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Jeff's original Patron Saints drumhead created by Jonny Wild, circa 1966.
Our Patron Saints sign, created in 1971 by John Doerschuk and Lynn Latimer, accompanied us to every gig.

the patron saints: a retrospective
1966 to 1968 | fohhoh bohob-1969 | 1970 to 1973 | 2000 reunion | today

the patron saints: phase two
In 1968, the Patron Saints were split down the middle
...Bruce Miller and Jeff Alfaro had left to join the group Gatsby, and Jon and I were keeping the Saints alive, as best we could. We teamed up with Paul D'Alton, an old friend and drummer from rival group TAC. At this point, we take up where the Fohhoh Bohob section starts, but here's what happened after that period.

After we completed Bohob and had finished handing out copies to anyone who showed even a mild interest in one, we broke up. I don't remember why, exactly. Maybe we didn't feel like waiting 25 or 30 years to become recognized! I think that Jon was getting ready to go away to college in the fall...that may have been it. Whatever it was, the Patron Saints were in limbo again.

Joe Ivins, drumming in 1971.
Joe Ivins, drumming in 1971.

the patron saints: phase three
Joe Ivins, a friend who had hung around with the Saints while we were recording Fohhoh Bohob (and actually hit a microphone with a hammer to simulate the shotgun sound on the song Do You Think About Me? on side one), turned out to be an amazing drummer. Who knew? He and I had become fairly tight towards the end of the summer of 1969, and we started playing together for fun in a friend's attic. We played a lot of Led Zeppelin; to this day, I can play every bass part on the first album in my and about a million other bass players from that period. I actually got pretty good at the drum parts, too!

Sometime during the Fall, Joe and I went up to Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York, to hang out. A student talent show was in rehearsal, and they were short some musicians for some of the acts. Somehow or other, Joe and I got roped into playing drums and bass for a couple of numbers.

John Doerschuk, with his 60s Gibson Melody Maker, in 1971.
John Doerschuk, with his '60s Gibson Melody Maker, in 1971. Far right, me in 1971.>

Kirk Foster, with his '60s Gibson EB-0 bass, in 1971.

Me in 1971.A few of the skits included an extremely talented student acting and playing guitar and piano. Joe and I started were thinking seriously about reforming the Saints at this point, so we were on the lookout for likely candidates. This guy seemed real likely to us! And so, John Doerschuk became the next member of the resuscitated Patron Saints. I called Jon Tuttle at college, and he wanted in, even though it meant that he would have to commute from Massachusetts to participate. So, in the late fall of 1969, the Patron Saints began anew, once again. We practiced at our pal Charlie Wilhelm's house a lot and played a number of jobs until the summer of 1970. It was the first time that Jon and I were in a group that actually performed our original music live. What was great about this incarnation of the group was the musical flexibility we possessed...both Jon and John were terrific guitarists and keyboard players.

the patron saints: phase four
John Doerschuk told us he had a friend who was a terrific bass player and guitarist looking to join a band. We thought the concept of having five members of the band would give us even more flexibilty, so, in June or July of 1970, John introduced us to Kirk Foster; he jammed with us and the chemistry was immediate. Kirk initially joined the band on guitar while I was still on bass. I spent a lot of time teaching him the guitar parts to my songs, until he finally (and correctly) pointed out that it might be easier if I played the guitar and he played the bass. So that's how I got back to playing guitar in the Patron Saints.

I was getting that old recording itch again; both Jon and I had new songs that we wanted to get down on tape, so we started to search for another place to record. A band friend, Lynn Latimer, offered her family's basement...we could even move the family piano down from the living room! It was too good to be true...her parents were even into it! Lynn, along with friends Dan Reiner and Jackie Fornerod pitched in for the cause.

My first-ever guitar amp, an 8-watt Kent, purchased around the same time as my first guitar.
Me, with my Framus Texan 12-string, and Kirk, during the recording of The Latimer Sessions, in 1971.

