By March 16, 2023 Read More →

To Play A Little Music For The Summer

To Play A Little Music For The Summer
By Patrick Durr

Before 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, Michael and Bruce spent an evening going through Michael’s music binder, having a great time. Michael asked me to join them at the next session. We immediately began harmonizing, with Michael and I playing acoustic guitars. We 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. The three of us decided to rehearse to get booked at the Vintage “to play a little music for the summer.” Our trio needed a band name, and we exchanged several ideas. I remember 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 while waiting to be called for dinner and get them to return for more music. This goal caused us to expand our repertoire 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, which included audience favorites and original songs. We decided to take our music on the road, and more musicians were included. 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. Music has an intimacy and focus 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 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.

Home Grown celebrates years of performing live at Uncle Lonny’s Birthday Bash at The State Theatre on April 8th at 7:30 pm tickets are available now for just $20 each.

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