(Dartanyan Brown was Bassist and Lead Singer for the Chase Band from April 1973 until the band's untimely end in August 1974. In response to numerous requests from fans worldwide, Dartanyan relates the following tales after 24 years. Enjoy)

The year was 1973 and winter was begrudgingly releasing its grip on Des Moines and the rest of central Iowa. The seasons in Iowa are distinct and severe and the chilly March wind only revealed a hint of the spring to come. The house, a rather huge 5 bedroom house with an attached high ceilinged studio was the hub of activity for myself and the band I was playing in called Mothership. I was attempting to build a life as a working musician in town after spending the period from 1970-1972 on the road playing with a great blues band called Wheatstraw featuring Ron Dewitte from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on guitar.
At 22, I was ambitious and now as I look back on it, I was extremely hungry to play with the very best players I could find. Thanks to playing with local Des Moines musicians George Clinton, Sam Salomone, Tom Gordon, Don Archer, Joanne Jackson, Bobby Jackson, Rod Chaffee, Mike Edwards, Rick Lussey, Harlan Thomas, and Speck Redd, I was extremely motivated to follow the path of music. Musical discipline tends to be its own reward and of course, at that time in history, we actually thought we could change the world with music. Kinda like day traders do now;-)

On the road....

The first time I heard Bill Chase was in Fond du Lac Wisconsin in 1971 probably about a week after the first album was released. Ron Dewitte, Craig Horner, David Bernstein and I were all playing one of those great little ‘near beer’ teen gathering places so common in the northern Wisconsin lakes region. The name might have been Judy's Gin Mill or something cute like that. It was a Friday afternoon and David, Ronnie and I were sitting around doing basically nothing. Things were calm until Craig literally burst through the door (knocking over a nightstand in the process) and leaped to the record player. He took the record that was playing on the turntable and frisbee’d it across the room. Replacing it with another one, he said: “You guys are NOT going to believe this...!” Well, we’d heard a lot of music and sarcasm was starting to take over until the needle hit that first note of “Open Up Wide....”
At this point, I’ll leave you to remember the first time YOU heard Chase. That’s the reason any of us are here (hear) interacting in the first place. Hearing the album definitely changed my impressions of what music could be; but I had no idea of how William Chase’s music would soon literally reshape my life in the years ahead.
Wheatstraw was in was an idealistic, talented, naive (at least I was) band, attempting at doing music business with no business plan. What we did have was raw love for the music and we made it work for two years as I said earlier. When reality finally caught up to us, I went back to Des Moines to write music and work on a journalism degree.

Gathering energy...

Well, in Des Moines my first working group was an extremely funky quartet with members Phil Aaberg on piano, Rod Chaffee on guitar and Tom Gordon on drums. It was a great group.
A band of writers, we were a precursor to the Bruce Hornsby-type jazzy roots music which you hear these days. Funny, in those great days we morphed from one style to another with relish. It was a joy to listen to John Coltrane, Paul Butterfield, John Cage, Tree, Donny Hathaway and the Sons of Champlin and to incorporate such disparate forms in our own compositions.

It was a great band with talent to burn and unfortunately for our band (but fortunately for my future) Tommy Gordon was called by Jerry Manfredi, Chase's bass player at the time to join the band (The Ennea album had been released months earlier).
Tommy was a great drummer who jumped at the chance to play with Bill, he was off to Chicago to play with the hottest true fusion band of the early 70’s.
Of course, it meant the end of our great little Des Moines band but things were far from boring....

Next: Jaco in my house and Bill Chase on the phone....

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God Bless You All.