The Prophets/Linn County
2004 - Band
Members: Stephen Miller, Dino Long, Fred Walk, Larry Easter, Al Hendricks, Ron DeWitte, Perry Welsh, Tommy(T-Bone)Giblin, Ed Adkins, Tom Krejci, John Cabalka, Bob Miskimen, Joe Eberline,Clark Pierson and Jerry(Snake) McAndrew
Linn County had its roots in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with Danceland and Armar Ballrooms providing a meeting place for musicians.
Linn County emerged out of groups such as the Bopcats with Floyd (Al) Hendricks, Kenny Thompson and Bob Schloss. Kenny formed the Prophets with Stephen Miller (keyboards) of Cedar Rapids, Ron Lustic (reeds) also of Cedar Rapids and Jerry (Snake) McAndrew (drums) from Chicago in the early mid-sixties. Eventually, Kenny became the manager, Ron left and Fred Walk (guitar), of Webster, Ia., who had also played in a group with Floyd Hendricks, and Bob Miskimen (Bass) were added. Soon, Larry Easter (reeds) of Davenport, Ia. joined the group.
The Prophets played primarily R&B and Rock in clubs around the Midwest, working out of the Twilight Room and the Cougar Lounge in Cedar Rapids, Jimmy’s Lounge in Waterloo, as well as many ballroom, College and University dates. During this time, Bob Miskimen left and was replaced by Dino Long of Spencer, Ia.
The group then moved to Chicago, changed its name to the Linn County Blues Band, since all of the members had played in Cedar Rapids at some time. They soon became the house band at the famous Mother Blues club on Wells Street, following the path of Spanky and Our Gang and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band while sharing the stage with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Howling Wolf, James Cotton, and many others.
John Cabalka, a friend and artist from Cedar Rapids, who was working in Chicago for Mercury Records, assumed the role of manager with Ed Adkins of Cedar Rapids as road manager. The band signed with Dunwich Records of Chicago and were working on an LP at Chess Studios when Mercury discovered them, bought their contract, and signed them. Mercury asked them to shorten the name to Linn County to avoid the stigma, at that time, of being type-casted as a blues band.
Mercury then moved the band from Chicago to San Francisco to live and record.
Jerry McAndrew left the group and Clark Pierson was added. Linn County was the only band with Iowa roots to play such venues as The Avalon Ballroom, Fillmore West, The Matrix, (San Francisco) The Bank (Los Angeles) Thee Experience (Hollywood) Fillmore East & The Scene, (New York City) The Grande Ballroom (Detroit) as well as clubs and concert venues in Montreal, Cleveland, Chicago, Sacramento, and Pittsburgh etc. Linn County, to this date, also signed the highest paying recording contract of any group from Iowa: the group was paid approximately $50,000.00 to sign with Mercury Records – an enormous sum in the mid ‘60’s when most groups had to pay the record company in order to record!
After three albums recorded in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, a solo album by Stephen, and extensive touring in the early 70’s Stephen left the band to record and tour with Elvin Bishop. Clark recorded and toured with Janis Joplin and the remainder of the Linn County tried different combinations of personnel and played around the California area until the band briefly dissolved in the early 70’s.
Stephen Miller moved to the Lisbon, Ia. in 1974 and reformed Linn County with Ron Dewitte (guitar) Perry Welsh (mouth harp) Johnny (Ace) Acerno (bass) Joe Eberline (later replaced by Walter Salwitz) on drums. Tom Krejci, a Cedar Rapids entrepreneur, assumed manager duties. Later, Stephen left to tour and record with Grinderswitch on Capricorn Records and Tommy Giblin, another Cedar Rapidian (organ) was added.
This group played extensively in the Cedar Rapids- Iowa City area as well as major cities in the Midwest with great success and popularity. Linn County finally disbanded in 1977.
Many of the members of Linn County have continued to play, write and record with other groups. All the members were part of a very unique band that had an impact on many musicians and fans from the middle sixties until the mid- seventies across the USA and Canada.