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Nov. 10, 1947: Glen Buxton born Akron, Ohio
1947-1960 – Glen and his family lived on Davies Avenue in Akron, Ohio. Glen has an older brother, Ken, and a younger sister, Janice.
Feb 1961 – The Buxton’s move to Phoenix area from Akron, Ohio. They live in Phoenix while their home is built. Glen’s dad, Tom, works at Goodyear Aerospace in Buckeye, mom, Jerry, takes care of kids at home. Glen finishes his 8th grade year in May…. then heads to Cortez High School
Summer 1961 – The Buxtons move to 39th Ave and Orangewood in Phoenix, AZ
Fall 1961. Dennis Dunaway and Glen start school at the almost new Cortez High School in Phoenix. Vince Furnier would enter the next fall. Neal Smith was starting high school in 1961 at Camelback High and Michael Bruce at North High School in Phoenix.
Recent pictures of Cortez High. Dunlap Road and 32nd Ave, Glendale, AZ
Fall `63. Vince Furnier and Glen start working on the Cortez Tip Sheet. Glen is the photographer; Vince has his own column called “Get Out Of My Hair” which he writes under the name of ‘Muscles McNasel’. The two later would become close friends.
Glen continues learning the guitar, something he started in Akron
Glen traded this Gibson ES, above, for a Gretsh Chet Atkins (Country Tennessean) – below.
Glen was asked by Dennis Dunaway and fellow trackman Vince Furnier to join them to form a “band” to perform at the Lettermen Talent Show, where they would lip-synch Beatle tunes. This would lead to the three of them (along with John Tatum and John Speer) forming an actual band called the Earwigs.
Spring 1964. Lettermen Talent Show, Cortez High School, Phoenix, AZ. “Earwigs to Eternity”.
At this first show, the Earwigs featured Vince, Glen, Dennis and John Tatum along with a ‘drummer’, Phil Wheeler. Except for Glen and John, they couldn`t play their instruments. By all accounts they were awful…basically lip-synching to Beatle tunes. After the show, Phil left, to be replaced by John Speer.
Various band names were considered including “Husky Babies Sandwich” and “Joe Banana and The Bunch (The band with a-peal)”
(John Tatum interview) “Yes, I was absolutely with them from day one Buxton and I had been jamming in his garage for a while, and we were both plugged in to his amplifier. He actually originally spoke to Vince and Dennis about getting together for the talent show (Letterman’s Club). The exact lineup for the talent show included another drummer (Phil something?? ) he was a great drummer, but opted to not continue with the group, then we got Speer.
October 16, 1964– Cortez High Paper states that the Earwigs were playing shows during lunch hours at school. Paper also says the band will be playing at the upcoming “Pit and The Pendulum” dance on October 23rd. [see article below] Glen Burton?????
[Picture below] Earwigs practicing on the Buxton’s back porch. Vince and Dennis on the left….Glen and John Tatum on the right. It is hard to see, but Dennis has his Airline (Montgomery Ward) bass that he bought with summer money he earned on his uncle’s farm – and that Glen helped him pick out
November 7 1964 – Phoenix, AZ – Newspaper article in Phoenix paper: “A Bunny Hop will be held by the St. Vincent de Paul’s Men’s and Women’s Council from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, in the Ukranian Hall, 43rd Avenue and Clarendon.
Music for dancing will be provided by Louie Henderson’s Band. There will be entertainment by the Earwigs and by the Fair Ladies.”
Thank You – Patrick Brzezinski
– A paying gig at The Dunes Lounge. Probably early 1965. The Dunes Lounge [Dunlap and 35th Ave] – it is still standing and in business, not far from Cortez High.
I guess the Dunes Lounge had more to offer to their patrons in early 1965 than a one night performance from a local Cortez High band (The Earwigs). I found this article in the Arizona Republic from January, 1965 about some gambling on pinball machines????
The Earwigs also get to perform on the TV show “It’s Wallace” (which was latter called Wallace and Ladmo). Also on the show was Wayne Newton. They will play the show again – as The Spiders.
