(1966 - 1973)
Who were the Plain Brown Wrapper
what did you miss?
The Plain Brown Wrapper performed throughout Michigan in the late 60s and early 70s. Known for its amazingly versatile sound, their music was full of emotion and intensity. Often with driving rhythms and screaming trumpets -- other times with a beautiful song in 4-part harmony. Traveling in their converted school bus, they entertained in a wide variety of venues including many outdoor Woodstock-style concerts.
Welcome to the Wrapper's "official" website.
P.B.W. — W.B.P. (Plain Brown Wrapper — Way Back Project)
Join us on this adventure as we look back at
one of Michigan's most original rock bands:
The Plain Brown Wrapper!
(Click on images)
Plain Brown Wrapper "live"
at Valley Court Park, 1969 (edited)
45 RPM RECORD RELEASES
While listening, click on the images below.
Promotion Picture Feb. 1970 in Potter's Park. Photo by Ron Mitchell.
PLAIN BROWN WRAPPER
(1966 - 1973)
Plain Brown Wrapper from Lansing, MI (1966-1973).
During their 7- year existence the band grew into a massive stage show.
Including screaming guitars and horns and soaring vocal harmonies.
(Courtesy Posted Thursday, February 4, 2021)
From the article: "A Look Back at Plain Brown Wrapper" - by Rich Tupica.
Aside from a small batch of limited-run singles, "Plain Brown Wrapper" is now cemented deep within Lansing’s murky ’60s and ‘70s rock folklore. Those who were around to experience the band live on stage have hazy memories of the stage-filling ensemble cast of local musicians that made up Plain Brown Wrapper (PBW). From scorching guitars, to jazzy horns, the group slowly evolved from primitive arrangements into a colossally progressive wall of sound. When a group rolls up on stage with two trumpets, a trombone, plus 4 standard electric rock instruments and (sometimes)... 2 percussionists, you know it’s not your typical band.
Built from the garage-rock ashes of "The Plagues" (another legendary Lansing band), PBW took shape in 1966, after Plagues frontman and main song writer, Bill Malone, left the group and headed to Hollywood.
But back home in Michigan, Bill's bandmates Van Decker (guitar/keys), Phil Nobach (drums) and Jim “Hoz” Hosley (guitar/bass) joined up with Scott Durbin (and temporarily, Steve Allen) to form The Plain Brown Wrapper. The group, which fully embraced the new psychedelic sounds of the late-’60s, saw many lineup changes until its 1973 breakup. But, at its core the outfit followed a basic equation, creativity.
“The Wrapper was influenced by American groups like the Beach Boys, Motown, Frank Zappa and some jazz artists.” Decker said. “(The sound) had a lot to do with Scott Durbin, who was an experienced jazz musician. Scott’s trumpet playing and piano talents made it possible to explore a much wider variety of styles, which carried over into our original material.”
Hosley confirms, The Wrapper preferred to test the creative limits, and each other, every time they performed together at venues like The Brewery, The Dells, MSU Shaw Hall, The Stables and Club Roma.
“The band loved to jam, as in jazz improvisation, or blues riffing, and that showed-up often, as the band would stretch-out and allow a soloist to play-on, or, there might be a dueling 8-bar jam, one soloist trying to stump the other or just put down a good lick”, Hosley said.
Then, in January 1970, a new member was added, Gary Story (drums), to replace drummer, Rick Kalb. Gary's strong voice, song writing and fat-back drumming pushed the band to even higher heights. In the Spring of 1971, Van and Jim left the band, but the group continued as a quartet for two more years.
Today, some of the band’s catalog is streamed on YouTube, like the soulful “Real Person” and “You’ll Pay” (an early, stripped-down single). And, check out their website and listen to the traces of sonic brilliance these local cats left behind.