Saturday, January 30, 2010

A tribute to Steve Ellett

Hi, my name is Dennis McHaney.  This is a tribute to my friend Robert Steven Ellett, 1949 - 2010. Steve was my other brother.  We have been friends since 1959.  We grew up together.

Steve had a unique sense of humor.  He loved life and was larger than life.  He never missed an opportunity to turn any situation into fun.  From our mid teens to our early twenties, we captured photographic treasures of our many adventures.  In memory of Steve, and to celebrate the joy of his life, I'm sharing some of our most stupid moments with anyone who cares to appreciate our sense of adventure and fun.

Steve's early nickname was Yud Yud.  I can't remember where this came from.  More on that later.

The photo below is Steve jumping out of an airplane, narrowly missing the propeller.  He forgot to put on his parachute, but it was only a 5,000 foot drop, and he landed on his head, so he was just fine.  He was mad at me for a week for daring him to jump.

I have started this blog to share memories and images of one of the most unique individuals I have ever had the honor of knowing. If you are tuned in, Yud Yud, say hello to Cookie and both Macs.  To Steve's loved ones, please send photos and memories to add to this loving tribute.

Man of Action

Steve was always ready to rip into action!
Here are several examples. First, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Terror in the jungle!
Steve on the roof. Did I dare him to jump off?
Steve jumps off roof

Lance jumps on Steve

Steve and the bottle

Steve liked to have a brew or two on occasion, and as you can see from this early photo, he even tried moonshine when he went through his hillbilly phase. Sometimes though, he ended up in a less than dignified state, as can be seen in the bottom two photos.

That middle photo is actually quite scary.  It was shot in
front of 3400 S. Perkins, a dangerous stretch of road.  It was crazy for Steve to be crawling in the gutter there, even in front of a parked car, and even scarier that I was where I was to take that picture.  I could have gotten taken out by a big rig at any second.

We were too young to really know much about serious drinking at that point.  We thought that the ultimate in drinking was to end up drunk and in the gutter. 

The Electric Rugs

The Electric Rugs was our band. We recorded a lot, but only performed in public one time.
We formed in Spring of 1967. The Electric Rugs were Steve Ellett, Dennis McHaney, and Lance Russell (Jr.).
We recorded our first album in June 1967, titled Sergeat Pecker's Dirty Old Fart's Club Band. Poor quality copies of those tracks still exist.
Many of our early tunes consisted of popular songs of the day, re-written by us (mostly me) with trashy lyrics.
We had a lot of fun trashing the likes of Neil Diamond, The Monkees, The Rolling Stones, and many others. After about a year, Lance went off to school someplace, and in 1970 was replaced by Larry Coyne, a friend of mine from college.
The photo on the top is Steve and McHaney, calling themselves Salmon and Carbunkle, in February 1967. The photo below, from left to right, is Steve, Lance, and Dennis. I now weigh about three times more than I did in those pictures.

In the photo on the top, Steve is holding his first electric guitar, one of those Silvertone brands that came with an amp built into the guitar case. Those guitars are now very collectible (and valuable). In the mid seventies, Steve painted the thing puke green and covered the pick guard and edge with paisley wallpaper. I guess you could call that Steve's "Psychedelic period." I don't know if he kept that guitar all these years.

Yud Yud

Sometime back in the sixties, Steve acquired the nickname "Yud Yud." I can't remember where he got it, can't remember what it meant, but it stuck and he still called himself that the last time I talked with him. My nickname was Scab, and I have a painfull memory of why I got that monicker. I was always tripping over things and there was always at least one scab on my shins.
Here's another out of focus photo of Steve trying to look like his head was cut off.
Again, I can only guess at when this was taken, and my guess would be Fall 1968, while Steve was on break from the Jr. college he attended for two years in Senatobia Mississippi.
I had to dig to find my pictures of Steve. They were mostly in a photo album I have which is full of silly photos we took over the years. Steve would roar with laughter if he saw some of the photos I will post on this blog.
And, MOST of them are in focus.

Steve's First Guitar

Over the years, Steve became quite a collector of guitars. The last time I visited him, which was in 2006, he had nearly a room full of fantastic instruments. Here is a photo of Steve with his first guitar. It isn't a very clear photo, but I believe it was a Silvertone, from Sears. This photo isn't dated, but I believe it is late 1966.