The Heat's Off (c) 1973 by Jim Stringer
Fences and Gates
(c) 1973 by Jim Stringer

TIDE was formed in late 1968 by Steve Hall and Paul Miller and myself. The goal was to play original music and to explore the art of the jam. All three of us had developed reputations on our respective instruments and the group was immediately a favorite "musician's" band. We soon longed for more variety than the three piece format offered and invited local multi-instrumentalist, Tim Smith, to join the melee.

We traveled throughout the area bounded by the Rocky Mountains, the Mississippi River, Mexico and Canada. Gigs ranged from the sublime (playing big shows for thousands of fans with other up-and-coming bands such as Guess Who, Chicago, Eric Clapton, It's a Beautiful Day, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Brewer & Shipley, Edgar Winter, etc.). The last show I recall playing with our friends, Kansas, they opened for us at White Concert Hall in Topeka!

Click on the images below for a larger view.

Above left is the Les Paul Custom which I played from 1966 until about 1980. My son, Brett owns the guitar now. It weighs in at about 18 lbs., perhaps the heaviest guitar ever made. The top is carved mahogany, ebony stained, not painted. The fret board is black ebony, the kind that is no longer available because of de-forestation of it's habitat. Over the entire life of this guitar, it has not required neck adjustment -- it's one solid guitar.

Above right is a picture taken at The Red Dog Inn, though I think when this photo was shot, it was call The Capitol Midwest Theater. Tide was at the height of its local popularity about this time. I always played with my eyes closed believing it helped me concentrate on the sound.

This is one of TIDE's early promo's which was created by Mid-Continent Entertainment, the same folks that owned The Red Dog Inn, one of Lawrence's most successful clubs in the 1960's. We look like a bunch of idiots except for Tim Smith who's ready to be a rock star.

The blub was the work of John Brown, booking genius of Mid-Continent. It's at least 33% lies. The band was not danceable, and not commercial in any way. It was, however a band, unique, with a driving beat and a total gas.

Click the images for a larger view.

Above left: I think this was taken at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, maybe when we opened for Delaney and Bonnie with Eric Clapton. Take a gander at the Kustom equipment. We had the same gear on both sides of the stage. There's my twin twelve, 100 watter; 1/2 of Paul Miller's 400 watt, 6x15" JBL bass system; and 1/2 of our PA. The same gear is seen at right, setup for practice at Audio House, a Lawrence recording studio.
This is the order blank for "Almost Live". It suggest that the buyer send an amount between $4.74 and $5.17 for a copy -- this was Steve's idea.

The picture above left was taken shortly after we began recording our only LP for local label, Mouth Music, which was a venture of Richard Petrovits, owner of Lawrence's venerable music store, then called "Richardson's Music" for it's original owner, Dewey Richardson. The LP was ultimately distributed nation-wide by JL Marsh. I'm told that unopened copies are considered valuable by collectors.

At right is a picture which I took at a practice. Steve has his foot behind his head, Paul is doing something lewd with his navel, and Tim Smith is trying to pretend he doesn't know either of them.

Above left: The front cover of "Almost Live". The picture was drawn by Scott Donaldson who became Tide's bassist while Paul Miller served a short stint in the US Navy (that's a story in itself.) Scott had once been to a circus where a tiny man in big shoes played the fiddle while doing somersaults. There's a fetus in the jar. The wagon is a tribute to Lawrence icon of the late 60's, Nathan Howe, who collected cardboard which was recycled by Lawrence Box Company.

Above right: The back cover of "Almost Live". At the upper left is the TIDE logo which was designed by Mary Sue Hall, who was at the time, married to TIDE drummer, Steve Hall. The LP was named "Almost Live" because we'd originally planned to record live -- the band excelled at creating live energy. The first night we planned to record, a tornado hit Lawrence, blowing the roof off the grocery store next to the club where we were playing. The electricity went off and stayed off. Steve Hall played a 45 minute drum solo trying to keep the rather large crowd from becoming a rather large disorderly crowd. The drum solo worked, but the recording did not. We decided to spend our money in a studio.

This promotional piece was created by Steve and his first wife, Sue who was an artist. We had become better over the years at creating promo that actually made the band look somewhat competent. This band was perhaps TIDE at it's best. Bill Lynch took over "Rock God" status from Tim Smith. Greg Mackender, a spectacular multi-talented musicians, added sonic depth to the band's sound with his vibraphone.
Above is an article written by Robert C. Wilson, a fine music writer who originated a magazine called "The King Harvest Review". I don't think I've met many people in my life with greater knowledge of a wider range of music than this man. In 1972, he wrote this piece for The Insider magazine. Click on the pages to view a larger, readable view.
In 1974, the band had a rehearsal studio, complete with 4 track recording gear. Even as recording should have become a daily activity, between marital discord, allergies, and family illnesses, the actual output was minimal -- however, the promise and the growth of the band were evident daily. Click the links below to listen to two tracks from what might have become TIDE's second LP.