Papa Pluto - The Original
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Vance Masters
PAPA PLUTO


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THE EARLY YEARS

THE CRESCENDOS

THE FIFTH

BROTHER

DIANNE HEATHERINGTON & THE MERRY-GO-ROUND

ALAN SCHICK

* PAPA PLUTO

BURTON CUMMINGS

THE GUESS WHO

YOGI & FRIENDS

THE WALSH TWINS

GUNS 4 HIRE

FREELANCE WORK
That image in the top left hand corner is not a sketch.  It was created by Richard Gwizdak, the bass player from Vance's old band, The Fifth.  Richard became a professional photographer after leaving the music industry, and this was one of the techniques he was experimenting with in the 70s.  Richard explains the process:  ”It was originally a photo then I used pencils to draw on the picture then used a photo bleach to wipe out most of the photo behind.  It was a neat technique 'back then' but nobody has darkrooms or enlargers anymore so a lost 'neat technique'."  It's called photo etching and dates back at least to the 1950s.



Papa Pluto … aka St. Silver and Bubbles.  This band, which first saw the light of day in early 1973, had many personnel changes throughout its lifespan.  It technically morphed out of So Fine, the band Vance joined following his departure from Dianne Heatherington and the Merry-Go-Round.

So Fine had Chris Anderson (guitar), Randy Hanker (bass), Vance Masters (drums) and Fred Redekop (piano).  Chris had been in an earlier version of Merry-Go-Round, Randy was with Good Fortune, and Fred had just left Red Ryder.  The four musicians came together as the band behind Aileen Murphy, one of the three sisters formerly fronting Sugar & Spice.  At the time Vance joined, he had already been in discussions with Alan Schick to play on Alan's upcoming recording session in Los Angeles.  And this is where things get rather confusing as the bands begin to overlap, with Vance technically playing in three all at once.

So Fine was working dates in Winnipeg and out west.  The backing band for Alan was Duncan Wilson (guitar), Melvyn Ksionzek (bass), Fred Redekop (piano), and Vance.  They were going under the name of St. Silver and began taking jobs towards the end of 1972 on weeks when So Fine wasn't working.  As Alan began to receive more and more confirmed dates, Vance, Fred, and Melvyn weren't as readily available tor the So Fine shows.  So Fine played their last job on May 26, 1973 at the Plaza Hotel in Winnipeg, MB.

St. Silver continued on through all of '73 and into '74, replacing Melvyn with Rick Shukster.  And that formed the nucleus for Papa Pluto - Duncan, Rick, Fred, and Vance.  When Kurt left The Guess Who in 1974, he began sitting in with St. Silver on the jobs where they were not backing Alan.  By now, St. Silver was gaining a larger following than Alan Schick, and it was time to change name to establish the separation.

Bubbles was never really a serious consideration.  It came about in the summer of 1974 when the group, between sets, had been discussing what they should adopt as a new name, and had not been able to come to an agreement before the next set was ready to start.  When Kurt got on stage, he just blurted out "We're The Bubbles".  It stuck for a couple of weeks before the band drifted back to using the St. Silver name, formally becoming Papa Pluto in early 1975.

S
ome time during those 2 years, both Duncan and Vance got their chauffeur's licenses and began driving cab for Red Patch Taxi on weeks when they weren't booked.  But open weeks were few and far between as the rotation in Winnipeg bars took the band through the St. Vital, the Windsorian, the Norlander, the Plaza, the Marion, the Black Knight, the Norvilla, the Pandora Inn, the City Centre, the Westminster, and the Curtis.  With that many venues, it was relatively easy for the top local draws to play continuously, visiting each room about once every 3 or 4 months.  They played 6 nights a week, often held over for a second week.  Numerous rooms also required a Saturday matinee.

