The Ponderosa Stomp has always been about the past, but sometimes it’s about the future. The Gaunga Dyns, part of the mid-’60s New Orleans psychedelic scene, are reuniting, and rehearsals went so well leader Steve Staples decided to keep going after the Stomp.
“It’s sounding so good,” he says. “It’s gonna be killer.”
Staples was a teenaged guitarist and singer with the Twilights before he joined the Gaunga Dyns. “I was already writing songs in the Twilights, but it was mostly covers, British invasion stuff, rhythm and blues, surf music,” he says. “The Gaunga Dyns had a really good lead singer named Johnny Baker. He was kind of a soul singer. They did swamp pop, rhythm and blues. ‘Treat Her Right,’ by Roy Head, that was one of their biggest because Johnny could sing it so well. He kind of owned that song.”
As Staples remembers it, the bands merged effortlessly.
“We knew we would be better off with a better bass player. The two guitarists in the Gaunga Dyns, when they graduated from high school they quit. We had two guitarists. We just said ‘OK this is the new group’ and there we were. We took the best elements of both groups and put it together. We rehearsed four days a week and played every weekend. There were other groups playing here that were as good—Yesterday’s Children, Isosceles Popsicle, the Greek Fountains, the Local Traffic—but we were really good and we got all the right breaks. We won every battle of the bands we ever played.”
The Gaunga Dyns released two Staples-written singles in 1967 on Joe Banashek’s Busy-B label, “Rebecca Rodifer” and “Clouds Don’t Shine.” Though he left the Dyns in ’68, Staples has been playing ever since. His most recent group, the Avon Suspects, has been gigging for several years. During rehearsals for the Stomp, members of both groups joined in.
“We realized we could be the Gaunga Dyns on steroids,” says Staples, who is one of four Dyns in the new lineup, augmented by several members of the Avon Suspects. “Starting with the Ponderosa Stomp we will no longer be the Avon Suspects, it will just be the Gaunga Dyns,” Staples announces. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ve got a lot of momentum going. We’ve already written two new songs.”
Gaunga Dyns at the Ponderosa Stomp 11 (Concert Night 2)
with The Standells, Chris Montez, Spencer Wiggins, Ty Wagner,
Boogaloo, Charlie Gracie, Eddie Daniels and The Sloths
Saturday, October 5
7:30 p.m. Doors | 8:00 p.m. Show
Venue: The Rock ‘N’ Bowl
3000 S. Carrollton Ave.
More Info: www.ponderosastomp.com