A Cub Koda Story submitted by Jon McAuliffe

"No, man! I make this part o' my act. Watch this!"

Through the auspices of Baron Records President Ron Bartolucci, it was suggested to me that I might like to meet and interview Cub for a possible article in the magazine I was editing at the time (1981), The Music World. Being a former Detroiter I certainly knew who Cub was. I'd enjoyed his music from afar since the 1970s and thought an interview would be great fun. I had no idea because it would be turn out to be a whole lot more than that.

Cub and I met that summer and we became fast friends pretty quickly, probably because we'd grown up listening to the same radio stations and enjoying the same music throughout our Michiganian youth. When Cub would relate some crazy story about putting together a band from the raw materials of a wet-behind-the-ears group of teen idol wannabees in some far flung hick town near the UP, I knew exactly where and what he was talking about. I remember we laughed a lot, not only during that first meeting, but pretty much every time we ever got together. But that's another story.

The one I'd like to tell here centers around a gig Cub did in a joint in Cambridge, Mass. called The Inn Square Men's Bar ("Ladies Invited"). As was his typical modus operandi, Cub was rockin' the joint, the drinkers were drinkin', the dancers were dancin' and I was sitting at a table in the rear with my first wife just diggin' Cub giggin'. Suddenly, and without warning (my apologies to Rod Serling), as Cub was ripping into a solo in the middle of some obscure New Orleans whomp he'd learned from some beat-to-death 45 in his magical vinyl collection, he broke a string. You could see he was ever so slightly pissed, but being the trooper we all know he was, he carried on till the end of the song, using other strings to compensate. Wanting to help out, I ran up to the bandstand and motioned for him to give me his axe so I could quickly re-string it for him. Unlike today's guitar gods who change guitars after every song, Cub was a veteran, card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wool, branded-on-the-road rock & roller, using only the guitar he brought to the stage with him and possibly one other for his entire set. The look on his face was appreciative, but he let me know right away he had this deal covered, whispering "No, man! I make this part o' my act. Watch this!"

With that, the band went into a slow bluesy vamp and Cub began this unbelievable rap that sounded like he was half making it up as he went along. Something about the little green men invading "Dee-troit" and landing right outside his house where he and Lady J and the kids scared the hell out of them and sent 'em packing to the Planet Mongo. All the while he's telling this goofy story he's slowly bending, pulling and stretching the replacement string into tune, using it as a sound effect for his story. Space ships sounds, little green men sounds, screams and satire, all illustrated with that one string. I think Howlin' Wolf showed up for a cameo in that story, too, thanking Cub for making the Midwest safe against the invading Mongo-lian hordes. "Uh di-di-dit, di-di-dit, look whacha git!"

Of all the hundreds of live gigs I've seen in my life, I never saw anybody do anything like that, but as I discovered with every show I saw Cub perform, he thrived on using whatever disparate element might appear, good or bad. Whether it was a broken string, a bad sound system, stupid lighting or the local drunk, Cub was a rock & roll alchemist, turning whatever common materials were thrown his way into pure gold for the enjoyment and edification of more than one astonished and delighted audience.
Rock on, " Cub Coo-tay!" We miss you, man.

Jon McAuliffe
April, 2006

(If you have a story about Cub, something funny, how you met, etc., please email them to: webmaster@cubkoda.com so that they can be added for others to enjoy!)