We brought in our equipment, put up blankets for soundproofing, set up mikes...I think we envisioned this as Fohhoh Bohob: The Sequel. We had better decks and mixers than before, and we felt confident that we could produce something marketable this time around, since nothing seemed to be happening with our one and only almost two-year-old record. Jon came down from Massachusetts when he could, which was not too often...we had been essentially a four-piece band since Kirk joined, practicing and recording, for the most part, without Jon. Finally, in April of 1971, he made it official: Jon was leaving the group for personal reasons.

Me, with my Hofner 173ii in 1971.
Me, with my 'refinished' (read: stripped and stained) Hofner 173ii (formerly Jon Tuttle's guitar) in 1971. Far right, me and John Doerschuk hanging out after recording The Latimer Sessions, 1971.>

Lynn and Jackie singing in 1971.
Lynn and Jackie singing in 1971.

the patron saints: phase five
Me and John Doerschuk hanging out after recording The Latimer Sessions, 1971. So now we were back to four: me, Joe, John and Kirk. At the end of April 1971, we finished creating our new "masterpiece." The final product was a mixed bag of styles, just as Bohob had been, with rock, pop, folk, R & B, and music hall. Most of the songs were new, but we also re-recorded versions of Flower, Do You Think About Me?, White Light and Andrea, all of which appeared originally on Fohhoh Bohob. Lynn and Jackie sang on Golden Richard, the last song we recorded; the first "female" voices to appear officially on a Patron Saints recording.

We weren't sure if  the final product was good enough for vinyl, but it was definitely useful as a demonstration tape for the band. We brought copies of the tapes everywhere and sent a number out to various record companies, including the Moody Blues' newly formed Threshold label. Unfortunately, they sent us back someone else's demo tape. Another band must have ours; to this day, I expect to hear our songs pop up on someone else's album!

Cover for The Patron Saints' The Latimer Sessions, which was finally released on CD in 2000.
Cover for The Patron Saints' The Latimer Sessions, which was finally released on CD in 2000.

The Latimer Sessions, as they came to be called, allowed us to gel as a band. In 2000, by popular demand, we finally released The Latimer Sessions on CD.

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We played a lot of jobs that summer and continued into 1972 (To the right is a QuickTime movie of us at an outdoor concert in August, 1971). We disbanded at some point, but in early 1973, the Patron Saints reformed and decided, once more, to try our hand at recording ourselves. We bought even better tape equipment, and constructed a new studio (nicknamed "The Bunker") in the attic of the house Joe, his wife April, and our friend Don Kratzke lived in. Don and I did most of the design and construction; we really wanted to do it right this time. Finally, tape started rolling in May. At some point during this period, we decided that the name Patron Saints had outlived it's practical usefulness and changed it to Diamond Reo, after the garbage truck line (which, of course another group had thought of and used). Since we never performed publicly as a group after this point, nobody but us ever knew (or cared, for that matter!). Another group used the name, so it's just as well.

Our studio, 'The Bunker,' where The Patron Saints recorded in 1973.
Our studio, 'The Bunker,' where The Patron Saints recorded in 1973.

Me, with modded Tele in 1972.We did a lot of good work in that attic. I had written a fair number of new songs which we were able to try out, including One For The Road, a  re-recorded version of which ended up on my 1978 album release, Modern Phonography. Things seemed to be going quite well until Joe, out of the blue, announced that he and April were moving to Virginia. This lovely piece of news really took the wind out of our sails; the rest of us just didn't have the energy to reform again. And so we didn't. That's how this phase of the Patron Saints finally bit the dust.

The Patron Saints eventually morphed into the group Garrison, but the next phase of the Saints' story continues with the reunion concert in 2000...

All photos of the Patron Saints from the Latimer Sessions taken by Dan Reiner. Live photos taken by Lynn Latimer. Studio photo by Don Kratzke.

1966 to 1968 | fohhoh bohob-1969 | 1970 to 1973 | 2000 reunion | today


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