A Cub Koda Story
submitted by Dr.Tim
...I realized that Cub was a scholar as much as a rocker.
My daughter just got a turntable so she could listen to that good old "scratchy
sound". She is getting good on the mandolin, learning that good old
sound, after a teenagerhood of modern music. I said, if you want to hear
how rock-and-roll happened from country and rockabilly, you should get in
with Cub Koda. She was all excited, having just acquired
her first "antique" turntable,
and I decided to do some research on the Net.
My heart was quickly broken when I found that Cub died in
July 2000. You see, I was the "Dr. Tim" who built his 12-string,
grandly engraved with his name on the fingerboard in abalone. I got it from
a store in upstate New Hampshire in the late 80's, where Cub had brought
it, saying it was unplayable. The store owner realized it just needed the
tension rod cranked, and subsequently used it for two years for his own gigs.
I lived just down the street from Cub in 1978 in Michigan, where
his love, Jeanie, had her home on the beautiful pond there. I was working
temporarily at a fine woodworking mill there, out of the back of a home-made
camper. But my tools were all sharp and I was a blooming crazy guitar maker.
After a couple of months, I remember the day Cub came walking down the road
in his black leathers and chains. He had this uniform and was spitting on
audiences years before the style came in vogue. We got to talking, and I
came up to his & Jeanie's place, and was astounded at the amount of wall
space that was taken up by vintage rockabilly albums, plus their predecessors
and follow-ons. We shared a joint, and for the afternoon, Cub pulled out
one album after another, introducing me to the genesis of Rock and Roll.
His hit "Smokin' in the Boys Room" was past its peak by then, but
I realized that Cub was a scholar as much as a rocker. He was disappointed,
but I was amazed. I had never seen so many records in one place. Cub lamented
that he "circled on the edge of real fame" but couldn't break through
to the center. I showed Cub a 12-string I had just finished, and he fell
in love with it after playing it a while.
The only thing was, he wanted a big "CUB KODA" inlaid on the fingerboard
along with a marijuana leaf. In a few days I had made the additions, and
he bought the guitar. I will never forget his standing in front of a full-length
mirror holding the guitar in playing position, turning this way and that
for different views. To Cub, there seemed to be something very important
about having your name in pearl in big letters on the fingerboard. He seemed,
well, satisfied with the image it gave him. We parted ways after that. I
saw him play some great stuff in clubs in Ann Arbor, where he gave me a wave
when he saw me. That is a treasure I will always live with. Ten years later,
after I had moved to New Hampshire and started to bring up a family, a friend
of mine said he saw a 12-string for sale in an upstate guitar store made
Tim", with "CUB KODA"on the fingerboard. I flew up to the
store, and found that Cub had come in to sell it because the action was too
high. The owner saw that he could fix it with a turn of a wrench inside the
body, but didn't let on. He bought the guitar from Cub, fixed the action,
and then used it, when not displayed as his "high end 12-string",
as his performance instrument. Playing in schools he had to crayon over the
marijuana leaf on the first fret, but otherwise it served him well, and he
sold it to me at a good price. I have it in my living room right now. Anybody
Love to Jeanie, where ever she might be.
(If you have a story about Cub, something funny, how you met,
etc., please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
so that they can be added for others to enjoy!)