Born Rockin'

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First Born

Curt was first born with a brother and two sisters of Fran Voruz and Glenn Houle.

Our parents were born on the same day, same year, same hour. They were both musicians and teachers. My dad was also a composer. Curt took lessons at an early age on piano and clarinet and started listening to rock A.M. stations at about 12.


At 14, he taught himself how to play guitar and started a band with best friend 

DJ Peterson on bass. DJ's brother Steve already knew a lot of guitar chords, so he played rhythm guitar and their cousin Chris sat in on drums. Curt played lead guitar and sax solos and the band played surf rock instrumentals.


When Curt heard "Surfin' USA" by The Beach Boys, the band started playing songs with vocals and Curt sang lead. Not long after that, The Beatles released "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", and Curt started writing songs for the band. In a few months, Robert Gelman joined the band playing drums. The band was named The Four Dimensions and then it was changed to The Clefdwellers - suggested by father Glenn Houle, who helped the band do some recording at Valentine Studio in N Hollywood. 


In 1965, the name was changed to The Peppermint Grass Stayns at Robert Gelman's suggestion. Several different rhythm guitar players were tried as PGS played the local high schools and battle of the bands shows. In 1967, The Doors played at Curt's high school. A Farfisa Compact organ was then obtained and Curt became the keyboard player and rhythm guitarist. After hearing and seeing Jimi Hendrix, Curt did not want to play lead guitar, because he was a much better lead keyboard player. The piano lessons as a kid came in very handy.


Later on in 1967, the search was on for a lead guitar player. Sixteen year old Neil Citron showed up to audition and joined the band. In 1968, Curt shortened the band's name to The Stayns - Curt Houle, DJ Peterson, Robert Gelman and Neil Citron. In 1969, Greg Magie joined the band as lead singer. This lineup played a lot of gigs and did some studio recording. After a couple years, Greg and Robert could not get along and DJ got married, so the band split up - except Curt and Neil - who each kept writing original songs.


Curt's brother Mark Houle was now old enough to join the band and play bass. Their mother had said he could not be in the band until he was at least sixteen years old. Mark fit right in and helped cowrite songs and added a great harmony voice.  An ad at Musicians Contact Service attracted Jeff Jones on drums, and he joined after one jam. Curt came up with a new name for this new lineup - Prodigy. In 1971, the band Prodigy was Curt Houle, Mark Houle, Neil Citron, and Jeff Jones. Lead singer Grant Goracy joined for six months, then left and Curt took over lead vocals with Mark and Neil also singing some lead. Prodigy became one of the house band's at Gazzarri's club in Hollywood throughout 1972 and 1973.


In 1973, Prodigy was also playing the original music clubs like Marina Palace and Golden West Ballroom and they were on a constant search for the ultimate lead singer. Gary Fuller from Atlanta called and auditioned. He had an awesome bluesy rock voice and joined the band. Our friend and sometimes lyricist, Cliff Chema, came up with a new name for the band - Bastard - and in 1974 the lineup was Curt Houle, Mark Houle, Neil Citron, Jeff Jones and Gary Fuller. The band did many gigs and recorded a demo at Sound City, but Gary quit and went back to Atlanta after only one year.


The demo that Bastard had recorded was heard by Con Merten of Cherokee Recording Studio, and he was interested in managing the band. Now there was some major interest and no lead singer. At right about that time, lead singer Scott Phares left a band called The Hollywood Stars. Scott jammed with the band and joined in December, 1974. Curt then suggested changing the name of the band to HERO.

HERO

 In 1975, HERO was Curt Houle, Mark Houle, Neil Citron, Jeff Jones and Scott Phares. Con Merten signed on as Personal Manger. He also ran Cherokee Studios, so HERO spent a lot of time there. In 1977, Mercury Records finally signed the band. The first album "HERO" was recorded at Cherokee Studio with Micheal Lloyd producing..


HERO played a lot of gigs at places like The Whiskey, The Roxy, The Troubadour, and The Starwood. In 1978, they changed record labels to 20th Century Records and released their second album "Boy Will Be Boys", recorded at Sunset Sound - produced by Micheal Lloyd.


Unfortunately, HERO were never placed on any major tours to promote their records. In 1979, they found themselves without a record label. Curt left the band in the summer of 1979 due to creative differences. HERO never landed another record deal and dissolved over the next couple of years.

Curt bands from 1980-2000

After leaving HERO, Curt was not in a band for the first time in a very long time.

Instead of joining an existing band, Curt decided to form a band with his then girlfriend, Lisa Landy, as lead singer. Many auditions were done for guitar, bass and drums. A great band was put together, then fell apart. In the 1980's, many rock musicians did not want to be in a band with a female singer. Curt wrote some new songs and wrote more songs with Lisa and they did some recording.


In 1980, Jeff Jones also left HERO. Jeff played drums on the new demos and joined with Curt and Lisa to start a new band. In 1981, Steve Mercer joined on bass and Chris Wentworth on guitar. Jeff suggested to name the band TERRAN 5. This lineup played some gigs and did some recording. Then the bassist and guitarist left the band, forcing Curt, Lisa and Jeff to find another lead guitarist and bassist. 


In 1982, Curt, Lisa and Jeff found Will Rogers on lead guitar. The band name was changed to TERRA 4. Instead of looking for a bass player, Curt was drafted to play left hand key bass. This lineup played many gigs at clubs like The Troubadour and Madame Wong's West and also Wong's East. The band also did some studio recording. After Will Rogers left the band, Curt, Lisa and Jeff did more recording with Mark Houle on bass and harmony vocals.


In 1984, Curt wrote some new songs and some with Lisa to record under the name The Kind. In 1985, Curt and Lisa broke up and Curt went solo. That is, totally solo with a Linn 9000 drum machine/midi sequencer, a bunch of synths and a guitar.

Curt recorded his new songs in 1987, playing every instrument and singing lead.

His brother Mark helped with backing vocals.


In 1990, Curt wrote more songs for The Kind and auditioned many guitar players. In 1992, after more than 300 auditions, Curt found lead guitarist Sid Sosa. John Ugarte played bass and engineered the recordings. Jeff Jones was still onboard to play drums. Lisa sang lead on a couple of songs, then went back East to get married. Curt then sings lead on the other songs.


In 1995, Curt started MusicAmaze Productions and embarked on a huge two album project with his dad, Glenn Houle. Curt names the studio band The LOCAL GROUP. Those albums are called "Timeless Future Memories" and "Circa 2000".