Native and famed guitarist speaks about being in numerous bands and touring around the world. Written by Tracy Chen and originally posted August 18, 2008.
As I watch Stan’s past performances, I am amazed by the way he genuinely feels music – his fingers and hair fly wildly as he delivers powerful, gritty guitar riffs. As the evening goes by, his eyes light up as he sings along with old recordings and reminisces about being on the road…
Stan Endersby was born on July 17, 1947 in Lachine, Quebec. His father, Paul Endersby, a former WWI ace was a prominent figure in the Canadian radio and television industry. His mother, Jeanne Miquel was a veterinarian (the only female to graduate in 1936 from a class of 500 at the acclaimed La Faculte de Medecine in Paris, France). Along with his four brothers, Endersby enjoyed a successful career as a child actor while in theatre productions such as “King of the Hearts” (at the Crest Theatre) and having parts in television shows such as “On Camera”, “Hit Parade”, “The Jackie Ray Show” and the “Wayne and Shuster Show”.
Endersby taught himself how to play guitar and joined his first bands in the early 60s. He began his career with The Omegas (known for future rock promoter John Brower), and J Feeney & The Spellbinders. In 1965, he joined Just Us with Jimmy Livingston, Neil Lillie (aka Neil Merryweather), Wayne Davis, Ed Roth, and Bob Ablack. The group recorded material that disappeared when the group’s manager took the tapes to New York. “A lot of talented musicians just slipped through the cracks because of mismanagement,” Endersby recalls.
In Toronto, Just Us became a popular attraction in clubs and the Yorkville scene and played in high schools across the city. In 1966, another band in America also called Just Us emerged, prompting the group to change its name to The Tripp. The Tripp played around Toronto, such as at Maple Leaf Gardens, opening for The Byrds at Varsity Stadium at “The Toronto Sound Show” and on the first episode of the CBC television show, “Sunday Show”. “The audience had never seen anything like this before… the music was well ahead of its time,” Endersby laughs (in reference to the stunned audience members while watching grainy footage of the performance).
After Neil Merryweather dropped out to play in Bruce Cockburn’s The Flying Circus, the band recruited Luke & The Apostles bass player Dennis Pendrith. With these band changes, The Tripp became Livingston’s Journey. Although no studio recordings were made, the group attracted media attention by disrupting business in downtown Toronto, entertaining fans at the Esplanade, and playing at Parliament Hill in support of marijuana legalization. However, the band went though another stage when Ted Sherrill from The Vendettas became the new drummer and former Imperials frontman, Bobby Kris replaced the increasingly erratic Livingston. Livingston’s Journey played its final show at Toronto’s infamous Night Owl.
When asked about how he felt as a musician growing up in Toronto, Endersby feels “really blessed… but the (music) industry just wasn’t there.” In 1968, Stan Endersby went to England to visit his brother on a holiday and to check out the music scene. On his first evening, Endersby was introduced to The Kink’s Peter Quaife after sitting in at a club named Hachettes. Endersby’s guitar playing impressed Quaife, and Quaife decided to leave The Kinks and form a new band with Endersby. Due to contractual obligations withThe Kinks, Quaife delayed his departure and by autumn of 1968, Endersby had returned to Toronto. In 1969, Stan Endersby with his brother, Ralph Endersby, Marty Fisher (Bobby Kris & The Imperials, The Flying Circus), and Gordan MacBain (Bobby Kris & The Imperials, The Flying Circus ) provided music in NBC ‘s experimental television show, “The Cube” (directed and written by Muppet’s creator Jim Henson).
In the spring of 1969, Endersby received a phone call from Quaife, who was ready to assemble the band. Endersby and Marty Fisher (keyboardist from The Cube) arrived in London to join Quaife and drummer Mick Cook. The new group was named Maple Oak, signifying the nationalities of the band members (“Maple” represented Canadians Endersby and Fisher and “Oak” represented the British Quaife and Cook). The group toured across Denmark before Cook dropped out and Canadian Gordan MacBain (who was with Endersby and Fisher in The Cube) replaced him. To their acclaim, Maple Oak was offered record deals with Decca Records and Islands Records.
Maple Oak chose to sign a deal with Decca Records and released their first single, “Son of a Gun”; however, their album was not released until six months later. During this period, the lack of public response, gigs, and support from Decca lead Quaife to drop out before the album’s release. By the time the album was finally made public, the band had already split and returned to Toronto. Although Maple Oak was not commercially successful, Endersby believes that it was one of the first country rock bands in England. It was also at this point that Endersby focused on developing his skills in singing and song writing.
Endersby returned to Toronto and was involved with a studio band, Heaven and Earth with producer John Stewart. This band contained Ed Roth, his ex-band mate from Livingston’s Journey, bass player Denny Gerrard (Paupers), and drummer Pat Little (Luck & Apostles) and Dennis Pendrith. Motown singer Rick James took leadership of the group and under his guidance, two singles were issued on RCA around late 1971: “Big Show Down/Don’t You Worry” and “You Make the Magic/Rip Off 1500”. The band fell apart when James took the tapes with him to work on his next project.
Endersby experienced country life when he moved to Stouffville, Ontario playing in local bands such as Buckwheat Noodle, Diamondback and The Village with Keith McKie and the late Bruce Palmer, whom he later credits as being one of his musical influences and closest friends. Around this time, Endersby began experimenting with the acoustic guitar. Endersby recalls the experience as being “on a farm totally heated with wood, honey bees, a large garden, a fine lady, two dogs and lots of great country friends.”
In the late seventies he relocated to Los Angeles to play with a New Wave Band, Little Itch. During this time he also played with numerous bands including Creed Bratton from The Grass Roots, Bryan Maclean from Love, which also had Maria Makee singing. It was also during this period that he joined Buffalo Springfield Revisited with original members Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer. Buffalo Springfield Revisited toured across America, fairly consistently, appearing at nightclubs, fairs, and festivals including Vietnam Veterans Benefit at the LA Forum. While the band was performing at The Palomino, Stephen Stills sat in and had a great time playing some of his old tunes. His positive reviews of the bank were well covered by the LA press.
In the late 90s, Endersby joined the Ugly Ducklings as a bass player. “It was the first time playing bass for me on stage and I really liked the energy of the band.” Endersby continued playing and recording with the Ugly Ducklings up until 2004, when guitarist Roger Mayne died of a heart attack and put an end to the band. Endersby acknowledges that losing a lot of his musical friends in recent years has been difficult.
Last year, Endersby participated in the 1960s Reunion Celebration in Yorkville and the 100 Years of Yorkville Library with other notable Canadian artists, such as The Sinners,Cathy Young, Keith McKie, Luke Gibson and George Oliver. Recently, Endersby celebrated turning 61 by playing music at a backyard party, proving age hasn’t deterred him from exhibiting his musical talents. “Music keeps me young,” he says. Currently Endersby resides in Toronto and is working as a cameraman and video editor. He mentions that after 40 years as a musician a lot of his old albums are being released around the world with people expressing a newfound interested in his career. “Admittedly” he says, “it feels nice to be recognized”.