“I remember Glen and the band all sitting around and talking about themselves, and how they happened upon the name “The Earwigs”…which cracked up “Wallace”.Vince did most of the talking and explained to the TV audience “EXACTLY” what a earwig was and looked like etc…to more chuckles “
(Rob, co-founder of the Wallace and Ladmo club, May 2002)
The Earwigs on “It’s Wallace” show on KPHO…… photo taken off studio TV monitor.
The band usually performed in bright yellowish gold jackets with black turtle neck sweaters.
Early 1965 – Lisa Hawks’ Sweet Sixteen Party, Phoenix, AZ – An early paying gig?
Jan 26, 1965 – Earwigs arrive for a talent show at Washington Grade School but got the date wrong. They were TWO WEEKS early!
In an interview from `67, Dennis says they turned up for a gig two weeks early and set up their gear during someone’s Little League meeting.
Feb 9, 1965 – Talent show at Washington Grad School. [finally]
Maybe??? Mar 30. 1965 – Talent show at Janice Buxton’s school, Palo Verde Elementary? Were the Earwigs not allowed to play?
April 30, 1965 – Sears Talent Competition. The Earwigs came in first. Took place at Christown Mall in Phoenix.
May 7, 1965 – The Earwigs come in second at the, ‘Second Annual Lettermen’s Club Talent Show’ at Cortez High.
Spring of 1965 – Glen (and Dennis Dunaway) graduate from Cortez High School. [Sure don’t look like a ‘rocker’, do he? Well, a little like Buddy Holly???]
Jun 1, 1965 – Village Inn Pizza (below) – in Phoenix. Located at Bethany Road near I-17. (Village Inn is gone, today). DD: ”We were still the Earwigs at the time. “
In June of 1965, Glen swapped his Chet Atkins ES (Country Gentleman) for a Gretsch Tennessean…a less bulky model. Below is the sales slip from Arizona Music Center for the sale. Glen would use this guitar, going forth, as part of “The Spiders”.
Around September ’65 they changed their name to ‘The Spiders’ – Vince Furnier, Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway, John Speer, John Tatum
September 1965. “We had auditioned for Jack Curtis (Phoenix promoter) and we thought he didn’t like us after many weeks went by, but later I went back to the teen club and spoke to him and he said he was looking everywhere for us, and that he wanted to hire us. He was the person that changed the name to “The Spiders”, and he set up the first concerts. We even played the first concert at the opening of the Coliseum in Phoenix. I was actually sharing the same guitar amp with Glen Buxton and Jack bought me my first guitar, amp and my first car, a 56 Chevy.”
(John Tatum, January 2008)
Jack Curtis says he recommended the name change to the band – Spiders being more commercial; (Jack Curtis below)
September, 1965: VIP Club, 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ – Jack Curtis owned the VIP. He paid the band about $500 a weekend. The Spiders use to perform behind (or in front of) a spiders’ web. The VIP club, which was part of the Phoenix Jaycees Bldg, was located on 7th Street near Indian School Road. (The building was torn down early in 2016.)
(John Tatum VIP memory): “I remember that we had to go get Jeff Beck a Vox Superbeatle amp, and he actually kicked out the bottom speaker (right through the grill covering) and put the mic down on that speaker. We were blown away when he did that.”(John Tatum, February 2008)
Snack bar at VIP…L-R: John Speer, John Tatum, Vince, Glen, and Dennis (holding condiments)
September 1965 -`Why Don`t You Love Me` (by the Mersey Beats)/`Hitchhike (by Marvin Gaye)` single released on Mascott Records. As Vince said later: “You can’t get much cooler than being in your car with a girl, and the radio starts playing your band’s song.”
December 11, 1965 – Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona
“Next Saturday will be Teen-Age Day at the Phoenix Art Museum, as rock ‘n’ roll, pop art and the Beatle set will take over the newly reopened museum at 1625 N. Central. (see article below)
Thank you – Patrick Brzezinski
December 17, 1965 – Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Phoenix, Az. Spiders open for The Byrds. The Spiders would also open for the Byrds at the VIP and at a show in Tucson at the Sunst Bowlerama. Jack Curtis probably played a part in getting these gigs. The Byrds were at the peak of their popularity in late 1965, debuting the 3rd album ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ in December.
