With word circulating that veteran Milwaukee musician Terry Frank has passed away, local drummer Bruce Cole -- who maintains the Jean Cuje Milwaukee Music Collection at Marquette University -- takes a moment to remember the veteran bluesman.
Frank died in Florida, where he lived with his wife, but his funeral -- yet to be announced -- will take place in Milwaukee.
Bruce Cole: "I met Terry Frank around 1983, I think. I joined his band Black Cat Bone. His wife Cheryl on bass, me on drums and Terry playing loud, ZZ Top, Elmore James, and Buddy Guy stuff. He was somewhere in his early 30s at the time, I'd say, and already worn thin from very little sleep and a killer family and work schedule.
"Terry was up early every morning working his day job and up late every night working on his slide -- and keeping an eye on the their small children. Gene Vincent always said: 'I'll play anywhere, anytime.' And that, for sure, was Terry in those early years. Murray Tap, Stockholders in West Allis, Mamies' on National, the Up 'n' Under. Corner blues bars all over town, and not much over the bar at the end of the night. Terry didn't care about money, he just wanted to amp up and rock.
"Over the years Terry became a highly respected, major Miltown blues force. His bands worked Summerfest, for instance, every year, and only a handful of local blues acts can say that. As the decades rolled by, Terry would call me occasionally to play, and it would always be a pleasure -- as well as a workout. He was never an arrogant player, and always a fun guy to be around.
"When we started The Milwaukee Music Collection at Marquette University libraries 10 years ago, Terry Frank was there with a generous donation -- and he donated something every few months throughout the years.
"Gary Huckleberry, a bandmate of Terry's over the years, called me from Florida a couple weeks ago and told me something that made me feel very good. He said he'd run into Terry Frank, who had recently moved down there and was living nearby. They talked about putting a duo together. Then Terry, out of the blue, said: 'It'd be fun if Bruce Cole was down here to work with us.'
"Thanks Terry. We are all going to miss you and your wonderful playing."