In 1964 at the Rumpus Room in Carbondale, IL, four Phi Kappa Tau fraternity brothers in a live performance before a crowd of maybe 150 party-ready SIU students took the stage and opened with their theme song, “One Eyebrow”. As the drummer began a familiar cymbal riff, the vocalist with the microphone said, “Hello everybody! We are the Four Taus. The Four Taus had begun another night of rock ‘n roll at the popular SIU nightclub in Carbondale.
Beginning as a fraternity party band , the Phi Kappa Tau’s produced a talented band that caused a minor explosion in Carbondale and the surrounding area during the early 60’s, as the most popular rock ‘n roll band in the area hailing from SIU. The Four Taus grew into professional entertainers that could draw capacity crowds to area clubs. 2007 marks 45 years since the band began, and each player is alive and well today!
It’s been 45 years since The Four Taus began. They rocked the world of SIU party-goers for three years, 1962 – 1964. Today those four SIU students that made up the band still enjoy the memories of a successful college career, but the memories of being on stage making music for a three-year period are the most vivid and fun to relive.
“I was the vocalist”, said Ray Thomeczek, of Alton, Illinois. “I remember the numbers we did to this day. And we could do over 60 songs, more than we could ever do in any one gig.” That’s a ton of lyrics to remember, and Ray can do it today even after many years as a marketing professional and a second career in the oil distribution business.
Harvey Grandstaff, a speech and hearing major, played bass and handled back up vocals. Harvey grew up in Mounds, Illinois and now plays around in his own music studio in his home in Pensacola, Florida. Harvey is retired from a university teaching career, and now operates several internet enterprises. Harvey is known as “Dr. Harv”, partly in recognition of his PhD in speech pathology, but more for the moniker that stuck after his release of several CD recordings he produced in his studio. What’s more, Dr. Harv is also known as keeper of the Four Tau flame. He has converted many of the Four Tau songs recorded on tape at the time onto CD’s that can easily be played today.
“I played lead guitar”, said Kirby Lindsey. Kirby was from a central Illinois town, Morrisonville. He was an advertising student and spent a career in sales and marketing assignments, most recently until he retired, with Samsung Electronics. Currently he manages a private investment company, Wheatridge Capital, LLC. He lives in Palm Desert, California.
Dan Donnelly also lives in Southern California today. Dan was indeed a professional drummer even before hooking up with the Four Taus. He had taken a break from SIU to travel with a big show band for a few months and upon his return joined the band in 1963. After a long career in sales and marketing, Dan today performs, along with his Brazilian born wife, in his own Brazilian Percussion Show.
The Four Taus Enter Cyberspace
Dr. Harv has uploaded several photos and recordings of the band’s live music to internet sites for the world to hear and view “The Four Taus”. In fact, he has created two different web sites showcasing the band which can be seen at www.4taus.com and also at www.thefourtaus.com. Numerous songs can also be found on youTube.com; myspace.com; dailymotion.com and others. Several of the uploads show SIU students and locals dancing at the Rumpus Room as the band plays on stage.
We asked Ray if the Four Taus have any plans to get back together, and Ray said "It was a great ride, the money paid some college bills and the memories are great. But I believe not. Besides, I can relive it a little by watching the band on youTube.com all day long!”