Glen gets a new amp at Arizoan Music Center. Christmas Gift?
1965 – Other shows…..at The Red Dog Au Go Go in Scottsdale and the Merriweather Estate in Paradise Valley, AZ
Merriweather Estate. ( Rancho Joaquina House) below
The Red Dog (below) outside and inside in the mid-60s. [Inside photo courtesy of William Bird.]
Note: The Red Dog Saloon (located on Scottsdale Road) closed in 1975. It still stands but has gone through many changes in structure and ownership. The Merriweather House is still standing…although much of its surrounding land has been turned into subdivisions.
Jan 15, 1966 – Phoenix Star Theatre, Phoenix, AZ – Band appeared in Jan Murray’s road show of Bye Bye Birdie. Spiders provided music, and played the Birdie Band, having rehearsed for three weeks before the show. Phoenix Star Theater, (now called the ‘Celebrity Theater’) is located at 440 N 32nd St. in Phoenix.
Above…..L-R: Glen, Dennis, John S, John T, Vince
Summer 1966 – Tatum leaves, Michael Bruce arrives (from The Wildflowers), being the only applicant to an advertisement. (And because he had a van!).
(John Tatum, January 2008) “I later quit the band to join with Bill Spooner who later founded the “Tubes”, and Michael Bruce was the rhythm guitar player for Bill. Bill replaced Michael Bruce with me, and Michael then joined the “Spiders” who later became ‘Alice Cooper’.”
(Michael Bruce, 2011)“”John Tatum was out, and these friends of mine, Joel and Mark Rumerfield said, “Hey, they’re auditioning guitar players why don’t you go down?” So, I drove down there, and I had this Willies jeep, got up there and did everything like The Yardbirds’ rave ups and all that stuff. I was a good rhythm guitar player but, I had this VAN that I could carry gear in, and guess what? I was in the band but they never really said, “You’re in the band,” they just said, “We’ve got a gig, come get the gear.” So, that’s how it started.””
(Above) Spiders at the Arizona Music Center on Glendale Ave (Publicity shot). Band spent a lot of time here. Glen bought is first guitar at this store. There was a music store at this location, under various names, for many years. It is now vacant. Old address was 4744 W. Glendale Ave.
Mid 1966: Spiders are still playing covers. Some of the songs played in the early years included ‘Lil’ Red Rooster’ ( Glen plays slide guitar), ‘Love that Dirty Water’, ‘ Hey Mona!’, ‘ Midnight Hour’, ‘Louie Louie’, ‘Route 66’, ‘Stormy Monday’, ’19th Nervous Breakdown’, ‘I’m a Man’, ‘Smokestack Lightning’, ‘As Tears Go By’, ‘I’m Leaving’ and ‘Love Potion Number 9’….oddly, perhaps, they also covered a Rascals tune – ‘Baby Let’s Wait’.
Summer 1966 – Vince graduates from Cortez High, a year after Glen and Dennis.
The Spiders are now – Furnier, Speer, Buxton, Dunaway, Bruce
??????July 9, 1966 – Yuma, AZ or NAU (Flagstaff)
“Last Saturday there was dance with a live band from Phoenix, “The Spiders.” – Yuma Daily Sun, July 10
Thank You – Patrick Brzezinski
Aug 26, 1966 – The AZ Republic has an article about the “Star Spangled Parachute Test’ which featured “The Spyders, a Phoenix Band”. No mention of where this took place.
Summer 1966 – ‘Don`t Blow Your Mind/No Price Tag’ is recorded in Tucson at Copper State Recording Studio. Released in the fall.
August 11, 1966 – Tucson, AZ. The band opened for The Animals and the Young Rascals. The event was held in in an empty department store on E. Speedway in Tucson. Picture of the crowd below….
August 21, 1966 – Tucson, AZ, at ‘Thrift City’ (Possible show date supporting The Yardbirds). Were they in town to record their record? Thrift City later called the Tucson VIP.
