I had been in High School bands, a cover band, and I worked two years in a theatrical orchestra, but at the beginning of 1981 Crüx Änsàta was my first real rock band to write original music. We called it Progressive Punk. Joel and I were into King Crimson and Yes, while Brad and Phil liked Black Flag and The Circle Jerks, so we combined the different styles.
Though not pictured, Bill Dillenbeck was heavily involved for a while. Bruce Stedron and Russ Williams also had short stints.
In September 1981, I transferred from UM-Flint to that other university in Lansing. Brad and Rose and Blair were also moving to Lansing, and they asked me play in a hardcore punk band. I said okay if I could play drums. I don't know how they found guitarist Mike Thomas, but Free Cheese was born. Brad was more of a pianist that a bass player, so we got the idea he would do the bass lines on keys (not the norm for hardcore, but it worked).
Unfortunately I don't have any photos (Anyone have any? Please contact me.) We played and toured all over the Mid-West, to growing fans.
I lived in the basement of the home of Gus Varner (guitarist for The Crucif*cks), and he and Doc Dart helped us get gigs, and a phone call from Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedy's. We played mostly in Ohio and Kentucky. (We gigged with Faith No More)
Gus had an old 4-track reel-to-reel that he let us borrow and we spent some time learning to record. 11 months after we started I transferred back to UofM-Flint, and Michael went off to Europe.
Back in Flint, Brad and I got into some money-making band. Montana was a country band, Blackhawk a classic rock band. Later we got into a funk band called Thrust.
Bill Dillenbeck came back to join us in Avant Garden, doing obscure covers and originals. Also invloved were my twin brother Lin, girlfriend Dee Wilbur, Debbie Wilcox and Diane Russell. We all played multiple instruments and switched a lot.