PerformingView 2- It Was 50 Years Ago Today

It was 50 Summers Ago Today!
By Patrick Durr

Prior to Home Grown, Michael Lingg and I knew each other from high school days. He played guitar with Eisage, and I was a member of the Ratz. After the demise of those groups, Michael and I worked together in a couple of other bands. Bruce Johnson was the lead vocalist with another set of musicians, including the group Countryside.
In mid-1973 the three of us immediately began to harmonize, with Michael and I playing acoustic guitars. Each of us knew from that first evening together that we were onto something special.
At that time the Vintage Restaurant in downtown Modesto was the only venue that encouraged groups with acoustic instruments, or “wooden music” as it was called and we decided that we would rehearse so we could get booked at the Vintage “to play a little music for the summer.” I remember the moment when Michael and I decided upon the name Home Grown to reflect our local roots and acoustic style.
Initially, we knew only one set of songs for the Vintage, but as our repertoire progressed, we began to draw large audiences of “regulars,” that is, fans. Many of our fans became our close friends. Soon we were playing the “steak house circuit” in the Bay Area. Our job in those venues was to entertain people as they were waiting to be called for dinner and to get them to return for more music. This goal caused us to expand our repertoire even further, and we developed theme sets, such as The History of Rock & Roll and the songs of T.V. Westerns.
In 1976 we completed our first recording project, the vinyl record album Home Grown, that included audience favorites and original songs. We decided to take our music on the road and more musicians were included in the group. At various intervals, Home Grown has been a six-piece band, a five-piece ensemble, and a quartet, but the core and essential sound of Home Grown has always been the original trio of Michael Lingg, Bruce Johnson, and Patrick Durr. There is an intimacy and focus in music that relies on two acoustic guitars, hand percussion, and three voices in harmony.
In 1986 the Home Grown song You Can Fly was the soundtrack for the Grand Prize winning CityVideo competition sponsored by the Arts & Entertainment network and featured the three of us at various Modesto locations. We also completed a video of our original song, Oh Brother!. Our most recent release, Home Grown, Our Own, includes all-original songs from throughout our history.
Our goal “to play a little music for the summer” has become fifty summers. On the journey we became brothers, sometimes disagreeing, but each filled with love and respect for the other two. We have intertwined our Home Grown families, and the three young men who got together for that one summer are now grandparents. Life is good.
This month, we will be performing at the State Theatre to celebrate with Uncle Lonny Presents as a benefit for Hope Haven West Wheelchair program. We hope to see you there.
Besides our countless gigs, here are some of the Homegrown Highlights:
1973 (Spring) – Michael Lingg and Patrick Durr met Bruce Johnson
1976 – Mt. Aire Concert for 12,000 people: opened for Seal & Crofts, Poco & Pure Prairie League
1976 – 197Released vinyl record album entitled “Home Grown”
1991 – Mancini Bowl (Graceada Park) (1st year with new dome) w/ bass, drums, horns and flute
2000 – 1st annual MAMA Awards: received Lifetime Achievement Award
2002 – Kurume, Japan (a Modesto Sister City): performed for a week of events
2009 – Released “A Home Grown Christmas” CD
2018 – Prospect Theater (Drew Durr’s “Migrant Mother” CD release)
2021 – Released “Our Own”: a CD with all original songs

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