved to Los
Angles, where he began session work. His first hit song to play
on was "Along Comes Mary" by The Association. He played for
Johnny Mathis, Johnny Rivers, Neil Diamond, Nancy Sinatra, Pat Boone,
Sammy Davis Jr., Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand and Linda
Ronstadt to name a few. He played bass for Elvis' concerts from 1969
to 1977 except for a two-year period, 1973 - 1975, while he was
going through a divorce. After Elvis' death he toured with Bob
Dylan, Bette Midler, John Denver and Elvis Costello.
During the two-year absence of Jerry Scheff, Emory Gordy Jr. and
Duke Bardwell each took a turn as bass player for Elvis' band.
Emory Gordy Jr. had done session work for Elvis, sitting in for
Jerry on the March 1972 session that produced recordings such as
"Separate Ways", "Burning Love" and "Always On My Mind". When
Elvis needed to replace Jerry in the concert lineup in April
1973, he was already familiar with Emory's work. He toured with
Elvis from then until September 1973, performing in 113 live shows
with Elvis. Emory has worked on albums with such artists as
Alabama, The Bellamy Brothers, Jimmy Buffett, Rosanne Cash, Billy
Joel, Wynonna Judd and many others. He has also produced
soundtracks for films such as "The Tin Cup", "Switchback", and "The Kings
of New York" among others. He is married to country singing
star Patty Loveless.
Duke Bardwell replaced Emory Gordy Jr. in 1974. He had met
Ronnie Tutt on a session for Jose Feliciano and it was Ronnie who
suggested him to Elvis. He would play bass in the band until Jerry
Scheff returned in 1975. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1943,
Bardwell is part of a family of nine who, including his parents
Stanford and Loyola, were all named after major universities.
He began his musical career at age five when his mother gave him
a ukulele. He has played for artists such as Tom Rush, Emmylou
Harris and Kenny Loggins. He recently released his first CD.
Ronnie Tutt played drums for Elvis from 1969 to 1977. Ronnie is
from Dallas, Texas. As a very young child his mother put him in
dance class. He also began playing musical instruments, starting
at age three with a ukelele, then guitar, violin and trumpet. He
didn't start playing the drums until his late teens. His
experience in dance gave him a sense of rhythm that wasn't satisfied by
other instruments. The first band he played with was a
western-swing band. His friend Larry Muhoberac, a keyboard player, put in
a good word for him and he was granted an audition as Elvis'
drummer in 1969. In an interview he once said the reason he
thought Elvis gave him the job was..."I emulated and accented
everything that he did just instinctively. Every move, almost like a
glorified stripper! And he loved that." Ronnie has also worked
with Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, The Carpenters and Neil Diamond among
Over the years, other drummers substituted for Ronnie in Elvis'
show when scheduling conflicts arose. Bob Lanning played the
drums for shows in early 1970. Jerome "Stump" Monroe, who was the
regular drummer for The Sweet Inspirations, sat in on a couple
of shows. Session drummer Larry Londin, who had worked with
Elvis at RCA's Studio B in 1971, filled in for Ronnie for eight
performances in March 1976 and again in June 1977 for Elvis' last
two shows. Londin also worked with numerous other artists
including Rosanne Cash, Randy Travis, David Frizzell, Rodney Crowell,
Aaron Tippin, George Strait and Al Green. He died in Nashville
on August 24, 1992.
Elvis & The TCB Band, Part 2 of 2:
When Elvis returned to live performing in 1969, leaving his
Hollywood movie career behind, he recruited players for his new
band. They were: James Burton (lead guitar), Larry Muhoberac
(piano), Jerry Scheff (bass), Ronnie Tutt (drums), and John
Wilkinson (rhythm guitar). Various other gentlemen players came and
went from the band over the years until Elvis' final concert in
1977. We profiled several of them in last week's Elvis Fact of
the Week. Following are the rest of our brief bios:
Larry Muhoberac grew up in Louisiana and began playing accordion
and piano at age 5. He toured Europe with the Woody Herman band
at age of 20. He moved to Memphis in 1959. Formerly known as
Larry Owens, he and his band performed at Elvis' two Memphis-area
charity concerts in 1961. He became a session player in
California and worked on several soundtrack recording sessions with
Elvis, including "Frankie & Johnny", "Paradise Hawaiian Style" and
"Speedway". He played the first Elvis engagement at the
International Hotel in 1969. He went on to play for such artists as
Neil Diamond, Al Martino, Tina Turner and Ray Charles among
others. In 1986, he emigrated to Australia, where music still keeps
him very busy today.
