ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE CHILLIWACK PROGRESS, MAY 20, 1981
By Steve Newton
(In the eighth of a series of stories on local bands, The Progress presents a profile of the group Homegrown. Next: Thunderhead.)
Homegrown, probably the best-known dance band in the Chilliwack area, is a prime example of local musical talent that has been honed over the years to the point of performing excellence.
The current members of Homegrown include Manfred Schultz on rhythm guitar, Ed Porter on lead, Al Friesen on bass, and Terry Berg on drums.
According to Schultz, the story of the band’s formation dates back to 1966, when he and ex-Homegrown guitarist Gerry Geiselman were playing in a high school band called Idle Times. During that period of hippies and flower-children, another young band, The Children of Stone, was ‘making the scene’, and Friesen and Berg were developing their ‘chops’ as what would become, 15 years later, the rhythm section for Chilliwack’s most lasting band.
In 1970 Schultz, Friesen and Geiselman moved to Kelowna and formed the first Homegrown, staying there for four years, playing the interior circuit and becoming the house band at the KoKo Club cabaret. The group moved back to Chilliwack in 1974 and purchased Santana’s cabaret (now Andrea’s Fault), naming it Goodtimes. Berg joined the group at this time, and a year later Homegrown became a five-piece with the addition of Vancouver pianist Jan Townes. Townes and Geiselman left the band “six or eight months ago,” says Schultz. The present line-up was completed with the joining of Porter two months ago.
Homegrown’s music, described by Schultz as “graffiti rock and country rock”, has always stayed the same despite the personnel changes, though he points out that the last keyboards and guitar change was a little hard to get over. The group has played all over the province and in 1977 was nominated for outstanding club act and most promising group in the B.C. Country Music Awards.
The band does not use any effects, though Schultz admits they did use flash pots and smoke bombs when they performed in costume as The Canadian All-Star Glitter Band. They would play three sets as Homegrown and then come out as the Glitter Band. “A lot of times people didn’t even know it was us,” he says.
Schultz figures the band has 800 to 1,000 songs in its repertoire. Future plans for Homegrown include, “just having a good time” and possibly recording a party album to remember the group.