Art Hauffe, bass player for Saginaw, Michigan's The Cherry Slush, switched from drums to guitar at the suggestion of friend
and Captives' drummer, Dick Coughlin. The duo, along with Mark Burdick, Gene Bruce and, later, Dan Parsons, changed band names
to The Bells Of Rhymny and recorded the first version of the garage pop classic I Cannot Stop You. It wasn't until Hauffe
sought the talents of wunderkind Dick Wagner (Bossmen and The Frost, as well as producer/songwriter for Count & The Colony,
Tonto & The Renegades and other Michigan bands) to assist them with their recordings, however, that they really began making
strides. Though the band narrowly missed "the big time" on more than one occasion, they did create some very memorable music.
In June 2002, they reunited for a concert appearance, and recently compiled a CD retrospective of their '60's singles.
Nearly thirty-five years after their heyday, The Cherry Slush cannot be stopped!
An Interview With Art Hauffe
60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
Art Hauffe (AH): I always liked drums. Like most kids my age, when I was younger I had the lids to the pots and pans with an old marching drum set up in my bedroom. I played along with Love Potion No. 9 and the Ventures. Then my dad bought me a drum set - I think it was an old Gretch -when I was about 12 or 13. I used marbleized sticky paper from the bottoms of cabinet shelves and made it look like the newer Ludwig sets. I then started playing drums with Dick Coughlin in the junior high band. We were walking home from school in the 8th or 9th grade and he said he was forming a band. He told me if I had a bass guitar I could join his band.
60s: So you purchased one?
AH: I talked my dad into buying me a bass and amp and became the fourth member of Dick's band, The Captives. I had a Thunderball 007 bass with a Kay amp. I was 15 (I'm 51 now). We played at Mark Burdick's house. I remember Jack Omeing playing Sax and Dick playing drums. Gary Corbert played guitar. He went on to travel with us and be like a roadie.
60s: You switched from drums to bass at Dick's suggestion. Did you take any type of formal lessons?
AH: I had no formal lessons although I did take a couple of lessons from a Jack Bruske in Saginaw. He was listed in Playboy's top 100 bass players in the '60s.
60s: Did The Captives become The Bells Of Rhymny?
AH: Jack had to leave the group after he threw a wild party - I remember people jumping out of windows - and his parents sent him to military school. There was this other kid in school that we all knew and we asked him if he'd like to sing lead in the band. His name was Dan Parsons, and he agreed. So there we were. I remember being at Dick's house listening to the Byrds. When the song Bells of Rhymny came on we decided to change our name to The Bells of Ryhmny. We knew we were missing something so we started looking for another guitar player. We heard of this rich kid at another school looking for a band to join. That's when Gene Bruce came into the picture. Gene was the only one with a basement so after a bit of talking that's where we ended up.
60s: Gene Bruce's mother became the band's manager. How did this come about?
AH: Gene's mother, Vivian, was a great lady. She'd drive to each of our houses and pick us up for rehearsal almost every day. She'd make us sandwiches and took a real interest in the group. My dad had a station wagon so he was the one who took us to our gigs. Gene's mother bought us clothes and even got us a choreographer to teach us dance steps. We decided we had a tune, She'll Be Back, that we wanted to record so, with Gene's mom's help, we went to Bay City to record the first (version of) She'll Be Back. We were told later that 96 Tears was recorded at the same place a week before - or the day before, I don't remember. We were playing almost every weekend. My uncle, Jim Leach, was involved with 96 Tears and got involved with us. He got us bookings and took us under his wing. He also got a Gold Record for 96 Tears and is now in Los Angeles doing his radio show: James St. James - the only Jimmy Hollywood. Well, we had this record but we all thought it was a bit empty.
60s: Was this version of She'll Be Back ever released?
AH: The first She'll Be Back was made into a demo and we all got one. The same thing with Rich Man's Woman. We also did one called Who Are You that Dick Wagner wrote. I've got the dub to that. Wagner put it on one of his albums. This one sounded pretty good but was never released. I forgot - one other song we recorded was Now I'm Free. We must have done three songs when we first recorded. Charlie and I went to Detroit and did a couple of tunes, too; just guitar, bass and vocals. (The were) Willard and Julie Judy Angle Rain. It was for Charlie's parents. He had 500 copies pressed on the "Big Orange" label, (which was) Charlie's idea. Charlie has a great voice and is playing at his church with his Taylor guitar. He lives in Cape Canaveral.
