In the Fall of 1967 two bands in the Rochester, New York area were in the process of breaking up. The Angry Men and the Gallant Men. Some of the members decided to merge and form a new band. Art Foti, Carl Foti and Jerry Cummings from the Gallent Men teamed up with Tom Bittle from the Angry Men, added Joe Dasheneau on bass and began rehearsing top 40 and R&B songs from that era. They were to be managed by James (Gunther) Kranz, owner and proprieter of Duffy's Hotel in the heart of downtown Rochester. Gunther, a businessman thru and thru who would never make a bad investment, had purchased an old gray school bus for reasons unbeknownst to the band and it remains a mystery to this day. It was during that conversation at a rehearsal that the band got their name.
One night at precicely 9:00PM Gunther pulled up in his old gray bus to the front door of Duffy's Hotel honking the horn madly and out jumped 5 beaming young musicians who proceeded to hop up on the stage and began playing "Even the Bad Times Are Good" by the Tremolos. The band, Gunther's Bus, was very well received. The place was packed and everyone, band and audience had such a great time that they all knew this would be the start of something really great.
Art Foti Jerry Cummings
Tom Bittle Joe Dasheneau Carl Foti
Gunther's Bus proved to be an excellent cover band. They sounded just like the records only better because it was live. They sang like angels and their harmonies were so powerful and so high. the music was strong and the band was tight.
Around the summer and fall of '68 their sound began to change. They started doing fewer "pop" songs and more album cuts. They became fascinated by the sounds of Vanilla Fudge, Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Cream and Led Zeplin.
They went on the road. Atlantic City, Philly, New York. Working 6 nights a week and some afternoon shows, they needed to keep their material fresh, so the more they played the more they practiced. By the time they came back home they had a whole new sound. They were a different band. The local fans were blown away!
By someone who was there....
In the spring of 1969 Jerry Cummings left the band. He was replaced by a drummer from New York City named Johnny Dzubek. John had some big shoes to fill and although his style was different from Jerry's, he and the band came together to form phase 3 of the overall sound and style of Gunther's Bus.
Although they still had plenty of drive and were solid as a rock, they were getting "out there" a little. Experimenting with songs by Dr. John and other slightly more obscure artists, they did just about every Iron Butterfly song there was.
At this point they spent a lot of time on the road and day after day blew the walls down at Tony Mart's, a club that you had to see to believe. It was huge. Johnny would play a half hour drum solo to Hush and another one for In-a-godda-da-vida. The crowd went nuts! Gunther's Bus had that place packed every single night.
In the summer of 1970, after suffering from a severe case of over-exposure and performance burnout, Gunther's Bus disbanded and it's members were re-integrated into society as "normal" citizens. They became extremely boring and no fun to be around.