September, 1966 – In an OBVIOUSLY rigged vote, the Spiders came in 7th in a vote held by a Phoenix paper – for the “Craziest Combo”
September 1966 – Don`t Blow Your Mind/No Price Tag (Santa Cruz SCR 10.003) released. Recorded in Tucson
”Recording wasn’t an easy chore for us. We had no idea of what we were doing. There wasn’t even a producer around, just us and the engineer. See we played our parts in unison and came up with a version of the song that sounded like we were all stuffed into a phone booth”.
Jack Curtis got them to play it on KFIF in Tucson and the station received hundreds of phone calls requesting the song, most of them placed long distance from Phoenix by our families. The first time I heard myself on the radio I was washing my car in the driveway of our house. I couldn’t believe it was me. It was familiar but foreign, like meeting a twin. After the first adrenaline rush I got very nonplussed about it. Whenever the song would play on the radio I’d switch to another station as if I hadn’t heard it. “Don’t Blow Your Mind” became the number three song on the KFIF play list. [ from: Me, Alice]
September 2, 1966 – Casa Grande, AZ – National Guard Armory (w/The p-Nut Butters and Jerry Wallace) Thanks again Patrick Brzezinski 🙂
September 1966 – At Glendale CC they met Mike ‘AmpBoy’ Allen, who roadied for the band for the next four years, Dick Christian, who became their unofficial manager, and Charlie Carnel, also a Cortez alum who would do the lights for the next five years and actual become an equal member of the band with an equal share of money.
Fall or Winter 66 or 67 – The Fifth Estate – located on Scottsdale Rd and Curry Rd in Tempe. Not far from the far more well known JD’s. The band played this venue several times although the place was only opened for little more than a year.
Fall of 1966 – The Lunchroom at Brophy College Prep School, 4701 N. Central Ave, Phx.
Band also had a show at Saguaro High School – date unknown.
Quote from Phoenix TV guide: “By November, 1966, Spiders had already opened for The Drifters, The Coasters, Dean of Jan And Dean, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Bobby Fuller, The Hollies, Beau Brummell’s, The Mamas and The Papas, Peter And Gordon and a statewide tour with the Byrds” [Most of the above shows were likely at the VIP club in Phoenix.]
(Below)The Spiders – Encanto Park….Glen, Dennis, Vince, John, Michael This was one of a series of pictures taken at Encanto Park. Notice the bird in Glen’s hand…he/she became part of several of the pictures. Encanto Park is still a going concern in Phoenix. 2605 N 15th Ave south of Thomas Road.
This is an informational website…no profit is being made and nothing is for sale. The purpose is to give a history of events in the life of Glen Buxton – along with pictures and information that may have past his way. Of course a lot of Glen’s history occurred with his family and his fellow Earwig/Spider/Nazz/Alice Cooper bandmates….so some of the following relates to them as well. This isn’t a biography….visual or otherwise.
Please understand that the following timelines are not perfect or anywhere near complete. They can and will be changed as we receive new information. Hopefully old and new Alice Cooper fans can help us in that endeavor.
Acknowledgements: We have to thank Si Halley for his website SickthingsUK. As you will see we used a lot of the information found on his site in the *History/Timeline* section. I’ve deleted and added information as I saw fit…but the timeline of the early Alice Cooper era, found at that site, made it much easier to start this project. The ‘sickthings.co.uk’ site is still the most complete site for Alice Cooper information of all kinds…and compares favorably to any other rock band’s info site. Thanks to Dennis Dunaway and Paul Brenton for help with identifying pictures. Also kudos to ‘alicecooperechive.com for having something to compare Si’s info with – to make sure we didn’t skip anything. As in most endeavors – we stand on the backs of those who have come before us.
Pictures: A lot of the pictures used we have taken off the net. If there was a photographer listed for the original, we listed him/her. A good portion of these photos came from my wife and family’s personal collection. We also ‘borrowed’ a few pictures from Paul Brenton’s series of books from the Glen Buxton Memorials. If anyone knows the photographer for a particular picture, please let us know.
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