As part of our continuing coverage of the ever-growing Michigan rock and roll community, the SUN sent Kathy Kelley and David Fenton to interview Guardian Angel to see what they were up to and what we could look forward to in the future. The Angels are Terry Trabandt on bass; Scott Morgan lead vocals, piano, flute, and guitar; Jeff Jones, lead guitar; Al Jacquez, guitar and vocals; and Scott's brother Dave Morgan on drums. Guardian Angel will help open up this year's music in the park program this Sunday when they'll be kicking out the jams while the rest of us DO THE SUNDANCE! The conversation that follows took place last week, as the sacrament passed around the room. . . .
SUN: What has the band been doing lately?
AL: We've been getting things together; buying a car, we're building a P.A. by ourselves, we've been painting and sanding and building at David's house. SUN: Isn't that rare, for a band to build t's own P.A.?
JEFF: I built a P.A. for Savage Grace, so I know how to do t. It sure saves money, and I really I y like to work with my hands because then you can always trust it. Because if something goes wrong with it you know exactly where everything is.
TERRY: The best thing about it is it's going to help us sound better. We're getting every aspect of the band ready.
SCOTT: We've been making demo tapes at Morgan Sound so we can play them for music industry people in the hope of getting someone to finance us to do an album. We cut seven tunes in February, just did two tunes, "Soul -Mover" and "Doctor Doctor"; and we have a live tape we recorded in Marquette; they all need to be redone a bit and re-mixed and then they'll be ready. We just finished a TV show for channel 62, International Rock Service, which we have a videotape copy of; we plan to videotape the first Ann Arbor free concert, take some promo pictures, put it all together into a package, and try to get a recording contract.
SUN: So you're getting your shit together, getting ready and set up, just like we are at 1510 and 20 HMI St. How long have you been together now?
JEFF: We've only all been together for 3 months as the band we are now.
SCOTT: In April of '71 we played our first job with me and Terry and David and Tex, who's no longer with the band. (Tex is now playing lead guitar with Elephant's Memory in NYC and can be heard on the new John & Yoko album). Then Jeff started playing with us in September, Al came around last February. Me and Terry were in the Rationals before that, David was in a group called the Children in high school. Al and Jeff played together in the Hideaways, and then Al was in Savage Grace while Jeff worked for them, too, but not as a musician. We're all from Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor high. We all went to school together.
SUN: Did you know each other in high school?
JEFF: Not very well, but I knew these guys. Some of us were older, so we were in different grades.
SCOTT: Me and Terry started the Rationals as an instrumental duo in the eighth grade.
SUN: A lot of people reading this probably aren't familiar with the Rationals album and the killer tunes on it- "Barefootin"', "Guitar Army" and all the rest.
SCOTT: Really! The Rationals album is so hard to get now it's a collector's item, along with records from a lot of other early Michigan bands- the SRC album, the Stooges stuff. You can't get those records now.
DAVE: It's getting back together now, though. There are people now who are realistic about what can and can't be done politically, and what can and can't be done musically. There are people around now who have been through it once, dealing with the New York record industry and the L.A. record industry, and where they got shafted before they know how to do it now.
AL: I see people who have been through a band trip, like the Rationals and myself with Savage Grace, starting to come back into bands again and learn from their mistakes and try to build something, trying to rejuvenate the scène that was here before.
SUN: Why do you think the scene fell apart?
SCOTT: There used to be a lot more places to play, small clubs all over the state, small rooms where the sound was really live. The people would get right up near the stage and dance and get into it and the music filled the place really well, like the Odyssey except for not being a bar.
SUN: What happened to those places?
SCOTT: Well I think the big concerts took them over, the ballrooms a little, but mostly things like Cobo Hall, which is how promoters make the most money.
DAVE: Back then our band the Children could make a living, spending money even. We owned our own van and our own equipment, we were able to do it, just in the small clubs. But now a "small" band can't even get enough work, there's nothing like it now like there was then. It was easier to get started.
SUN: So n order to recreate a healthy scene there needs to be more places to play.
SCOTT: We've been really lucky getting jobs all over Michigan. Nothing like we want, but it's a gig you know and it keeps us alive until we get something else together. Tonight we're just playing a party. The People's Ballroom is going to be far out. The Union Ballroom benefits are hip to play, even the Odyssey, you know, l'm even getting used to that. But it's too long and narrow, there aren't any bars around that have the right capacity for music.
SUN: How do you feel about Ann Arbor these days?
AL: Ann Arbor is like incredibly unique; I don't expect the rest of the state to get really hip to what's going on here as fast as Ann Arbor, because Ann Arbor's really incredible. I've never been to a town like Ann Arbor, and I've been to a lot of fucking places.
SCOTT: Like the crater thing.
AL: Or the free park concerts thing is believable. . .
SUN: What did you think of digging the craters?
SCOTT: I thought it was a really good idea.
SUN: Well, people are going to dig them again. (Laughter and shouts of joy)
SCOTT: On the crater thing, it seems like that's the only practical way of getting yourself across to the government, is getting organized and really amplifying your voice- P.R. even, whatever. Because the other side has got lobbies in the government, people whose job it is to sell the military, to protect somebody's industry by giving away money. I've been getting frustrated, thinking about ways you can express yourself to the government.
JEFF: You got to make people in a small community realize what's going on in a place like theirs, different climate, different part of the world maybe, but there are CRATERS by their houses, on their streets, their kids are lying in them. See, this is a cráter, this makes this kind of hole and people die, and this is happening. Far out.
SCOTT: Yeah, anything like that. It's just futile to sit there and write letters and you get this form letter back from the government and you know nothing goin' on, it doesn't make any difference.
DAVE: I think the best thing that's happened lately is the City Council elections. You got to just get in and get some kind of leverage.
SCOTT: Did you hear the headlines today, about Thieu running a heroin ring in South Vietnam? I mean, how about the people who send their kids over there to get shot, and then they read that, man. That's a shock. Or just middle-class Americans who are out there going "support your country.' They're really shook up by that.
AL: I go crazy when I think about Ann Arbor, man. I've never SEEN a place like this. I did a park thing here last year, and I just went NUTS- there ain't nothing like it in the whole country.
SUN: Who's managing the band now?
SCOTT: Pete Andrews, and it's probably the best thing that's happened to us. We've tried to manage ourselves, ever since the group started up until the point where we got Peter. Once we got Pete things started getting somewhere, business-wise, we stopped floundering around on the treadmill.
AL: Pete makes sure we have meetings and do the things we need to do. Remember this, do this, you know. But it's mostly us. Pete.'s there to help us.
JEFF: We all need more discipline.
AL: 'Cause you get used to roles, roles being this top singer in this band or the No. 1 chomp in this band and suddenly you're working with 5 other people and you realize that the best thing to do is to work together.
Guardian Angel is looking for a new name, and they need your help. As brother Jeff put it: "We're looking for a name that has to do with Ann Arbor, or Michigan, without necessarily having those words in it." If you can come up with a name send it to Guardian Angel, co the SUN, 1520 Hill Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104. Rock and Roll Together! An Interview with Guardian Angel