Glenn D Hardin replaced Larry Muhoberac on piano. Glen D. is
from Texas and began playing piano at age 8. He hadn't thought
about playing professionally until he got a job a nightclub in San
Diego, California while he was in the U.S. Navy. After leaving
the Navy he moved to Los Angeles and started doing session work.
He has worked with artists such as Buddy Holly's former group
The Crickets, Emmylou Harris, Ricky Nelson, Travis Tritt, Roy
Orbison and John Denver among many others. He played piano in Elvis'
concerts from 1970 to early 1976.
Shane Keister played piano for eight shows in early 1976 until
Tony Brown was hired to replace Glenn D. Hardin. Tony Brown is
the son of a preacher and secular music was discouraged in his
youth. Gospel music was his early inspiration. He played and
toured with The Oak Ridge boys. After working with Elvis he began
working in Nashville in the recording business. Today, he's an
influential record producer and recording industry executive.
David Briggs played keyboards for Elvis's shows from 1976 until
the end of February 1977. His work with Elvis dates back to
1966, when he was called in to substitute for pianist Floyd Cramer,
who was late for one of the recording sessions for the "How
Great Thou Art" album. Briggs played piano in Cramer's place for
the song "Love Letters", one of the non-gospel songs recorded in
those same sessions. Cramer then arrived to take over on piano,
but Elvis liked Briggs and kept him on for the rest of those
sessions to play organ. He continued to record with Elvis through
to his last recording session in 1976. David is from Alabama
and the famous music of the Muscle Shoals area. His first
recording session was at age 14. He has recorded with artists such as
Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, Mark Chestnut, Barbara
Mandrell and many others. He has also worked in Nashville as a
songwriter, a producer and a music director for television
Throughout the 1970's, these musicians toured and played with
Elvis Presley in over 1,000 shows across the United States. Many
of them still look back over that experience with fondness and
pride. In 1997, on the 20th anniversary of Elvis' death, a
concert was held in Memphis reuniting many of these musicians and
many of the vocalists who had worked with Elvis as part of his
concert tours. The 1997concert starred the real Elvis Presley, via
video with all sound removed from the footage but his voice, with
his former colleagues performing live on stage. This big
production served as the prototype for a smaller road-show size
production, Elvis-The Concert, which has been touring around the world
since 1998. Another major reunion production was held in
Memphis on the 25th anniversary in 2002. The road show, Elvis-The
Concert, just finished its fourth tour of Europe last week. The
show has received tremendous acclaim and in 1998 was designated a
Guinness World Record as "t!
he first live tour headlined by a performer who is no longer
On his web site, bassist Jerry Scheff wrote about his experience
with the 1997 reunion concert: "There were times I forgot that
his physical body was not with us. At the end of the show, when
we were all lined up on stage, and you, the audience, were all
on your feet, I was looking at your faces, and I thought I could
see the same emotions going through you that I was feeling. They
were mixed feelings of elation, sadness, and a sense that we had
experienced something entirely different than we had experienced
before. Then again, it all had to do with Elvis. What did we
Wed Jun 11, 2003 3:52 pm
Excellent article! Thanks for posting that Rich!
Interesting to read about the "unknown drummer" Jerome "Stump" Monroe
(the Sweet Inspirations drummer) who played for Elvis on the June 24th in Madison, WI.
Apparently he played more than once but I am not sure when???
I was also not aware the Larry Londin passed away August 24, 1992.
Anyone know whatever happened to Bob Lanning?
He was my favorite drummer for E's live performances.
Thanks again for the read, RICH!
Wed Jun 11, 2003 11:45 pm
larry londin deserve to be remembered as a cool and interesting alternative to ronnie tutt
I will recommand to everyone the boot HOLDING BACK THE YEARS
a very good elvis performance ( 76 criteria )
the sound is fantastic and the show very dynamic
shane keister job on piano is also a treat !
too bad elvis screwed up the first verses of burning love because it may have been a great version
Thu Jun 12, 2003 12:00 am
I totally agree elvisfan
I have always thought that sometimes elvis should have toured with
may be he should have been less bored by his job
I notice you are from canada
well saturday I will take a plane to visit your (big) country ( two weeks off )
hope to have a great time