The Livin' End


In the 60's it was a common occurrence for bands to have similar names throughout the country. The Outcasts, The Fugitives, The Coachmen, The Cavaliers, and even The Basement Wall(there was another band called The Basement Waul!!). Likewise for The Living End or The Livin’ End. In Texas there were two bands with The Livin’ End name. This is where the confusion starts. Major Bill had a band on his Charay label that was called The Livin’ End. This was a band that was spearheaded by Steve Crane allegedly from Burkburnett, Texas. The Livin’ End on this Cd is the one that has been confused with the aforementioned band. This led 60's afficionados to guess that they were from Wichita Falls, Lubbock, Amarillo or the catch all for unknown bands, West Texas. In reality, The Livin’ End were a band from Abilene. Perhaps the confusion about the group would be a moot point if they had issued a single during their reign from 1965 to 1968. Unfortunately, while they recorded numerous songs, they lacked the management that could get them signed to a label. Fortunately for all concerned their material has been stored in the vaults and is finally compiled on this CD. Here then is their story related by the generous cooperation of their lead guitar player Wayland Huey in February of 1998.

Wayland Huey came from a musical family. His grandfather taught him how to play guitar on a two stringer! Wayland would play along with his grandfather(who played harmonica and fiddle) doing hillbilly type music(although today it would be called "Country and Western"). Wayland got started in rock and roll by listening to his uncle play records by the early rock and roll greats like Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, and Bill Halley. From there Wayland picked up the rock and roll beat on his two string guitar, practicing "Don’t Be Cruel" riffs repeatedly. Wayland then progressed to playing with local kids in garage bands. These bands played instrumentals. One of them was called The Satins. This was while he was still in junior high school. The band played for parties or held their own parties. They had no PA system so couldn’t do vocals. It wasn’t until they saw a local Abilene band, The Bonnevilles, that The Satins began to incorporate vocals into their act. By then Wayland was in high school. No recordings were ever done by The Satins.

Wayland’s next band was The Coachmen. They formed in late 1963 and recorded their first single in early 1964. They did three tracks "Wind In The Chimney"(written by Ronny Van and never released) "Say You Love Me" and "Hush Broken Heart." The latter two were released as a single. The band patterned the single after The Everly Brothers. It was released on Gala Records. This was Jim Hall’s company in Big Springs. They recorded in his studio there too. Maxine Kelton co-wrote "Hush Broken Heart". She had already written for musicians out of Nashville. Her son plays bass with Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's, today. She asked The Coachmen if they could do her song and take the country out of it. It became the b-side and was played on the country stations around Texas. "Say You Love Me" charted on the rock stations. Received air play in cities such as Dallas, San Angelo, Odessa, and other West Texas cities. The single helped the band get more gigs and money. On a good night the band would earn several hundred dollars playing in towns such as Abilene, Austin, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo in bars, private parties, and at college frat parties. The Coachmen split up at the end of 1964. Don Nicholas, Tommy Nixon and Tommy Swindle would leave the Coachmen for The Chevelle V.

After The Coachmen, Wayland ran across some other musicians(in a band whose name is now forgotten) and they would form the nucleus of the band that came to be The Livin’ End. At first the band members Wayland to manage them because he had connections in the music business. The band was only getting a total of $25.00 a night but Wayland had been getting five times that amount in The Coachmen. Enter Wayland Huey not as a manager but as a guitarist. This was in 1965.

The band named themselves The Livin’ End because of the following incident. The lead singer’s ( Bill Leiter) mother had gone over to England and was at a club where Paul McCartney was hanging out. He was talking to somebody and said real loud "well that’s the Livin’ End." She came back and told the band the story and that’s how they got their name. People started to take notice of the band as they played continuously around town. Don Nichols(former vocalist for The Coachmen) would become their manager. This helped The Livin’ End find many more gigs. Thus, they would play Austin, Galveston, Dallas, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, and many other Texas cities. In Austin they would pull in about $1,000 bucks a night and this was 1966! A typical performance would include many Rolling Stones songs. They didn’t play any Beatles songs because the vocals were out of range for Bill.

It was in late1965 when The Livin’ End first ventured into the studio to record. They would do "Roadrunner," "Get Off My Cloud," "Friends," and "All Alone" at Ron Newdoll’s Accurate Sound Studio in San Angelo. The band went to San Angelo cause they had heard it was a good recording studio. Newdoll had also recorded a number one hit song, "Last Kiss", by a local San Angelo group called J.Frank Wilson and The Cavaliers. The Livin’ End enjoyed the recording session and it is evidenced by the excellent performances on the four songs. The songs were recorded as a demo tape, not for the purpose of releasing a record. Wayland wanted to get the band into the studio cause they had never done any recording. Also they could send the tape out to show how the band was to booking agents. The songs were recorded mainly in one take. The two originals were influenced by Bob Dylan. Wayland really liked Dylan’s sound. In fact the two original songs were played live at their shows.

