tiffany
shade
today

 

Today, Tiffany Shade keyboardist and founding member Bob Leonard works as a construction consultant for the building department of small city near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In his white dress shirt, grey slacks and silver framed eyeglasses, he looks more like a movie extra sent over from Central Casting to play the part of a self-effacing and easygoing father, grandfather & golf enthusiast than he does a former hippie musician. To look at him you would be hard pressed to imagine that in 1968 he and his band — Tiffany Shade, played on the same stage as Janis Joplin, Big Brother & the Holding Company, The MC5, and the Troggs. In conversation he rarely mentions his past or the fact that at one time he and his cronies shared a house with Bob Bear Hite and Canned Heat while the blues rock/boogie band worked in Cleveland, Ohio. Or that he partied with Jim Capaldi & Chris Wood of Traffic and Mick Waller & Ronnie Wood of the Jeff Beck Group. It’s also safe to assume that many of his co-workers at city hall have no idea that Bob Leonard once played keyboards in the Tiffany Shade and the groundbreaking 70’s punk band Mink DeVille.

 

Tiffany Shade’s singer/guitarist Mike Barnes is semi retired and living on the Jersey Shore. He worked for the University of Maryland School of Architecture lecturing in courses about Methods & Materials, Structures and Historic preservation. He also ran the student model shop at the University before settling down and taking it easy in Cape May, New Jersey. Mike is pretty sure that original Tiffany Shade member Barrow Davidian passed away a few years ago.

Portrait of Bob Leonard

Drummer Tom Schuster, an accomplished woodworker, now builds pole buildings & horse barns and lives near Medina, Ohio. He played drums with Cleveland’s legendary Mr. Stress Blues Band for a while in the ’80’s before hanging up his sticks.

Bassist Robb Clarke Murphy is still making music in Newport Rhode Island with his avante guard free form jazz band called “Dissenting Always With Abstract Zealous”.

Pianist Bob Leonard works for the City of Carlisle in Pennsylvania as a construction consultant. He has a piano in his apartment and tinkers with it from time to time when he is not busy working and golfing.

These days Bob Leonard rarely talks about his intriguing and exciting rock n’ roll Journey. In fact the only indication of his adventures in music lies in a framed 1968 Big Brother & the Holding Co/Tiffany Shade poster from the Grande Ballroom that hangs prominently in his home above his acoustic piano.

He says he is “grateful for the experiences” and that he “enjoyed them very much, but the Tiffany Shade thing was just a small part of his life. It really was incredible to think that all of those things happened to me so fast in such a short period of time over the course of three years, 1966 to 1969”. He chuckles at the notion of all of the fuss that collectors have made about the Tiffany Shade record, a record that he considers “a piece of crap”.

While Bob Leonard, Mike Barnes, Tom Shuster and Robb Murphy may not like the album that they created back in 1967/1968, a lot of people, myself included, feel that it has withstood the test of time. It is an interesting and worthwhile piece of 1960’s psychedelic rock history. The songs and performances capture perfectly all of the nuance and crazy charm of an era that lives on in the hearts and minds of fans and collectors alike all over the world.

The Tiffany Shade LP may not have been a technically or even musically perfect endeavor, but that only adds to the records allure Combine this with the near mythic status that the platter has achieved over the years due to its’ being so scarce and hard to find, and you have yourself one hell of a cool album!

The Tiffany Shade record and others like it hearken back to a special time and place in music. A time when all someone had to do to become a recording artist was meet up with some friends on the corner, sell his Honda ’65 scooter, buy an acetone piano and start up a band! With all of the changes that have taken place in the music industry over the years things will never be that easy or innocent again.