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 Burntshoe was a 1970s band from Boone, Iowa

Boone, Iowa

Burntshoe was a continuation of a group most of the members had been in named Jury. This change came about due to the death of Gary Buckley who was the bass player for Jury. When he was replaced by Brent Larson the rest of the band felt they needed to change the name. After a couple months Brian left the band in November. He was up for the draft at this point and, sure enough, he got a low number. Brian just enlisted so he would have some sort of choice as to his fate. Bob Groves came back to play for a short while having been associated with the band in a previous incarnation, but soon left again. Denny Allen also played for a short time-perhaps a month or less- on bass between Brent Larson and Tim Fees.  

   And just where did this name come from you might ask. There was a classmate of Joe’s that used to accompany the band when they played out. He helped with the set up and tear down. His name was Brent Shaw. While Brent was in Boy Scouts he had slept too close to the campfire on a camp out and one of his boots caught fire. Though he was not seriously injured, he gained the nickname “Burnt Shoe” from the incident. Pat Lonergan came up with the idea to name the band using Brent's nickname figuring no one would ever figure out the connection. Nobody could come up with a better name so Pat’s idea was adopted. Over the years those unknowing souls figured the name was a cult thing or had to do with drugs—nothing was farther from the truth.

   Practice was held at the greenhouse that Joe’s dad ran in Boone. The band would set up in the front office which had been the retail outlet for the greenhouse before it went totally wholesale. They could leave all their gear set up there which made practice a breeze—no set up nor tear down each time they practiced. The band usually tried to practice at least 2 evenings a week though the schedule was affected by how many playing jobs they had lined up.

   As far as songs went, many of the tunes from the previous band were still performed. Doing current popular songs was somewhat of a priority, although by this time the band was slowly moving towards “listening” music in addition to “dance” music. The addition of songs like “Aqualung”, “Teacher”, “Nothing to Say”/Jethro Tull; “Halo of Flies”, “Under My Wheels”, “Schools Out”/Alice Cooper evidenced this trend. The band still did songs like “Bad Moon Rising”, “Fortunate Son”/CCR, “Funk 49”/James Gang, “Cottage Cheese”/The Crows, “Paranoid”/Black Sabbath, “Purple Haze”/Jimi Hendrix Experience, and “Down By the River”/Neil Young. Towards mid 1973 Burntshoe moved even farther into album oriented songs adding tunes by groups such as ELP and Uriah Heep. The band was playing high school dances, the Boone “Y” and the Methodist church in Perry quite regularly. Prom and homecoming season would be the busiest with seasonal things like town celebrations in the summer filling up the rest of their time. Burntshoe once played at the old KRNT Theater in Des Moines for a benefit of some kind with several other bands. They also played at the Bus Stop in Ames. every once in a while.

   The Bus Stop was located in the basement of the building where the Greyhound buses stopped in Ames. It was headed up by George Belistos and was related to Youth & Shelter Services later on. It was an informal place where teens and young adults could drop in if they were facing drug problems or emotional/personal problems. Counselors were on hand to help out. Coffee, juice and homemade cookies were served with music provided by records, tapes or the occasional band. Pillows and bean bag chairs were all about for seating. When bands played there it was for donations only. The hat was passed and that was their pay for the evening.

   One gig that stands out in Joe's mind was a job that they played at the Twin Lakes Ballroom right around Easter time. The reason it stands out is that they brought mums and Easter lilies from the greenhouse to decorate the stage. The band started playing a bit farther away from Boone by this time. They were using a couple booking agents instead of doing their own booking which was the main reason why there were able to get jobs farther out from the Boone area. The most the band made during this time was probably about $250 with the least amount being about $125.

   The band became very unstable midway through 1974. Howard left to do some more progressive material with some friends from Ames. The band was called Ezra Pound and had been together since 1971. Alan was brought in as a substitute for Howard. He played with the band for a very short time before he left. With Alan gone Dave Carlson was the next to leave followed by Tim and Steve. Burntshoe continued on in a much different form after the departure of everyone but Joe. Most likely this was due to contractual obligations that the band had at this time. Aldon Risden, who lived in Gilbert Iowa, joined up as drummer. He was soon replaced by a fellow named Dirk Newton from Des Moines. Joe's sister Ann also joined the band as a lead singer. A fellow by the name of Steve Christopherson from Ames joined up to play bass.

   For whatever reason Pat left the band only to rejoin for a short while in 1973. After being out of the group and then back in, the reason for Pat finally leaving was his moving to Topeka, KS to attend Washburn University. He enrolled in business and music courses there. Pat played off and on with various friends there, but never in a formal band like Burntshoe had been. He plays mostly for his own enjoyment these days. He lives in Wichita with his wife and family and works for the Star Lumber Co. where he has been for 25 years.

   Brent went on to play in other bands that were doing Christian material. The Christian “rock” music scene was just getting started around this time with coffee houses being one of the common places to hear this music. Shekina Glory, Lion of Judah and Dove were some of the bands he played in. Brent currently lives in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and works for Campbell Mithun as a broadcast business manager. Previous to that he had worked as a director at KCCI in Des Moines, the CBS affiliate in central Iowa. He is currently playing with a group called the Brass Menagerie which does a wide range of music. Brian Oeffner, as mentioned earlier, went into the service. While stationed in Germany he played a little doing mostly acoustic stuff. He is currently working for the Iowa National Guard in Des Moines.

    Joe currently lives in the Adel area, working for Stine Seed. He plays occasionally for his own enjoyment and sometimes for church functions. Howard is currently living in Colorado. It is not known if he is still involved in music or not. Dave played in a couple other bands after Burntshoe broke up. He currently lives in Arizona and has a small home studio. Some of his music was used in a independent film and he has released a couple of albums also. It is not known if Tim continued on in any other bands. Toward the end of Burntshoe he was in a kind of downhill slide. He'd been arrested and put in jail in Des Moines for drunk driving. While in the jail he tried to hang himself. Things were worked out and Tim is doing OK as of this writing. He was last known to be working in the Cedar Rapids area. Steve dropped out of music after this band. He passed away from a heart attack in 1997. Up until that time he ran a nursery/tree service with his wife Peg.

   After Alan left the group he joined up with a band based in Ames named Just Us. Eventually he ended up in California where he does finish carpentry and is still involved with music - having a little 16 track studio in his home. Aldon left the band in 1975 to join the Marines. He is still involved in music and has played in bands ranging from country to heavy metal.

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