by Tina Tidmore
They don’t have a tour planned, but the Spydels band does have a gig. Three of the original six members have joined with two new members to bring back the music that many from northeast Jefferson County may remember.
Clayridge Baptist Church is hosting a car show on Oct. 13 with the Spydels performing outside, starting around 3:30 p.m.
In the mid-1960s, a group of Hewitt-Trussville High School students started a band. They performed the folk music of the day at sock hops, proms, the Huffman skating rink, Oporto Armory, Dukes and more.
“I guess our greatest thrill was winning second place in the Vox Band Battle in Jackson, Miss.,” said Arvel Crumpton, who led the reuniting effort. As a result of their performance then, they won some equipment and a chance to play at a Mississippi State College dance with Roy Orbison’s band.
They also recorded a single 45 rpm record. On one side, the listener heard the band’s original song, “She’s Gone Away.” The other side had their version of “Alley Oop.”
At the Oct. 13 performance, the reunited Spydels plan to perform songs from Elvis Presley, The Mamas and The Papas, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, the Temptations and gospel songs. They have been practicing for a few months, when their schedules allow.
“Some of the songs I haven’t heard in 40 years,” drummer Ray Wright said. “It’s hard to remember when to come and go out.”
The Spydels stayed together, entertaining many around the area until the Vietnam War and other personal circumstances caused its temporary, although long-term, dissolution. The men went off to the war, some married, but some continued in music with other bands.
Buzz Payne, who is about 15 years older than the other band members, is one of the new members and is having to learn music different from his usual genre.
“The songs and chords are simple,” said Payne, a Pinson resident. “But the rhythm, when to stop and start, is what makes it hard.”
Another new addition is Linda Crumpton, Arvel Crumpton’s wife. She is now a back-up singer
. At one point, early in the band’s history, they tried out a trumpet player, but it didn’t last long.
“He wasn’t a Spydel,” Arvel said.
When asked where the band got its name, Wright said he hasn’t “got the foggiest idea.”
Crumpton said he figures it was from the Speidel watch bands, more popular at that time. “But we spelled it differently,” he said.
A few of the original band members are not part of the reunion. Crumpton said Joe P. Sims is too busy with his career, which involves travel. Mike McKee is now a minister in Texas. They could not locate Billy Freeny.
Keyboard and guitar player Chuck Hawkins still works, but he will be with his old band members, performing on Oct. 13.
When asked what other venues they are pursuing, Crumpton said they are not looking to perform in lounges.
With gospel now part of the selections, “I would really like to do it to help somebody,” he said.
Any money earned on Oct. 13 beyond the cost of the event will help Clayridge with music equipment, said pastor Ron Hudgens.
“Their version of ‘House of Gold’ is better than Hank Williams,” Hudgens said of the band and lead singer Crumpton. “He nails it.”