The Last Words [Canada]

From:  Clarkson, Ontario, Canada

Personnel:

Graeme Box (guitar, vocals)
Brad Campbell (bass, vocals)
Bill Dureen (keyboards, vocals)
Ron Guenther (drums, vocals)
Bill Meisner [aka Bill Marion] (vocals, guitar; 1967)
Neil Mattice (guitar; 1967)

The Last Words formed in the early 60’s in Clarkson, Ontario. They were all school chums and decided in 1965 to give the music business a shot. Graeme’s Dad, Keith, came up with the group name and helped the boys immensely with sound business advice.

Keith introduced the group to Dave Marden (aka Jack London) who became their first manager. Formerly the leader of Jack London and The Sparrows, (who eventually morphed into Steppenwolf) Dave had many contacts and was instrumental in placing the group in Yorkville Village, the “hot spot” for Toronto in the 60’s.

They wrote and produced three singles. The first, “The Laugh’s On Me” was recorded and released on the Canadian RCA label in late 1965, and received little air play. After a planned US tour fell through, the group then split with Dave Marsden, and in 1966 recorded their second single, “I Symbolize You”. Keith Box helped them obtain a distribution deal with Columbia and the single went to #1 in many Canadian cities. It reached #14 on the prestigious CHUM chart in Toronto, no mean feat in the early days of Canadian rock. In 1967, the third, and what would become their final single, “Give Me Time”, was also successful.

ARC Records took the group under it’s wing, and set them up with Brian Ahearn, Anne Murray’s producer. The chemistry wasn’t there, however, and nothing came of the deal.

The Words tried to inject some fresh inspiration by adding two new members, vocalist/guitarist Bill Meisner (aka Bill Marion), formerly of The Paupers, and guitarist Neil Mattice. During rehearsals, this led to creative differences wtihin the group, and they played their last engagement as a foursome on July 1, 1967 in London, Ontario. Bill Dureen left and the other original members continued with Meisner and Mattice for a short time. The final split came when bassist Campbell left to join The Paupers who were leaving to try their luck in New York with Albert Grossman, Bob Dylan’s manager. Grossman also managed Janis Joplin, and Campbell eventually left to play bass for The Full Tilt Boogie Band, her last group. When Joplin died , Campbell returned to Canada.

The Last Words got together again in the 1980’s to back vocalist Gerry Arpa as The Flashbacks, and played the Ontario bar circuit until 1990, when Arpa left. Members of The Last Words are still good friends and jam frequently.

~ jam.canoe.ca

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From 1966 45 rpm single:

  • It Made Me Cry