The Elder Gang, a classic country sound

July 7, 2014


Scottville Clown Band Shell, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

SCOTTVILLE – This week’s Tuesday night Scottville Clown Band Shell Concert Series will feature Elder Gang. Hailing from Ludington and Carr Settlement, they have been playing music around the area and are excited for this special performance at 7 p.m., Tuesday, July 8. Mason County Press Senior Correspondent, Kate Krieger met up with band member, Kenny Abel to discuss the band’s musical journey thus far and where they hope to go in the future.

Q: Who is in the band? How did the band get its start and where did the group’s name come from?

A: “Elder Gang is Kenny Abel, bass guitar and vocals; Danny Stewart, lead guitar and vocals; Bob Jensen, steel guitar and Joe Chrisple, drums. The band is out of Ludington and Carr Settlement. Danny and I played together in a band. He and his sister (my wife, Judy) put together a band called Preferred Stock. About 10 years ago we were froggin’ around with Roger Christofferson and Ron Peterson picked up Denny Martinchek and decided to try it again. As Real Country, that kind of went by the wayside, when Roger and Ron went to Florida. So Danny and I went a different direction. We picked up Bob, Dale Swanson and Tim Rodriguez and called our selves the Elder Gang. Tim and Dale moved on and we picked up Joe (Bob’s stepson) 6 years ago. The name came from an old John Wayne movie called ‘The Sons of Katie Elder’ in which in one scene the bad guys say, ‘Don’t forget when we get to town tell ’em we were ambushed by the Elder Gang.’”

Q: What style of music do you consider yourself? Any musical influences that are present in your music?

A: “We play two kinds of music, country and western and we like them both just fine. We are influenced by Jones, Nelson, Jennings, Twitty and of course The Hag.”

Q: How often do you play out and where can people check you out at besides this Tuesday’s show at the Scottville Clown Band Shell?

A: “We play a lot in the Lake County area and we have played the American Legion, Michael’s and Bud’s Tap Room. You can find out were we are on Facebook under ‘Elder Gang.’”

Q: How did the Scottville gig come to you and what should people look forward to when they come out to hear you play?

A: “Danny is in charge of booking. He thought it might be fun to play at home for a change. He and I both graduated from Scottville. Some of the songs we do we have put a little twist on to kind of make them our own and we have some original stuff. We don’t use a song list. I’ve been playing with different groups since the 70’s and found I like to read the crowd and try to figure out what they want. It keeps things fresh.”

Q: In your spare time, when not playing music, what are the members of the group doing? 

A: “Danny just retired last September, so now he and Bob are living the dream. Joe and I work.”

The band shell is owned and operated as a joint venture between the Scottville Optimist Club and Scottville Clown Band. The committee operates as a separate entity and includes representatives from both organizations and from the community. Tax deductible donations may be sent to Scottville Clown Band, PO Box 278, Scottville, MI 49454.


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