By Corey Thompson
Do you like rock & roll, country rock, and rhythm & blues music? Do you enjoy toe-tapping, foot-stomping, dancing music? Chances are, if you've lived in Red Lodge for a while, you've heard Charlie Brandine's and Jim Kujala's music and loved it.
They started out playing at the first Dry Creek reunion in the late 70's, when Billy Waldo first organized his band, Billy Waldo and the Grizzlies. From the original nine members, five went on the road for many years: Billy Waldo (lead singer), Lee Moran (harmonica and banjo), Scott "Scotty B" Boroughs (lead guitar), Paul "Dirt" Stauss (drums) and Gary "Webski" Webb (bass). Long time Red Lodge locals said that whenever and wherever the Grizzlies were in town, that's where everyone gathered.
Charlie went on to play with Boothill for six years, Sweet Briar for five years, Montana Wildcat for three years, the Grizzlies for three years, and presently plays with the Hounddogs from Outer Space. That goofy name was conceived by JimBob Gairrett, from The Gairett Brothers, a Billings band. (JimBob Gairrett has since gone on to play with Kenny Chesney).
Charlie says he feels no ownership to any sort of name attached to a band with which he plays; in fact, bands change names all the time. For example, they played Red Lodge Mountain's Winter Carnival one year with an undersea theme, and they became King Salmon and the Baby Perch! Another time they were the Ricky Lake Trio, and later that night became The Artists Formerly Known as the Ricky Lake Trio (thank you, Prince).
Charlie graduated from high school in New Jersey. One week later he arrived in Montana and never left. He learned how to play the guitar while in high school, and has since become a connoisseur of stringed instruments. Besides playing the guitar, he has taught himself the mandolin, the Greek bazouki (which has a large gourd body with eight strings), the Turkish oud (lute), and the mandola.
The Hounddogs are an intergenerational mix of musicians. Jim Kujala plays bass, Frank Pirtz is the drummer, Todd Loughrie plays guitar, and Charlie Brandine plays his stringed instruments. Sometimes Jim's son, Levi, who plays with The Clintons, sits in on drums as well. Since they have all been musicians for so long, and together for seven years, each gig is like a huge jam session, and they love it. They play mostly parties and weddings, take requests, and LOVE it when the crowd is dancing!
Like many folks in Red Lodge, both Charlie and Jim have other jobs. You'll recognize Charlie as the paint expert at True Value Hardware, and Jim of Beartooth Kawasaki.
Looking for a good time? Call Charlie at 446-3106. Your guests will have a blast!
Be the first to comment on this article!
NOTE: Because of problems with automated spambots entering hundreds of comments on our site, we no longer allow comments with links in them. Thanks for understanding.
You are posting from ip address 18.104.22.168