60s: How did you get involved with Dick Wagner?
AH: We had played at the YMCA a couple of times with Bobby Riggs and the Chevelles (Donny Hartman), and with Dick Wagner's band, The Bossmen. I knew where Dick Wagner lived so one day I suggested that we knock on his door. And that's exactly what we did. I was the one with the biggest mouth so I did the talking. Here we were - a bunch of kids with a record - going to one of the best known players in town. I didn't even think he'd remember us. Dick listened to the record and asked us to leave it. We recorded a B-Side called Rich Man's Woman that we never did anything with. About a week later, Wagner called us and asked us to come over. That's where the fuzz tone (on She'll Be Back) came from and that was the start of a long friendship. Dick started coming to our practices in the basement and when he was satisfied with our playing he took us to Detroit to record She'll Be Back and The Wicked Old Witch. I remember playing the Beatles' She's A Woman with Dick. He wanted us to record it. We used to tease him and call him Allah and bow to him. He put it (She'll Be Back and The Wicked Old Witch) on his label, Dicto. Dick also got us booked at some of the same places his band was playing. That's about the time Daniel's Den came into the picture. We pretty much became a regular band there.
60s: What was it like?
AH: It was cool at Daniel's Den. It seemed like we played there twice a month. You name the band and we played with them. Dick Coughlin's brother, John, was the deejay.
60s: What other bands do you recall playing there?
AH: Excels, Gary Lewis and the Playboys (I think we played with Lewis. I remember loaning Gary Lewis cymbals because he didn't have any), The Tremolos, The Gentrys (Dick still writes Larry Raspberry from the Gentrys), Bob Segar and The Last Heard, Purple Gang. I can't remember them all. There were so many.....
60s: How would you describe your sound at this time?
AH: We pretty much sounded like every Top 40 band but we all felt we were better because we had Mr. Wagner on our side. We were influenced by the Beatles and the Top 40 music of the day.
60s: What do you remember about the recording session for She'll Be Back?
AH: When we when to Detroit to record She'll Be Back, I remember egg crates on the walls. And I also remember the big "Voice of Music" speakers. I remember being in a big room almost like the gym at school. 60s: I Cannot Stop You - the Cherry Slush's best known song - was actually recorded when the band was still known as the Bells Of Rhymny.
AH: Wagner was still coming to our rehearsals and one day he taught us a song he wrote called I Cannot Stop You. After a few weeks we decided to go to Cleveland and record it. We drove and recorded the song in 36 hours. I remember being hooked up direct through the board in the booth playing the bass and making a mistake. I looked at Wagner scared and began playing the next part correct. I'll never forget the look he gave me. He left the mistake in and it sounds like it should be there.
60s: Is it true that the song was later re-recorded with horns added? Or was it remixed?
AH: No. We recorded it once. What you got is what we originally recorded. Donny Sheets, a horn player we knew in the high school band, played a couple of parts on the recording.
60s: Where did you get Don't Walk Away - the flip side - from?
AH: We needed a B-Side and we decided that we'd do one of Mark's old songs, Don't Walk Away. Wagner suggest that it needed a bridge so Danny and Mark went outside and came back with something that sounded like Roy Orbison. Wagner suggested that we sing, "Please, oh please, don't walk a way" instead of "Hey, hey, hey, don't walk away." That's how the B-Side came about. We did it in about an hour.
60s: Shortly after recording this single, you changed names to The Cherry Slush. Why did you feel it necessary to change names?
AH: We were up in Rose City, Michigan playing a weekend gig - both Friday and Saturday. We were also looking for a new name because Charlie was now playing with us. We went into this Ice Cream Shop and saw it on the wall: Cherry Slush. We all decided that was going to be our new name. The next time we played Daniel's Den we played one set as The Bells Of Rhymny and the second set as The Cherry Slush. That's how the name came to be.
AH: Mark, our rhythm guitar player, had met this girl and it was getting hard to get him to come and play. His mind was on his girlfriend. We decided to find someone else. We found another guitar player named Charlie Woodward. Charlie played lead guitar and sang mostly Beach Boys' songs. He was with us for just about a year. His father made him quit so he could spend more time to prepare for college. So we then needed someone else. Dick (Coughlin's) girlfriend told him that her cousin, Brian Bennett, played the organ. We all went one night to hear Brian play in his band. We offered him a spot in our band and he said yes.
