Many years ago there was a very popular local band called Arrow Memphis. Will they ever get together again? -- Mag Wells, of Belleville
Funny you should ask, because that very thought has been floating through Glenn Harris' brain recently. Sure, it's been nearly 30 years since one of the area's hottest groups played regularly, but the five remaining members are still close -- and rockin' -- so a reunion concert is a tantalizing idea.
"It was really sort of serendipitous that you called," said the 61-year-old guitarist, of rural Freeburg. "It's not that we were knocking the idea around, but for the first time in about 20 years, all five of us remaining guys are within about 300 miles of each other. In fact, I heard from Denny (Knott) recently, so when I got your message, I thought, 'Well, you know, maybe it is time.'"
From the way you ask, it sounds like such a gig couldn't come soon enough, which is no surprise. For more than 15 years the group built up a large legion of fans, first locally before finding more success in the Southwest.
"We had some extraordinary players, and there was an energy there," Harris said. "As a unit it was just a perfect mix. It really was. Live, we were pretty tough to beat."
For those unfamiliar, the band got its christening when someone spotted a mud flap on a passing vehicle sporting the name of Arrow Memphis, a Southern trucking company.
"It was sort of an homage to the Buffalo Springfield oeuvre," Harris explained.
Soon, the band was rolling itself. Over the years, Harris figures at least 30 musicians have played in one incarnation or another, but the group that people may remember best -- and eventually moved off to Arizona for several years -- were Harris, Knott, Steve and Terri Williams, Gary "Stix" Maxwell, Bill Engel and Bob Jones.
During the first V.P. Fair, for example, they won a 14-band battle under the Gateway Arch. They also became the house band at Mississippi Nights on the St. Louis riverfront for a year.
"It was just timing," Harris said of their popularity. "What we were playing finally resonated with a lot of folks. I think the fiddle and the steel was still a little unique when applied to the rock 'n' roll thing. And, believe me, we had a rockin' band with Stix Maxwell on drums and Bob Jones on bass.
"But we really didn't know what we had there, I don't think. We were having so much fun. We didn't pursue the original thing as much as we should have. That was our downfall. But no regrets."
By the mid-80s, the group decided it was time to find real jobs -- not that it meant a radical switch for some.
Steve Williams, for example, eventually moved to Nashville, where he continues to play and write songs under contract with various publishing houses. You might remember the monster hit he and Thom Shepherd wrote that Craig Morgan took to No. 2 on the country charts in 2005 -- "Redneck Yacht Club."
Harris also never strayed far from the stage. After Arrow Memphis disbanded, he spent three years as the house engineer and production manager on tour with Leon Russell's group, which included Edgar Winter. Then, just as he was again ready to leave the music business, he hooked up with country giant Tracy Lawrence for three more years.
Finally, in the mid-90s, he moved back to the metro-east with wife Sandy and his daughter to take a job in corporate audio-visual work with Busch Creative Services, which became Image Technologies Corp. (ITC) in Brentwood, from which he retired last year. Now he plays with the Lucky Dog Band, well-known for its Labor Day benefit concerts in Breese for the Clinton County Humane Society.
But the last Arrow Memphis reunion concert was for a 1999 New Year's Eve party in the old Panorama ballroom. Since then, the band has mourned the death of two of its outstanding drummers -- Maxwell in 2005 and Steve Strayhorn in 2010.
Still, a reunion concert remains tempting, Harris said.
"We do talk about it. With the holidays coming, if the Nashville crew comes up here to visit family, we'll get together at somebody's house and pick, but that's not for public consumption. But you have certainly planted a seed, and we'll see where it grows."
In the meantime, for a pictorial retrospective of Arrow Memphis and to hear a track from its album, go to stlmusicyesterdays.com and search for the band.
What popular toy that's usually free of charge was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2005?
Answer to Saturday's trivia: Did you know you might have read about Apollos de Rivoire's famous midnight ride through Massachusetts that night of April 18, 1775? In about 1715, French Huguenot Apollos de Rivoire immigrated to Boston and served as an apprentice under silversmith John Coney. But before he married Deborah Hitchborn, he changed his name to Paul Revere, probably to fit in better in his new home. He eventually had 12 children, including Paul Revere Jr., whom we remember charging through the countryside to alert settlers to the British troop movements.
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or firstname.lastname@example.org