Band X
band photo
Denny Allen: Bass, vocals
Ron Carlson: Lead guitar, vocals
Alan Lamm: Rhythm guitar, vocals
Brian Sparks: Drums
Date formed: Spring 1965
Date disbanded: Summer 1965
This band never really had a name. It, in a sense, was never really a band. It is included in Garage because it was the starting point for the individuals represented here. Also, this band illustrates how transient bands could be at this time. It's also where I got my start (no bias here). There were two known practices before the whole band idea fell by the wayside.
   The idea for forming the band came about at a junior high skating party. These four friends, while skating around singing along with the popular songs of the day, decided that since they could sing along with records pretty well they should start a band. After all, all the popular bands had never had any formal musical training so it must be easy to be a band right!?!?
Denny was the most capable musician of the group. He could play piano, drums, bass and guitar. He owned all of these instruments as well. He was the brains behind the musical aspect of Band “X”. Denny selected two songs—“P.S. I Love You” and “I'm A Loser” by the Beatles—and supplied each member with sheet music for each tune. What he did was copy the piano music for each instrument; piano left hand for bass, right hand for lead guitar etc.
   Denny decided to be the bass player for the band. He had a Fender Precision Bass with the sunburst finish and played through a Kalamazoo Bass 30 amp.
   Ron picked lead guitar assuming notes would be easier to learn than chords. He did not own a guitar at this time, but was keen to learn. Denny helped out by loaning him his classical guitar. At practice Ron used Denny's Gibson Melody Maker which had the vintage sunburst finish and one pickup. He played through Denny’s Kalamazoo guitar amp.
   Alan was to be the rhythm guitarist because he had a guitar, had taken 4 lessons and could play “Red River Valley”. The guitar was a red solid body with 2 pickups—most likely one of the many inexpensive import guitars that abounded at this time.
   Brian got to be the drummer as all the other instruments were taken. He, like Ron, did not own his chosen instrument nor was it very likely that his parents would buy a kit for him. For the time being he used cardboard boxes to practice on at home with a pair drumsticks Denny gave him to use for just this purpose. At practice Brian used Denny’s drum set—a Ludwig kit finished and configured the same as Ringo Starr’s set.
Band “X” only had two practices out of which only one was a “real” practice. The first attempt was on a Saturday morning at Ron’s house in the basement. No one brought any instruments. It probably wouldn't have made any difference as Ron’s dad was remodeling the basement. The resulting noise would have been too much to compete with.
   The second practice was at Denny’s house. Denny had most of his stuff in a little playhouse which was just the right size for the band. They tried their hand at the two songs, but generally ended up making a bunch of noise. Besides, the beautiful summer day beckoned.
   Band “X” had no public performances as the band idea was given up after the second practice. The reason for their dissolution was not for any of the usual reasons like personality conflicts and such. It was, perhaps, more that two people had instruments and two did not; two were very into being in a band and two weren’t. Although the rest of the boys went on to play in future groups, Alan did not. As of this writing he is currently farming outside of Ogden where he grew up. Brian went on to play in two other bands. He lived in Ames and worked at ISU as a groundskeeper. Brian passed away on June 20, 2014 in Mary Greeley Hospital, Ames IA. Denny played in many more bands and now lives in Texas. Ron also played in several other bands. He lives in Boone and plays occasionally for his own enjoyment.
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