band photo
Denny Allen: Bass guitar, vocals
Ron Carlson: Lead guitar, vocals
Brent Espe: Drums (1972-74)
Bob Groves: Drums, vocals (1972)
David Sternquist: Lead guitar, vocals
Date formed: Summer 1972
Date disbanded: Spring 1974
Camel began life around Spring of 1972 when Denny and Dave got together to do some song writing and general jamming. Denny lived just a block or so south of Dave so it was very convenient for this to take place. Dave was in between bands as was Denny after County Road had broken up in late 1971. He had started a record shop in Boone called Revolver Records during this period. Ron had kept in contact with him fairly consistently; even to the extent of helping to advertise the store for Denny by walking the streets of Boone’s business district wearing a sandwich board advert for the shop.
    At the time Denny and Dave were getting together Ron had taken a job in Yellowstone National Park for the summer in 1972. When he got back in late September, Denny approached him about starting a band with Dave. Bob Groves, who was about to start college, was brought in to play drums. Bob had been a long time acquaintance of both Denny and Ron. He had also been the drummer in the last version of Road. At this point in 1972 the band had no name.
Denny was playing a Rickenbacker 4001 bass finished in fireglo which he later stripped to bare wood and refinished with clear Verathane. The amp he was using was an Acoustic 360 bass amp. The Acoustic was a head/cabinet setup, but with a difference. The head for most amps of this type was both the pre and power amp with the cabinet being loaded with only speakers. Acoustic took the approach of putting the power amp in the speaker cabinet with the head unit being just the preamp. The folded horn cabinet had room for the amp and it worked great.
   Dave started out with a gold top Les Paul Deluxe and a silver face Fender Twin Reverb amp with the silver/blue grille cloth. He later went through a succession of amps including a Marshall and an Acoustic amongst others. He also acquired a Schecter Firebird V with the banjo tuners on it which he used later on with the group.
   Ron had an early 60s Gibson ES 330-T which he had gotten from his close friend Carl Dorner in 1971 by trading a portable reel to reel tape recorder and $40 or $50 for the guitar. For amplification he was using a Magnatone M7 which had been purchased used at The House of Music in Ames. He also added an old PA column that was manufactured by Sounds Inc. of Boone to the Magnatone. During January of 1973, he purchased a Rickenbacker 360 12 string finished in mapleglo for $295 from Rick Jewett in Grand Junction. In the fall of 1973 he purchased a used Gibson ES 335TDW from Jeff Bollenbaugh which became his main instrument. Ron also went through an upgrade process with amps. The Magnatone wasn't cutting it anymore so the search was on. The first purchase was a 1956 Fender Pro which he found in a little shop in Perry for $75. Since the amp was in good condition for it's age it was not used in the band setting for long due to it’s value. Through Steve Greenfield he made connections with Gilbert Wildon in Algona and purchased a black face Fender Dual Showman for $250. This was the amp he used for most of the time Camel was together.
   Bob Groves, who played with the band during the fall and into Winter of 1972, had a Ludwig drum set finished in oyster pearl like Ringo Starr’s kit. It had a kick, chrome snare. 2 rack toms, and a floor tom along with hat, ride and crash cymbals.
When Bob left the band to concentrate on school, Brent Espe joined up. He had been found after a short search for a drummer in the area. Brent was originally from Radcliffe and was working at ISU running a printing press at the time. He had a Slingerland kit consisting of kick, chrome snare, 2 rack toms and floor tom with 2 crash, 1 ride and hat for cymbals.
   For PA the band started out with a Kustom tuck and roll white/silver sparkle system. The head had four channels with reverb. The 2 speaker columns in the system had a 15 inch speaker and high frequency driver with a 15 inch horn in each column. In mid 1973 the band bought two Altec Voice of the Theatre speakers which they drove with the Kustom head. The VOTTs were commonly used in movie theatres hence the name.
   In late 1973 the band purchased an Altec 1220 mixing board which was cutting edge technology at the time for a local band like Camel. The idea was that someone running the mixer sitting a ways out in front of the stage could balance the vocals and instruments more accurately than the band could from the stage as was the custom up until this point in time.
   It was decided to mic all the instruments—not just the vocals—and hire a person to run sound for the group. Alan Graybill, a former bandmate of both Denny and Ron, filled that position. The advent of the Altec 1220 led to trying a previous idea from County Road. Camel decided to employ acoustic guitars along with electric ones to give more variety to the band's performances.
   Along with the Turner and Shure mics the band was already using, Denny added some AKG D100 mics to the band's sound reinforcement compliment. The AKGs were used to mic the instruments and amps. The Turner and Shure mics were used for Denny, Dave, and Ron's vocals.
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