The Livin' End
band photo
Jim Cook: rhythm guitar
Rick Fontanini: drums
Joe Fontanini: vocals
Kirby Hamman: keyboards
Mike McCoy: lead guitar, vocals
Mark Rhinehart: bass guitar
Lauren Taylor: lead vocals
Date formed: Early Spring 1966
Date disbanded: Late Summer 1967
This Boone area band was the outcome of the breakup of another band as these things so often happened. Mark Rhinehart had been in the Raiders in 1966 during which time he had invited Mike McCoy to sit in once or twice during a practice. When the Raiders broke up the connection between Mark and Mike remained. Just how the Livin’ End got together is not clearly remembered. Many times members were found through friends knowing people in school that played, being in school band together or just knowing a group had broken up and one of the players was looking to get into another band.
   It is not remembered how the guys came up with the band’s name. Fairly typical for the time, most likely it came from a brainstorming session amongst the members.
   Not much is remembered about the gear the band used. From the picture accompanying this page the band was using relatively inexpensive instruments. Jim appears to be playing solid body single pickup imported guitar—perhaps a Kent, Harmony or Teisco. He may have not had an amp at the time of the photo as he is plugged into Mike’s amp.
Rick had the common drum kit for the time. It was a lesser known brand with kick, snare, floor tom, rack tom, hi-hat and two or three cymbals. Kirby, who is not pictured above, had a Vox Continental organ and a Vox Berkeley II amp.
   Mike started out with a red Harmony guitar along with a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp. His amp was the most professional in the band compared to the rest of the equipment. From the photo it appears his guitar may be quite similar to Jim’s.
   Mark’s bass looks to be an inexpensive import. His amp appears to be a Sears amp or something similar and was used for not only his bass, but for the vocal mics also—another common practice during this time.
   Dedicated PA was out of reach for most bands starting out. Just acquiring instruments and amps was a large expense and PA needs were quite often secondary. Along with this fact was the reality that there were not that many ‘off the shelf’ PA systems available. Vox and Sunn were two of the few manufacturers offering systems and these were quite expensive.
The Livin’ End practiced twice a week alternating between different member’s homes. Mark’s was one frequent location along with Mike’s house and Chris McMahon’s home. She was a classmate of some of the members. Practices ran for about 2 to 3 hours and occurred on weeknights or weekends—whatever fit into everyone’s schedule.
   The band worked up many of the popular tunes of the day. A sampling of songs includes: ‘I Fought the Law’/Bobby Fuller Four, ‘Just Like Me’/Paul Revere & the Raiders, ‘As Tears Go By’/Rolling Stones, ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’/Animals, ‘Hang On Sloopy’/the McCoys, ‘Wild Thing’/the Troggs and ‘Kind of a Drag’/the Buckinghams.
The Livin’ End played around the Boone area most often, although they did get jobs in places like Clarion and Coon Rapids, Iowa. One memorable gig was played for the Boone County Club. The event was a progressive party with different themes at each house. The group played at the first and second stops the attendees made which made for a quick tear down and move to the next location for the band. The group also played at Fisher’s Shoe Store for Boone’s Crazy Day event for which they earned $25—the least the group ever made. Along with the prom at Coon Rapids, the date they played the Boone Community Bldg. was one of their highest paying jobs. Charging a buck a head the band made $180 at the Community Bldg. dance.
As for the bands demise not a lot is recalled. There was friction between Mark and the rest of the band which could have lead to the breakup, but this is only speculation. As far as is known only Lauren and Kirby went on to other bands.
   Mike currently lives in Idaho, Lauren is in Clear Lake, IA and Kirby lives in CA. Rick passed away on Jan. 18, 2016. He did have some existing health issues that required dialysis in later life which may be an indication of the cause of his death. The whereabouts of the other members is not known. If you have any additional info let me know.
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