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Beacon Senior News

The Association: Thanks for the memories

Mar 03, 2020 11:58AM ● By Jan Weeks

Grand Junction woman connects with band members decades later

There was nothing to distinguish Lori Rienstra’s childhood home, a two-story white, dormered house on Elmwood Street in an older area of Los Angeles, from the others in the neighborhood. Except that her house had a sign over the front door that read, “Wilshire Fine Arts Studios.”

The living room was outfitted with a piano and ballet barres, and the California house also doubled as a recording studio for musicians. Musicians such as The Men.

Community Concerts of the Grand Valley’s January performance sparked a lot of memories for Rienstra. In 1965, when she was only 6 years old, a band known as The Men gathered in her living room to practice.

“They were practicing a song they wrote, ‘Never, My Love,’” Rienstra, now 60, said.

Sound familiar? If you’re a boomer, it should. The band went on to become The Association, one of the most famous folk rock bands in history. Rienstra remembers singing along with them, and even believes her mother suggested the band’s future name.

Members then included drummer Jim Bluechel, Jr., who left his old drum cases behind at her house when he bought new ones.

“We used those cases as trash cans for years,” Rienstra remembered.

Brian Cole, the bass player and vocalist, used to play children’s games with her on the stairs. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose in 1972, leaving a young son, Jordan, behind.

When the band came to the Grand Valley this year, Rienstra went backstage before the Grand Junction concert and met with several members, including Jordan, who now plays the keyboard and sings.

Another thrill for Rienstra was visiting with frontman Jim Yester. She showed him his signature in her autographed book, as well as pictures of her old house. She also boasts multiple signed LP album covers by the band.

For Rienstra—and probably the rest of the audience—the concert sparked music memories and took them back to times of fun, love, laughter and those special songs that brought pleasure to so many. Rienstra’s mental scrapbook now has a few more filled pages from an unforgettable experience that brought 1965 to life once more.