When this band was at its height, there is no doubt that the group had great potential.  From Andy Mellen's weekly column, Youthscene:

Youthscene by Andy
                                        Mellen
    History of some sort was made Sept. 19 as a crowd of more than 1,700 people squeezed into the Winnipeg Convention Centre for a social.  While that might not seem so astonishing if the attraction was a well-known recording act, I was absolutely knocked out considering that two local hard rock bands, Papa Pluto and Barrelhouse, managed to succeed in drawing an overflow crowd in a city not know for supporting local talent.
    What was even more impressive were the huge lineups outside the hall.  By my estimation, more than 1,000 people were turned away before the night was over, indicating that crowd easily could have exceeded 3,000 had the facilities been available.
Winnipeg Free Press, September 27, 1975

Some impressive material was written during this period and is still fondly remembered by many who followed the band faithfully from one club to the next.  One of those people - Ken Kublanski - connected with Vance literally decades later at one of his shows.  Ken gave Vance a now treasured CD containing material he had recorded surreptitiously at the St. Vital Hotel and at the Pandora Hotel.  Ken's account of those times is HERE.

Fred Redekop had left the group in June 1975.  Kurt was replaced by Dave Inglis in September 1975.  George Belanger took over lead vocals from December 1975 to October 1976 when he departed for a job with Harlequin.  Vance was hired to play with The Jim Kale Show.  And with that, the original Papa Pluto folded in November 1976.

Papa
                                Pluto Final Lineup November 1976
Final lineup of Papa Pluto before disbanding in November 1976
L-R Back Row: George Belanger, Dave Inglis
L-R Front Row: Rick Shukster, Duncan Wilson, Vance Masters

Image Credit:  Richard Gwizdak, using the same technique as in the picture on the top left of this page.

Brother was not the only band of Vance's whose music made it into The Guess Who catalogue.  The Guess Who recorded Vancouver for the 1978 Guess Who's Back album, along with Nova Scotia, which with a quick re-write of the lyrics, became Sweet Young Thing.

Then there's Cadillac and Wine, Women, and Cocaine, subsequently recorded by Les Pucks.

The story behind Cadillac … one of Kurt's first purchases after he joined The Guess Who was a white Cadillac Eldorado.  While playing with St. Silver/Papa Pluto, a friend of his borrowed the vehicle, but "forgot' to return it at the appointed time.  It became a bit of a joke, hence the lines "I've got your Cadillac, You'll never get it back", which of course wasn't the case, but that didn't stop Kurt and the others from chiding the errant driver repeatedly over a rather lengthy period of time.  They forever formalized the joyride in song.

The lyrics to Cadillac were re-written several times, with at least 3 different versions dependent upon the band configuration.  The very first rendering began with
I've got a Cadillac,
You're always on my back
and included extra verses that were eventually cut from the final version.  Short clip of a live version with the original lyrics.




Duncan later resurrected the Papa Pluto name in 1977 with Jim Creasey (guitar), Randy Booth (bass) and Bob Brett (drums), eventually changing the name to just Pluto, and then finally Les Pucks.


Papa Pluto 1975
Papa Pluto
September 27,1975
Photo credit: Jeff Debooy

Papa Pluto
                                Has Much Originality
Headline from the Winnipeg Tribune,
September 27, 1975 article
in which the above photo appeared.
Full article HERE.

Vance 1975 at
                                the rehearsal studio
Vance at the rehearsal studio on
Scotland Avenue, Winnipeg, MB
1975

Kurt 1975 at
                                the rehearsal studio
Kurt at the rehearsal studio
1975

Fred 1975 at
                                the rehearsal studio
Fred Redekop 1975

Duncan and Rick
                                1975
Duncan Wilson and Rick Shukster
 1975


PAPA PLUTO MUSIC LIBRARY
Videos open in a separate window


Cadillac (Video)
CADILLAC
Los
                                    Dotos Carnival (Video)
LOS DOTOS CARNIVAL
Nova Scotia (Video)
NOVA SCOTIA


Still to come:

VANCOUVER

BORNEO TROLL PATROL

PINEAPPLE HEAVEN

THE MUSIC PIECE


VJM
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