The Macabras Band

2012 - Band

Band Members:  Tom Lippert, Joel Kipp, Gary Smith, Tim Hermann, Dennis Duke, Rick Hall

In the late 60's Rock 'n Roll was everywhere. From 1965 to 1970 The Macabras were a big part of Rock 'n Roll in Southeast Iowa and Western Illinois. Macabras was a strange name for a band that did mostly vocal rock. The name comes from the word "macabre" meaning "strange dance" and there was certainly a lot of strange dancing in the late 60's. Their posters were hanging everywhere and the "MACA" would be Crossed out so they were often referred to as "The Bras".

The Macabras were a five-piece band that consisted of lead singer Gary Smith, Joel Kipp (guitar/vocals), Tom Lippert (keyboards/vocals), Tim Hermann, (drums) and Dennis Duke on bass. The members were pretty young when they started playing, but vocal talent and vocal harmony with the gifted voice of Gary Smith made them a bit different than some of the other bands of that time. Being so young when they started put them a bit under the radar of a lot of the rock clubs so you would find the band mostly playing in youth centers and for school and city functions, such as Steamboat Days in southeast Iowa and western Illinois. One such place was "The Spiderweb" which was operated by Mrs. Roy (Mom) Uffelman. The boys were very close to "Mom" and helped out around the club.

The band performed a lot at the Spiderweb, and got to be known as a band that not only played the standard rock hits of the time but also the more vocally challenging songs. Songs by groups such as The Buckingham's, The Cryin Shames, Three Dog Night and of course The Beatles.

In the 60's there were no synthesizers or samplers. The band depended a lot on Tom's Hammond organ and Leslie to play the horn lines for many of the Motown tunes.

The band members have always kept in touch and in 1994 everyone came back to Burlington, Iowa for three days of recording. They started recording on a Friday evening and went straight through until Monday morning. The end result being the "Better Late Than Never" CD. This CD is representative of the music the Macabras played in the late 60's.

Music has stayed a driving force in their lives. Joel Kipp has been operating a recording studio in southeast Iowa for over 30 years, recording local bands in the area. Gary Smith has become a talented songwriter and has recorded many great songs. Tom Lippert has been working as a vocal director in Florida. The band members are all turning 60, but there is still music in their souls.

The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

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