60s: I Cannot Stop You was eventually released on the Coconut Grove label.
AH: I Cannot Stop You was picked up buy these two guys in Flint, Michigan. At first they were going to put it on the Washington Square Label. Actually, that is what we thought it was going to be on. When we got our copies of the 45 it was on the Coconut Grove label, and we all thought it was a mistake.
60s: It was then later distributed by USA Records. How did USA become involved?
AH: After a few months on the Flint label, we got a call from Paul Potts, the owner, and he said that he had a few bigger labels asking about buying our record, including USA, Laurie Records, Mercury, and a couple of more that I don't remember. Laurie was the way were leaning until we got their contract. It said that they could book us anywhere in the U.S. and we had to pay for our own way there. (This could have included) Washington DC one night, and the state of Washington the next. We took USA because we thought it was a better contract and we all liked what was happening to the Buckinghams (Kind Of A Drag was on USA). We felt it was smaller and we'd get more attention. I have always thought Mercury would have been better.
60s: The band's second single (as the Cherry Slush) was recorded at Chess Records in Chicago. How did this come about?
AH: USA booked us at just about every club in Chicago. We'd skip our 8th hour class on Friday, hop a plane and play Friday night. Most of the time we'd play 45 minutes, then break down and play somewhere else the same night. We'd play twice on Friday, twice on Saturday and once on Sunday. We'd go into the studio on Saturday and record. We also liked hitting the pawn shops in Chicago, too. We played on a TV show in Canada - across the river from Detroit. After the show we were walking in downtown Detroit and a couple of girls recognized us. That was when Leach said that we were on our way and told us we could do anything in the city that we wanted to do. He would buy. That's when I saw my first burlesque show. When we recorded in Chicago we were in the same studio and used the same engineer that recorded (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction for the Rolling Stones. I thought that was kind of neat.
60s: Day Don't Come / Gotta Take It Easy was recorded at Chess...
AH: I remember being at Chess Records one day and Bob Monaco brought in a butch of tapes and played them for us. He asked us which one we wanted as our next record. We all liked Day Don't Come and Gotta Take It Easy. During the next couple of weeks all we played were those two songs.
60s: Day Don't Come had the Chicago Symphony doing the instrumental backup tracks. Horn rock was getting huge at the time, but whose idea was this?
AH: I remember going into the studio and Bob played our record with the Chicago Symphony on it. We thought it was cool but had no idea that our contract stated that he could use whoever or whatever interment he wanted on it and we had to pay for it. That cost us around $5,000. Back then that was a bit of change.
60s: Considering that it fit very nicley with other hits of the day, did you think that Day Don't Come would have been a bigger hit?
AH: Day Don't Come should have been a smash. It was a quality recording and had a lot of appeal. The problem was it was shelved because USA was having problems. I one time heard USA was a front for the boys from Italy and designed to be a tax write-off. USA closed and so did our hopes of a hit record. We didn't own any of the rights to Day Don't Come and never got paid anything for I Cannot Stop You. It's the same old shit...
60s: It's too bad that The Cherry Slush never was able to break out nationally...
AH: I remember when we were on UPBEAT in Cleveland with a guy named Joe South. He (eventually) started writing our drummer, and Mr. South wanted us to come down to Atlanta to record a song he wrote. He (had previously) written Down In The Boondocks. Our parents wouldn't let us go because of our age. Joe South ended up recording the song on his own. The name of the song was Games People Play. It went gold twice. I also remember being on a TV show on the 43rd floor of a building in Chicago. We were on with The Association, The Hollies and an all-black group. We were all in a room waiting to go on TV. I was next to this black guy so we started talking. He asked the name of our band and remembered hearing our record on the radio (It was #2 in Chicago for 3 weeks in a row). He asked where I was from and when I told him Saginaw, Michigan he said he had a friend from Saginaw named Stevie Wonder. He asked if I knew him. I told him no, but knew the high school that he went to. We talked about mini-skirts and things like that. This guy was called to go on TV and our manager (Leach) came up to me and asked if I knew who I was talking to? I told him no. He asked me if I ever heard of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles? He was mad because Smokey was playing right down the street from us and we could have gotten in back stage to hear the band. You never know. I remember being at a music store in Saginaw and seeing the Popcorn Blizzard drive up with this big guy in a trailer in the back. They wouldn't let him in the car because he stunk so bad. His name was Meatloaf. We played in Detroit, Louisville, Chicago, and every major city in Michigan. We had dates set up in Florida, Georgia, and other states and then USA went bankrupt.