The next time The Livin’ End would enter the studio was for a two-song session. The result "My Destination" was recorded about a half year after the sessions at Accurate Sound. The song was done at Tommy Allsops Studio in Odessa. The band was not pleased with the session and thus the song was never released. This song was also done in the groups live shows. The Livin’ End’s next recordings were done in Dallas also in 1966. These came about cause the band did an audition at a local club called "Lou Anns." A couple of people involved with the Sump’n Else show saw them there and liked the band. They were put on the show numerous times. The band played on the Sump’n Else show about once a month. In the beginning they played live on the show but later lip synched. They even had a chance to perform the originals "All Alone," "Friend’s," and "My Destination". While The Livin’ End never got paid for the shows, they were able to get a session at Summit Studios for four new recordings("Makin Time", "Captain’s Soul", "Talkin’ About You", and "Empty Heart"). Two of the songs at Summit were intended to be released on a single. The band would send the demos out to Dot, Decca, and Epic. Unfortunately, they didn’t get signed to any of them. How did The Livin’ End know about an obscure hit such as The Creation’s "Makin Time?" This was due to Wayland’s girlfriend. She told them "you gotta hear this new record. It sounds like you guys." Another interesting song from the session was "Captains Soul." It was written in this manner. The band liked "Get Out Of My Life Woman" by Albert King and wrote a song patterned after it, but utilizing a similar sounding title to The Byrds song "Captain Soul".In reality The Byrds "Captain Soul" was also a reworking of "Get Out Of My Life Woman." So The Livin’ End derived the title to their song as sort of a play on The Byrds song.

The final recording done by The Livin’ End was "Pine Street Boys". It was recorded in late 1967 in PAMS Studio in Dallas over a couple of hours. The band again wanted to shop the song for a label deal. "Pine Street Boys" was about a street in Abilene called Pine Street. On this street there were old men who would play dominoes in little indoor domino parlors. The guys in the band would sometimes go in and play pool and were inspired to write a song about the domino players.

One of the most interesting moments for The Livin’ End was when they played with The Doors in Ft. Worth at Will Rogers Coliseum. This was a large festival that took place from August 26 to September 6 of 1967. The other bands playing were The Electric Prunes, The Seeds, The Standells, The Box Tops, The Grassroots, The McCoys, and Every Mothers Son. Wayland remembers The Electric Prunes as the best performing band present. The local Texas bands other than The Livin’ End were Those Guys, The Exotics, The Jades, and The Chessmen. The Livin’ End played two days. They played for about an hour at each show. The way the festival worked was that there were three stages set up at one time. This enabled the crowd to have continuous music without waiting for each band to set up their equipment. As fate would have it, The Doors were to follow The Livin’ End on the same stage. The Doors were late for the show and thus The Living End were asked to play longer. Finally The Doors arrived. The had to borrow some of TheLivin’ End’s equipment because not all of it had arrived. The Livin End stayed around to hear them, cause they wanted their equipment back. Wayland talked with Jim Morrison. He recalls Morrison as not all there, but still coherent. He came up to Wayland and said "sorry were late". At this time Wayland was backstage talking to the guy who was running the show. So Jim went up to Wayland put his hand on his shoulder and said they got here late cause they were trying to find some of their equipment at the airport. Morrison was dressed in leather. Wayland said no problem to borrowing the equipment and for coming late.

A few months after the great happening in Ft. Worth, Wayland would join the Marine Corps and stay till 1970. The Livin’ End played on through the end of 1968 without Wayland before splitting up for good. The live material on this Cd was done at the Abilene Convention Center in the late 70's for a Livin’ End reunion show. Originally intended as a private party for 500 people, word spread around town that the band was playing and the sponsors started charging admission. The end result was that the Convention Center was sold out. Abilene fans still remembered The Livin’ End and the great live shows that they had performed so many times in the 60's.

Today, Robert Olivera is working overseas. Barry Robertson is still active in music in Abilene. Tommy Marlin is successful in the pizza business in Abilene, San Angelo, and Laredo. Little Joe has continued his music career. Lee Pence is still active in music in Austin. Cal Stanton is in the Houston area doing construction work. Tommy Nixon went on to work with The Eagles. Don Nicholas is working in Houston. Besides Tommy Nixon, Wayland is still active in music, has worked with Ray Sharpe and jammed with Bugs Henderson, Johnny Nitzinger and other Texas music legends. Tom Swindle lives and works in Ft. Worth and still plays the drums. Gary Simmons is now a computer programmer and works all over the United States. Written by Wayland Huey.

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