60s: How great an affect did that have on the band?
AH: When USA went under we were all pretty disappointed. We kept playing but the fun had left us. It was getting old and (we had) one disappointment after another. It was about that time that Gene Bruce's dad told him he had to quit the band a start spending more time in the family business. We found another guitar player but lost our place to rehearse. I remember being in someone's basement and barely able to move. It was about then that Jim Leach suggested that we break up. He said go out while we were on top and people would remember us. I was the only one who objected to it. I wanted to stay together. We had a horn section and a new guitar player and I thought we could make the new thing work. We sounded better than ever and were playing a lot of songs with horns. I was still having fun. So, one night we played Daniel's Den we were an eight- piece band and rocked. That was the last night we played. The last song we played together was Got To Get You Into My Life by the Beatles. We nailed it.
60s: What about the Birthday / Feel A Whole Lot Better single? Where was this recorded?
AH: We recorded Birthday / Feel A Whole Lot Better at Sparta Records in Grand Rapids. I do remember the engineer being hooked up with someone big but I don't remember who. At the session we all were having problems making everything work. So Jim Leach went out and bought us some beer. After a few beers we loosened up and did the thing. Birthday is actually three or four takes made into one (I think I remember it correctly). We put it on Leach's label, Chivalry Records. When we finished Birthday and mailed a copy of it to Dick Clark with a Christmas card from The Cherry Slush, a few months later Dick Clark's group The Underground Sunshine recorded it and Birthday became number #1 in the nation (NOTE: According to FUZZ FLOWERS & ACID, the song's highest chart position was #26 - still not too shabby). I guess it's all about who you know.
60s: Considering that you had had a fairly successful song in I Cannot Stop You, why was Birthday released on such a small label?
AH: Leach and Wagner always had different ideas of what The Cherry Slush should do. I can't remember why we put the song on my uncle's label.
60s: What did you do after the Cherry Slush?
AH: A couple of the guys and myself stayed together and tried doing something. I don't think we played one gig. I then joined a band called KoKoMo. I spent a year or so doing that. I then went to still another band (but) I don't remember the name. I ended up going to the bars and only knowing the band so I'd sit in and play a set or two. Danny, the old singer of the Slush, was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He asked me to come down and play bass. I moved to Alabama and spent six to eight months in a group called Natchez Trace. We recorded the Eagles Old 55 and one called I Miss Mississippi. We then moved to Grand Rapids and played there for a few months. I then took a few years off and got married and moved to Florida. I collected guitars and played while I was married. When I got divorced seven years ago I got really involved in playing again. I played in a couple of no-name bands and when I heard that we were going to get a Gold Record for I Cannot Stop You, I went out and got my Ricenbacker, an $1,800 bass; I felt I was due. I have since gotten a five-string Music Man as well. I played in two bands in the last three years - both with female lead singers. I currently play with a four-piece band doing oldies and many tunes we did in the Slush.
60s: This past June, the Slush played a reunion concert with Dick Wagner. What can you tell me about that?
AH: I drove up to Michigan and played with the original members of the Cherry Slush. It was a blast. We sounded pretty good for just three rehearsals. We were told we blew most of the groups off the stage. I am honored that many people have emailed me and remember the Slush. I didn't realize how popular we really were. I am told that the '60's records have made a big splash in the UK and I Cannot Stop You is still selling there. I read an interview with one of Spain's music stars and one of the questions was what type of music he was into. His response was that he recently bought The Cherry Slush's record I Cannot Stop You. I was knocked over.
60s: The Cherry Slush recently released a CD entitled Looking Back. How involved with it were you?
AH: When the Internet became popular, Dick and Gene kept finding old Cherry Slush things on it. They kept finding CDs with our songs on them. That's when they decided to do the CD. Why not make some money for all of us? The only thing I had to do with the CD is donate the pictures. I had dozens of pictures my uncle sent me from Los Angeles. I sent them to Gene over a year ago and never got them back. To order a copy of the Cherry Slush CD, visit www.wagnermusic.com.